The Dow Partbooks: hope at the bottom of Pandora’s box…

August 14, 2011

I ought not dismiss yesterday as a complete failure. At the very least, I’ve discovered:

* Jean Maillard (“T.Dies”), Ascendo. A nice bright and bouncy piece to be taken at a goodly tempo for five viols without words. Some motets for 4+ voices published by A&R. 

* Anon. In terrors trapp’d. Need to check out Musica Britannica vol.22 and compare with partbooks.

* William Byrd, If women could be fair. Another bouncy tune of engaging complexity (cross-rhythms based on 6/2) from the master.

* William Byrd, Deus venerunt gentes. The Dow Partbooks include the Tercia pars (“Effuderunt”) of this extended piece for five voices.


One Response to “The Dow Partbooks: hope at the bottom of Pandora’s box…”

  1. Allen Garvin Says:

    Hey, Ascendo! I uploaded a transcription of that from the Dow Partbooks to Werner Icking last week. See

    I’ve been transcribing the Byrd consort songs, too. If you know them only from his published, all-parts-texted versions, you’ll find the Dow versions somewhat different in the lower 4 parts. Only the top line is texted, and the other parts are more instrumental-oriented.

    At the VdGSA Conclave 3 weeks ago, I took a class with Mary Springfels where we read straight from the facsimiles. We spent the bulk of the week on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the lengthy opening piece (I started transcribing this, then found two other people had already done it from Dow, available at CPDL). Other pieces read included Ascendo and White’s “The Lord Bless & Keep Us”. We didn’t do any of the instrumental-specific pieces, but that’s not surprising; Mary has been trying to get the word out for years that the 16th century motet repertoire is very rich with pieces that work wonderfully on viols, that are little recorded (and, unfortunately, are rarely available in editions with parts).

    Unfortunately, my fellow players here in Dallas aren’t very inclined to deal with the problems of playing from facsimile, so I have to make transcriptions first.

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