- for the Virginia planter see William Byrd II
He was a pupil of Thomas Tallis, was appointed organist and choirmaster at Lincoln Cathedral in 1563, joined the Chapel Royal in 1570 and, with Tallis, was given a royal monopoly of music printing. (He was to publish three sets of his own songs to English texts.)
Whilst brought up in a Protestant household, he increasingly leaned towards Catholicism, and much of his finest music is set to Latin texts – his music for the mass is the equal of any on the Continent. Whilst much of his catholic music is of a melancholy nature – he equated the state of catholic England with the fall of Jerusalem – he also wrote joyful consort and keyboard pieces that can be called exuberant.
“Oxford Companion to Music”
“The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music”.