Composer & Repertoire Information

The five pieces by Byrd recorded here are found in two major manuscript collections. The first is My Ladye Nevells Booke which consists exclusively of his music. It was copied under the composer’s supervision by John Baldwin, a lay clerk of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, whose task was, as he noted, ‘ffinished & ended the leventh of september: in the yeare of our lorde God ·1591·’. Baldwin’s spellings are too charming to be resisted and consequently his titles have been adopted in the CD booklet. The second is the famous Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Traditionally held to have been compiled by Francis Tregian in Fleet Prison between 1609 and 1619, it contains music by at least thirty-five composers and surveys the fifty-year period from about 1562 to 1612.  It is not known what became of the manuscript just after its assembly, but eventually it was acquired by Croft’s contemporary Johann Christoph Pepusch who was involved with the founding of The Academy of Ancient Music around 1710.

The booklet for this CD contains detailed notes by David Pollock on each piece featured on the CD and their relevance to each other.