Fitzwilliam Virginal Book Volume 2

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All volumes of the Virginal Book:

Composer: William Byrd
Artists: Pieter-Jan Belder (harpsichord)
harpsichords, chest organ & virginal (Ruckers 1604)

Among the most prized exhibits of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, stands the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, the largest surviving anthology of Elizabethan and Jacobean keyboard music. Dating from a period during which theory and notation were undergoing radical change, the collection was probably compiled by Francis Tregian and falls just short of 300 compositions. These include a number by William Byrd, the foremost composer of the Elizabethan age.

Bringing together all of Byrd’s works as featured in the anthology, this release contains many sets of variations – including the infamous Walsingham MB8, which comprises no less than 22 embellished statements of the theme. The piece ranks among the most virtuosic of the composer’s keyboard compositions, and appears alongside several instrumental dances such as the Pavan and Galliard. Often modal in flavour, these abound in rhythmic energy and continuity – important features considering the static harmony and repetitive nature of the material. The Carman’s Whistle also makes an appearance, a piece first popularised by Arthur Rubinstein during his historical recital programmes and which was later arranged by Percy Grainger.

A leading expert in the field of early music, Pieter-Jan Belder has recorded widely for Brilliant Classics over the years and returns once again to perform this illustrious programme of works. The release is an engaging follow-up to the first volume in the series, extending its instrumental range to include performances on a 1604 virginal by Ruckers as well as a chest organ, and comprises essential listening for keyboardists and early music aficionados alike.

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0:00:00 Walsingham, MB8
0:08:37 Prelude in A Minor, MB12
0:09:21 Fantasia in A Minor, MB13
0:16:24 Fantasia in G, MB62
0:23:48 The Carman’s Whistle, MB36
0:29:02 The Queen’s Alman, MB10
0:32:26 Tregian’s Ground, MB20
0:39:33 Lady Monteagle’s Pavan, MB75
0:43:15 The woods so wild, MB85
0:47:54 Lachrymae Pavan, MB54 (Dowland, arr. Byrd)
0:53:41 Galliard, MB55 (Harding, arr. Byrd)
0:56:23 John, come kiss me now, MB81
1:02:07 Pavan in A Minor, MB14a
1:06:35 Galliard in A Minor, MB14b
1:08:13 Sellinger’s Round, MB84
1:14:46 Pavan in G Minor, MB4a
1:16:54 Galliard in G Minor, MB4b
1:18:34 The Hunt’s Up, MB40
1:25:33 Ut re mi fa sol la, MB64
1:33:07 Pavan in D Minor, MB52a
1:37:33 Galliard in D Minor, MB52b
1:39:08 The Maiden Song, MB82
1:43:59 Fantasia in C, MB25
1:49:21 Quadran Pavan, MB70a
1:57:49 The Quadran Galliard, MB70b
2:02:03 All in a garden green, MB56
2:05:52 Pavan in G, MB71a
2:08:29 Galliard in G, MB71b
2:10:18 Pavan in C Minor, MB29a
2:14:41 Galliard in C Minor, MB29b
2:16:23 Rowland, MB7
2:18:53 Pavan in G: Canon 2 in 1, MB74
2:23:03 Pavan in A Minor, MB99a (Holborne, ?arr. Byrd)
2:25:25 Galliard in A Minor, MB99c
2:27:04 Lavolta, MB91

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