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William Byrd "Agnus Dei - Mass for five voices"

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Uploaded on Jun 23, 2009

William Byrd (c. 1540 4 July 1623) was an English composer of the Renaissance. He cultivated many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.

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A special feature of the four-part and five-part Masses is Byrd's treatment of the Agnus Dei, which employ the technique which Byrd had previously applied to the petitionary clauses from the motets of the 1589 and 1591 Cantiones sacrae. The final words dona nobis pacem ('grant us peace'), which are set to chains of anguished suspensions in the Four-Part Mass and expressive block homophony in the five-part setting almost certainly reflect the aspirations of the troubled Catholic community of the 1590s.

AGNUS DEI

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

Performed : The Tallis Scholars
Dir : Peter Phillips

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Image : Detail of a 13th century window from Chartres Cathedral.

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