Director | Geoffrey Webber
William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices is one of the great masterpieces of English polyphony, composed towards the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Although Byrd maintained good relations with the Queen, and wrote fine music for the Church of England, he privately remained a recusant Roman Catholic, and also wrote much music for the old Latin liturgy known as the Use of Sarum. This was performed in private chapels, notably that of Ingatestone Hall in Essex, the home of one of Byrd’s main Catholic patrons. For this performance we have interspersed the movements of the Mass with chants for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which falls on 15th August, in the order they would have appeared in the Mass. The plainsong varies from the highly ornate Offertory to the syllabic call-and-response pattern of the Sequence in which the colourful Latin likens the Virgin to all things of beauty on the earth and in the heavens.
Filming Location: The Church of St John-at-Hampstead, July 2020