Welcome to our Festival blog

We are a small congregation who organised a highly successful 'William Byrd Festival' in May 2011 to celebrate the life and work of the village's Elizabethan composer, William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623). In 2012 we played host to the world-famous choir The Cardinall's Musick under their director Andrew Carwood.

This website contains everything you need to know about William Byrd and his links with Stondon Massey. The church is open for services, of course, and on the second Sunday afternoon in the month during the summer.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

This Sweet And Merry Month of May

The madrigal ‘This Sweet and Merry Month of May’ is in a set of pieces published by Byrd in 1611 entitled ‘Psalms, Songs, and Sonnets: some solemne, others joyfull’. But as Edmund Fellowes observes in his book ‘The English Madrigal Composers’ (1948): “The inclusion in this volume of the four part setting … suggests that by no means all of these pieces had been newly composed at the date of publication; this particular madrigal had already been printed with Watson’s ‘First sett of Italian Madrigalls Englished’ as early as 1590”.

This demonstrates the importance of this work in Byrd’s complete output.

The Stondon Singers will be performing this piece on Saturday 7 May (4.00 & 7.30pm) in a programme entitled ‘William Byrd: His Essex Years’. It is also the chosen piece by BBC Essex today heralding the William Byrd Festival.

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