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.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

William Byrd Anniversary Concert 2012

Byrd's popularity is clearly undiminished considering the near capacity audience who came to the Stondon Singers concert last evening. The 'William Byrd Anniversary Concert' is something of a fixture for the Choir and St Peter & St Paul Church, thought to be the 43rd occasion the event was held (with the next already programmed for Tuesday 2 July 2013).

This was a programme very much in two parts.  The first included a performance of the 'Five Part Mass' (excluding the Credo) framed first and last by a piece from Byrd's great Gradualia cycle ('Gaudaemus omnes in Domino' (1605) opened; 'Laudate Dominum' (1607) closed). The programme was interspersed by three short pieces by contemporaries of Byrd: Robert White, John Mundy and Robert Parsons (the latter two members of the Chapel Royal).  An organ solo, Byrd's 'Pavan The Earl of Salisbury and Galliard' illustrated to many present Byrd's talent as a keyboard composer.  (We hear very little Byrd performed locally on instruments.)  This was played by Christopher Tinker, the Choir's conductor.

After a long interval so that all could have drinks and nibbles, the second half began with a royal tribute with 'Pastyme with good companye' (Henry VIII); 'O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth' (Byrd) and 'All Creatures Now' (Bennet).  A reading, four Italian madrigals and a 20th century piece by Kodaly concluded the programme with a song about stealing chickens!

Byrd died on 4 July 1623.  

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