Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Country matters #3

This morning I went into Cambridge to see my friend Hamish at the bookshop as I had hot gossip from the book world that had come all the way from Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. He wasn’t there. I asked Nikki, the speediest sales assistant in New Zealand, where he could be.

She said, “He’s gone home to feed the lambs.”

Of course. So here is the Agnus Dei from the Four-Part Mass by William Byrd (1540-1623), performed by The Sixteen. It was written in 1592 or so, a time when Catholics were executed for their faith: it was dangerous to write this music, dangerous to print the score (brave Byrd’s name is on it but not the printer’s) and dangerous even to own a copy.

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