Composition - - American Recorder Society
Laetentur coeli
By William Byrd (1540 - 1623)
 Arranged By Peter Seibert 2022
S  A  T/A  T  B
Earlier Byrd works such as this one from Cantiones vol. 1, are often exuberant.  Here the opening word, Laetentur, has a long melisma on the second syllable; coeli also contains long melismas. These would be sung in one breath, so it is important to play these passages legato.

This five-part work is in an A-B-A form; the B section, on a verse from Psalm 71 (“There shall rise in thy days justice…”), is for just the top three voices.  At bar 68, the Isaiah text (et pauperum) returns along with the fourth and fifth voices (for which there are cues). From there to the end, the music is the same as the latter part of the A section.

From our modern perspective, this work spends much of the time in F major, with a short detour to D minor in the B section.  At the tempo I’ve suggested, the performing time is about 3:50.
-- Peter Seibert
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