Cantiones Sacrae I (William Byrd)

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General Information

Publication date and place: Thomas East, London, 1589

Composer: William Byrd

A collection of Latin motets published by Byrd in 1589 and printed in London by Thomas East. Although mainly non-liturgical and intended as vocal "chamber music", many of these pieces would have carried a covert message to England's oppressed Roman Catholic community; notable are the frequent references to Jerusalem lying desolate and the pleas to God to remember his people. Indeed, Deus venerunt gentes, with its reference to the pouring-out of the blood of God's servants, is thought to have been written in specific response to the execution of St Edmund Campion in 1581.

The Cantiones Sacrae were dedicated to Edward Somerset, Earl of Worcester.

The collection consists of 16 separate pieces, the subsections of which are numbered separately in the index.

List of works