BYRD UNDERGROUND

The Song Company returns to the Crypt of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, and to the source of so much golden Renaissance polyphony, for a single performance direct from the manuscript partbook facsimiles of music by Thomas Tallis, Robert Parsons, Robert White, and William Byrd.

Singing from partbooks is very different from the way singers normally perform today: unlike modern sheet music, where you can see everything else that’s going on, a partbook just has one part.  What’s more, there are no barlines, so even keeping in time is a challenge!  But this is the way famous composers such as William Byrd, and their friends such as Robert Dow, actually experienced their own music, so The Song Company is following suit and will perform this music from colourful facsimiles of the five original Dow Partbooks  – also giving the audience the possibility of singing at one point,  As well as an English consort song and a drinking round, there is a cornucopia of stunning sacred polyphony, mostly in Latin, by the top names from late 16th-century England: William Byrd, Robert Parsons, Robert White, Thomas Tallis, and a mysterious “Mr Tayler”!

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