William Byrd 1543-1623 was probably a pupil of Tallis, with whom he was friendly related. Together, they had the patented printing rights for music in England. In 1562 he became organist at Lincoln and in 1572 he was appointed at te Chapel Royal in London.
His keyboard works are preserved in My Lady Nevells Booke, in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and in Parthenia (first printed keyboard music in England). Also some other early 17th century works.
My Ladye Nevells Booke is a compilation of 42 pieces for keyboard. Together with the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, one of the most important collections of keyboard music of the English renaissance. Copied by John Baldwin, one of the most famous musical scribes and calligraphers of the day, the pieces seem to have been selected, organized and even edited and corrected by Byrd himself.
The Battell was supposedly written after the Armada victory of 1588, but more probably alludes to one of the Irish rebellions of the time. It is the first known programmed suite of descriptive music, and shows Byrd in a rare lighthearted vein.
NB: the buriing of the dead is actually from Elizabeth Rogers virginal Book.
ernst stolz virginal