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HPSCHD-L  June 2017

HPSCHD-L June 2017

Subject:

Re: Byrd: A Fancie

From:

David Bedlow <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Bedlow <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:20:57 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (197 lines)

Davitt MORONEY on 22/06/2017 12:05:55 wrote:

"Anyone seriously interested in this wonderful piece and curious about 
textual matters in Byrd in general should, as always,always, always, 
consult the better and much more scholarly edition in Musica 
Britannica...."

I am most grateful to Davitt for taking the trouble to reply in such 
detail to my query. There is an organ festival going on in Dublin but I 
found time yesterday to visit the Dublin City Council Music Library 
which a reference copy of Musica Britanica. I did a careful comparison 
between the MB (Brown) edition and Hilda Andrews's (Dover) edition. I 
also studied the prefaces and commentaries in the two MB volumes.

I had understood that My Ladye Nevells Booke was a good and reliable 
source, but I now realise that this is not the full story. In the time I 
had available I looked through some of the other pieces. I noticed a few 
easier and shorter pieces I didn't know before that would be good for 
organ voluntaries. I also noted that the Fantasia [No CCLXI in the 
Fitzwilliam Virginal Book] is liberally supplied with ornaments in MB. I 
had often thought that the almost complete absence of ornaments in FVB 
was strange.

I am also grateful to Dr Gordon J Callon for his observations.

DM wrote "In the case of the MB edition of Byrd (2 volumes), it's an 
excellent investment for a lifetime!"

As I am now just reaching the age at which, according to Davitt's 
e-mail, Byrd ceased to be 'pretty active' there may not be too much of 
my lifetime left! Not enough to learn the full Byrd corpus even if my 
technique was up to doing so. While I recognise its merits I do not like 
MB very much. The books are too big and awkward, they do not fit on the 
music desk of some organs, page turns are impossible, and halved note 
values (for example in volume V - Tomkins) give me a headache.

Virginia Shoberg on 22/06/2017 14:51:14 wrote
"...IMSLP. All of Byrd's compositions are there to print.... A beautiful 
copy...."

This is the Hilda Andrews edition reprinted by Dover. I agree it is a 
beautiful copy. I have the Dover volume of course. However, for my 
purposes I also find it more practicable to print individual pieces from 
IMSL as it is usually possible to stick the pages together or to arrange 
the loose pages in such a way as to facilitate page turning. But in 
future I will cross reference it with Musica Britanica.

It can be seen immediately that the MB edition of A Fancie is better, 
more complete, but in general I do not discount the validity of earlier 
versions of some compositions (Bruckner symphonies, for example). I 
think, also, there is merit in playing from a single source, provided it 
is reliable.

Now I have to spend the rest of this afternoon marking up the 
'corrections' in my copy of A Fancie...

With many thanks,

    -  David Bedlow















*MLNB* is a good source, a great one and a beautiful one (now available
online at the British Library website). But since it's dated 1591 (when
Byrd was about 51), it often contains earlier versions of pieces that 
Byrd
himself later revised and/or corrected, since he lived for another 30 
years
and was pretty active at least until the age of 70. So good later
manuscripts are usually a better guide for works that survive in 
multiple
sources. For this beautiful fancy, there are two sources, and the *MB*
Critical Comment makes clear the many ways that *MLNB* is indeed the
inferior of the two surviving sources.

The later and better source (British Library Add. MS 30485) was copied 
by a
professional musician who is now thought to be the composer Thomas 
Weelkes,
who probably studied with Byrd in the early 1590s. The manuscript was
compiled between 1590 and 1610. Alan Brown's comment (p. 199 of that
edition) sums up the situation clearly: "The two sources correspond 
fairly
closely, but Wr [=the Weelkes source] in several places gives more 
careful
and or complete readings than Ne [=*MLNB*]."

So why worry about such details in the *MLNB* text? If the troublesome
passages are the same in the Weelkes source, it's usually best to accept
them; when there are differences, Weelkes is usually better. The *MB*
Critical Commentary lists and discusses over 30 variants for this Fancy
where the Weelkes reading is better than *MLNB*, and even where the 
*MLNB*
text is simply "confused" (including one of the passages David asked 
about).

So it's really a false problem. The solution is known, and has been
relatively easily available in print since 1971.

There are some composers for whom we have little serious alternative 
other
than buying the good edition, even though it's expensive. In the case of
the *MB* edition of Byrd (2 volumes), it's an excellent investment for a
lifetime!

Best wishes,
DM





*Davitt Moroney​​Professor Emeritus Department of Music*

*Morrison Hall*


*​University of California, Berkeley​CA 94720-1200*

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 11:31 AM, David Bedlow <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>I have been playing (well, trying to play) A Fancie [No. 41 in My Ladye
>Nevells Booke] using the Dover reprint of Hilda Andrews's edition.
>
>I would welcome comments on the following: Bar numbering includes 
>inserted
>editorial bar lines shown by dots.
>
>Bar 41 (top of page 240), third beat: I prefer an E major chord here 
>(G#
>in the 'alto' part)
>
>Bar 45: on the ascending scale I have been playing F# and B natural; on
>the descent I play B flat and F natural, leading to a D minor chord on 
>the
>third beat.
>
>Bar 52: following the initial D major chord, should not all the 
>subsequent
>Fs be F# and not only the two editorial F#s on the fourth beat?
>
>Bar 74 (the penultimate bar): I am not fully convinced by the editorial
>ficta suggestions. Suppose on the ascending scale (2nd beat) I play B 
>flat
>and C natural, and then C# and B natural for the trill?
>
>As I have no academic music education I would be glad to hear from any 
>who
>have whether I am definitely wrong or might be right.
>
>As I play this piece on the organ and harpsichord I am sending this 
>e-mail
>to both lists.
>
>     - David Bedlow
>
>
>---
>This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
>http://www.avg.com
>
>::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual 
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>tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the 
>Uni-
>versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
>[log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
>::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
>

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
[log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Note:  opinions  expressed on HPSCHD-L are those of the  individual con-
tributors and not necessarily  those of the list owners  nor of the Uni-
versity of Iowa.  For a brief  summary of list  commands, send mail to
[log in to unmask]  saying  HELP .
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