A few years ago the BBC released a documentary on 16th century English composer William Byrd featuring the Tallis Scholars performing his choral masterpieces at Tewkesbury Abbey. Byrd was a famous “Church Papist,” meaning he tried to maintain his Catholic faith while not offending Elizabeth’s anti-Catholic government. By comparison, “Recusants” resisted Elizabeth’s oppression. His Masses for Four and Five Voices, personal favorites, were frequently sung by Catholics huddled in recusant homes. The documentary “Playing Elizabeth’s Tune” has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, but some generous soul has posted the whole thing on YouTube. Enjoy!

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