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William Byrd represents the pinnacle of artistic achievement in the Tudor period: a prolific and versatile composer in virtually all genres, his music could be heard in the great cathedrals, in private chapels, at court, and in domestic amateur music-making. Indeed, the quality of his output even transcended the bitter religious divisions of the time, and his music was admired and performed by Protestants and Roman Catholics alike. Byrd’s Cantiones Sacrae (1591) opens with the ebullient “Laudibus in sanctis,” a stylized paraphrase of Psalm 150. This work shows Byrd to be a complete master of the new late-sixteenth-century style: full of madrigalisms, it uses rhythmic syncopation, onomatopoeic word setting, and a spritely triple-time section in which the music breaks into dance.


Laudibus in sanctis Dominum celebrate supremum,
Firmamenta sonent inclita facta Dei.
Inclita facta Dei cantate, sacraque potentis
Voce potestatem saepe sonate manus.

Magnificum Domini cantet tuba martia nomen,
Pieria Domino concelebrate lira.
Laude Dei, resonent resonantia tympana summi,
Alta sacri resonent organa laude Dei.

Hunc arguta canant tenui psalteria corda,
Hunc agili laudet laeta chorea pede.
Concava divinas effundant cymbala laudes,
Cymbala dulcisona laude repleta Dei,
Omne quod aetheris in mundo vescitur auris,

Halleluia canat, tempus in omne Deo

Celebrate the Lord most high in holy praises:
Let the firmament echo the glorious deeds of God.
Sing ye the glorious deeds of God, and with holy voice
Sound forth oft the power of his mighty hand.

Let the warlike trumpet sing the great name of the Lord:
Celebrate the Lord with Pierian lyre.
Let resounding timbrels ring to the praise of the most-
high God,
Lofty organs peal to the praise of the holy God.

Him let melodious psalteries sing with fine string,
Him let joyful dance praise with nimble foot.
Let hollow cymbals pour forth divine praises,
Sweet-sounding cymbals filled with the praise of God.
Let everything in the world that feeds upon the
air of heaven
Sing Alleluia to God for evermore.

Paraphrase of Psalm 150


from Spring Bursts Today: A Celebration of Eastertide, released April 20, 2014



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Harvard University Choir Cambridge, Massachusetts

For over 175 years the Harvard University Choir has provided a unique opportunity for student singers to perform choral literature at the highest level, both in concert and during the services of the Memorial Church. Its program of daily choral services, broadcasts, tours, commissions, and recordings make it one of the premier college chapel ensembles in the United States. ... more

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