Chapter House Recital – A long-lost piece of music by William Byrd?

A long-lost piece of music by William Byrd?
On Saturday 16 March at 3pm, Lincoln Cathedral’s lay vicars and choral scholars will be performing an anonymous late-Elizabethan setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah from the library of Sir John Lumley.

The identity of its composer is no longer known. There are no attributions or identifying marks or characteristics in either the music or the five partbooks in which it is contained that allow us conclusively to identify its origin. However, certain circumstantial clues point to William Byrd as a possible contender, most notably the text’s curious departures from liturgical convention which are extant in only one other known setting; the Lamentations composed by William Byrd during his time as Organist of Lincoln Cathedral.

Byrd and Lumley were close friends, and Byrd dedicated his 1591 publication Cantiones Sacrae to Lumley, claiming that he had brought him “no small help in the pursuit of music.” Like Byrd, Lumley was secretly a Catholic, and is known to have harboured recusant Catholics and clandestine services at his home in Nonsuch Palace. The ‘Anonymous Lamentations’ may have been written for such an occasion.

The Lamentations will be performed together with an anonymous 8-part Requiem Mass from the Palatial Library in Naples, and an anonymous double-choir Stabat Mater from the Vatican Apostolic Library.

Please join us at 3pm on Saturday 16 March to experience this music in the beautiful setting of the Cathedral Chapter House.

The recital is free with cathedral admission.

There will be a retiring collection for the cathedral music fund.