Pamela Dellal, mezzo soprano


uncommon intelligence, imagination and textual awareness...



Motet Notes

William Byrd: "Laetentur coeli"

William Byrd is the greatest of the late Renaissance English composers. Although a Catholic, his religious music was both in English and Latin. Our motet today, "Laetentur coeli," was published in the 1589 collection of Latin motets entitled Cantiones Sacrae. Here Byrd's predilection for a beautiful and personal kind of dense counterpoint is in evidence. Byrd and his friend Thomas Tallis had gained in 1575 the exclusive patent for contrapuntal religious music from Queen Elizabeth.  It had proved to be less of a financial bonanza than they had hoped.  This later collection of motets then must have come from a personal need to express rather than for financial gain.  Certainly all of the motets in this collection are masterpieces of the first water. 

©Craig Smith