Mass for 5 voices

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Byrd composed many works for the Anglican service, whilekeeping a devout catholic faith in private: his family sustained persecution and fines for their beliefs. None of his three Masses uses the common Continental device of parodying a model composition; they do not rely on a preconceived unifying thematic web. Byrd does seem, however, to have revised and reworked some musical ideas from one mass to the next, and all three are unified by a conservative and beautifully sculpted tone of "classical" counterpoint. The Mass in Five Voices, published last, links several movements by means of freely composed, but repeated, themes. 

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