William Baird: major English composer for four centuries

It was not a traditional church, Johnston noted, but rather a semi-independent group of musicians in the service of the King. The Chapel Royal also connected Baird with the then organist, Thomas Tallis, who became his mentor, mentor and later collaborator.

After studying with Thales, in 1563 he left Bird to take up the position of organist and professor of choruses at Lincoln Cathedral. Johnston said that the city of Lincoln “was a happy and healthy place to be Catholic at the time”, due to the relatively high concentration of Catholics. But the ruling chapter of the cathedral disapproved of Baird’s playing the organ and withheld his salary in 1569.

“The complaint is that he will play too much when he is not required, and not at all when he is required,” said Phillips. Others have pointed to Byrd’s drawn-out organ playing, which has been described as “papupal”.

In 1572 Baird was returned as a gentleman of the Chapel Royal (adult singer), and received a generous stipend which was his main source of income until his death.

Baird was, for the majority of his working life, a Catholic living under the Protestant rule of Queen Elizabeth I, but the situation was more volatile and complex than that. Unlike his Catholic contemporaries John Doland, John Bull, and Richard Dering, Baird did not flee the country, choosing instead to stay, adhering in part to the new Protestantism imposed by the state. Support for Byrd’s burgeoning career came from the Catholic establishment in England and the Queen herself.

The quote “I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls” is attributed to Elizabeth, during the early moments of her reign. “It was evident that she was making it possible for the Catholics among her congregations to continue to receive reparation of conscience when it came to the fundamental religious question of holding Communion,” the primary difference between the two, Johnston said. religions at that time.

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