William Byrd

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Byrd, William,

1543–1623, English composer, organist at Lincoln Cathedral and, jointly with Tallis, at the Chapel Royal. Although Roman Catholic, he composed anthems and services for the English Church in addition to his great Roman masses and Latin motets. He was esteemed by his contemporaries and was favored by Queen Elizabeth I, who, in 1575, granted to Byrd and Tallis a patent for the exclusive printing and selling of music. Byrd also composed instrumental music.

Bibliography

See biography by K. McCarthy (2013); studies by E. H. Fellowes (2d ed. 1948), O. W. Neighbor (1978), and J. Kerman (1981).


Byrd, William,

1652–1704, English planter in early Virginia. He came to America as a youth and took up lands he had inherited on both sides of the James River, including the site that would later be Richmond. In 1691 he moved to "Westover," long famous as the Byrd family home. His landed fortune was increased by his interest in trade, and he served (1703) as president of the Virginia council. Byrd's wealth, culture, and character made him the ideal tidewater aristocrat. He was the father of William ByrdByrd, William,
1674–1744, American colonial writer, planter, and government official; son of William Byrd (1652–1704). After being educated in England, he became active in the politics of colonial America.
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 (1674–1744).

Byrd, William,

1674–1744, American colonial writer, planter, and government official; son of William ByrdByrd, William,
1652–1704, English planter in early Virginia. He came to America as a youth and took up lands he had inherited on both sides of the James River, including the site that would later be Richmond.
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 (1652–1704). After being educated in England, he became active in the politics of colonial America. He served as member of the House of Burgesses, as receiver-general of Virginia, as Virginia council member, and as colonial agent in England. Byrd inherited a great estate from his father and ultimately owned over 179,000 acres (72,000 hectares). In 1737 he had the city that was to be RichmondRichmond.
1 City (1990 pop. 87,425), Contra Costa co., W Calif., on San Pablo Bay, an inlet of San Francisco Bay; inc. 1905. It is a deepwater commercial port and an industrial center with oil refineries and railroad repair shops.
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 laid out on one of his estates. His service in 1728 as one of the commissioners to survey the North Carolina–Virginia boundary and his many trips into the backwoods provided the material for much of his writings; A History of the Dividing Line, A Journey to the Land of Eden, and A Progress to the Mines were all based on his diaries. Byrd's polished style and crisp wit, in addition to his valuable record of Southern life, have won him a reputation as one of the foremost colonial authors. At his death he left a library of some 4,000 volumes at his Westover estate.

Bibliography

See his diaries and other writings (1941, 1942, 1970); biography by P. Marambaud (1971).

Byrd, William

 

Born circa 1543, possibly in Lincolnshire; died July 4, 1623, in Stondon-Massey, Essex. English composer, founder of the national madrigal school and representative of the virginalist school of musicians; organist and music publisher.

Byrd was a master of Catholic and Anglican choral music, including psalms and graduals, and of secular music—madrigals, motets, fantasies, variations for the virginal, chamber music for strings, and songs—in which he made extensive use of popular melodies. Features typical of Renaissance music—the cult of beauty and pleasure and the rejection of medieval asceticism—appeared in secular music, where they were artistically embodied in a wealth of melody and harmony, in rhythmic variety, and in polyphonic richness. Byrd formulated his aesthetic principles in the foreword to his Psalms, Sonnets and Songs of Sadness and Piety (1588). He was noted for his prodigious output. About 140 compositions were published in 20 volumes in London between 1937 and 1950.

REFERENCE

Fellowes, E. H. William Byrd, 2nd ed., London, 1948.

Byrd, William

(1674–1744) statesman, author; born in Westover, Va. After being educated in England (1684–92), he became a member of the House of Burgesses and then the Council of State in 1709. He resisted Governor Alexander Spotswood's effort to take away the Council's position as the supreme court in Virginia. From 1704 on, he managed the vast properties and immense fortune inherited from his father. His manuscripts, letters, and diaries provide an intimate look at the life of the gentry in 18th-century Virginia.
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