[f_minor] John Sankey's MIDI treasury of Byrd's compositions
bobmerk at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 19 10:45:25 EDT 2010
Be gentle with me, Brad!
In your world, Byrd and his compositions, and live and recorded performers
banging them out on ancient pre-piano keyboards, are as common as Coca-Cola
and store-brand aspirin.
On my planet, Elizabethan composers more resemble unicorns and hens' teeth.
I've just never heard any of these delightful pavans and galliards before.
More embarrassing, I wouldn't know a pavan or a galliard if it mugged me in
an alley. You're teaching graduate seminars, and I just signed up for an
on-line learn-in-your-spare-time course offered by the University of
Southern North Dakota @ Hoople.
Yes, there's a touch of the mechanical megalomaniac to Mr. Sankey's huge
MIDI museum. It sure ain't Gould playing.
But I admire his efforts to preserve and distribute (to contort a phrase
Ives used) The Songs Our
And now to important business: Hope you, and All, are having a great summer.
Has anyone heard from Mary Jo? Should I put her face on a milk carton?
Bob of The Great Unwashed
(Member since 1971)
----- Original Message -----
From: "Brad Lehman" <bpl at umich.edu>
To: "Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould."
<f_minor at glenngould.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:44 AM
Subject: Re: [f_minor] John Sankey's MIDI treasury of Byrd's compositions
>I listened to "Go from my Window" there, and got the impression that Sankey
>wasn't actually playing it on a keyboard, but rather creating the MIDI
>files from score in a different way: mechanically. (Same remarks,
>vis-a-vis his Scarlatti....) It seems metrically stiff, and I didn't get
>any sense of "play", or any of the expressive irregularities that would
>come from using period fingerings, or the physical gestures of playing the
> This is music that I play myself, for personal pleasure and occasionally
> for harpsichord concerts, and I don't expect to return to this Sankey set
> much (if at all) as a listener. I'd expect a real recording to offer me
> some musical insights and pleasures that I wouldn't get merely looking at
> a score, and this isn't doing it for me.
> To hear Byrd's music played well on real harpsichords, start with "My
> Ladye Nevells Booke" played by Elizabeth Farr on Naxos:
> There are many other fine recordings, as well.
> Brad Lehman
> On 8/19/2010 12:54 AM, Robert Merkin wrote:
>> An enormous free treasury of MIDIs of William Byrd's (1543 - 1623)
>> keyboard compositions, most or all by John Sankey, can be found at
>> The MIDIs appear to simulate the virginal, although in Byrd's day,
>> virginal was used as a general term and could mean the harpsichord. If
>> anyone dives into this site for the huge pleasure there, I'd be grateful
>> for any insights into the specific kinds of sounds Mr. Sankey, who
>> styles himself "Harpsichordist to the Internet," has shaped in these
>> MIDIs. Sankey's bio says he was an Associate at the Royal Conservatory
>> of Toronto when he was 16.
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