[f_minor] John Sankey's MIDI treasury of Byrd's compositions

Brad Lehman bpl at umich.edu
Thu Aug 19 11:07:54 EDT 2010

Heh, heh!  My opinion: better to lay out $18 or $20 as a start, and get 
top-of-the-line performances on a good instrument (and the type of 
instrument the composer expected), than to invest $0 and get 
non-performances on an instrument (computer+MIDI) the composer never 
heard of.

Byrd's music is at the top of the repertoire, in musical quality and 
importance.  The man basically *invented* solo keyboard music as a 
serious genre, by arranging his C minor viol-consort pavan as a keyboard 
solo, giving it suitable figuration idiomatic to the keyboard.  He 
brought the instrument out of being a tool only for accompaniment or for 
improvisation, and gave it its own stage.  He's certainly among the "top 
5" harpsichord composers before Bach's lifetime.

So, his music deserves the best possible treatment that experts can give 
it, the real thing(*), not just a cheap or free trek through the mere notes.

I suppose that hearing the MIDI version is somehow arguably better than 
hearing nothing.  Maybe.  In the same way, a digitized photo of a 
hippopotamus gives at least some very vague impression about what a real 
hippo is like, before meeting one.

(*)Gratuitous Coca-Cola reference....

Brad Lehman

On 8/19/2010 10:45 AM, Robert Merkin wrote:
> 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.  (...)

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