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In 2023 Stainer & Bell marked the 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd with a number of exciting initiatives to make the composer’s entire output of choral music more accessible to choirs than ever before.

Prepared by leading Byrd scholars, The Byrd Edition is the authoritative collected edition of England’s outstanding Renaissance composer – a comprehensive resource covering his complete vocal, choral and consort works.

Also, for the first time, the series is fully digitised and available to view in its entirety free of charge. Totalling 4,328 pages, the full contents of all twenty volumes in the series, including the prefatory material, editorial notes, commentaries and indexes, are now accessible to browse online.

In addition, each individual work – from much-loved favourites to dozens of hidden gems from over 430 titles – can be purchased with a licence to print multiple copies for performance. Head over to our new Byrd Table where you can search by title, voicing, duration, and more.

Dr Edmund Fellowes began in 1937 ‘an attempt to issue in practical form a complete corpus of the Vocal Works of William Byrd’. He planned his edition in 16 volumes, adding a later volume of Chamber Music for Strings and three volumes of Keyboard Music, the last of which appeared in 1950.

The revision of the series began in 1962 under the direction of Thurston Dart. Volumes 2, 3 and 12–14 (all containing music from the printed sources) were re-issued with such alterations and corrections as could be carried out on the original engraved plates. It was soon found that much of the collection required more extensive amendment, and between 1968 and 1971 volumes 15 and 17 were edited afresh, and volumes 18–20 were replaced by volumes 27 and 28 of Musica Britannica edited by Alan Brown.

The 350th anniversary of the composer’s death marked the beginning of the preparation of a new edition, starting with volume 16 and incorporating the two recently re-edited volumes, 15 and 17. Preserving the practical aims and general outline of its predecessor, this new collection aims to present a fully critical text, based on a thorough re-appraisal of the sources, in accordance with the needs of present-day performers and scholars. Each volume includes an editor’s preface, and a full commentary upon the verbal and musical text. A number of works discovered since 1950 are printed, and a serious attempt has been made to come to terms with the question of authenticity surrounding many of the works recovered from manuscript sources.

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