William Byrd was a Renaissance composer who was born in England in the early part of the Seventeenth Century. His output of nearly 500 compositions justifies his place as one of the great masters of European Renaissance music. From the early 1570s onwards Byrd became increasingly involved with Catholicism, which, became a major factor in his personal and creative life. Byrd became involved with many prominent Catholics. In 1583, he got into serious trouble because of his association with someone, who was suspected of involvement in the Throckmorton Plot the aim of which was the assassination of Queen Elizabeth I, and for sending money to Catholics abroad. Because of this, restrictions were placed on his movements, and his house was placed on the search list. In 1586, he attended a gathering at a country house in the company of Father Henry Garnett who was later executed for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot. The conversion of England from the Roman Catholic church to the Church of England by King Henry VIII (and later Queen Elizabeth I) forced those who wished to practice Catholicism to do so covertly, as penalties included fines, scrutiny, torture or death. All vestiges of the â€œold religion" were summarily prohibited, including the use of Latin (only English was permitted). In this highly volatile and oppressive atmosphere, Byrd played a dangerous game. Refusing to conform to the new religion, he composed music for use in Catholic services (held secretly in private residences), more often than not in Latin of which Ave verum is one of them. He managed this rebellion without loss of life or livelihood, due in part both to his exemplary musical skill and by frequently dedicating publications to the Queen. It is widely accepted that Byrd intended his Latin motets for use either in these underground Masses, or for publication in books for use in homes, much like madrigals. The Ave verum was most likely performed with 1 or 2 singers per part using female sopranoâ€™s and was composed for an SATB choral group. This is one of the very many fine compositions that in our view has been previously overlooked for use in brass chamber repertoire.
In most cases, this is the arrangment being played back using the Sibelius video export facility, but in some cases this is an actual performance by groups commissioned by Undiscovered Brass to actually perform the arrangment.
Ave Verum (Arranged for Brass quintet)
This is a performance of the music in its original form, which is there as a guide to help the Brass group perform this arrangment if they decide to purchase the arrangment.