One of the finest music manuscripts – for scholarly and practical use
“My Ladye Nevells Booke” is one of the finest musical manuscripts of the late 16th century. With its 42 compositions, it comprises about a third of the keyboard music by William Byrd – including some of his most popular compositions such as the variations on “Sellinger’s Round” and “All in a Garden Green”.
Byrd himself selected the pieces for this anthology and directed the work of copyist John Baldwin. The meticulous, small corrections, found on almost every page, were most probably written by Byrd himself. The grand coat-of-arms at the beginning refers to Sir Henry Neville of Billingbear (Berkshire) and as such identifies his wife Elizabeth as the dedicatee.
The manuscript did not become public property until 2006 when it was purchased for the British Library. Now it is published in book form for the first time and gives the musician an impression of the richly decorated preserved original volume.
In his commentary, Byrd specialist Oliver Neighbour describes the genesis and history of the work. He also provides information on Byrd’s concept, the chosen repertoire and gives technical details on the notation.