Review Of "William Byrd: Gentleman Of The Chapel Royal" By J. Harley

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A full study of Byrd is long overdue, and this volume is nothing if not comprehensive. The first part documents Byrd's life, episode by episode, bringing together all sorts of known and newly discovered material. The second part surveys Byrd's music, genre by genre, exploring primarily issues of chronology. Harley also provides several appendixes, including a works list, and a thorough bibliography. Although designed as a monograph, this extremely useful book is better regarded as a reference work. The writing is not difficult to follow, but probably only research specialists and extraordinarily dedicated Byrd devotees will have the stamina to navigate its extensive archival details. Nearly everything centers on chronologies; even sociocultural contexts are provided by chronological tables. Most undergraduate students will find the book unreadable as a monograph. However, large college libraries may want to acquire it as a useful source for information. Paper and binding are of high quality.


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