This Sweet and Merry Month of May

On this first day of May, dedicated to Mary, in this year after the 400th anniversary year of the death of one of England’s finest composers, William Byrd, we thought it fitting to post one of his madrigals dedicated to the Virgin and to this month: This Sweet and Merry Month of May was first published in 1590, when devotion to the Mother of God was still permitted in England, before the zealots infected with Calvinism forbade even the Rosary or Little Office. It is in six voices, in F major, all harmonized to perfection, as is fitting in a piece for the most perfect of God’s creatures.