The composers of the three mass settings presented here share a common thread apart, of course, from their English heritage: their artistic sensibilities, not to mention their devotional lives, were undoubtedly fashioned by Roman Catholic traditions and training. Despite the ravages of war and fierce tribal politics of the day, Catholicism flourished in 15th-century England. But the dawn of the 16th century brought with it new and very real dangers—a ruling family wracked by scandal, political volatility, and a religious reformation that would threaten the foundations of religious life. Tallis, on the other hand, witnessed the demolition of religious institutions.
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It was written around during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I , and is one of three settings of the Mass Ordinary which he published in London in the early s. The works is a noted example of English Renaissance music from the Tudor period. Byrd's mass settings were originally published as small typeset editions.