Early Tudor Composers: Biographical Sketches of Thirty-Two Musicians and Composers of the Period 1485-1555

By W. Henry Hadow; William H. Grattan Flood | Go to book overview

VIII. Robert Fayrfax

THE best available account of the compositions of Fayrfax is that contributed by Mr. Godfrey E. P. Arkwright to the new edition of Grove; yet Fayrfax's biography has been somewhat inadequately told. There is a good conspectus of Fayrfax's works and an account of his technique in the Historical Survey which forms the preface to Tudor Church Music, vol. i. None of our musical historians have penetrated his career prior to the year 1502, when he is met with at St. Albans, being then a Doctor of Music of Cambridge University. Anthony Wood says that Fayrfax was organist or Informator Chori of the Abbey of St. Albans in 1502, and that in his day he was 'in great renown and accounted the prime musician of the nation'. Probably the former statement rests on the entry under date March 28, 1502, in the Privy Purse Expenses of Queen Elizabeth of York, from which it appears that he received at St. Albans the sum of twenty shillings 'for setting an Anthem of Our Lady and St. Elizabeth', probably his 'Aeterne laudis lilium'. Yet from two entries in the recently published Calendar of Patent Rolls of Henry VII, 1494- 1509, it is probable that Fayrfax was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1496, and possibly earlier.

Bishop Tanner says that this remarkable English musician was born at Bayford, in Hertfordshire, and this event may be placed as circa 1465 or 1466. He may have been a boy chorister in the Chapel Royal in 1480, but one thing is certain, he was a Gentleman of the King's Chapel in 1496.1 The fact of occupying this post may be taken as evidence of his musical skill in the last decade of the fifteenth century, and he probably studied under

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1
According to Venn Alumni Cantabrigienses ( 1922), Robert Fayrfax was of Acaster Malbis, Yorks., the fourth son of Sir Thomas Fayrfax of Walton, and graduated Mus.Bac. of Cambridge in 1500-1. (Vol. ii, p. 117.)

-37-

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Early Tudor Composers: Biographical Sketches of Thirty-Two Musicians and Composers of the Period 1485-1555
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Note 7
  • Preface 8
  • Contents 11
  • I. Gilbert Banaster 13
  • Ii. David Burton 17
  • Iii. William Cornish 20
  • Iv. William Crane 23
  • V. William Newark 27
  • Vi. Hugh Aston 30
  • Vii. Richard Pygot 34
  • Viii. Robert Fayrfax 37
  • Ix. John Browne 40
  • X. Richard Hygons 43
  • Xi. Richard Bramston 46
  • Xii. John Taverner 49
  • Xiii. Thomas Farthing 52
  • Xiv. Thomas Ashwell 55
  • Xv. Richard Davy 60
  • Xvi. Robert Cowper, Mus.D. 64
  • Xvii. John Lloyd 66
  • Xviii. Robert Jones 69
  • Xix. Nicholas Ludford 72
  • Xx. Sir William Hawte 76
  • Xxi. William Pasche 79
  • Xxii. Richard Sampson 83
  • Xxiii. Simon Burton 86
  • Xxiv. William Whytbroke 89
  • Xxv. Thomas Knight 92
  • Xxvi. John Redford 95
  • Xxvii. Thomas Appleby 100
  • Xxviii. John Dygon 104
  • Xxix. John Gwynneth, Mus.Doc. 108
  • Xxx. Richard Edwards 112
  • Xxxi. Edward Higgins 116
  • Xxxii. William Parsons 119
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