GREAT as is the reputation of Robert Fayrfax, there is another early Tudor composer whose works may bear favourable comparison with his: this man is Nicholas Ludford. And yet it is only since the beginning of the present century that Ludford may be said to have been 'discovered'. His compositions are almost as numerous as those of Fayrfax, and hence we are in a position to estimate their value. Even Sir R. Terry recently admitted that Ludford's works 'show him to be a much bigger man 'than he had at first suspected; and--stronger proof still--the general verdict of musical critics who have been given an opportunity of hearing seven of Ludford's Masses sung during the past few years at Westminster Cathedral, has confirmed the expert views of H. B. Collins, Davey, Terry, and Walker. I was hoping that Mr. Orsmond Anderton, in his recent book on Early English Music ( 1920), would throw some new light on the biography of this important composer, but, alas! he writes thus:
No information as to his life is available except that he was about contemporaneous with, possibly a little later than, Fayrfax. Several of his Masses are in use at Westminster Cathedral, including seven for three voices, one for each day in the week. Of these perhaps the finest is the 'Missa Sabbato'.
Mr. H. B. Collins writes in an almost similar strain in his excellent paper on 'Latin Church Music by Early English Composers', Part 2, in the Proceedings of the Musical Association ( 1916-17):
Another composer of about the same period as Fayrfax, or slightly later, was Nicholas Ludford, with regard to whom I have been able to ascertain no particulars whatever. His name does not appear in Grove, nor in the Dictionary ofNational Biography