The Lambeth And Caius Choirbooks: Anonymous Music And Lesser Composers

Fayrax and Ludford are the major contributors to the Lambeth choirbook, with at least ten of its nineteen pieces between them; in addition they composed eleven works out of fifteen in the Caius book. In Lambeth only three of the works by Fayrfax have his name attached, five other pieces being known as his, and two as Ludford's, from concordances in Caius and other manuscripts. It is possible that there are further works by Fayrfax and Ludford among the seven anonymous pieces for which no concordances have been traced: Ave Dei Patris filia, Ave mundi spes Maria, Gaude flore virginali, Salve regina, two Magnificats and Vidi aquam egredientem de templo (antiphon at the Aspersion before Mass during Eastertide).

Older composers are still represented in both choirbooks: Sturton and Lambe in Lambeth (Ave Maria ancilla Trinitatis and O Maria plena gratia respectively, while Cornysh, Turges and their contemporary Henry Prentes, who died in 1514, have Magnificats in Caius.

Caius also has a Mass by William Pashe, probably the man who was Fellow of New College, Oxford from 1494 to 1506. This is based on 'Christus resurgens', a processional antiphon of Easter Day; one suspects that Pashe or Pasche enjoyed the pun between his name and the Latin for Easter-'Paschae'!

Caius seems to have been produced at Arundel, Sussex, in the late 1520s, and presented by the then Master of Arundel College, Edward Higgons (d.1538), to the collegiate chapel of St Stephen in Westminster, where Higgons was a canon from 1517.

See, D. Skinner Discovering the provenance and history of the Caius and Lambeth choirbooks Early Music 25 (May 1997) pp 245-266

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