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 Robert Fayrfax

Robert Fayrfax

Birth
Deeping Gate, Peterborough Unitary Authority, Cambridgeshire, England
Death 24 Oct 1521 (aged 57)
St Albans, St Albans District, Hertfordshire, England
Burial St Albans, St Albans District, Hertfordshire, England
Memorial ID 20157 · View Source
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Composer. The most significant English composer of the early 1500s. Born in Deeping Gate, Lincolnshire, he began his career as organist of St. Alban's Abbey. As a Gentleman of London's Chapel Royal from 1497, he became a favorite of the future Henry VIII and supplied music for his coronation in 1509. The King generously rewarded him for his services, making him a Poor Knight of Windsor in 1514 and the highest-paid musician in the country. Fayrfax's gifts were recognized beyond the Royal Court; his music was widely copied and he received honorary doctorates from Cambridge University (1504) and Oxford (1511). The "Missa O quam glorifica" (1504), his most famous piece, was written for the Cambridge ceremony. In 1520, the year before his death, Fayrfax was in charge of the elaborate musical festivities that accompanied Henry's historic meeting with Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. At his request he was buried "beneath the Mayor's Seat" at St. Alban's. A 17th Century rubbing from his memorial brass exists but the tomb can no longer be located. Fayrfax represents a period of consolidation and refinement in English Renaissance music, poised between the groundbreaking efforts of John Dunstable and the early Protestant influence of John Taverner. Historians believe he did most of his composing in his mature years because of the complete assurance in every aspect of his craft. With the exception of the complex "Missa O quam glorifica", which was apparently intended as a display of virtuoso technique, his vocal works are free of showy effects; they are characterized by restraint, spacious melodies, and a powerful understanding of the texts. His surviving compositions are five Masses, four Antiphons, two Magnificats, a "Salve Regina", and eight secular songs, including "That Was My Joy" and "I Love, Loved and Loved Would I Be". All were subjects of an award-winning series of recordings in the 1990s.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 7 Feb 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20157
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Fayrfax (23 Apr 1464–24 Oct 1521), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20157, citing St. Alban's Cathedral, St Albans, St Albans District, Hertfordshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .