��White commenced org*. of West 1 ". Abbey anno 1570, and master of the choristers 1574. Died 1575.' No corroboration of any of these state- ments is forthcoming. There is no entry of White's burial at Ely, and the Westminster Re- gisters appear to make no mention of him. Nor, again, can White's degrees be found in the Registers of either Oxford or Cambridge, which are unfortunately most defective at the period at which he, in all likelihood, graduated. Several persons of the name graduated at Cambridge during the reign of Henry VIII, but in no case are the Christian names given . Anthony a Wood, in his Lives of English Musicians, has very little to say about White, and in the index assigns him to the reign of Charles I., obviously con- fusing him with MATTHEW WHITE.
This almost total want of information is the more remarkable as White was certainly a man of very great note in his day. Morley, in his ' Plain and Easy Introduction,' classes him with the glories of the English School. In a MS. written in 1591 by John Bald wine, ' singing man of Windsor,' that worthy says, in recounting the principal composers of his age :
I will begin with White, Shepperd, Tye, and Tallis, Parsons, Gyles, Mundie, th'oulde one of the Queen's pallis.
The writer of the beautiful set of Part Books in the Ch. Ch. Library, from which so much of interest with regard to the composers of the 1 6th century is to be gleaned, was an enthu- siastic admirer of White. At the end of the Peccatum peccavit in D minor he writes in the alto and tenor parts :
Non ita moesta sonant plangentis verba Prophetse Quam sonat authors musica moesta mei.
[Sad as the mourning Prophet's words fall on the ear, More sad to me the music's tones appear.]
There may have been another couplet, but, if so, the binders have destroyed it. Again, at the end of the Precamur, we find in all the parts
Maxima musarum nostrarum gloria White Tu peris ; eeternum sed tua musa manet.
[Thou diest, White, chief splendour of our art. But what thy art hath wrought shall nevermore depart.]
It is a sad commentary on this that only three of White's pieces have been printed, ' The Lord bless us,' in Barnard ; ' Lord, who shall dwell,' in Burney's History, and ' O praise God in His holiness,' by Burns, in ' Anthems and Services ; Second Series ' (about 1847). The MS. books of White's time are, however, full of his music, showing that it was highly esteemed. In man}' cases we find his music attributed to Thomas, William, or Matthew White. The first Chris- tian name seems to be a mere blunder.
MATTHEW WHITE may have been a relation of Robert. [See p. 451.]
WILLIAM WHITE appears as the author of a number of Fantasias, mostly in five or six parts, in the Libraries of Christ Church and the Music School, Oxford, the style of which leads to the conjecture that he lived in the early part of the i yth century. An anthem, to the words ' Behold
now, praise the Lord,' in the part-books at St. Peter's College, Cambridge, is ascribed to him.
The following list of Robert White's compo- sitions seems fairly complete. It presents three noteworthy featui'es :
(i) The absence of secular compositions, with the possible exception of the Fantasias for the Lute.
(a) The great preponderance of Latin in the words.
(3) The fact that apparently none of the Latin motets were adapted to English words. The strangeness of this will be realised by comparing the numerous adaptations made in the case of Tallis. (Is it a sign of White's earlier date ?)
COMPOSITIONS TO LATIN \VOEDS.
Peccatum peccavit (Lam. I. 813. in two parts, the second com- mencing at Omnls populua), a 6 (A min.}. 1 Ch.Ch., M.S.O., B.M., B.C.M.
Peccatum peccavit, a 5 (D min.). Ch.Ch.
Portions of Psalm cxix., viz :
1. Portio mea (vv. 57-64), a 5 (A min.). Ch.Ch.
2. Manus tu (and Veniant mihi. 72-80). a 5 (D min.) Ch.Ch* M.S.O., B.C.M.. B.M.
8. Justus es (137-144), a 5. (E min.) Ch.Ch. 4. Appropinquet deprecatlo (169-176), a 5 (G min.). Ch.Ch. Portions of a Magnificat, a 6, viz. :
1. Quia fecit, a 4 (D min.). Ch.Ch.
2. Et sanctum nomen, a 3 (D min.). Ch.Ch.
3. Sicut locutus est. a 4 (D min.). Ch.Ch.
4. Sicut erat in principle, a 4 (D min.).2 Ch.Ch.
Miserere (Psalm II., in two parts, the second commencing ' Cor
mundum '). a 5 (D minor). Ch.Ch. Ezaudiat te (Psalm zx.), a 5 (D min.) Ch.Ch. Domine quls habitabit (Psalm xv.), a 6 (?) (I> min.) Ch.Ch.
Do. Do. (Dmln.) Do. M.S.O.
Do. Do. (A min.) Do.
Deus mtsereatur (Psalm Isvil.), a C (ft min.) Ch.Ch., M.S.O. Cantate Domino (Psalm xcviii), a 3 (A min.) B.C.M. Ad Te levavl (Psalm cxxiil.). a 6 (?) (G mtn.) Ch.Ch. Domine non est (Psalm cxxxi.) a 6 (D min.)3 Ch. Ch., M.S.O. Regina coell, a 5 (F major). Ch.Ch. Precamur sancte Domine, a 5 (D dor.). Ch.Ch. Tota pulchra es (Canticles Iv. 7), a 6 (?) (A min.). Ch.Ch. In nomine, a 5 (D min.). Ch.Ch.. M.S.O., B.M. Slnnomines. a 4 (D min.) M.S.O. In nomine, a 5 (F major).* B.M. Libera me, a 4 (G min.). B.M. Christe qul lux. B.M.
��i Ch.Ch. - Christ Church, Oxford. M.S.O. - Music School Library, Oxford. B.M. - British Museum. B.C.M. - Royal College of Music. P.H. Peter House, Cambridge.
J All these appear In a book which consists of excerpts, usually for a small number of voices, from larger works. It seems a tolerably certain Inference that they are clippings from a Magnificat of con- siderable dimensions. More than this, there is In the Oxford Music School Library a Contra Tenor part of a Magnificat a 6, from which, where comparison is possible, it Is clear that the excerpts in Ch. Ch. were taken. There is the usual difficulty about Christian names. The Ch. Ch. MS. only assigns the pieces to ' Mr. Whight,' by which in that MS. Robert White is always meant. The Music School MS. attributes the Magnificat to Mr. William White, 1570.' As the Ch. Ch. MS. seems much older than the other, and everything else points to William White having lived a good deal later than 1570, it seems most reasonable to consider Robert White the author of this work. Since writing this the author has discovered at Tenbury five part* of the whole of this Magnificat.
< ' Sicut ablactatus,' which appears as a separate Motet in a MS. at Ch. Ch., is only an excerpt from this work.
< Several settings of these words by White are to be found. In Ch. Ch. there Is first of all a melody harmonised note against note, much as a modern hymn tune, except that in the second of the three verses of the hymn the melody is assigned not to the treble but to the alto. There are also In Ch. Ch. three other pieces to these words, two in D dor. Immediately following that described, and subsequently one in G min.. in all of which the melody Is used as a C. F. and florid counterpoints written to it. The second and third of these are also in B.M. ; the first la M.S.O. ; the second, and perhaps the others in R.C.M. also.
s This piece, which Is not called an In nomine, appears in a volume that bears the date 1578. and is entitled ' A book of In nomines and other solfalng songs of 5, 6, 7, and 8 parts for voices or instruments.'
Only ascribed to ' Mr. White.'
7 The Ch. Ch. Catalogue refers to an Ecce Mater by White, but this appears to be a mistake of the Cataloguer.