Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/776

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sent. The preface, by one Edward Hake, is kind of apology, partly for the conduct of the above-mentioned Mr. John Bull, 'citizen and goldsmith of London,' and partly for the settings themselves, of which he says that they were 'by peece meale gotten and gathered together from the fertile soyle of his honest frend Guilielmo Damon one of her Maiesties Musitions,' who 'never meant them to the use of any learned and cunnyng Musition, but altogether respected the pleasuryng of his private frend.' The settings—one only to each tune—are very much of the kind that might be expected from the circumstances. They are in plain counterpoint, with the tune in the tenor; evidently the work of a competent musician, but without special merit. The book contains 14 tunes not to be found in Day, and among these are the first four of those single common measure tunes which later quite took the place in popular favour of all but a few of the older double kind. They had not as yet been named, but they were afterwards known as Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, and Southwell. Two of the church tunes have been dropped; and it should also be remarked that in many tunes the value of the notes has been altered, the alteration being, in all cases, the substitution of a minim for a semibreve.

Warton mentions a small publication, 'VII Steppes to heauen, alias the vij [penitential] Psalmes reduced into meter by Will Hunnys,'[1] which he says was brought out by Henry Denham in 1581; and 'Seuen sobs of a sorrowfull soule for sinne,' published in 1585, was, according to the same authority, a second edition of the same work with a new title. The later edition contains seven tunes in double common measure, in the style of the church tunes, exceedingly well written, and quite up to the average merit of their models. Burney and Lowndes both mention a collection of settings with the following title:—

Musicke of six and five parts made upon the common tunes used in singing of the Psalmes by John Cosyn, London by John Wolfe 1585.[1]

Another work, called by Canon Havergal the 'Psalter of Henrie Denham,'[1] is said to have been published in 1588.

Damon seems to have been considerably annoyed to find that compositions which he thought good enough for Mr. Bull, had been by Mr. Bull thought good enough for the public; and, as a protest against the injustice done to his reputation, began, and lived long enough to finish, two other separate and complete settings of the church tunes, in motet fashion; the tunes in the first being in the tenor, and in the second in the upper voice. They were brought out after his death by a friend, one William Swayne, from whose preface we learn the particulars of the publication of 1579. The titles are as follows:—

1. The former booke of the Musicke of M. William Damon late one of her maiesties Musitions: conteining all the tunes of David's Psalmes, as they are ordinarily soung in the Church: most excellently by him composed into 4 parts. In which sett the Tenor singeth the Church tune. Published for the recreation of such as delight in Musicke: by W. Swayne Gent. Printed by T. Este, the assigné of W. Byrd. 1591.

2. The second Booke of the Musicke of M. William Damon, conteining all the tunes of David's Psalmes, differing from the former in respect that the highest part singeth the Church tune, etc.

In both these works the compositions are in the same rather ornate style; points of imitation are frequently taken upon the plain song, the parts from time to time resting, in the usual manner of the motet. Their whole aim is, in fact, more ambitious than that of any other setting of the church tunes. Twelve of the original tunes have been dropped; and one in single common measure, added, the tune afterwards known as Windsor or Eton. [See Windsor Tune.]

Este, the publisher of these two works, must have been at the same time engaged upon the preparation of his own famous Psalter, for in the course of the next year it was brought out, with the following title:—

The whole booke of psalmes: with their wonted Tunes, as they are song in Churches, composed into foure parts: All which are so placed that foure may sing ech one a seueral part in this booke. Wherein the Church tunes are carefully corrected, and thereunto added other short tunes usually song in London, and other places of this Realme. With a table in the end of the booke of such tunes as are newly added, with the number of ech Psalme placed to the said Tune. Compiled by sondry avthors who haue so laboured herein, that the vnskilfull with small practice may attaine to sing that part, which is fittest for their voice. Imprinted at London by Thomas Est, the assigné of William Byrd: dwelling in Aldersgate streete at the signe of the Black Horse and are there to be sold. 1592.[2]

It seems to have been part of Este's plan to ignore his predecessor. He has dropped nine of the tunes which were new in Damon's Psalters, and the five which he has taken on appear in his 'Note of tunes newly added in this booke.' Four of these five were those afterwards known as Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, and Windsor, and the first three must already have become great favourites with the public, since Cambridge has been repeated 29 times, Oxford 27 times, and Canterbury 33 times. The repetition, therefore, is now on a new principle: the older custom was to repeat almost every tune once or twice, but in this Psalter the repetition is confined almost entirely to these three tunes. Five really new tunes, all in single common measure, have been added. To three of these, names, for the first time, are given; they are 'Glassenburie,' 'Kentish' (afterwards Rochester), and 'Chesshire.' The other two, though not named as yet, afterwards became London and Winchester.

For the four-part settings Este engaged ten composers, 'being such,' he says in his preface, 'as I know to be expert in the Arte and sufficient to answere such curious carping Musitions, whose skill hath not been employed to the furthering of this work.' This is no empty boast: 17 of the settings are by John Farmer; 12 by George Kirbye; 10 by Richard Allison;

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 These works the writer has notbeen able to meet with.
  2. A second edition was published in 1594, and a third in 1604. The work was reprinted by the Musical Antiquarian Society in 1844.