Eton Choirbook

   The most important late-15th-century source of English church music. Compiled around 1504–1505, the choirbook contains music by three overlapping generations of composers. Many are known to us from other contemporaneous sources, but some are obscure figures whose only surviving works appear in this source. It is the main source for works by John Browne, William Cornysh, Richard Davy, andWalter Lambe and is a significant source for works by Robert Fayrfax.
   The manuscript contains polyphonic settings of votive antiphons and Magnificats. With one exception, the texts are in honor of the Virgin Mary. The book was compiled for use at Eton College, a royal foundation established in 1440 by King Henry VI. The book survives incomplete, but an index dating from the time of the manuscript’s compilation provides information about the full contents of the source. Even in its fragmentary state, however, the choirbook is far more complete than most late 15th-century manuscripts of English sacred music.
   See also Motet; Old Hall Manuscript; Stabat Mater Dolorosa. (Noël Bisson)

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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