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Robert White (Composer)

Born: c. 1538, ? Holborn, London

Died: November 1574, London

Nationality: English

Robert White probably born in Holborn, a district of London, was an English composer whose liturgical music to Latin texts is considered particularly fine. His surviving works include a setting of verses from Lamentations, and instrumental music for viols.

Thomas Morley, in his A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597) extols him as one of the greatest English composers, equal to Orlando di Lasso. He notes White's bold harmonies, and includes him in a list of seven eminent Tudor composers that includes "Fayrfax, Taverner, Sheppard, Whyte, Parsons and Mr Byrd." Some MS partbooks now at Christ Church, Oxford dated about 1581 contain the tribute "Maxima musarum nostrarum gloria White' Tu peris, actemum sed tua musa manet" ("Thou, O White, greatest glory of our muses, dost perish, but thy muse endureth for ever").

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