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William Cornysh

(c. 1465 - 1523)

Cornysh was one of the leading English composers of his generation, and well-represented in the major manuscript source of the period, the Eton Choirbook. He was known during his lifetime as a musician, poet, dramatist, and actor, though only a handful of vocal works survive from his varied output.

Cornysh served as master of the Royal Chapel for Henry VIII, and took part in the famous ceremonies at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. His music is a part of the late-medieval, English florid repertory – a style in which elaborate, free counterpoint climaxes in extended melismatic lines for soloists. Only five sacred works by Cornysh survive, along with a handful of English secular songs. ~ Todd McComb (6/94)

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