Robert Fayrfax at 500

2021 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Robert Fayrfax, who was considered one of the most prominent and influential Tudor composers during the reigns of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII of England.

We are planning to celebrate the anniversary with a special programme of Tudor music, centred around the music of Fayrfax. Details of events will be published shortly.

This year also marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Josquin des Prez. Find out more about our project, Josquin’s Legacy.

About the composer

Robert Fayrfax became a member of the Chapel Royal in 1497 and was organist at St Albans Abbey. In 1520, Henry VIII and François I met at the Field of the Cloth of Gold celebrations; Fayrfax led the Chapel Royal and may have contributed music for the occasion. Jean Mouton produced music for the French party.

Fayrfax was buried in the abbey church of St Albans, but the grave can no longer be found. A seventeenth-century brass plaque, long vanished from his grave-slab, shows him standing with his wife above the inscription: ‘Pray for the soules of Master Robert ffayerfax doctor of music and Agnes his wife the w[hi]ch Robert decessed the xxiiii day of October the yeare Mo. vc. xxi on whose soules Jh[es]u have mercy amen.’


Robert Fayrfax scores on CPDL – as part of an ongoing research project, Humphrey Thompson has made his new editions of Robert Fayrfax available on the Choral Public Donation Library, supported by the Mercer’s Company. 

Other Fayrfax 500 events

Ensemble Pro Victoria will celebrate the composer’s output with a series of concerts, videos, podcasts and a recording of selected sacred and secular works, including the first recording of music from Henry VIII’s nuptial mass, Sponsus amat sponsam and all of Fayrfax’s extant courtly songs on Delphian Records (released October 2021).

Find out more

If you would like to know more about our plans to mark Fayrfax’s 500th anniversary, please Contact Us.

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