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Robert Fayrfax

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Robert Fayrfax (23 April 1464 – 24 October 1521) was an English Renaissance composer, considered the most prominent and influential of the reigns of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII of England.
He was born in Deeping Gate, Lincolnshire. He had the patronage of the leading cultural figure of Henry VII's court, the king's mother Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509). He became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal by 6 December 1497. He was granted a chaplaincy of the Free Chapel at Snodhill Castle, a post which was given away a year later to Robert Cowper, another Gentleman. He is reported as being organist of St Albans Abbey responsible for the music there from 1498 to 1502. Fayrfax gained a Mus.B. from Cambridge in 1501, and a Mus.D. in 1504; he later acquired a D.Mus. from Oxford (by incorporation) in 1511. He became a member of the Fraternity of St Nicholas in 1502.
At the beginning of his reign in 1509, Henry VIII granted Fayrfax the annuity of a farm in Hampshire and later made him a 'Poor Knight of Windsor' (with a life-time award of twelve pennies a day) on 10 September 1514. He also possessed, and surrendered, two ecclesiastical livings. He received payments for clothes for state occasions and for tutoring choirboys. From 1516, for four consecutive years, he presented the king with collections of his compositions and received financial rewards. In 1520 he led the Chapel Royal in the state visit to France of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He died in 1521, possibly at St. Albans, where he was buried.
His surviving works are six masses, two Magnificats, thirteen motets, nine part-songs and two instrumental pieces. His masses include the 'exercise' for his doctorate, the mass O quam glorifica. One of his masses, Regali ex progenie, was copied at King's College Cambridge and three other pieces (Salve regina, Regali Magnificat, and the incomplete Ave lumen gratiae) are in the Eton Choirbook. One of his masses, O bone Jesu, commissioned by Lady Margaret Beaufort, is considered the first Parody mass.
He has been described as 'the leading figure in the musical establishment of his day' and 'the most admired composer of his generation'. His work was a major influence on later composers, including John Taverner (1490–1545) and Thomas Tallis (1505–85).