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Thomas Tudway and the Harleian Collection of 'Ancient' church music

William Weber


ONE of the best known sets of documents in British musical history is Harl. MSS. 7337-7342, the first volume of which is titled A Collection of the Most Celebrated Services and Anthems used in the Church of England, from the Reformation to the Restauration of K. Charles If. Composed by the Best Masters, and Collected by Thomas Titdway, D. M. Mustek-Professor to the University of Cambridge, A.D. MDCCXV. This collection, made between 1715 and 1720, is one of the landmarks in the study of English church music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its scores, almost 3,000 pages long, became a key reference for music of that period, and its prefaces are in reality a miniature history of music that holds major significance in that genre. Its own history tells a great deal about Edward, Lord Harley, Tudway's patron, and about Humfrey Wanley, the eminent scholar and head of the Harley library. Since there are major articles on the collection by Edward Turnbull and Christopher Hogwood, this paper will chiefly examine the political aspects of Tudway's career and the collection in the light of previously little known sources in the Portland Papers.

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