Richard Davy

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Richard Davy (c. 1465–1507) was a Renaissance composer, organist and choirmaster, one of the most represented in the Eton Choirbook.


Little is known about the life of Richard Davy. His name was a common one in Devon and he may have been born there. He was a scholar of Magdalen College, Oxford, and acted as choir master and organist at least in the period 1490-2.[1] Churchwardens' accounts for Ashburton, Devon, mention a 'Dom. Richardus Dave:' from 1493-5, where he may have been acting as a chaplain or as master of the nearby school at St. Lawrence Chapel.[2] He may then have moved to Exeter Cathedral to be vicar choral in the period 1497-1506.[1]

Work and influence[edit]

Davy is the second most represented composer in the Eton choirbook, with nine compositions including his most celebrated work, the Passio Domini in ramis palmarum or Passion according to St Matthew.[3] His work is considered more florid than that of his contemporaries Robert Fayrfax and William Cornish and may have had considerable impact on later figures such as John Taverner.[1]


  1. ^ a b c J. Caldwell, The Oxford History of English Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 196-201.
  2. ^ I. Rumbold and J. King, ed., Musicology and sister disciplines: past, present, future: proceedings of the 16th International Congress of the International Musicological Society, London, 1997 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 564.
  3. ^ Sacred music from the Lambeth choirbook By Robert Fayrfax, Margaret Lyon