Richard Davy


All that is known for certain about Richard Davy's life is that he was at Magdalen College, Oxford from 1490 to 1492, first as organist and joint choirmaster, then as choirmaster and one of the organists.

But it is very probable that he was the Richard Davy, priest, who was a vicar choral at Exeter Cathedral between 1497 and 1506.

Davy is third among the Eton choirbook composers in size of contribution, and probably in excellence of achievement as well. His work shows somewhat less diversity than Browne's or Lambe's, with its preference for the long antiphon in five parts for men and boys, and it has less 'depth'. Instead there is a certain facility which makes quite credible the Eton scribe's note that O Domine coeli terraeque creator(Davy's second longest piece at 260-odd bars) was written in one day ('hanc antiphonam composuit Ricardus Davy uno die Collegio Magdalenae Oxoniis'). Short passages of very rapid soloistic display are more prominent than in Browne's music or in Lambe's. At the same time there is an avoidance of the most complex rhythms which, despite a somewhat more limited use of imitation, puts Davy's music a little closer to that of the early sixteenth century than Browne's is.

A Partial Richard Davy Discography  |   IV M: England Through 1635   |   Latin Church Music 1460-1575: The Composers