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Humfray [?Humfraus]


(fl early 15th century). English composer. His name is known solely from the ascription of a Credo, the opening of which is preserved in GB-Ctc B.11.34 (olim B.10.5). In the light of royal musicianship at this time, it should not be forgotten that Henry V’s brother was Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. (See Roy Henry.) The ascription ‘quod d.h.’ appears by a Sanctus square (see Square) in GB-Lbl Lansdowne 462.

BIBLIOGRAPHY


M. Bent: ‘New and Little-Known Fragments of English Medieval Polyphony’, JAMS, xxi (1968), 137–56, esp. 142

R. Bowers and A. Wathey: ‘New Sources of English Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century Polyphony’, EMH, iii (1983), 123–73, esp. 124–8

MARGARET BENT


Humfrey [Humphrey, Humphrys], Pelham


(b 1647/8; d Windsor, 14 July 1674). English composer. The most precocious of the brilliant first generation of choristers at the Chapel Royal after the Restoration, he spent the whole of his short adult life in its service. He had neither interest in nor aptitude for the old polyphonic style; instead he developed a distinctively English Baroque idiom, enriched by progressive French and Italian techniques, yet founded on the inflections of his native language, and far outstripping the experimental efforts of any earlier English composer both in consistency of approach and in technical fluency.

1. Life.

2. Works.

WORKS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BRUCE WOOD



Humfrey, Pelham

1. Life.


He was a nephew of Colonel John Humfrey, a prominent Cromwellian who was resident in London. By the end of 1660 he had become a Chapel Royal chorister under Henry Cooke; when his voice broke, at the end of 1664, Cooke was assigned £40 annually for his maintenance – £10 more than was customary. This difference has been attributed to Humfrey's pre-eminence among his contemporaries; but that explanation is questionable, for the young Purcell, on leaving the choir nine years later, was allowed only the usual £30. It is clear, nonetheless, that Humfrey's prowess as a composer, surpassing that of fellow choristers John Blow, Robert Smith (ii), Thomas Tudway, William Turner and Michael Wise, among others, had attracted notice, including that of the king. 50 years later, Tudway recalled the days when some of the forwardest, & brightest Children of the Chappell, as Mr Humfreys, Mr Blow, &c began to be Masters of a faculty in Composing; This, his Majesty greatly encourag'd, by indulging their youthful fancys, so that ev'ry Month at least, & afterwards oft'ner, they produc'd something New, of this Kind … for otherwise, it was in vain to hope to please his Majesty.On 22 November 1663 Pepys heard a setting of Psalm li, ‘made for five voices by one of Captain Cooke's boys, a pretty boy’; the first version of Humfrey's Have mercy upon me, O God(which may be by Richard Henman) matches this description. The texts of five of Humfrey's anthems were included in the second edition of James Clifford's The Divine Services and Anthems, printed in January 1664. Only one of these, Haste thee, O God, has survived; another work belonging to this period is I will alway give thanks, composed jointly by Humfrey, Blow and Turner and designated the ‘Club Anthem’ because, as Boyce later explained, it was conceived ‘as a memorial of their fraternal esteem and friendship’. One further anthem by Humfrey, Almighty God, who mad'st thy blessed Son, is undoubtedly a childhood composition. There is evidence that Humfrey also had a hand in reshaping one of Cooke's anthems: the opening symphony belonging to The Lord hear thee in the time of trouble (separated from it in the only surviving source through a binder's error) is in Humfrey's handwriting, and may be his work.

During his sojourn abroad Humfrey was supported by payments from secret service funds (a source routinely tapped for innocent as well as clandestine purposes). By the end of 1664 he had been paid £200 ‘to defray the charge of his journey into France and Italy’, in 1665 he received a ‘bounty’ of £100, and this was followed by a further £150 in 1666. His travels and activities abroad are undocumented, but it is possible that, as Boyce asserted a century later, he became a pupil of Lully, who was then teaching Georg Muffat. Long before his return to England he was given preferment in the royal service, being appointed a lutenist in the Private Music on 10 March 1666 and, in January 1667, a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal; he was sworn in on 26 October that year, and sang tenor.

On 1 November 1667 Pepys heard ‘a fine Anthemne, made by Pellam (who is come over) in France, of which there was great expectation; and endeed is a very good piece of Musique, but still I cannot call the Anthem anything but Instrumental music with the voice, for nothing is made of the words at all’. This probably reflected a greater instrumental content than was usual in the anthems of Cooke or Locke, and represented the first fruit of Humfrey's recent studies. He had also, however, learnt other fashions besides musical ones, which Pepys found even less acceptable. On 15 November he invited Humfrey to dinner, and found him to be an absolute Monsieur, as full of form and confidence and vanity, and disparages everything and everybody's skill but his own … to hear how he laughs at all the King's music here … that they cannot keep time nor tune nor understand anything … and that Grebus the Frenchman, the King's Master of the Musique, how he understands nothing and cannot play on any instrument and so cannot compose, and that he will give him a lift out of his place, and that he and the King are mighty great, and that he hath already spoke to the King of Grebus, would make a man piss.

Humfrey's scheming came to nothing, and after this encounter little is heard of him until 1672; he was doubtless kept busy composing for the Chapel Royal and the Private Music, and on occasion for the theatre too. In January 1670 he was elected an assistant, and in 1672 one of the annual wardens, of a guild, the Corporation of Music. In 1671 he composed an ode for the king's birthday, Smile, smile again, twice happy morn (‘twice happy’ because in that year the same date, 29 May, was designated as St George's Day). The following year he composed the ode for New Year's Day, See, mighty Sir, to a text by his friend Robert Veel, collaborating with him again on the ode for the king's birthday, When from his throne. On 10 January 1672 Humfrey was appointed to share with Thomas Purcell the post of composer for the violins. They, along with Matthew Locke, served as assistants to George Hudson; this appointment may have strengthened the mutual influence of Humfrey and Locke.



On 14 July 1672 Humfrey succeeded Cooke, who had died the previous day, as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal and as a composer in the Private Music. He taught the choristers the violin, the lute and the theorbo, his pupils including Purcell, to whom he may also have given lessons in composition. Later in 1672 he married Katherine Cooke, the daughter of his old master; Veel celebrated the occasion with An Hymeneal to my Dear Friend Mr. P.H., in which he referred to Humfrey as a ‘Jolly Youth’. Humfrey's daughter was christened on 21 November 1673, but lived only a few weeks. In what were to be his own final months of life Humfrey provided some of the music for Thomas Shadwell's ‘operatic’ recasting of Dryden and Davenant's 1667 adaptation of The Tempest, which opened at the Duke's Theatre, Dorset Garden, at the end of April 1674. His health was already deteriorating; he had made his will (see illustration) on 23 April. He died at the age of 26, while at Windsor with the court, and was buried three days later in the south cloister of Westminster Abbey, near the grave of his late father-in-law. A Pastoral Song … in memory of his deceased Friend Mr. Pelham Humphrys was penned by Thomas Flatman, one of the court poets, and set by Humfrey's former colleague in the Private Music, William Gregory (ii). It allegorizes Humfrey as the shepherd Amintas, and testifies to the esteem in which he was held, and to the eloquence of his music.

Humfrey, Pelham

2. Works.


Humfrey's output reflects the prevailing aesthetic of his period, which held that music should both express and move the passions. He composed no purely instrumental music. It is clear that he needed the emotional stimulus of a text, to which he responded with music whose affective power stemmed chiefly from angularity of line and intensity of harmony, both often enhanced by chromaticism. His most important works are his verse anthems, which, while acknowledging earlier models by Cooke and Locke, are strikingly innovative in both language and structure. Most of these anthems include movements for violin consort; the style and formal outlines of the instrumental passages are indebted to the ouvertures and ritournelles of Lully's court ballets, but their inner parts are more active and the harmony richer, even though Humfrey wrote in only four parts (or occasionally three), never adopting the five-part French scoring. It is clear, moreover, that the French features of his adult music are not attributable solely to his studies abroad, for they are already present in the childhood anthem Haste thee, O God. His vocal writing owes much less to any French model. Here the debt is rather to Italian composers of the generation of Carissimi, and to those of Humfrey's English predecessors who had striven to emulate this Italian manner. Declamatory arioso in common time, irregular in phrase structure and harmonic rhythm and hence ideally suitable for tracing the emotional flux of a text, is the most strikingly italianate feature of his anthems, which consist chiefly of solo and ensemble verses. The solos include lyrical airs as well as arioso passages, and are often more eloquent than the ensembles, where expressive linear autonomy is sometimes constrained by Humfrey's limitations as a contrapuntist. As a structural thinker he was bold and innovative: more skilled in sustained thematic working than his contemporaries, he also exploited repetition of passages or entire movements, and was capable of effective tonal planning. The disposition of voices and instruments in his music is, in contrast, unadventurous: one anthem contains a short solo with an obbligato violin part, but elsewhere the only concerted passages are those in which the strings simply double the full choir.

Humfrey's emotional range was somewhat limited. Mournful or penitential texts, such as those of By the waters of Babylon, Like as the hart and O Lord my God, elicited his most memorable music, in places intensely poignant. His two longest anthems, however, are festive: O give thanks unto the Lord and The king shall rejoice, the former possibly and the latter certainly composed for the king's birthday. O give thanks is his grandest work, and its most striking features – the prominence of instrumental and choral passages, and of antiphonal exchanges between the verse group and the full choir (which, in the galleried Whitehall Chapel, were doubtless spatially separated) – reveal a close kinship with the French grand motet, and specifically with Lully's Miserere(1664). In sharp contrast, Hear, O heav'ns is the most italianate of Humfrey's anthems, strongly indebted to Carissimi and in particular to his three-voice motets: scored for voices and continuo only, it is concise, tonally static, and formed of almost unrelieved declamatory writing in common time, including quasi-operatic exchanges among the three soloists. Humfrey's only service setting, in E minor, employs modern and colourful harmonic language, but its lack of metrical and textural variety makes for a stilted and monotonous overall effect.

In Humfrey's hands, as in Cooke's, the court ode was little more than a derivative of the symphony anthem, though some differences in approach are discernible. They contain a higher proportion of vocal solos, rather than ensembles; they rely more heavily on exact repetition than on development of material (the opening symphony of Smile, smile again, for instance, recurs three times); and the vocal writing, hobbled as it is by the unyielding metrical patterns and the impoverished imagery of the encomiastic verses Humfrey was obliged to set, is no match for that in the anthems. By way of compensation the variety of tempo and metre is greater in the odes, which include time-signatures that reflect the dance-like character of much of the vocal writing; one solo in See, mighty Sir is actually designated ‘Gavot’.

Humfrey's solo songs are variable in quality. The secular examples, all settings of inconsiderable verse, are syllabic in character and mostly modest in scale, though several end with a ‘chorus’ for three voices. Many are straightforward dance-songs in triple time; those in common time are somewhat less formulaic. The few that set dramatic texts rather than simple lyrics are more diverse in style and structure, some of them including declamatory sections. The five devotional songs (four solos and a dialogue) are altogether more significant; as in his anthems, Humfrey was inspired by their texts to create arioso settings whose eloquence only Blow and Purcell were to match.



Composition for the stage occupied Humfrey only infrequently. Some of his songs were written for plays or court entertainments mounted between 1667 and 1674, but he composed only two pieces of dramatic music on a larger scale, both of them designed for incorporation into The Tempest. Shakespeare's play was adapted in 1667 by Davenant and Dryden to accommodate eight musical numbers; a revival in 1674 – with additional lyrics by Shadwell, much more instrumental and vocal music by several composers, and spectacular new sets and stage machines – was designated an ‘opera’ by some commentators. To the 1674 production Humfrey contributed a Masque of Neptune, My Lord, great Neptune, for my sake, in Act 5; its anglo-italianate style, alternating common-time arioso advancing the action, passages in triple time supplying lyrical relief, and short choruses, is strongly influenced by Locke. In contrast, a Masque of Devils in Act 2, Where does the black fiend Ambition reside, consists mostly of triple-time writing, which fluctuates between declamation and lyricism and is interspersed with brief declamatory passages in common time; this masque, much less assured in construction than the other, is derivative of Lully's comédies-ballets of the mid-1660s, and may have been composed for the 1667 production. For The Tempest Humfrey also composed one song, Where the bee sucks, and there is evidence that this, too, was not new in 1674. Humfrey's music was retained alongside that of his various colleagues in numerous revivals; even when, in 1695, the entire score was replaced, the unidentified composer who provided almost all the new music borrowed elements from both of Humfrey's masques, thereby preserving the memory of them well into the 18th century.

Humfrey, Pelham

WORKS


The numbering follows that of the catalogue in P. Dennison: Pelham Humfrey (1986)

church


Edition: Pelham Humfrey: Complete Church Music, i-ii, ed. P. Dennison, MB, xxxiv–xxxv (1972) [D i–ii]

19

Morning, Communion and Evening Service in e (TeD, Jub, re, Cr, San, Gl, Mag, Nunc), S, S, A, A, T, T, B, B, SATB, org; D ii

20

Chant in C, S, A, T, B; D ii

1

Almighty God, who mad’st thy blessed Son, S, S, B, SATB, 2 vn, bc, org; D i

2

By the waters of Babylon, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D i

3

Haste thee, O God, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D i

4b

Have mercy upon me, O God, A, T, B, SATB, org; D i

5

Hear my crying, O God, S, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D i

7

Hear, O heav'ns, A, T, B, SATB, org; D i

8

I will alway give thanks (The Club Anthem), A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org, c1664, collab. Blow and Turner; D i

9

Lift up your heads, S, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D i

10

Like as the hart, S, A, T, B, SATB, str, org; D i

11

Lord, teach us to number our days, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D i

12

O be joyful, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D i

13

O give thanks unto the Lord, ? for the king’s birthday, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D ii

14

O Lord my God, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D ii

15

O praise the Lord, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D ii

16

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D ii

17

The king shall rejoice, for the king’s birthday, ?1669, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D ii

18

Thou art my king, O God, A, T, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org; D ii

4a

Have mercy upon me, O God, S, S, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, bc, org, doubtful, ? by R. Henman; D i

6

Hear my prayer, O God, S, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, org, doubtful; D i



O praise God in his holiness, A, T, B, B, SATB, org, GB-DRc Mus.B.1, doubtful



Symphony, s, s, a, b, for the opening of Cooke's The Lord hear thee in the time of trouble, Bu, doubtful

devotional songs


Edition: Pelham Humfrey: Complete Solo Devotional Songs, ed. P. Dennison (Sevenoaks, 1974) [H]

45

Hark how the wakeful cheerful cock, 2vv, GB–Och, chorus by Blow

46

Lord, I have sinned (J. Taylor); H

47

O, the sad day (T. Flatman); H

48

Sleep, downy sleep; H

49

Wilt thou forgive that sin (A Hymne to God the Father) (J. Donne), 16881; H

secular songs


24

Ah, fading joy, sung in The Indian Emperor (J. Dryden), 1667, 16757

25

A lover I'm born and a lover I'll be, sung in a court masque, 1671, 16757

26

As freezing fountains, 16814

27

A wife I do hate, sung in a court masque, 1671, and in Love in a Wood (W. Wycherley), 1671, 16843

28

A young man sat sighing (after W. Shakespeare); ed. J.S. Smith, Musica antiqua (London, 1812)

29

Cheer up, my mates, sung in The Sea Voyage (J. Fletcher and P. Massinger), 1668, 16737

30

Cupid once when weary grown, 16797

31

How severe is forgetful old age, 16763

32a

How well doth this harmonious meeting prove, Och

32b

How well doth this harmonious meeting prove, 16797

33

I pass all my hours (? King Charles II), sung in a court masque, 1671, 16757

34

Let fortune and Phillis frown, 16733

35

Long have I loved, Lbl

36

Nay, let me alone, 16733

37

Of all the brisk dames Messalina for me, 16733

38

Oh, that I had but a fine man, 16863

39

O love, if e'er thou'lt ease a heart, sung in The History of Charles VIII of France (J. Crowne), 1671, 16733

40

Phillis, for shame let us improve, 16733

41

Though you doom all to die; ed. J.S. Smith, Musica antiqua (London, 1812)

42

Thus Cupid commences his rapes and vagaries, 16733

43

When Aurelia first I courted, 16733

44

Wherever I am and [or] whatever I do, sung in The Conquest of Granada (J. Dryden), 1670/71; ed. J.S. Smith, Musica antiqua (London, 1812)

52

Where the bee sucks, sung in The Tempest (W. Davenant, J. Dryden and T. Shadwell, after Shakespeare), 1674, 16757, may also have been sung in 1667 production (Davenant and Dryden, after Shakespeare)

53

Hark, hark, hark, the storm grows loud, sung in The Sea Voyage, 1668, 16733 (attrib. R. Smith (i)), 16763 (attrib. Humfrey), doubtful

 



court odes and theatre music


21

See, mighty Sir (court ode, R.Veel) New Year's Day, 1672, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, GB-Lbl

22

Smile, smile again, twice happy morn (court ode), king's birthday, 1671, S, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, Lcm

23

When from his throne (court ode, Veel), king's birthday, 1672, S, A, T, B, SATB, 2 vn, va, bc, Lbl

50

Masque of Devils (Where does the black fiend Ambition reside), Act 2 scene iii of The Tempest (W. Davenant, J. Dryden and T. Shadwell, after W. Shakespeare), 1674, F-Pn, may have been composed for the 1667 production (Davenant and Dryden, after Shakespeare)

51

Masque of Neptune (My lord, great Neptune, for my sake), Act 5 of The Tempest (Davenant, Dryden and Shadwell, after Shakespeare), 1674, Pn

Humfrey, Pelham

BIBLIOGRAPHY


P. Dennison: ‘The Will of Pelham Humfrey’, RMARC, vii (1969), 28–30

P. Dennison: The Life and Work of Pelham Humfrey (diss., U. of Oxford, 1970) [incl. an edn and catalogue of the complete works]

S. Pepys: Diary, ed. R. Latham and W. Matthews (London, 1970–)

R. McGuinness: English Court Odes, 1660–1820 (Oxford, 1971)

P. Dennison: ‘The Church Music of Pelham Humfrey’, PRMA, xcviii (1971–2), 65–71

P. Dennison: ‘Pelham Humfrey, 1647–74’, MT, cxv (1974), 553–5

I. Spink: English Song: Dowland to Purcell (London, 1974 repr. 1986 with corrections)

P. Dennison: ‘The Stylistic Origins of Purcell’s Early Sacred Music’, Essays on Opera and English Music in Honour of Sir Jack Westrup, ed. F.W. Sternfeld, N. Fortune and E. Olleson (Oxford, 1975)

D. Franklin: Review of Pelham Humfrey: Complete Church Music (MB, xxxiv–xxxv), ed. P. Dennison, JAMS, xxviii (1975), 143–9; xxxi (1978), 541–3

P. Dennison: Pelham Humfrey (Oxford, 1986)

R. Ford: ‘Henman, Humfrey and “Have mercy”’, MT, cxxvii (1986), 459–62

P. Holman: Henry Purcell (Oxford, 1995)

I. Spink: Restoration Cathedral Music 1660–1714 (Oxford, 1995)
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