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Mus. 785a-b

Manuscript. Two vocal parts (Contratenor and Bassus Decani) of church music by Henry Aldrich, copied collaboratively by at least three hands, including Aldrich himself and probably Sampson Estwick. English, last quarter of the 17th century.

Two fascicles, both upright format, 385 x 255 mm. The fascicles were renumbered and refoliated in March 1990; microfilms made before that date will show the superseded foliation, which is cited below. Mus. 785a (formerly ff. 1-3 and 7), which contains the Contratenor part, comprises 4 folios, now foliated '785a, ff. 1-4'. A supplementary slip (foliated '1α'; oblong format, 185 x 65 mm) is pasted to f. 1v. Mus. 785b (formerly ff. 4-6), which contains the Bassus part and is inserted between the last two folios of Mus. 785a, comprises three folios, now foliated '785b, ff. 1-3'. The collation of both fascicles is unclear on account of the tightness of the binding. No early bookplate. Early 20th-century binding of blind-tooled brown leather over boards; the spine has the words 'Child Benedicite' tooled in gold (discussed below). Provisional index of contents on the front flyleaf by York Powell, annotated by later hands.

Both fascicles are principally devoted to Aldrich's Service in e minor (Benedicite, Jubilate, Kyrie, Creed, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis), sections of which are also contained in Mus. 19 and Mus. 50. In addition, Mus. 785a (ff. 3v-4r) contains the bass chorus part of Aldrich's anthem 'If the Lord himself', a complete copy of which is in Mus. 19, erroneously attributed there (f. 163) by an 18th-century hand to 'Dr Child'; the ascription has been transferred to Mus. 785a f. 3v by Havergal (in pencil; subsequently deleted).

Mus. 785b was principally copied by Aldrich himself. Mus. 785a appears to be largely or exclusively the work of Aldrich and Estwick, sometimes working collaboratively on the same movement (Benedicite). A third hand (unidentified) supplied the insert on f. 1α.

Provenance unknown. Not recorded in any early catalogue until Havergal Summary, where it is listed among the Portfolios at position I.2.β, item 19: 'The Contratenor & Bassus of an anthem by Child, & of a morn: & evening service anon. MS. end of XVII. cent:'; in Mus. 785 itself, the portfolio reference 'I.2.β' is written in red crayon on Mus. 785a f.1r, together with the erroneous attribution 'Child'. This misattribution presumably explains the appearance of the name 'Child' on the spine of Mus. 785a-b itself.

Microfilm: manuscript music, reel 29.

For a list of other items at Christ Church associated with Sampson Estwick, see the entry for Mus. 1142b (f. 51).