1. William Collnam or Collman, the copyist of E who preserved the four-play scheme described in Appendix I, also preserved an imperfect transcript of the musical setting of Preces Deo Fundamus, the song performed at the end of the first Action, which he ascribes to “Mr. Bird.” It looks as if Collnam took the trouble to collect whatever ancillary documents pertinent to the production of Richardus Tertius he could find, a task that may have been facilitated by the fact that he was a member of Legge’s own college. If he was successful in finding the music for Preces Deo Fundamus, he did not have similar luck in the case of Festum Diem Colamus, the concluding song of the second Action, or of whatever music was performed at the end of the third (I have discussed this in an appropriate note). This music (not reproduced here, since it is readily available elsewhere) NOTE 1 has been analyzed by a musicologist: NOTE 2
The “triplex” part of the music for these words is written out in complete form. No more than three bars and a half of the “medius” part appears with it, and no other part at all. Seeing the word “triplex,” Smith described the music as a song for three voices. This was an entirely erroneous assumption. The term “triplex” was commonly employed for the soprano, or top voice, even when the music was written for as many as five or six voices. It is almost certain that Byrd was here writing for five voices; three voices would have been quite unworthy of the occasion, especially as a full choir was available with choristers and singing-men…Moreover, the fragment of the music as given in the manuscript makes it abundantly clear that more than the addition of the bass voice to the triplex is needed to complete the first chord. The style is evidently ecclesiastical, the second section being homophonic in treatment.
2. The music preserved by Collnam has no especial merit, but acquires a certain interest because it is generally accepted that “Mr. Bird” is the celebrated composer William Byrd. NOTE 3 Although many authorities seem willing to think that he contributed the incidental music for Richardus Tertius, evidently nobody has suggested why Byrd, who had no Cambridge connections and who at the time was lying low at his countryside home of Harlington in West Middlesex in order to avoid prosecution for his Catholicism, should have done so. Then too, the difference between the present music and that undoubtedly written by Byrd for plays (notably for Tancred and Gismunda, written by Robert Wilmot and others for production in the Inner Temple in 1567/68) is striking. The latter music is florid and expressive. Evidently Byrd took an interest in writing such music for pathetic dramatic situations. But it is hard to see what interest he would take in supplying a musical accompaniment for the public humiliation of Mistress Jane Shore, and it is equally difficult to appreciate why the players of St. John’s College would go so far afield to recruit a composer for what is no more than a simple processional song that could readily be cobbled together by any competent musician (both the similar meter and that the fact that it too is a processional song suggest that the music for the second Action must have been very similar). So there are powerful reasons for querying the identification of “Mr. Byrd” as William Byrd, especially because there was a contemporary Cambridge musician of the same name.
3. The final stage direction for the Second Action specifies that the song Festum Diem Colamus is to be performed with instruments. Surely the instrumental music (which must have doubled the vocal lines, probably with some stanzas played just by the instruments for purposes of “stretching”) was provided by the so-called Cambridge Wait. This was a guild-like company of musicians employed by the municipality, who regularly supplied instrumental music for plays and other collegiate and University functions. NOTE 4 During the Elizabethan period these Wait became divided into two or more separate and rival companies, and beginning in 1582/3 one of these companies, headed by a certain William Bird, achieved a near-monopoly on providing services to the Universities for a decade. If local professionals performed music for dramas and other academical occasions, it is likely that they sometimes wrote the music they played — the production of such stuff as Festum Diem Colamus would scarcely have taxed their abilities — and it is not unlikely that a musician who rose to prominence in 1582 would have been active there for some time before.
4. Little need by said of the suggestion by Dr. E. W. Naylor (cited without visible disapproval by Fellowes in the course of his 1948 discussion) that William Byrd’s keyboard piece “The Ghost” (Fitzwilliam Virginal Book nr. 162) was written as prelude to the entry to the ghost of Edward IV in Richardus Tertius. The trilogy contains no such spectral apparition but, if it did, it is highly unlikely that the royal ghost would have made his appearance to the accompaniment of a sprightly dance tune.
NOTE 1 A facsimile of the ms. version of this setting is given by Lordi (p. 539). The song was first published by J. Stafford Smith, Musica Antiqua 3 (1812). For Byrd’s theatrical music cf. Edmund H. Fellowes, The Collected Works of William Byrd as revised by Thurston Dart et al. (London, 1962), vol. XVI.
NOTE 2 Edmond H. Fellowes, William Byrd (second ed., Oxford, 1948) 168. For a discussion of Byrd’s music for the theater generally, cf. pp. 165-69.
NOTE 3 By Fellowes in both works cited above and in the list of Byrd’s works in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
NOTE 4 For the Cambridge Wait cf. Nelson, II.738-45. For Bird their leader cf. ib. II.1003 and also index s. v.