‘Sum liber thomae mullineri iohanne heywoode teste’: The Mulliner Book, the early In Nomine, and the Prayerbook of 1559

The New Grove (2001) entry on ‘In Nomine’ opens with some intriguing observations: an exclusively English instrumental genre (keyboard and consort); the most conspicuous single form in the early development of consort music; and over 150 surviving In Nomines, written by some fifty-eight composers from Taverner to Purcell. Why such an intense cultivation of a particular plainchant, the Sarum antiphon (Gloria tibi trinitas) for the first psalm at first Vespers on Trinity Sunday? The earliest surviving In Nomine is to be found in The Mulliner Book, a collection copied by the organist Thomas Mulliner and dating from around the start of Elizabeth I’s reign. Jane Flynn investigates this fascinating compositional phenomenon and explores the interwoven theological and political context in which the In Nomine flourished, arguably as a form of resistance and as an agent of community amongst Catholics after the omission of the contested Benedictus from new English liturgies. The detective work is superbly enriched by a wide historical reading of relevant composers and patrons.



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