Artist Catalog

Nicholas Ludford

Nicholas Ludford (c. 1485 – c. 1557) was an English composer of the Tudor period. He is known for his festal masses, which are preserved in two early-16th-century choirbooks, the Caius Choirbook at Caius College, Cambridge, and the Lambeth Choirbook at Lambeth Palace, London. His surviving antiphons, all incomplete, are copied in the Peterhouse Partbooks (Henrican set). Ludford is well-known as being the composer of the only surviving cycle of Lady Masses, small-scale settings of the Ordinary and Propers in three parts to be sung in the smaller chapels of religious institutions on each day of the week. Ludford's composing career, which appears to have ended in 1535, is seen as bridging the gap between the music of Fayrfax and that of John Taverner (1495–1545). Music scholar David Skinner has called Ludford "one of the last unsung geniuses of Tudor polyphony". In his Oxford History of English Music, John Caldwell observes of Ludford's six-part Mass and Magnificat Benedicta that it "is more a matter of astonishment that such mastery should be displayed by a composer of whom virtually nothing was known until modern times".