English composer, b. about 1530; d. Nov., 1574; was educated by his father, and graduated Mus. D., at Cambridge University, 13 Dec., 1560. In March, 1561, he succeeded Dr. Tye as organist and master of the choristers at Ely cathedral, continuing in that office till 1566. He accepted a similar post at Chester cathedral in 1566, and took part in the Whitsuntide pageants during the years 1567-69. Such was his repute as a choir trainer that in 1570 he was appointed organist and master of the choristers of Westminster Abbey . Though an avowed Catholic he retained his post at Westminster Abbey from 1570 until his death. It is worth recording that during the same period, under Elizabeth, the musical services of the Chapel Royal, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral were directed by three Catholics, namely Farrant, White, and Westcott. White made his will on 5 Nov., 1574, and in it he describes his father Robert White as still living. He left each of the choristers four pence. The high estimation in which he was held by his contemporaries may be judged by the distich which a pupil (in 1581) inscribed in the manuscript score of White's "Lamentations":"Non ita moesta sonat plangentis verba prophetae
Fortunately quite a large number of White compositions have survived, and of these his Latin motets are sufficient to place him in the front rank of English composers of the Elizabethan epoch. His contrapuntal writing is very fine, though stilted. However, his "Lamentations", set for five voices, have a flavour far in advance of his period, as also his motet "Peccatum peccavit Jerusalem " and "Regina Coeli". It is to be observed that he wrote his English anthems ex officio , but his Latin services reveal the full genius of White, and give him a place with Tallis, Byrd, Shepherd, and Taverner. Strange to say, though he stood so high among mid-sixteenth century musicians, his compositions were almost utterly neglected till unearthed by Dr. Burney. In recent years he has come into his own, thanks to the zeal of Mr. Arkwright, Dr. Terry, and others. Dr. Earnest Walker regards White "fairly to be reckoned -- even remembering that Palestrina and Lassus were contemporaries -- as among the very greatest European composers of this time ".
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online