Walter Frye


Born: 14??; Lincolnshire, England   Died: 450; London, England  
By the mid-1440s, England had lost all of the French lands gained under Henry V and Henry VI, and the island kingdom itself would soon be embroiled in the Wars of the Roses. The cross-fertilization between English and Continental music that the occupation of France made possible, however, in some cases continued unabated. The English composer Walter Frye, for instance, never made any recorded trips away from the British Isles. His music, on the Read more other hand, traveled far and wide on the European continent, reached and influenced composers in French, German, and even Italian lands. Several of his songs lived on in generations of cyclic Masses composed upon them.

As with many composers from his age, Walter Frye left a scant imprint upon the actual documentary records of Europe. One record, a 1474 will that was processed at Canterbury in June 1475, apparently gives his death date. It also provides clues to other aspects of Frye's life. Historians have read a possible birthplace in Norfolk or Lincolnshire from bequests he left to a series of northern individuals. In addition, he appropriated moneys for "unpaid tithes" to a church near St. Paul's Cathedral, suggesting this area as his final residence. Beyond that, we may know two musical positions he filled (though he worked at both for a long time). A choirmaster named Walter at Ely Cathedral in the 1440s and 1450s may have been our Walter Frye. In 1456 or 1457, the composer certainly joined the Guild of Parish Clerks in London; at this time if not sooner, he certainly met the composer and fellow guildmember John Bedyngham. Finally, Frye is known to have been employed by the noble Anne of Exeter (sister to both Edward IV and Margaret of York) from at least as early as 1464 until at least 1472.

Frye's connection to this important patroness helps explain the wide popularity of his music on the continent: Anne's sister married Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1468. Manuscript sources from Burgundy contain a number of his pieces, and several of his songs in particular truly made it onto the fifteenth century "hit parade:" Tout a par moy, Mon seul plaisir, So ys emprentid, and Ave regina coelorum (which even appears with music in three contemporary paintings). Frye's So ys emprentid may tie him specifically to Binchois and the Duke of Suffolk; Tout a par moy provided Josquin a cantus firmus. Read less
Browse 1-12 of 12 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Medieval & Renaissance
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 002550302 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Jaquemin de Senleches,  Guido Lange] [de,  Johannes Olivier  ... 
    Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Paul Elliot,  Margaret Philpot,  Catherine Bott  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Pickett,  Anthony Rooley,  Trevor [viola da gamba] Jones,  Christopher Hogwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Medieval Ensemble,  New London Consort,  Consort of Musicke  ... 
    CD: $138.99
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  • 2.
    The Treasury of English Church Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 0846402 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Anonymous,  John Merbecke,  Robert Parsons,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Harry Gabb,  Harry Bramma,  Richard Seal,  Simon Preston  ... 
    Conductor:  Denis Stevens,  Douglas Guest,  Sir George Thalben-Ball,  John Dykes Bower  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  Ambrosian Players,  Westminster Abbey Choir  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 3.
    Music For Henry V And The House Of Lancaster / Andrew Kirkman, Binchois Consort
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67868 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  King V Henry,  Anonymous,  Leonel Power,  ?Thomas Damett  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Kirkman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Binchois Consort
    CD: $21.99
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  • 4.
    Music At The Court Of Burgundy - Le Banquet Du Voeu 1454
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 91441 Release Date: 08/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gilles Binchois,  Anonymous,  Jacques Vide,  Pierre Fontaine  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuel Bonnardot,  Dominique Vellard,  Akira Tachikawa,  Philippe Balloy  ... 
    Conductor:  Dominique Vellard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gilles Binchois Ensemble
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  • 5.
    Label: Kattenberg   Catalog: 5637621872 Release Date: 03/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume Dufay,  Johannes Ockeghem,  JanPieter Biesemans,  Buxheimer Orge Anonymous  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadrivium
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  • 6.
    The Castle Of Fair Welcome - Late 15th Century Courtly Songs
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55274 Release Date: 03/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles the Bold,  Walter Frye,  Robert Morton,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gillian Ross,  Christopher Wilson  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Page
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    The Rose, The Lily & The Whortleberry / Orlando Consort
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907398 Release Date: 03/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume de Machaut,  Anonymous,  Trebor,  Walter Frye  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
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  • 8.
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: 23015 Release Date: 10/15/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Bedyngham,  Anonymous,  Antoine Busnois,  Johannes Ockeghem  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Morra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 9.
    Label: Marc Aurel Edition   Catalog: 200188 Release Date: 01/07/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Frye
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ferrara Ensemble
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  • 10.
    Brussels 5557 - Plummer, Frye, Et Al /Wickham, Clerks' Group
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 15 Release Date: 06/24/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Frye,  John Plummer
    Conductor:  Edward Wickham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Clerks' Group
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    A Concert Of Early Music / Morrow, Musica Reservata London
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 96 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Raimbaut de Vaqeiras,  Walter Frye,  Hayne van Ghizeghem,  Caspar Othmayr  ... 
    Performer:  Jantina Noorman,  John Dudley,  Edgar Fleet,  David Thomas
    Conductor:  Michael Morrow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Reservata
    CD: $17.99
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  • 12.
    Das Buxheimer Orgelbuch Vol 2 / Joseph Payne
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 553467 Release Date: 03/26/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Frye,  Anonymous,  Guillaume Dufay,  Gilles Binchois  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Payne
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