Clement Woodcock

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Aliases: Clement Woodcoke; Clement Woodecock


Born: c ?1540

Died: 1590, Chichester


Clement Woodcock was an English singer, organist and composer. He was a lay clerk at King's College, Cambridge in 1562–3. In 1565 he was appointed a singer at Canterbury Cathedral, becoming a full lay clerk in 1568. About 1570 he left Canterbury to take up the position of organist and Master of the Choristers at Chichester Cathedral.

Of his five known compositions, all instrumental, four appear in GB-Lbl Add. 31390. This manuscript is dated 1578 and has Chichester connections. Woodcock's three In Nomines all have their cantus firmus transposed to G final. In his In Nomine no. 3 the cantus firmus is in the top voice, adding to the constraints already imposed by monothematicism to produce a certain stiffness. The remaining two In Nomines have the melody in the middle voice and are more successful, particularly the first whose deliberately paced textures resemble those of other contemporary composers of instrumental music, notably Byrd. Browning my dere comprises ten variations on a popular song melody which migrates from one instrument to another, with systematic contrast between three- and five-voice texture. It probably is a response to a similar work by Stonings with only five variations, and appears to have provoked Byrd's 20-variation set. Hackney, possibly also based on popular material, has an unusual homophonic texture.

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