Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)

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Olczewska, Maria.

See Olszewska, Maria.

Oldfield, Mike [Michael]

(b Reading, 15 May 1953). English rock composer and guitarist. At the age of 19 he recorded the instrumental album Tubular Bells, funded by Richard Branson's Virgin record shops. In 1973 it became Virgin Records' first release and sold more than ten million copies over the next eight years. Written with the help of David Bedford, it was a quasi-minimalist piece at the melodic end of progressive rock. From this position he subsequently wrote and performed music for the eve of the Prince of Wales's wedding in 1981 and film music for Puttnam's The Killing Fields (Virgin, 1984).

The achievement of Tubular Bells was such that in 1992 he released Tubular Bells II (WEA), which showed an attempt to evade the new-age tag his music had acquired; this was strengthened by a remix by dance outfit The Orb. Between these two, Oldfield recorded a dozen largely instrumental albums: Hergest Ridge (Virgin, 1974) was in the style of Tubular Bells; the more lively Ommadawn (Virgin, 1975) showed some influence of Celtic melody; the single Guilty (1979) toyed with disco; The songs of Distant Earth (WEA, 1994), based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel of the same name, made use of Gregorian and Central Asian chant. He has worked with musicians on the cusp of the divide between pop and classical music, including Bedford, Morris Pert and Jon Anderson, and also those involved with progressive rock, such as Kevin Ayers and Roger Chapman, and has successfully jumped the chasm opened by punk. He is somewhat introverted and largely uninterested in the theatrical possibilities of live performance, not touring until 1979. Like many of his generation, Oldfield has retained a strong following in Germany, Spain and France.


A. Gill: ‘Mad? Us?’, Q, no.73 (1992), 32–4

S. Moraghan: Mike Oldfield: the Man and his Music (London, 1994)

D. Quantick: ‘Mike Oldfield and Orbital’, Q, no.121 (1996), 102–9

P. Stump: The Music's All that Matters: a History of Progressive Rock (London, 1997), 316–24


Old Hall Manuscript.

The most important manuscript collection of English sacred music of the late 14th and early 15th centuries, until 1973 at the college of St Edmund, Old Hall, near Ware, Hertfordshire, and now GB-Lbl 57950.

1. Compilation and contents.

The main compilation (OH-I) was put together between about 1415 and 1421 by a single scribe and presents for the first time an English repertory largely tied to named composers: Leonel Power, with 20–26 compositions, Pycard, Typp, Byttering, Oliver, Chirbury, Excetre, Cooke, Roy Henry, Queldryk, Tyes, Aleyn, Fonteyns, Gervays, Lambe …, Mayshuet, Pennard, Rowlard and Swynford (in approximate descending order of representation). Antonio Zacara da Teramo can be added on the strength of continental concordances: a Gloria elsewhere ascribed to him with a texted contratenor may have been imported through the Council of Constance, where English musical prowess was noted. Mayshuet (probably Matteo de Sancto Johanne, in England in 1369: Wathey, 1990) is credited with one of the two Deo gratias substitute motets that end the manuscript; he may also have written the other, also preserved in a younger English choirbook (Bent, 1984) and textually connected to a Post missarum solemnia in I-IV. Harrison’s suggestions for other foreign identities are thinly based: that Rowlard may be Philippus Royllart, composer of the motet Rex Karole/Leticie pacis, and that Fonteyns may be a canon of the Ste Chapelle in Paris. Aleyn has been identified with Johannes Alanus, the English composer of Sub Arturo plebs (probably a royal chaplain who died in 1373), but the Old Hall composer’s initial, for an erased Agnus, appears to be W. Equally uncertain is whether the ‘J de Oxonia’ of that motet is the same as the royal clerk John Excetre (1372–97) or the Old Hall composer. Later additions (OH-II) in some seven hands, of music by Damett, Sturgeon, Cooke, Burell, Forest and Dunstaple, were made in the early 1420s on openings left blank by the main scribe and on leaves newly inserted.

The collection is arranged by liturgical category: settings of the Gloria, of antiphons and sequences in score, of the Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, and of isorhythmic motets including Deo gratias substitutes. Within each section devoted to the Mass Ordinary, settings in score precede those notated in parts. There is further evidence of planning within sections, notably the ordering of Sanctus and Agnus Dei settings according to their plainchants. Roy Henry’s two compositions, a Gloria in separate parts and a Sanctus in score, head their respective sections. The later scribes made their additions as far as possible in accordance with this plan, which follows the order of Mass (thus physically separating musically related movements which in later manuscripts tend to be grouped together). Even the motets of this ‘second layer’ which are ‘misplaced’ in the Sanctus section might be treated as Sanctus sequels. (See Damett, and Sturgeon, N..)

Barclay Squire dismissed the possibility of making a bibliographical collation, but this has now been established with almost complete certainty. The details in many cases disprove older hypotheses about the order of compilation and associated datings, and establish beyond any doubt which leaves were later additions to the original book and how many leaves have been lost – the latter being a minimum estimate, since there may originally have been a gathering of Kyries. Discounting this possibility, the manuscript was originally planned to have at least 121 folios, 98 of which survive, though 15 of these were used for later additions instead of the pieces intended by the original scribe. 14 out of at least 16 inserted leaves remain, making an original total of 137 folios of which 112 are left. The original scribe was responsible for about three-quarters – the first layer – of the manuscript as it now survives. The later contributors, notably Damett and Sturgeon or their agents, did not collaborate in the original compilation. The second-layer scribes themselves used the music of the first layer, as their alterations to it show. Substantial rewriting activity by these later scribes on their ‘own’ music, and the simultaneous membership of four of them of the Royal Household Chapel of Henry V, suggest that some pieces were autograph. The composers affected are Damett, Sturgeon, Cooke and Burell. (Although the Forest and Dunstaple works also have their own scribes, similar evidence of personal intervention is lacking.)

2. Date and provenance.

Discussion of the early history of the manuscript has been plagued by misunderstandings, including failure to distinguish between the date of composition of the music and the date of copying of the manuscript; confusion between the layers of activity led to the inverted notion that Damett and Sturgeon may have been actively concerned in the original compilation; and confusion between the Royal Free Chapel of St George in Windsor Castle and the peripatetic Royal Household Chapel of the king (exacerbated by Damett’s and Sturgeon’s associations with both at various dates): this led the manuscript, entirely by virtue of the later additions, to an unjustified association with the Chapel Royal. While a Chapel Royal association for the second layer is almost certain, the nature of the interruption of the original plan pointed to an origin for the first layer outside the royal chapel.

Interest and controversy have surrounded the identity of Roy Henry. Henry VI (Squire) and Henry IV (Harrison) can new be ruled out in favour of Henry V (Bukofzer; Bent, 1984), who was king at the time of writing, especially since the discovery that Leonel Power (Bowers) was a member of the chapel of Henry V’s brother Thomas Duke of Clarence (d 1421), for whose chapel the manuscript can now be presumed to have been prepared and whence it passed to that of Henry V, whose chaplains stayed on to attend the infant Henry VI, adding their own compositions. Some of these may be autograph, and they include three motets by Damett, Cooke and Sturgeon whose titles correspond closely to a contemporary chronicle account of the London festivities following the Agincourt victory in 1415 (Bent, 1967–8). But it is the royal anchorage of OH-I that invites a marginally later dating of the copying than that previously proposed; the absence of Dunstaple (except for the sole later, anonymous addition of his four-part Veni Sancte Spiritus) becomes more surprising as the date of the manuscript has to be advanced, given that he served various members of the royal family and was certainly composing by this time. He is, however, prominent in the aforementioned comparable but fragmentary royal choirbook of slightly later date (Bent, 1984; see also Dunstaple, John), which has significant overlaps with and repertorial advances on Old Hall.

The relationship between the early part of the repertory and its fragmentary English concordances, and that between the later music and its mainly continental copies, give an opportunity for relative stylistic definition which is lacking for the much more fragmentary and chronologically diffuse Worcester Fragments of c1300 (see Worcester polyphony). The only earlier English repertories of comparable completeness are the 11th fascicle of D-W 628 (677) = W1. The earlier date of manuscripts containing concordances to the oldest styles confirms their late 14th-century origin; the distribution of these concordances by provenance, and the geographical implications of some composers’ names, suggest that the repertory was drawn from the widest possible field and was in no sense a local or provincial product, even though it may have included some individual local or provincial pieces. Many of the most complex and virtuoso pieces in the manuscript are unica, indicating a small circle of high cultivation that was also open to simpler styles culled from a wider range.

The provenance of the manuscript cannot be established from its subsequent history. There is some evidence to support ownership by James Strangman, a member of the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries who died in 1595/6. It was bought in 1813 by John Stafford Smith, at the sale of the Rev. John Parker’s library. The manuscript has flourished capitals in alternating gold leaf and blue. 19 were excised in the 19th century, including more decorative ones at heads of sections, causing loss of music on both sides of the affected leaves. Replacement patches were provided in the late 19th century, and some second-layer pieces received their first capitals at the same time, in spaces that had remained blank (Bent, 1966). The manuscript descended to E.W. Tordiffe, who donated it to St Edmund’s College in 1893. On 29 July 1973 a private sale to the British Library was announced, after the manuscript had failed to reach the reserve price at Sotheby’s.

3. Musical styles.

Stylistic classifications were made by Bukofzer and Hughes (1967), with subsequent refinements. The music notated in score (an English peculiarity at this date) includes chant-based (English discant) and free (cantilena) settings, though the range from homophonic to complex rhythmic styles embraces both. Where present, the plainchant is often in the middle part, cultivating contrary motion with the lowest voice but sometimes migrating to it; occasionally it is paraphrased in the top part. A chant may be used strictly, or freely paraphrased; the dividing line between ‘discant’ and ‘cantilena’ is a soft one. Imperfect time with major prolation is the most common mensuration, rarely signed unless, as in a few pieces, there is a mensural change. With the use of coloration and increasing rhythmic complexity, such pieces (e.g. Cooke’s Gloria, no.7, and Ave regina, no.52, Oliver’s Santus, no.119) might well have been notated in separate parts. Texting beneath the lowest part is aligned for singers, not for musical score-reading. Score pieces are always, here, in three parts; in two cases, an additional contratenor is notated separately. Two-voice score, found in other English sources, is here confined to a few internal duets.

The music notated in choirbook format, or separate parts, includes a number of mass movements that, although physically separated in the manuscript, can be paired on grounds of musical technique or structure. Pairs may have related chants but no common tenors. Tenor chants are proper to the text of the movement concerned, except in isorhythmic compositions, where they may be alien; a few pieces paraphrase their chant in the top part. Isorhythm is used for all the motets and some mass movements. It ranges from the fairly mechanical imposition of a short talea on a long tenor (as in no.85, which has 19 rhythmically similar sections), through flexible structures in which colour and talea do not always coincide (as in Leonel’s paired Gloria and Credo, nos.24 and 84), to pieces fully isorhythmic in all parts with successive colour reductions; this is at its most regular in the motets of OH-II. Of seven canonic works (all in OH-I and several by Pycard) one is a double canon and two incorporate a canon 3 in 1 into a five-part piece. The exceptional number of five-part pieces here reflects the English predilection for multi-voice sonority; there is even one 3rd in a final chord (Leonel, no.21). Several compositions are essays in mensural and proportional virtuosity, with a wide range of colorations including black, red and blue full and void forms, reversed and coloured signatures, half-coloured notes and special signs, presupposing a high degree of sophistication among the intended users, the members of Clarence’s chapel including Power himself.

Much of the remaining music notated in parts is dominated by a texted songlike top part, often quite florid, supported by a grammatically essential tenor paired with a contratenor in the same range. In other styles, text declamation is shared (sometimes in alternation) between two upper parts, supported by an accompanying tenor, with or without a contratenor. There is some textual compression by telescoping, but no omissions.

The music of OH-II displays the suave consonance and melodic elegance associated with the generation of Dunstaple and often labelled the contenance angloise. There is a higher proportion of duet writing, and withdrawal from the extreme rhythmic complexity of OH-I works by Leonel and Pycard.


A. Ramsbotham [vol.i], H.B. Collins and A. Hughes [vols.ii–iii], eds.: The Old Hall Manuscript (Burnham, Bucks., 1933–8)

A. Hughes and M. Bent, eds.: The Old Hall Manuscript, CMM, xlvi (1969–73)



MGG2 (M. Bent)

W.B. Squire: ‘Notes on an Undescribed Collection of English 15th Century Music’, SIMG, ii (1900–01), 342–92, 719 [corrections]

J. Harvey: Gothic England (London, 1947, 2/1948)

M.F. Bukofzer: ‘The Music of the Old Hall Manuscript’, ‘The Fountains Fragment’ Studies in Medieval & Renaissance Music (New York, 1950), 34–85, 86–112

B.L. Trowell: Music under the Later Plantagenets (diss., U. of Cambridge, 1960)

A. Hughes: ‘Mensuration and Proportion in Early Fifteenth Century English Music’, AcM, xxxvii (1965), 48–61

A. Hughes: ‘Mass Pairs in the Old Hall and Other English Manuscripts’, RBM, xix (1965), 15–27

M. Bent: ‘Initial Letters in the Old Hall Manuscript’, ML, xlvii (1966), 225–38

A. Hughes: ‘The Old Hall Manuscript: a Reappraisal’, MD, xxi (1967), 97–129

A. Hughes and M. Bent: ‘The Old Hall Manuscript: an Inventory’, MD, xxi (1967), 130–47

M. Bent: ‘Sources of the Old Hall Music’, PRMA, xciv (1967–8), 19–35

M. Bent: The Old Hall Manuscript: a Paleographical Study (diss., U. of Cambridge, 1969)

A.B. Scott: ‘The Performance of the Old Hall Descant Settings’, MQ, lvi (1970), 14–26

M. Bent: ‘The Old Hall Manuscript’, EMc, ii (1974), 2–14

R. Bowers: ‘Some Observations on the Life and Career of Lionel Power’, PRMA, cii (1975–6), 103–27

M. Bent: ‘Text Setting in Sacred Music of the Early 15th Century: Evidence and Implications’, Musik und Text in der Mehrstimmigkeit des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts: Wolfenbüttel 1980, 291–326

W.J. Summers: English Fourteenth-Century Polyphony (Tutzing, 1983)

M. Bent: ‘The Progeny of Old Hall: More Leaves from a Royal English Choirbook’, Gordon Athol Anderson (1929–1981) in memoriam, ed. L.A. Dittmer (Henryville, PA, 1984), 1–54

M. Bent: ‘Manuscripts as Répertoires, Scribal Performance and the Performing Scribe’, IMSCR XIV: Bologna 1987, 138–48 [discussion 148–51]

A. Wathey: ‘The Peace of 1360–1369 and Anglo-French Musical Relations’, EMH, ix (1990), 129–74

M. Bent: ‘Pycard's Double Canon: Evidence of Revision?’, Sundry Sorts of Music Books: Essays … Presented to O.W. Neighbour, ed. C. Banks, A. Searle and M. Turner (London, 1993), 10–26

J.D.C. King: Texting in Early Fifteenth-Century Sacred Polyphony (diss., U. of Oxford, 1996)


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