Robert Carver

(Robert Arnat)

c.1484 - c.1568

Composer of sacred choral music. Little is known of Carver's life, except that he served as a Canon at the Abbey of Scone, may have been associated with the Chapel Royal in Stirling and certainly enjoyed Royal Patronage, with his 10-part Mass Dum Sacrum Mysterium (written sometime between 1506-13) most-likely sung at the Coronation of the infant King James V (1512-42).

All his surviving works appear in a single manuscript, the Carver Choirbook - once known as the Scone Antiphonary - which is now held by the National Library of Scotland. In addition to the Dum Sacrum Mysterium, these works comprise the motets Gaude Glore Virginali (c.1515), O Bone Jesu (early 1520s), regarded as a Renaissance masterpiece, together with four masses; namely Mass for Six Voices (c.1515), L'Homme Armé (c.1520), Fera Pessima (c.1525) and Pater Creator Omnium (1546).

Unlike other British composers of the time, Carver drew his influence from Europe and is regarded as Scotland's greatest 16th Century composer. He occasionally used the alias Robert Arnat and probably died at Scone.

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