The English text of the Nunc dimittis
is non-standard: it has features in common with versions from 1535 and 1539, and the musical setting predates the award of Tye’s doctorate in 1545. This canticle would seem to date from Tye’s Cambridge years, when the composer first fell under the influence of the Protestant reformer Richard Cox (later Archdeacon of Ely Cathedral and responsible for Tye’s appointment as Master of the Choristers there). The pervasive, almost self-conscious, use of imitation shows the influence of the modern Continental style, but the harmonic idiom and the manner of text-setting are quintessentially English.
from notes by Jeremy Summerly © 2012