No Lamentations have survived from Parsons but settings were produced by Tallis, Osbert Parsley, White (two sets), Alfonso Ferrabosco and Byrd. It is interesting to note these names when looking at the three Funeral Responds set by Parsons, as three similar Responds are set both by Alfonso Ferrabosco and William Byrd. Libera me, Domine
(9th Respond) is an austere work with the plainsong cantus firmus maintained throughout in the tenor part. Peccantem me quotidie
(7th Respond) sounds more modern even though it carries the plainsong tune as a cantus firmus in the contratenor I part; its lines are smoother and there is more step-wise movement in the melodies and a greater reliance on plangent harmonies. Credo quod redemptor
(1st Respond) sounds the most modern of the three as its style is more reminiscent of the early Elizabethan motet as developed by Tallis and Byrd. There are striking similarities between this piece and a setting of the same text by Alfonso Ferrabosco and it has been suggested that Ferrabosco, originally a native of Bologna who was resident in England at various times in this period, had brought the idea of setting the Funeral Responds from the Continent. However, if this is the case it seems odd that Parsons should have set two such Responds using the old-fashioned cantus firmus technique. Parsons’ characteristic broken sixths and sevenths are obvious in the opening bars of Credo quod redemptor
and it seems more likely that Parsons was the model for Ferrabosco.
from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2011