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Thomas Morley

(1557—1602) composer


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(b ?Norwich, 1557; d London, 1602).

Eng. composer. Pupil of Byrd. Mus.B., Oxford Univ., 1588. Organist, St Paul's Cath. c. 1589–92. Almost certainly worked as a government spy. Gentleman of Chapel Royal 1592. In 1598, granted by Elizabeth I exclusive licence for 21 years to print song‐books of all kinds and mus. paper. Thus he pubd. not only his own mus. but that of his contemporaries. Pubd. and ed. The Triumphs of Oriana (1601), to which he contributed Arise, awake for 5 vv. and Hard by a crystal fountain for 6 vv. Was one of great masters of Eng. madrigal. Probably friend of Shakespeare: setting of It was a lover and his lass for As You Like It may have been for orig. prod., 1599. Specialized in balletts. Also wrote church mus., incl. Burial Service; lute songs, and A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597). Among his works and publications were: Canzonets for 3 vv. (1593), Madrigals for 4 vv. (1594), 1st Book of Balletts, 5 vv. (1595), 1st Book of Canzonets, 2 vv. (1595), Canzonets, 4 vv. (selected from ‘best It. authors’ but incl. 2 by Morley) (1597), Madrigals, 5 vv. (selected from ‘best It. authors’) (1598), 1st Book of Consort Lessons, 6 instr. (1599), 1st Book of Ayres, lute and bass viol (1600), The Triumphs of Oriana, 5 and 6 vv. ‘by divers several authors’ (1601).

Subjects: Music.


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