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Thomas Morley

Thomas Morley

Born: 1558 Died: 1602

The composer, organist, and theorist Thomas Morley (ca. 1557-ca. 1602) was the chief English exponent of the Italian madrigal tradition.

Thomas Morley was born about 1557 and, sometime between 1602 and 1608, died after a long illness. During his early years he studied composition with William Byrd and organ under Sebastian Westcote. In 1588 Morley received a bachelor of music degree from Oxford and took the position of organist at St. Giles, Cripplegate. In 1591 he became organist at St. Paul's, joining the Chapel Royal the following year. About this time Morley married; he and his wife, Susan, had three children between 1596 and 1600.

During this period Morley, like Byrd a Roman Catholic, encountered trouble as a recusant. Charles Paget, an agent, had intercepted letters which held enough incriminating evidence for him to have had Morley hanged. He repented so abjectly, however, that Paget let him off.

In 1598 Morley applied successfully for the license to print music. But by then his health had begun to fail, and the new outlet proved more burdensome than productive. He had already published his Canzonets to Three Voices (1593), Madrigals to Four Voices (1594), Ballets to Five Voices, and Canzonets to Two Voices (both 1595), and his Canzonets ... Selected out of ... Italian Authors, Canzonets to Five and Six Voices, and his treatise A Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music (all 1597). Between 1598 and 1601 he produced and published a new collection each year and also reedited a great many of his earlier publications. He also left a great quantity of unpublished music, including ten motets, four services, five anthems, keyboard music, and viol consorts.

Morley has been called the father of the English madrigal. He was the earliest and the chief figure in the wholesale transplantation of the Italian madrigal tradition to England, and the quick assimilation of Italian styles and forms into a burgeoning English tradition was largely of his doing. Single-handedly he translated the Italian canzonet into a native form, the English short ayre, in his Canzonets of 1593 and 1595. In the latter collection he also included nine two-part instrumental fantasias, which, though bearing fanciful Italian titles, are marvelous examples of a new and sprightly English counterpoint. In these canzonets, as in the Madrigals to Four Voices and Ballets to Five Voices, Morley obviously patterned his works after Italian models, even paraphrasing a few, but he surpassed these models in harmonic variety and tonal sophistication.

Morley's sacred music is more deeply serious and moving than the canzonets and madrigals. But these sacred works show no greater contrapuntal skill, no more elegant finish in the new English style than the hundredodd secular pieces he had composed on models straight from late Renaissance Italy.

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Displaying 1-50 of 87 items.

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April Is In My Mistress' FaceThomas MorleyBemidji Choir and Chamber SingersLove Like Spring 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
April is in my Mistress' FaceThomas MorleyPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Arise, awake, awakeThomas MorleyKing's SingersTriumph Of Oriana 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Cease Mine EyesThomas MorleyNoah GreenbergEnglish Medieval and Renaissance SongbookSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Dainty, fine, sweet nymphThomas MorleyClough-LeighterThe A Cappella SingerSongbook (SATB)MORE DETAILS 
Eheu, sustuleruntThomas MorleyLionel Dakers / John Scott (Edited by)Ash Wednesday to Easter for ChoirsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Farewell, DisdainfulThomas MorleyQuink Vocal EnsembleEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Fire FireKing SingersThomas MorleyKing's SingersEnglish RenaissanceSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Fire, Fire My HeartThomas MorleyOhio State University Women's GleeHere's To Song 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Fire, Fire, My HeartJerry Weseley Harris Thomas MorleyJerry Weseley Harris (arranged by)Renaissance Pieces for Women's VoicesSheet Music (SSA)MORE DETAILS 
Fyer Fyer!Thomas MorleyPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Fyer, fyer! Thomas MorleyCambridge SingersFlora Gave Me Fairest Flowers 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Fyer, Fyer!Thomas MorleyAmerican BoychoirSing 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Good Morrow, fair ladies of the MayThomas MorleySofia Women's Chamber ChoirNightingales 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Hard by a crystal fountainThomas MorleyKing's SingersTriumph Of Oriana 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Hard by a Crystal FountainThomas MorleyPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Hark, AlleluiaThomas MorleyTallis ScholarsEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
I Goe Before My DarlingThomas MorleyNoah GreenbergEnglish Medieval and Renaissance SongbookSongbookMORE DETAILS 
I Love Alas I Love TheeKing's SingersThomas MorleyKing's SingersEuropean RenaissanceSongbookMORE DETAILS 
I Love Alas I Love TheeThomas MorleyBemidji Choir and Chamber SingersAwakening 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
I Love Alas I Love TheeThomas MorleyPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
I Love Alas this TormentingThomas MorleyPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
I Love, Alas I Love TheeThomas MorleyEnsemble AmarcordBook of Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
It Was A Lover And His LassThomas MorleyVarious ComposersSoprano Classical Contest SolosSongbook & CDMORE DETAILS 
It Was a Lover and his LassThomas MorleyEstonian Television Girls ChoirCircle Is Full 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
It Was a Lover and His LassThomas MorleySteven Stolen and Richard WaltersEnglish Songs - Renaissance to Baroque (Low Voice)Songbook & CDMORE DETAILS 
It Was a Lover and His LassThomas MorleySteven Stolen and Richard WaltersEnglish Songs - Renaissance to Baroque - High VoiceSongbook & CDMORE DETAILS 
It Was a Lover and His LassThomas MorleyJoan Frey BoytimEasy Songs for the Beginning Mezzo-Soprano / AltoSongbook & CDMORE DETAILS 
Laboravi in gemituThomas MorleyGloriae Dei CantoresMasters of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Laboravi In Gemitu MeoThomas MorleyLionel Pike (Editor)Tudor Anthems - 50 Motets and Anthems for Mixed Voice ChoirSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Lachrimae Pavan Thomas MorleyOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Leave Alas This TormentingThomas MorleyNoah GreenbergEnglish Medieval and Renaissance SongbookSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Lirum LirumThomas MorleyChoral Arts of ChattanoogaA Christmas Portrait 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Lirum LirumDavid GiardiniereThomas MorleyConcordia ChoirCome To The Living Water 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Miraculous love's woundingThomas MorleyJohn Gardner / Simon Harris (Edited by)A CappellaSongbookMORE DETAILS 
My Bonnie Lass She Smileth Thomas MorleyTheron KirkSing We and Chant ItSongbookMORE DETAILS 
My Bonnie Lass She SmilethThomas MorleyPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
My bonnie lass, she smilethThomas MorleyVarious ComposersEight Elizabethan MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
My Bonny Lass Thomas MorleyClough-LeighterThe A Cappella SingerSongbook (SATB)MORE DETAILS 
My Bonny Lass She Smileth Thomas MorleyCambridge SingersOld English Madrigals & Folk Songs 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
My bonny lass she smileth Thomas MorleyCambridge SingersFlora Gave Me Fairest Flowers 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
My bonny lass she smilethThomas MorleyClifford BartlettMadrigals and PartsongsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
No, No NigellaThomas MorleyQuink Vocal EnsembleEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Nolo mortem pecatorisThomas MorleyCambridge SingersTreasures of English Church Music 2 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Nolo Mortem Peccatoris Thomas MorleyChoir of King's College, CambridgeMusic For Holy Week 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
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