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Thomas Weelkes

Composer

Thomas Weelkes

Born: 1573 Died: 1623

Weelkes was baptised in the little village church of Elsted in Sussex on 25 October 1576. It has been suggested that his father was John Weeke, rector of Elsted, although there is no documentary evidence of the relationship. In 1597 his first volume of madrigals was published, the preface noting that he was a very young man when they were written; this helps to fix the date of his birth to somewhere in the middle of the 1570s. Early in his life he was in service at the house of the courtier Edward Darcye. At the end of 1598, at the probable age of 22, Weelkes was appointed organist at Winchester College, where he remained for two or three years, receiving the salary of 13s 4d per quarter. His remuneration included board and lodging.

During his Winchester period, Weelkes composed a further two volumes of madrigals (1598, 1600). He obtained his B. Mus. Degree from New College, Oxford in 1602, and moved to Chichester to take up the position of organist and informator choristarum (instructor of the choristers) at the Cathedral at some time between October 1601 and October 1602. He was also given a lay clerkship at the Cathedral, being paid 15 2s 4d annually alongside his board, lodging and other amenities. The following year he married Elizabeth Sandham, from a wealthy local family. They had three children and it was rumored that Elizabeth was already pregnant at the time of the marriage.

Weelkes' fourth and final volume of madrigals, published in 1608, carries a title page where he refers to himself as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal; however, records at the Chapel Royal itself do not mention him, so at most he could only have been a Gentleman Extraordinary - one of those who were asked to stand in until a permanent replacement was found.

Weelkes was later to find himself in trouble with the Chichester Cathedral authorities for his heavy drinking and immoderate behavior. In 1609 he was charged with unauthorized absence, but no mention of drunken behavior is made until 1613, and J Shepherd, a Weelkes scholar, has suggested caution in assuming that his decline began before this date. In 1616 he was reported to the Bishop for being 'noted and famed for a common drunkard and notorious swearer & blasphemer'. The Dean and Chapter dismissed him for being drunk at the organ and using bad language during divine service. He was however reinstated and remained in the post until his death, although his behavior did not improve; in 1619 Weelkes was again reported to the Bishop:

Dyvers times & very often come so disguised either from the Tavern or Ale house into the quire as is much to be lamented, for in these humors he will both curse & swear most dreadfully, & so profane the service of God ... and though he hath been often times admonished ... to refrain these humors and reform himself, yet he daily continues the same, & is rather worse than better therein.

In 1622 Elizabeth Weelkes died. Thomas Weelkes was, by this time, reinstated at Chichester Cathedral, but appeared to be spending a great deal of time in London. He died in London in 1623, in the house of a friend, almost certainly on 30 November and was buried on 1 December 1623 at St Bride's Fleet Street. Weelkes' will, made the day before he died at the house of his friend Henry Drinkwater of St Bride's parish, left his estate to be shared between his three children, with a large 50s legacy left to Drinkwater for his meat, drink and lodging. He has a memorial stone in Chichester Cathedral.

Discography (See list of Compositions.)

Displaying 1-1 of 1 items.


Oxford Camerata : Weelkes: Anthems

Review: If Weelkes stands slightly apart from his contemporaries then it is because he was perhaps the nearest the English got to a 'dare-devil'. The traits of the boldest compositions of his 1600 madrigal collection dig surprisingly deeply into the baroque psyche without ever drawing on specific 'baroque' practices: impetuosity, restlessness, a love of bold and startling symbolism, concentrated gestures, and an ambition for large structural coherence - all characteristics which would have found a natural home fifty years later. But when the madrigal soon, and ironically for Weelkes, became an anachronism he willingly turned his attention to the church, committed as he was to the bastion of counterpoint. However tempting it is to think of an innovator stifled by the conservatism of his age, the relatively experimental devices in the madrigals are surprisingly unintegral to Weelkes's musical style. He was never particularly responsive to words; as Hosanna to the son of David and Alleluia! I heard a voice display, his music is essentially driven by sonorous textures and an engagingly direct desire to set a text with the minimum of fuss.

Songlist:

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Compositions ( See Discography.)

Displaying 1-50 of 83 items.

Song NameArrangerComposerArtistRecording TitleFormat
A remembrance of my friend Thomas MorleyThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
All At Once Well MetThomas WeelkesKing's SingersEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS
All laud and praiseThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
All People Clap Your Hands Thomas WeelkesTucson Arizona Boys ChorusHeaven Hath A Song 1 CDMORE DETAILS
All people clap your handsThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Alleluia, I heard a voiceThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
As Vest Was from Latmos Hill DescendingKing SingersThomas WeelkesKing's SingersEnglish RenaissanceSongbookMORE DETAILS
As Vesta WasThomas WeelkesPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS
As Vesta was from Latmos hill descending Thomas WeelkesCambridge SingersFlora Gave Me Fairest Flowers 1 CDMORE DETAILS
As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending Thomas WeelkesCambridge SingersOld English Madrigals & Folk Songs 1 CDMORE DETAILS
As Vesta was from Latmos hill descendingThomas WeelkesKing's SingersTriumph Of Oriana 1 CDMORE DETAILS
As Vestas Thomas WeelkesKing's SingersFrom Byrd to the BeatlesDVDMORE DETAILS
Aye Me, Hey HoJerry Weseley Harris Thomas WeelkesJerry Weseley Harris (arranged by)Renaissance Pieces for Women's VoicesSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Come Sirrah Jack Ho!Thomas WeelkesPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS
Come, Sirrah Jack, Ho!Thomas WeelkesKing's SingersEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Death hath deprived me Thomas WeelkesCambridge SingersFlora Gave Me Fairest Flowers 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Death Hath Deprived Me of My Dearest Friend Thomas WeelkesPrinceton SingersReincarnations 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Death Hath Deprived MeeThomas WeelkesNoah GreenbergEnglish Medieval and Renaissance SongbookSongbookMORE DETAILS
Deliver us, O LordThomas WeelkesGents16th Century English Choral Music 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Deliver us, O LordThomas WeelkesGentsGentlemen of the Chapel RoyalSACDMORE DETAILS
Four Arms, Two Necks, One WreathingThomas WeelkesKing's SingersEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Give ear, O LordThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Give the king thy judgementsThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Gloria in Excelsis DeoThomas WeelkesBemidji Choir and Chamber SingersLove Like Spring 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Gloria in excelsis DeoThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Grace my lovely ones, fair beauties Thomas WeelkesClough-LeighterThe A Cappella SingerSongbookMORE DETAILS
grace, my love one, fair beautiesThomas WeelkesEgon Kraus (Editor)More European Madrigals For Mixed VoicesSongbookMORE DETAILS
Ha ha! This world doth pass Thomas WeelkesCambridge SingersFlora Gave Me Fairest Flowers 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hark All Ye Lovely SaintsKing's SingersThomas WeelkesKing's SingersEuropean RenaissanceSongbookMORE DETAILS
Hark All ye Lovely SaintsThomas WeelkesPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS
Hark, All Ye Lovely SaintsThomas WeelkesQuink Vocal EnsembleEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hark, All Ye Lovely Saints AboveThomas WeelkesKing's SingersEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hark, all ye lovely saints above Thomas WeelkesCambridge SingersFlora Gave Me Fairest Flowers 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hark, all ye lovely Saints above CantabileThomas WeelkesCantabile - The London QuartetMadrigal to McCartney 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hence Care thou Art too CruelThomas WeelkesPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS
Hence, Care, Thou Are Too Cruel Thomas WeelkesBemidji Choir and Chamber SingersBeneath The Moon 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hosanna to the Son of DavidThomas WeelkesAmerican BoychoirLitton Live! The Farewell Concert 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hosanna to the Son of DavidThomas WeelkesAmerican BoychoirSing 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hosanna To The Son Of DavidThomas WeelkesLionel Pike (Editor)Tudor Anthems - 50 Motets and Anthems for Mixed Voice ChoirSongbookMORE DETAILS
Hosanna to the son of DavidThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Lo! Country SportsThomas WeelkesVarious ComposersTwelve Madrigals for SSA(A)SongbookMORE DETAILS
Lord! When I ThinkThomas WeelkesKing's SingersEnglish Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Lord, to thee I make my moanThomas WeelkesGentsGentlemen of the Chapel RoyalSACDMORE DETAILS
Lord, to thee I make my moanThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Most mighty and all-knowing LordThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
O Care thou wilt Despatch meThomas WeelkesPhilip Ledger (editor)Oxford Book of English MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS
O how amiable are thy dwellingsThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
O Lord how joyful is the King Thomas WeelkesKing's SingersTreason & Discord 1 CDMORE DETAILS
O Lord, ariseThomas WeelkesOxford CamerataWeelkes: Anthems 1 CDMORE DETAILS
O Lord, Arise Into Thy Resting-PlaceThomas WeelkesLionel Pike (Editor)Tudor Anthems - 50 Motets and Anthems for Mixed Voice ChoirSongbookMORE DETAILS
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