In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
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.
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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.
Displaying 1-50 of 83 items.
|Song Name||Arranger||Composer||Artist||Recording Title||Format|
|A remembrance of my friend Thomas Morley||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All At Once Well Met||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||English Madrigals||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All laud and praise||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All People Clap Your Hands||Thomas Weelkes||Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus||Heaven Hath A Song||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|All people clap your hands||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Alleluia, I heard a voice||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|As Vest Was from Latmos Hill Descending||King Singers||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||English Renaissance||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|As Vesta Was||Thomas Weelkes||Philip Ledger (editor)||Oxford Book of English Madrigals||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|As Vesta was from Latmos hill descending||Thomas Weelkes||Cambridge Singers||Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending||Thomas Weelkes||Cambridge Singers||Old English Madrigals & Folk Songs||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|As Vesta was from Latmos hill descending||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||Triumph Of Oriana||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|As Vestas||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||From Byrd to the Beatles||DVD||MORE DETAILS|
|Aye Me, Hey Ho||Jerry Weseley Harris||Thomas Weelkes||Jerry Weseley Harris (arranged by)||Renaissance Pieces for Women's Voices||Sheet Music||MORE DETAILS|
|Come Sirrah Jack Ho!||Thomas Weelkes||Philip Ledger (editor)||Oxford Book of English Madrigals||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Come, Sirrah Jack, Ho!||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||English Madrigals||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Death hath deprived me||Thomas Weelkes||Cambridge Singers||Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Death Hath Deprived Me of My Dearest Friend||Thomas Weelkes||Princeton Singers||Reincarnations||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Death Hath Deprived Mee||Thomas Weelkes||Noah Greenberg||English Medieval and Renaissance Songbook||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Deliver us, O Lord||Thomas Weelkes||Gents||16th Century English Choral Music||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Deliver us, O Lord||Thomas Weelkes||Gents||Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal||SACD||MORE DETAILS|
|Four Arms, Two Necks, One Wreathing||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||English Madrigals||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Give ear, O Lord||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Give the king thy judgements||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Gloria in Excelsis Deo||Thomas Weelkes||Bemidji Choir and Chamber Singers||Love Like Spring||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Gloria in excelsis Deo||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Grace my lovely ones, fair beauties||Thomas Weelkes||Clough-Leighter||The A Cappella Singer||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|grace, my love one, fair beauties||Thomas Weelkes||Egon Kraus (Editor)||More European Madrigals For Mixed Voices||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Ha ha! This world doth pass||Thomas Weelkes||Cambridge Singers||Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hark All Ye Lovely Saints||King's Singers||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||European Renaissance||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Hark All ye Lovely Saints||Thomas Weelkes||Philip Ledger (editor)||Oxford Book of English Madrigals||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Hark, All Ye Lovely Saints||Thomas Weelkes||Quink Vocal Ensemble||English Madrigals||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hark, All Ye Lovely Saints Above||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||English Madrigals||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hark, all ye lovely saints above||Thomas Weelkes||Cambridge Singers||Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hark, all ye lovely Saints above||Cantabile||Thomas Weelkes||Cantabile - The London Quartet||Madrigal to McCartney||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hence Care thou Art too Cruel||Thomas Weelkes||Philip Ledger (editor)||Oxford Book of English Madrigals||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Hence, Care, Thou Are Too Cruel||Thomas Weelkes||Bemidji Choir and Chamber Singers||Beneath The Moon||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hosanna to the Son of David||Thomas Weelkes||American Boychoir||Litton Live! The Farewell Concert||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hosanna to the Son of David||Thomas Weelkes||American Boychoir||Sing||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Hosanna To The Son Of David||Thomas Weelkes||Lionel Pike (Editor)||Tudor Anthems - 50 Motets and Anthems for Mixed Voice Choir||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Hosanna to the son of David||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Lo! Country Sports||Thomas Weelkes||Various Composers||Twelve Madrigals for SSA(A)||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|Lord! When I Think||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||English Madrigals||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Lord, to thee I make my moan||Thomas Weelkes||Gents||Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal||SACD||MORE DETAILS|
|Lord, to thee I make my moan||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|Most mighty and all-knowing Lord||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|O Care thou wilt Despatch me||Thomas Weelkes||Philip Ledger (editor)||Oxford Book of English Madrigals||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|
|O how amiable are thy dwellings||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|O Lord how joyful is the King||Thomas Weelkes||King's Singers||Treason & Discord||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|O Lord, arise||Thomas Weelkes||Oxford Camerata||Weelkes: Anthems||1 CD||MORE DETAILS|
|O Lord, Arise Into Thy Resting-Place||Thomas Weelkes||Lionel Pike (Editor)||Tudor Anthems - 50 Motets and Anthems for Mixed Voice Choir||Songbook||MORE DETAILS|