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John Taverner

Biography

Born: 1490; South Lincolnshire, England   Died: October 18, 1545; Boston, Lincolnshire, England  
John Taverner is considered the most important figure in English music of his time. His compositions exist in about 30 manuscripts that were copied over about a 100-year period, beginning around the late 1520s. It is believed that many of his works were lost; a good many others survive but in partial form, such as the Masses Mater Christi and Small Devotion, and the smaller-scale antiphons Ave Maria and Sub tuum praesidium. It is generally Read more accepted that Taverner's three (six-part) Festal Masses (Corona spinea, Gloria tibi Trinitas, and O Michael) rank with the greatest works of their kind up to that time. Taverner's contribution to the genre of the votive antiphon was also considerable, with Ave Dei patris filia, Gaude plurimum, and O splendor gloriae being among the most important.

Taverner was born most likely in south Lincolnshire, perhaps in the vicinity of Boston or Tattershall, around 1490. Nothing is known of his parents or early years. Some of his compositions -- Ave Dei patris filia and Gaude plurimum -- were discovered among manuscripts of Henry VIII, and there is evidence to suggest that they were written for the Chapel Royal. There is also ample reason to believe these compositions date from 1515-1525, the period during which some therefore believe he lived in London. It may thus be speculated with some good reason that the composer spent some time in London in the early part of the sixteenth century.

In 1524, Taverner became a clerk-fellow of the collegiate church choir of Tattershall. In November 1526, he took on the post of Master of Choristers at Cardinal College, Oxford. The composer wrote a number of works during his Oxford years, including his three Festal Masses, the Mass Sancti Wilhelmi, and Jesu Christe pastor, a votive antiphon. In fact, during this period and the Tattershall years that immediately preceded it -- that is, the period from 1520-1530 -- it is believed that Taverner composed the bulk of his music.

In 1527, Taverner became entangled in a scandal involving the dissident religionist John Clark, who was proselytizing for Lutheran theological ideas. It is believed that Taverner was ultimately exonerated of all charges, but he left the College in April 1530 anyway, owing to its decline following the English Reformation.

Taverner's whereabouts and activities over the next six years are unknown. He is mentioned among the new members of 1537 for the Corpus Christi Gild in Boston, Lincolnshire. The Gild listed the composer as having a wife when he was admitted to membership. Her name was Rose Parrowe, a widow from Boston, with two daughters.

In 1538, Taverner took on the position as agent for the Crown when he began working for Thomas Cromwell. Many music historians have depicted the composer's role during this period as that of a fanatic bent on the demise of various religious congregations and orders, owing to their loyalty to Rome. It appears, however, that Taverner was a compassionate advocate on behalf of those targeted by Cromwell to surrender possessions to the Monarchy. In January 1539, he wrote Cromwell a letter beseeching him to forego further efforts at forcing divestiture of the holdings of many of the religious houses in Boston. In 1540, he resigned from his duties as a Crown agent. The following year, Taverner became treasurer of the Corpus Christi Gild, remaining in that role for at least three years, after which Gild records ceased. In 1545, Boston became a borough, and Taverner served as an alderman there. Read less
Hail, Gladdening Light / John Rutter, Cambridge Singers
Release Date: 12/05/1991   Label: Collegium Records  
Catalog: 113   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 54 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Taverner: Missa
    Label: Gimell   Catalog: 45 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Taverner
    Conductor:  Peter Phillips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tallis Scholars
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  • 2.
    The Phoenix Rising / Stile Antico
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807572 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Orlando Gibbons,  Thomas Morley,  Thomas Tallis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
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  • 3.
    Frans Bruggen Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 65836 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Francesco Barsanti,  Francesco Maria Veracini  ... 
    Performer:  Frans Brüggen,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Anner Bylsma,  Alda Stuurop  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brüggen-Consort
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  • 4.
    The Glory Of New College
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2091 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Taverner,  William Byrd,  Thomas Tallis,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir
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  • 5.
    Passion & Resurrection / Stile Antico
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807555 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Cornysh,  Orlando Gibbons,  Thomas Tallis,  Orlando de Lassus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
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  • 6.
    Tune thy Musicke to thy Hart / Stile Antico
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807554 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Tomkins,  John Amner,  John Taverner,  Robert Ramsey  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico,  Fretwork
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  • 7.
    Taverner: Imperatrix Inferi - Votive Antiphons & Ritual Music / Alamire
    Label: Obsidian Records   Catalog: 707 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Taverner
    Conductor:  David Skinner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire
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  • 8.
    Treasures Of Christ Church / Darlington, Choir Of Christ Church Cathedral
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2215 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Darlington,  John Rutter,  Howard Goodall,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Darlington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Christ Church Cathedral Choir
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  • 9.
    A Golden Treasury Of Medieval Music / Sine Nomine Ensemble
    Label: Amon Ra   Catalog: 63 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfons X (El Sabio),  Anonymous,  Hildegard of Bingen,  Gilles Binchois  ... 
    Performer:  Bryan Martin,  Jay Lambie,  Randall Rosenfeld,  Andrea Budgey  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sine Nomine Ensemble
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  • 10.
    In Nomine - English Music For Viols / Fretwork
    Label: Amon Ra   Catalog: 29 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Johnson,  Alfonso Ferrabosco,  Thomas Tallis,  Robert Parsons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
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  • 11.
    Puer Natus Est / Stile Antico
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807517 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Anonymous,  Robert White,  John Taverner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stile Antico
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  • 12.
    Golden Age Of English Polyphony / Harry Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 44401 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  William Mundy,  John Sheppard,  John Taverner,  Robert Fayrfax
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
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  • 13.
    Psallite! - A Renaissance Christmas / Chanticleer
    Label: Chanticleer Records   Catalog: 8806 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz,  Giovanni Maria Nanino,  Gerónimo González,  John Taverner  ... 
    Performer:  Mitchell Sandler,  Ted Bakkila,  Neal Rogers,  Terry Larsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Botto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chanticleer
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  • 14.
    Choral Masterpieces Of The English Renaissance
    Label: Crd Records   Catalog: 5007 Release Date: 05/01/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  John Taverner
    Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir
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  • 15.
    English Cathedral Classics
    Label: Crd Records   Catalog: 3507 Release Date: 05/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Samuel Sebastian Wesley,  Maurice Greene,  William Boyce  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir
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  • 16.
    Label: Crd Records   Catalog: 3372 Release Date: 05/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  John Taverner
    Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir
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  • 17.
    Henry's Music - Motets, Songs / Alamire, Lawrence-King, QuintEssential
    Label: Obsidian Records   Catalog: 705 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Fayrfax,  King VIII Henry,  Phillippe Verdelot,  Jacotin  ... 
    Performer:  Clare Wilkinson,  Andrew Lawrence-King
    Conductor:  David Skinner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alamire,  QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornet Ensemble
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  • 18.
    Taverner & Tudor Music Vol 2 / Hillier, Ars Nova Copenhagen
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226056 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Robert Fayrfax,  John Taverner,  Robert White  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Nova Copenhagen
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  • 19.
    Tudor Church Music Vol 1 / Phillips, Tallis Scholars
    Label: Gimell   Catalog: 209 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  William Cornysh,  John Taverner,  John Browne,  Christopher Tye
    Conductor:  Peter Phillips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tallis Scholars
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  • 20.
    Taverner: Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas / Darlington, Et Al
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2123 Release Date: 09/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Taverner
    Conductor:  Stephen Darlington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Christ Church Cathedral Choir
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  • 21.
    Discover - Choral Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8558198 Release Date: 08/28/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Arvo Pärt,  Benjamin Britten,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Hervé Niquet,  Jeremy Summerly,  Wolfgang Helbich,  Vittorio Zanon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel,  Oxford Camerata,  I Febiarmonici  ... 
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  • 22.
    Easter On Fifth Avenue - Rutter, Etc / St. Thomas Church
    Label: Pro Organo   Catalog: 7209 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  William Byrd,  Eugene Gigout,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Lane,  Jeremy S. Bruns
    Conductor:  John Scott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Thomas Men and Boy's Choir,  St. Thomas Brass
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  • 23.
    Choral Evensong - Rutter, Et Al / Hereford Cathedral Choir
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 5022 Release Date: 01/02/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bernard Rose,  Ronald Foster,  Alistair Macpherson,  A. Gregory Murray  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Hayes,  David Briggs,  Paul Brophy
    Conductor:  Roy Massey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hereford Cathedral Choir
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  • 24.
    Renaissance Giants / The Tallis Scholars
    Label: Gimell   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  John Taverner,  Josquin Des Préz,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Phillips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tallis Scholars
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  • 25.
    Taverner: The Western Wind / Hillier, Ars Nova
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226050 Release Date: 09/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Taverner,  William Cornysh,  Anonymous,  Sheryngham  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Nova Copenhagen
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