Thomas Morley

Biography

Born: 1557; Norwich, England   Died: October, 1602; London, England  
Thomas Morley, though born the obscure son of a Norwich brewer, rose over the course of his life to centrality in nearly every aspect of Elizabethan musical culture. Though no records of his early training survive, he apparently studied with William Byrd, as the dedication of his theoretical treatise A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597) calls Byrd his "Master." His professional career included service at the Cathedral of Read more Norwich (1583 to July 1587), a Bachelor's degree in Music from Oxford in 1588, service as organist at St. Paul's in London from 1589, and a position as Gentleman of the Chapel Royal as of 1592. From 1593 until his death (apparently in 1602), he presented a total of eleven musical publications - compositions, arrangements, and writings -- which brought him to the forefront of national attention. He may have been friends with Shakespeare.

Many of his own compositions, especially those for the Church, betray the influence of his teacher Byrd. A small number of Latin motets, and a selection of Anglican anthems abound in severe (and well-wrought) counterpoint; three full Anglican services and a setting of the Funeral Sentences, however, display more clarity and simplicity of texture. His keyboard works and consort music demonstrate skill and fluency in an inherited idiom.

The most influential of Morley's varied musical activities was his effort on behalf of the madrigal; indeed, he was a prime force in the adoption of this quintessential Italian form into the world of Elizabethan England. In 1595 he printed a volume, with parallel English and Italian editions, of canzonets and one of balletts, adapting and arranging these lighter Italian pieces by Anerio and Gastoldi to English usage; these were followed by two more anthologies of Italian music in 1597 and 1598. A large number of his own English madrigals were also printed; many of which are artful rearrangements of Italian models, such as Sing we and Chant It, which expands Gastoldi's A lieta vita, while others broach original themes in the style, including his best-known madrigal April is in my Mistress' Face, from the first book of madrigals of 1594. His very last publication, the Triumphs of Orianna (1602), presents a collection of his own and others' madrigals which honor the Queen. Throughout these works, Morley concentrates on lighter forms, avoiding the more "serious" devices of word-painting and chromaticism.

In addition to his work as organist, church composer, madrigalist, editor, and music printer, he assumed the Crown Monopoly on music printing first awarded to Byrd. In 1597 Morley authored a "Practicall" treatise on the notation and composition of music ("that in our vulgar tongue which of all other things hath been in writing least known to our countrymen"). The volume is passionate and quite readable, demonstrating its author's deep researches into the development of music, especially Italian music, and his desire to make his knowledge available to the public. Read less
Vox Virginalis - Byrd, Philips, Bull, Morley / Taylor
Release Date: 08/01/1999   Label: Atma Classique  
Catalog: 2197   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 148 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Emma Kirby - The Complete Recitals [12-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002268802 Release Date: 03/03/2015   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Richard Edwards,  Thomas Campion,  John Dowland,  John Danyel  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Anthony Rooley,  David Thomas,  Trevor [viola da gamba] Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Consort of Musicke,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 2.
    Europaische Chormusik / Eric Ericson, Stockholm Choir
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1158855 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Luigi Dallapiccola,  Ildebrando Pizzetti,  Lars Johan Werle  ... 
    Performer:  Marianne Mellnäs,  Björn Haugen,  Sven-Erik Alexandersson,  Carl-Eric Hellström  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Ericson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Chamber Choir,  Stockholm Radio Chorus,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra members
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  • 3.
    Delightful Companion / Les Gouts-Authentiques
    Label: Aliud   Catalog: 70 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Carr,  Bernardino Lupacchino,  Orlando de Lassus,  Ioan Maria Tasso  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Goűts-Authentiques
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  • 4.
    Vigilate! / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
    Label: Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog: 720 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Philips,  Robert White,  Thomas Tallis,  William Byrd  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
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  • 5.
    Pavans & Fantasies from the Age of Dowland / John Holloway
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002079602 Release Date: 06/03/2014  
    Composer:  John Dowland,  Henry Purcell,  William Lawes,  John Jenkins  ... 
    Performer:  Renate Steinmann,  Monica Baer,  John Holloway,  Susana Hefti  ... 
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  • 6.
    Richardson: Complete Works For Harpsichord  / Glen Wilson
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 572997 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ferdinando Richardson,  Thomas Morley,  Alfonso Ferrabosco,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  Glen Wilson
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  • 7.
    About Time / Tetra Guitar Quartet
    Label: Bgs (British Guitar Society)   Catalog: 124 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Stephen Goss,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roland Dyens  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tetra Guitar Quartet
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  • 8.
    Das Alte Werk - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 46438 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert Tachezi,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frans Brüggen,  Jeannette Van Wingerden  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Werner Ehrhardt,  Giovanni Antonini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Leonhardt Consort,  Studio for Early Music  ... 
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  • 9.
    Heaven & Earth: Pieces From The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
    Label: Satirino   Catalog: 132 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  William Tisdale,  William Byrd,  Ferdinando Richardson  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Weiss
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  • 10.
    Julian Bream - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 546242 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Mateo Pérez de Albeniz,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Peter Pears,  George Malcolm,  John Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Arnold,  Sir Colin Davis,  André Previn,  David Atherton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Julian Bream Consort,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Le Parler Et Le Silence
    Label: Ramee   Catalog: 1206 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bassano,  Luzzasco Luzzaschi,  Gioseffo Guami,  Girolamo Frescobaldi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Attaignant Consort
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    John Dowland & Friends: Lute Songs
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1223 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude de Sermisy,  John Dowland,  Thomas Weelkes,  Thomas Tomkins  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Rooley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Musicke
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  • 14.
    An Immortal Legacy / Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16111 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  Orlando Gibbons,  William Byrd,  James MacMillan  ... 
    Performer:  Neil MacKenzie,  Carys Lane,  Robert [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Evans,  Ian Partridge
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
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  • 15.
    All In A Garden Green - A Renaissance Collection / Toronto Consort
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81515 Release Date: 04/23/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Traditional,  John Playford,  John Bennet  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Jenkins,  Laura Pudwell,  David Fallis,  John Pepper  ... 
    Conductor:  David Fallis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Consort
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  • 16.
    English Royal Funeral Music: Purcell, Morley, Tomkins
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 332 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Thomas Morley,  Thomas Tomkins,  Thomas Weelkes
    Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Luminis
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  • 17.
    Made Of Melting Snow - Elizabethan Consort Songs / Rayuela
    Label: Etcetera Records   Catalog: 1909 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Robert Johnson,  Thomas Morley,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Lauren Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rayuela
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  • 18.
    Thomas Morley: Madrigals And Canzonetta For 2-5 Voices
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012078 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Morley
    Performer:  Nina Fischer,  Marie Bo,  Christian [Tenor Vocal] Hauskov,  Peter Lindeman [Bass Vocal] Jorgensen  ... 
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  • 19.
    Renaissance & Danses Baroques
    Label: Loreley   Catalog: 49 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pierre Phalčse,  Pierre Attaingnant,  Pierre Certon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Barok Ensemble
    On sale! $24.98
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Monteverdi & His Contemporaries - Madrigals / Gardiner
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1035 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Carlo Gesualdo,  John Wilbye,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir
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  • 22.
    The Voice Of Peter Pears
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1393 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Ford,  John Dowland,  Thomas Morley,  Philip Rosseter  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Peter Pears,  Benjamin Britten
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  • 23.
    Ah Vita Bella!
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 5637953891 Release Date: 08/23/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Orazio Vecchi,  Francesco Patavino,  Pierre Certon,  Thomas Ford  ... 
    Performer:  Serenata of London,  Melissa Kelly,  Colleen Russell,  Dan Morgan
    Conductor:  Roxanne Dungereaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Serenata
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  • 24.
    Harpsichord Music From England, Spain And Portugal / Ruzickova
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4118 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Dowland,  Ferdinando Richardson,  Anonymous,  John Bull  ... 
    Performer:  Zuzana Ruzicková
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  • 25.
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 224 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Ford,  Philip Rosseter,  John Dowland,  Thomas Morley  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Peter Pears,  Benjamin Britten
    On sale! $23.98
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Thomas Morley


MOST POPULAR WORKS
- I know that my Redeemer liveth - We brought nothing into this world
I am the resurrection: Man that is born of a woman - In the midst of life - Thou knowest, Lord, Z. 58C
I heard a voice from heaven
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Dowland - The Frog Galliard, P. 23
Sola Soletta
Balowe
- I know that my Redeemer liveth - We brought nothing into this world
I am the resurrection: Man that is born of a woman - In the midst of life - Thou knowest, Lord, Z. 58C
I heard a voice from heaven