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Thomas Tomkins

1572 - June 9, 1656
born in St. David's, Pembrokeshire, England, composed during the Baroque period
Thomas Tomkins was a Renaissance English composer known primarily for his virginal music and sacred music. A somewhat conservative composer, his substantial surviving music includes liturgical music, Anglican anthems, madrigals, and varied keyboard and consort works.

Tomkins was born into a musical family. His father, also named Thomas, was a vicar-choral of the Cathedral of St. David's, and his siblings became, variously, a composer (John), an organist (Giles) and a consort musician (Robert). He was, like Robert Morley, a student of Byrd and his master's style of music continued to influence his music all his life. Around 1596, he succeeded Nathaniel Patrick as organist to Worcester Cathedral, a post that he retained for most of his life. By 1620, he was full member of the Chapel Royal, and it appears that he divided his time between Worcester and London. In 1621, he became organist to the Chapel Royal, a very prestigious post, which he held jointly with Orlando Gibbons. He was nominated for the position of Composer of the Kings Music in 1628, but lost out to Alfonso Ferrabosco.

After 1628, he appears to have spent more time in Worcester. With the pre-civil war unrest, clashes between the radical Worcesterians and the more conservative Cathedral clergy grew nasty. Upon the outbreak of active civil war, roundheads attached the Cathedral and the organ dismantled in 1646. Tomkins, however, stayed in Worcester near the cathedral for another eight years before moving to the town of Martin Hussingtree, where his son Nathaniel lived. He died two years later.

Tomkins was the last of the school of English composers in the mold of Byrd. He continued to write in this style long after it was outdated and (relatively) unfashionable. His great collection of madrigals, for example, was his Songs of 3, 4, 5, and 6 Parts published in 1622. This collection comprised madrigals of a surprisingly outdated style, all of them belonging to the era prima prattica rather than the newer seconda. His large number of anthems fared somewhat better. His instrumental music, while also old-fashioned for the time, is compositionally sound and contains some very inventive work.

This clinging to older practices perhaps accounts for Tomkins' rather confused position in music history. Some scholars praise him as a genius. Some damn him as a dilettante. The truth, however, lies between these two extremes. He was simply a talented, if highly conservative composer, who wrote in a style that obviously pleased himself rather than the dictates of fashion. ~ David Cashman, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Thomas Tomkins: Choral & Organ Music

Title: Great And Marvellous Are Thy Works, For Chorus & Organ

1. Great And Marvellous Are Thy Works, For Chorus & Organ: Great And Mavellous Are Thy Works

Title: My Shepherd Is The Living Lord, For 2 To 4 Voices & Organ

2. My Shepherd Is The Living Lord, For 2 To 4 Voices & Organ: My Shepherd Is The Living Lord

Title: Fifth Service

3. Fifth Service: Magnificat

4. Fifth Service: Nunc Dimittis

Title: Voluntary For Keyboard

5. Voluntary For Keyboard: Voluntary

Title: Funeral Sentences

6. Funeral Sentences: Funeral Sentences

Title: Pavane And Galliard, Earl Strafford, For Harpsichord

7. Pavane And Galliard, Earl Strafford, For Harpsichord: Pavan And Galliard

Title: Arise, O Lord, Into Thy Resting Place

8. Arise, O Lord, Into Thy Resting Place: Arise, O Lord God, Lift Up Thine Hand

Title: Above The Stars My Saviour Dwells, For 1 To 6 Voices & Organ

9. Above The Stars My Saviour Dwells, For 1 To 6 Voices & Organ: Above The Stars My Saviour Dwells

Title: When David Heard That Absalom Was Slain, For 5 Voices

10. When David Heard That Absalom Was Slain, For 5 Voices: When David Heard

Title: Sad Pavan, For Organ

11. Sad Pavan, For Organ: A Sad Pavan For These Distracted Times

Title: Then David Mourned, For 5 Voices & Organ

12. Then David Mourned, For 5 Voices & Organ: Then David Mourned With His Lamentation

Title: Behold, The Hour Cometh, For 3 To 4 Voices & Organ

13. Behold, The Hour Cometh, For 3 To 4 Voices & Organ: Behold, The Hour Cometh And Now Is

Title: Almighty God, The Fountain Of All Wisdom, For 5 Voices & Organ

14. Almighty God, The Fountain Of All Wisdom, For 5 Voices & Organ: Almighty God, The Fountain Of All Wisdom

Title: O Sing Unto The Lord A New Song, For 7 Voices & Organ

15. O Sing Unto The Lord A New Song, For 7 Voices & Organ: O Sing Unto The Lord A New Song

x

Track List: Tomkins: Consort Music for Viols and Voices; Keyboard Music

1. Pavane For 4 Viols In F Major: Pavan In F Major (4 Viols)

2. Almain In F Major, For 4 Viols: Almain In F Major

3. In Nomine, For Organ: In Nomine

4. Above The Stars My Saviour Dwells, For 1 To 6 Voices & Organ: Above The Stars My Saviour Dwells

5. Fantasia No 14, For 3 Viols: Fantasia XIV (3 Viols)

6. Fantasia No 1, For 3 Viols: Fantasia I (3 Viols)

7. A Fancy "for Two To Play" In A Minor, For Organ Four Hands: For Two To Play (Harpsichord)

8. Ut Re Mi, Hexachord Fantasia For 4 Viols: IV. Viols)

9. O Lord, Let Me Know Mine End, Verse Anthem: V. Viols, 5 Voices)

10. Fantasia No 12, For 3 Viols: Fantasia XII (3 Viols)

11. In Nomine Ll, For 3 Viols: In Nomine II (3 Viols)

12. Pavane And Galliard, Earl Strafford, For Harpsichord: Pavan And Galliard

13. Work(s): [Unspecified] Fantasia

14. Miserere, For Organ: Miserere

15. Voluntary For Keyboard: Voluntary

16. Pavane For 5 Viols & Organ In A Minor: Pavan In A Minor (5 Viols, Organ)

17. Galliard, Thomas Simpson, For 5 Viols & Organ: V. Viols, Organ)

18. Thou Art My King, O God, Verse Anthem For 5 Viols & 5 Voices: V. Viols, 5 Voices)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
rhondat71
.Handal water music
Report as inappropriate
O wonderful!
Report as inappropriate
tchitcherine
Wales is not now part of England. It is, though, part of Great Britain and the United Kingdom.
Report as inappropriate
ackerbex3
But in the 1600's, as now, Wales is part of England.
Report as inappropriate
lexleder
I believe Pembrokeshir e is in Wales, not England.

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