Thursday, July 16, 2009
Now Is The Month Of Maying by Thomas Morley
Sung by The King's Singers. To be performed by The Washington Collegium under the direction of Benjamin Hansen at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington DC on this Sunday, the 19th of July, at 7:30 PM.
When we speak of English Madrigals, we speak of Thomas Morley before anyone else. At a time and place in which Tallis and Byrd reigned supreme among composers of sacred music, Thomas Morley was undisputed master of secular English music in an era that teemed with masters.
(April Is In My Mistress Face as sung by The Hilliard Ensemble)
His contemporaries regarded him as an extremely affable man, and such a temperament seems to be reflected in his music. His madrigals are lighter in spirit than many of his contemporaries like Weelkes, John Willbye, and John Dowland. had many connections to other famous artists of the period. Not only is it documented that he studied with William Byrd, not only did Thomas Weelkes compose a madrigal in commemoration of his death, but it has often been speculated that Thomas Morley was a friend of William Shakespeare's. They belonged to the same Anglican parish in Stratford and it is documented that Morley's setting of "It Was A Lover And His Lass" was employed for a production of As You Like It.
(the great Robert Tear and the legendary Julian Bream perform Morley's setting of "It Was A Lover And His Lass")