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Classical Composers A-Z: Thomas Morley

Peter Wintersgill presents a brief portrait of the composer Thomas Morley, who was one of Shakespeare’s friends.

Born
1557 in Norwich

Childhood
Choirboy in St. Paul's.

Adolescence
Pupil of William Byrd.

Adult Life
Successively organist at Norwich and St. Paul's Cathedrals and Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. Granted an exclusive printing licence by the Queen.

Best remembered for his madrigals, of which he wrote over 100, canzonets and ballets. He was a friend of Shakespeare and set It was a Lover and his Lass from As you like it.

Was also a noted composer of church music, including anthems such as Out of the Deep, Latin motets, psalms and services. His madrigals were collected together in The Triumphs of Oriana (1601). He also wrote A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597).

He died in early October 1602 in London, aged 45.

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