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Classical Composers A-Z: John Wilbye

Peter Wintersgill tells something of John Wilbye, a composer of madrigals.

Born
7th March, 1574, in Diss, Norfolk.

Adult Life
Musician to the Kitson family at Hengrave Hall, near Bury St. Edmunds from 1593 till his retirement to Colchester in 1628.

Although he wrote a few motets, his main claim to fame was as a composer of madrigals. He wrote two books of them in 1598 and 1609. His madrigals were some of the finest ever written, and include, Adieu, Sweet Amaryllis, Draw on Sweet Night, Sweet Honey-Sucking Bees, and Weep, Weep Mine Eyes.

He had a gift for matching the words to the music. A few of his sacred vocal and instrumental pieces also survive.

He died in September 1638 in Colchester, aged 64.

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