Orlando Gibbons

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Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) English composer and organist, came from a musical family. In 1603 he was appointed senior organist at the Chapel Royal of James I and official virginal player for the king himself. In the last year of his life he was appointed organist at Westminster Abbey.

He was acknowledged in his day as the finest keyboard exponent in the kingdom. These days his fame is assured as one of the major contributors to the repertory of the Anglican liturgy, with fine anthems and services still constantly performed. His sacred music is usually dignified and contrapuntally secure. He is also noted for his contributions to the English madrigal and consort music and the writer of songs and keyboard pieces of some refinement. There are many pieces, still performed today, that show his ability to express colour and mood and match music to texts.

He died during an apoplectic fit whilst on duty with the Chapel Royal musicians greeting Charles I’s new bride in 1625 and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. He was only 41.

External link: http://www.naxos.com/person/Orlando_Gibbons/27208.htm