Thomas Morley

Mixed chorus
For beginners
by alphabet
Now Is the Month of MayingApril is in my mistress' faceAire for 3 ViolsA Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical MusicCanzonets to Two VoicesBalletts to Five Voyces, Book 1Canzonets to Three VoicesSing We and Chaunt ItFantasie à 2 'Il Doloroso'Fire! Fire!Ayres or Little Short Songs, Book 1Fantasie à 2 'La Girandola'It Was a Lover and His LassFantasie à 2 'Il Grillo'Fantasie à 2 'Il Lamento'Sweet Nymph Come to Thy LoverFantasie à 2 'Il Rondinella'Blow, Shepherds, BlowFantasie à 2 'La Caccia'Fantasie à 2 'La Sirena'Fantasie à 2 'La Torello'My bonny lass she smilethArise, Get up My DeereFantasie à 2 'La Sampogna'Phillis I Fain would Die NowSee, See, Myne Own Sweet JewellYou That Won't, to My Pipe's SoundDoe You Not KnowJoy, Joy doth so AriseCease Myne EyesDeep Lamenting, Grief BetrayingFarewell, DisdainfullLadie, Those EyesGod Morrow, Fayre LadiesNolo mortem peccatorisGo Ye My CanzonetsNow Must I DyeClorinda FalseCrewell You Pull Away to SooneHould Out, My HartFantasia for Keyboard, FVB 124Lady, if I through GriefeO Flye Not, O Take Some PittieWhere Art Thou, WantonWhat Ayles My DarlingWhether awaie so FastSay Deere, Will You Not Have MeCanzonets or Little Short Aers to Five and Sixe VoicesThirsis, Let Some Pittie Move TheeLo, She FliesHard by a Crystal FountainLaboravi in gemituComme lovers follow meBesides a fountainI will no more come to theeSince My Tears and LamentingSay Gentle NymphsGoe from my window, FVB 9Pavana & Galliarda, FVB 169-170Nancie, FVB 12Pavana & Galiarda, FVB 153-154Alman, FVB 152About the may-pole newAria a quattroArise, AwakeConsort Lessons, Book 1Dainty Fine Sweet NymphEheu! Sustulerunt DominumFire and Lightning from HeavenFlora wilt Thou Torment Me?I am the Resurrection and the LifeI Go before My DarlingI Love, alas, I Love TheeI Saw My Lovely PhillisI Should for Grief and AnguishIn Nets of Golden WireLa Volta, FVB 159Leave Alas! This TormentingLeave now, Mine EyesLo, here another LoveLove Learnes by LaughingMadrigals to 4 voyces, Book 1Madrigals to 5 voycesMi sfidate guerreraMiraculous Love's WoundingNo, No, NigellaO Sleep, Fond FancyO Thou that art so CruelOut of the DeepPavan and Galliard for 5 ViolsShoot, False Love, I Care NotSinging AloneSpringtime Manteleth Every BoughThe Triumphes of OrianaThis Love is but a Wanton FitThus Saith My GalateaWhat Saith My Daintie Darling?When Lo by Break of MorningThough Philomena Lost Her Love
Thomas Morley (1557 or 1558 – early October 1602) was an English composer, theorist, singer and organist of the Renaissance. He was one of the foremost members of the English Madrigal School. Referring to the strong Italian influence on the English madrigal, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians states that Morley was "chiefly responsible for grafting the Italian shoot on to the native stock and initiating the curiously brief but brilliant flowering of the madrigal that constitutes one of the most colourful episodes in the history of English music."
Living in London at the same time as Shakespeare, Morley was the most famous composer of secular music in Elizabethan England. He and Robert Johnson are the composers of the only surviving contemporary settings of verse by Shakespeare.
Morley was active in church music as a singer, composer and organist at St Paul's Cathedral. He was also involved in music publishing. From 1598 up to his death he held a printing patent (a type of monopoly). He used the monopoly in partnership with professional music printers such as Thomas East.
Morley was born in Norwich, the son of a brewer. Most likely he was a singer in the local cathedral from his boyhood, and he became master of choristers there in 1583. However, it is assumed that Morley moved from Norwich Cathedral sometime before 1574 to be a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral. He was working as a singer in London in the 1570s and appears to have studied with William Byrd at that time who was his mentor, who also taught contemporary Peter Philips. While the dates he studied with Byrd are not known, they were most likely in the early 1570s. In his 1597 publication A Plain and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, Morley mentions Byrd as his mentor. In 1588 he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Oxford, and shortly thereafter was employed as organist at St. Paul's in London. His young son died the following year in 1589. He and his wife Susan had three children between 1596 and 1600. He may have been a Roman Catholic, like Byrd. He was able to avoid prosecution as a recusant, and there is evidence that he may have been an informer on the activities of Roman Catholics.
In 1588 Nicholas Yonge published his Musica transalpina, the collection of Italian madrigals fitted with English texts, which touched off the explosive and colourful vogue for madrigal composition in England. Morley found his compositional direction at this time, and shortly afterwards began publishing his own collections of madrigals (11 in all).
Morley lived for a time in the same parish as Shakespeare, and a connection between the two has been long speculated, but never proven. His famous setting of "It was a lover and his lass" from As You Like It has never been established as having been used in a performance of Shakespeare's play during the playwright's lifetime. However, given that the song was published in 1600, there is evidently a possibility that it was used in stage performances.
While Morley attempted to imitate the spirit of Byrd in some of his early sacred works, it was in the form of the madrigal that he made his principal contribution to music history. His work in the genre has remained in the repertory to the present day, and shows a wider variety of emotional color, form and technique than anything by other composers of the period. Usually his madrigals are light, quick-moving and easily singable, like his well-known "Now is the Month of Maying" (which is actually a ballett); he took the aspects of Italian style that suited his personality and anglicised them. Other composers of the English Madrigal School, for instance Thomas Weelkes and John Wilbye, were to write madrigals in a more serious or sombre vein.
In addition to his madrigals, Morley wrote instrumental music, including keyboard music (some of which has been preserved in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book), and music for the broken consort, a uniquely English ensemble of two viols, flute, lute, cittern and bandora, notably as published by William Barley in 1599 in The First Booke of Consort Lessons, made by diuers exquisite Authors, for six Instruments to play together, the Treble Lute, the Bandora, the Cittern, the Base-Violl, the Flute & Treble-Violl.
Morley's Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (published 1597) remained popular for almost two hundred years after its author's death, and is still an important reference for information about sixteenth century composition and performance.
Thomas Morley was buried in the graveyard of the church of St Botolph Billingsgate, which was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, and not rebuilt. Thus his grave is lost.
Thomas Morley's compositions include (in alphabetical order):