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date: 15 July 2020

Weelkes, Thomaslocked

  • David Brown


(b ?Elsted, Sussex, bap. ?Oct 25, 1576; d London, bur. Dec 1, 1623). English composer. He was one of the most gifted of the madrigalists, and a major composer of English church music.

Strong circumstantial evidence suggests that Weelkes was the son of John Weeke, rector of Elsted. The earliest known fact concerning Weelkes is the publication of his first volume of madrigals in 1597, the preface of which reveals that he was a very young man at the time of their composition; this seems to confirm that he was born in the middle or later 1570s. By 1597 he had enjoyed the ‘undeserved love, and liberall good will’ of George Phillpot, who lived at Compton, near Winchester. He also passed some time in the service of the courtier Edward Darcye before being appointed, towards the end of 1598, organist of Winchester College at a salary of 13s. 4d. a quarter, with board and lodging. He remained at the college for three or four years, and during this period composed his finest madrigals. These appeared in two volumes (...

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