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Orlando Gibbons (1583 - 1625)


 Born in Oxford, december 1583; died in Canterbury, on June 5, 1625. Born in a musician family, he was one of the greatest characters of 17th century English music. His father and two of his brothers were also good musicians, and his son Christopher (1615-1676) hold the position of Royal Chapel organist. Gibbons grew up as a member of Cambridge King's College Choir, where we can assume he received his musical education. After a short stay at the University, he obtained the coveted position of Royal Chapel organist, which he held until his death.

He accumulated other honors: doctor of Oxford University, Westminster Abbey organist from 1623, and organizer of royal ceremonies and funerals. During one of these ceremonies, celebrating the accession of Charles I of England, he suffered a heart attack and passed away. Although less prolific than other composers of his time, Gibbons used a great variety of styles and shapes of compositions (anthems for Anglican services, chamber music, compositions for viols, virginal and harpsichord...). He is seen as one of the 'romantic' genius of his time. The 20th century pianist Glenn Gould held him into high consideration, calling him the greatest of all composers, and recorded a number of his keyboard pieces.



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