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Voluntary in A Minor

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (06/16/18)
Composer: Gibbons, Orlando, arr. West, John
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Baroque alla English Romantic
Orlando Gibbons (baptised 25 December 1583 – 5 June 1625) was an English composer, virginalist and organist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periodsHe was a leading composer in England in the early 17th century. He was born in 1583 (most likely in December) and baptized on Christmas Day at Oxford, where his father William Gibbons was working as a wait. Between 1596 and 1598 he sang in the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, where his brother Edward Gibbons (1568–1650), eldest of William's four sons, was master of the choristers. The second brother, Ellis Gibbons (1573–1603), was also a promising composer, but died young. Orlando entered the university as a sizar in 1598 and achieved the degree of Bachelor of Music in 1606.[4] That same year he married Elizabeth Patten, daughter of a Yeoman of the Vestry, and they went on to have seven children (Gibbons himself was the seventh of 10 children).

King James I appointed him a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, where he served as an organist from at least 1615 until his death. In 1623 he became senior organist at the Chapel Royal, with Thomas Tomkins as junior organist. He also held positions as keyboard player in the privy chamber of the court of Prince Charles (later King Charles I), and organist at Westminster Abbey. He died at age 41 in Canterbury of apoplexy, and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral.

I thought it would be very interesting to hear these two pieces played, not as Gibbons might have played them, but rather in full, English romantic style. The registrations used reflect much more of the 19th century than the 17th or 18th century, but even with this arrangement, the music is effective and "hangs together." The "mournfully sweet" diapasons of the Great are prominent in this piece.

The score is attached below, as well as painting of Orlando Gibbons, the monument to him erected in Canterbury Cathedral, and a photo of John E. West, the arranger of the piece.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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