‘Music for Severall Friends’
2022 marks significant birthdays of two important British composers: Thomas Tomkins (b.1572) and Matthew Locke (b.1622). Tomkins is best known for his Anglican church music and Locke for his dramatic works, but both wrote prolifically for viol consort and for keyboard. Tomkins was conservative in outlook, his music connecting back to the heyday of Tudor fantasias and In nomines; Locke was more radical, with strangely angular melodies and unexpected harmonies. Tomkins’ keyboard music is often melancholy, reflecting the ‘distracted times’ in which he lived; Locke’s is thoroughly up-to-date in his use of baroque dance suites to please a 17th-century audience. Two very distinct composers, connected by a strong national musical tradition.
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