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Gibbons, Orlando

Gibbons, Orlando (1583–1625). Jacobean composer and keyboard player who contributed to most musical genres of the time. A chorister at King's College, Cambridge, in 1596, by 1605 Gibbons was a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, later serving as joint organist. He was also organist at Westminster abbey from 1623. Gibbons's madrigals favoured the serious approach of the moralistic ‘Silver Swan’: ‘More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.’ His Anglican church music includes full anthems such as the exuberant ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, but his most significant contribution was to the verse anthem. These works, including the popular ‘This is the Record of John’, alternate sections for soloist/s and organ or instrumental consort with choral passages. Gibbons's instrumental fantasias display the same skilful counterpoint, and in his day he was chiefly famous as an organist and virginalist, being described by one listener as ‘the best finger of that age’.

Eric Cross

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Gibbons, Orlando

Gibbons, Orlando (b Oxford, 1583; d Canterbury, 1625). Eng. composer, organist, and virginalist. Entered choir of King's Coll., Cambridge, 1596. Org., Chapel Royal from 1604. MusB Cambridge Univ. 1606, DMus Oxford 1622. Chamber musician to King, 1619, org. Westminster Abbey from 1623. Composer of noble church mus., incl. many anthems (e.g. This is the Record of John), motets and madrigals (e.g. The Silver Swan), 40 kbd. pieces, incl. contribution to Parthenia, 30 fantasies for viols, several pavans and galliards, and 3 In nomines. One of the greatest of the early Eng. composers. His father, William, brothers Edward, Ellis, and Ferdinando, and son Christopher Gibbons were musicians.

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Gibbons, Orlando

Orlando Gibbons, 1583–1625, English organist and composer. He became organist of the Chapel Royal about 1603, court virginalist in 1619, and organist at Westminster Abbey in 1623. His compositions include English anthems and services, consort and keyboard music, and madrigals. His brothers, Edward Gibbons (1568–c.1650), who was his teacher, and Ellis Gibbons (1573–1603), were also composers. Only a few pieces of their works survive. His son Christopher Gibbons (1615–76) was organist of Westminster Abbey and left some anthems and string compositions.

See E. H. Fellowes, Orlando Gibbons and His Family (2d ed. 1952).

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Gibbons, Orlando

Gibbons, Orlando (1583–1625) English composer. He wrote viol fantasies and madrigals, such as The Silver Swanne. A master of polyphony, he composed mostly church music.

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