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Taverner, John


Tudor organist and composer of Masses and motets;b. Tattershall?, England, c. 1495; d. Boston, Lincolnshire, Oct. 25, 1545. His name appears first in 1525 as clerk-fellow at the collegiate church of Tattershall near Lincoln, then as organist and choirmaster at Cardinal College, Oxford (152630). In 1528 he was imprisoned briefly for alleged heretical (Lutheran) leanings and released through Wolsey's intervention. From 1530 until his death he engaged in fanatical persecutions as paid agent of Thomas Cromwell in the destruction of monasteries. Taverner's music, probably all composed before 1530, comprises eight Masses, three Magnificats, 23 motets on liturgical texts, and some instrumental pieces. His style varied from a simple homophonic manner to the florid technique of his most inspired works, the Magnificats. The cantus firmus on the words In nomine Domini of the Benedictus of his Mass Gloria Tibi Trinitas was the thematic source for more than 100 instrumental pieces called Innomine's, by tye and other English composers.

Bibliography: f. l. harrison, Music in Medieval Britain (New York 1958); "English Polyphony c. 14701540," New Oxford History of Music, ed. j. a. westrup, 11 v. (New York 1957) 3:303348. e. h. fellowes, Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. e. blom 9 v. (5th ed. London 1954) 8:323324. g. reese, Music in the Renaissance (rev. ed. New York 1959) 778781. d. stevens, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949) v.13. h. r. benham, "The Music of John Taverner: A Study and Assessment" (Ph.D. diss. Southhampton, 1970). r. bowers and p. doe, "John Taverner" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 18, ed. s. sadie, (New York 1980) 598602. c. hand, John Taverner: His Life and Music (London 1978). d. s. josephson, "John Taverner: A Documentary Study of His Life and Music" (Ph.D. diss. Columbia University, 1972); John Taverner: Tudor Composer (Ann Arbor 1979). d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge 1996) 903904. n. slonimsky, ed., Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Eighth Edition (New York 1992) 1856.

[s. w. kenney]

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