Archive for the ‘Ferdinando Gibbons’ Tag

Feast of Orlando Gibbons (June 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Orlando Gibbons

Image in the Public Domain

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ORLANDO GIBBONS (BAPTIZED DECEMBER 25, 1583-JUNE 5, 1625)

Anglican Organist and Composer; the “English Palestrina”

Orlando Gibbons comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via sacred music and my unapologetic Western classicism.  I state without reservation that the quality of church music in the global West has, with few exceptions, declined since the 1500s and 1600s.  It peaked with Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, Gregorio Allegri, Orlando Gibbons, and company.

Gibbons, baptized in Oxford, England, on Christmas Day, 1583, was a great musician from a musical family.  His father was William Gibbons (circa 1540-1595), a vocalist in Cambridge, starting in 1567.  William Gibbons was, in English terms, a wait, a public musician.  Our saint’s siblings included:

  1. Edward (1568-circa 1650), an Anglican priest and a composer; most of his compositions have not survived the ravages of time;
  2. Ellis (1573-1603), a composer; most of his compositions have also gone the way of all flesh;
  3. Ferdinando (born 1581), a vocalist/wait in Lincoln.

Above:  The Music Lesson, by Johannes Vermeer

Image in the Public Domain

The woman is playing a virginal.

Gibbons had a fine musical education.  In 1596, at the age of 12 years, he joined the choir of King’s College, Cambridge.  He became the greatest organist and virginalist in England.  (A virginal was a rectangular harpsichord with strings stretched parallel to the keyboard.)  x  From 1605 to his death, Gibbons served as the organist at the Chapel Royal.  He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Cambridge in 1606.  Our saint became the court virginalist in 1619 then the organist of Westminster Abbey in 1623.

Gibbons composed both sacred and secular music.  His oeuvre contained motets, madrigals, and 40 sacred anthems and services.  He composed sacred music for The Church of England.  His sacred anthems included O Clap Your Hands Together and Drop, Drop, Slow Tears.

Gibbons was a favorite of the Stuart Kings of Great Britain.  He played the organ at the funeral of King James VI/I in 1625.  On the Day of Pentecost, June 5, 1625, our saint accompanied King Charles I to Dover to greet the future queen, Henrietta Maria, arriving from France.  Later that day, on the way back, Gibbons suffered a stroke in Canterbury and died.  He was 41 years old.

Gibbons had seven children.  One son, Christopher (1615-1676), composed keyboard and incidental music.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Orlando Gibbons and all those

who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Women:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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