Playing time: 70'
Recording date: June 1994
Instruments: harpsichord, Cornelius Bom (after Giovanni Battista Giusti, c.1650); virginal, Klaus Ahrend (after Marten van der Biest, c. 1580) - meantone tuning
Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656) was the last of the English Virginalists. After him, the style died out entirely. Although he was something of a late starter (being the Chapel Royal's junior organist to Gibbons, despite being more than ten years older), he spent much of the later part of his life writing keyboard music (whereas Gibbons died thirty years earlier). Although he was content largely to adopt the forms and figures of the old masters, Tomkins did this expertly, due to his large collection of manuscript sources. By that time, no one cared about the English keyboard style at all (a fact Tomkins lamented), but he nonetheless sojourned on -- to one of the largest and most varied outputs in this style. In fact, only Byrd's output is comparable in size, and he was the primary initiator of the style. Therefore, this music (in spite of its artistic weaknesses) provides a fine endmark to an artistic endeavor that was all too brief.
The remainder of the present series:
Now Tomkins is best-known for his cathedral anthems. He also wrote consort music. Recordings featuring more of this variety:
And a recording in a cathedral setting:
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To FAQ CD index page.Todd M. McComb