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Matthew Locke (1621 - 1677)

The English composer Matthew Locke lived through the turbulence of the Civil War. He was trained as a chorister at Exeter Cathedral under a brother of Orlando Gibbons and seems to have followed the King’s son, Prince Charles, into exile – although he was back in England by 1651. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, he entered the royal service, holding various positions – in particular, as a Catholic convert, that of organist to Catherine of Braganza, the Queen. On his death in 1677 he was succeeded as composer-in-ordinary for the King’s Violins by his friend Henry Purcell.

Instrumental Music

Locke wrote church music to English and Latin texts, including settings of the morning and evening service of the Church of England. His secular works encompass songs and incidental music for the theatre, but it is as a composer of instrumental music that he is chiefly remembered. He wrote a number of suites, such as The Broken Consort (a set of 24 pieces in six suites, with a second part containing 20 dances), the Little Consort (40 dances in 10 suites), and other similar works.


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