Born in Oxford, Orlando Gibbons' family moved to Cambridge where his elder brother was Master of the Choristers at King's College. Gibbons sang under his brother until 1598, and the next year he began studies at the university. In 1603 he appointed a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal for King James I and is thought to have acted as chapel organist. After a return to Cambridge in 1606 to complete his studies, he settled in Westminster. In 1625 he played organ at the king's funeral, and in 1626 he died prematurely from apoplexia while awaiting Charles I's new queen at Canterbury.
Resepcted chiefly as a vocal composer, Gibbons only had one collection of such music published in his lifetime. The First Set of Madrigals and Mottetts, apt for Viols and Voyces (1612) was based on austere texts which were well suited to Gibbons' exactingly through-composed counterpoint. Despite an excellent Second Service, Gibbons mainly set English, and was noted for his verse-anthems - a typical form of the day where full chorus alternated with soloists accompanied by viol consort or organ. Gibbons also wrote extensively for keyboard - few of his famed fantasias or pavanes were published in his lifetime, but his music has been revived by the efforts of early musicians and devotees such as Glenn Gould.
- MIDI FILE - "The Silver Swan" (0'51'')
- MIDI FILE - Pavane (2'05'')