Thomas Wilkinson

Thomas Wilkinson is a little known composer of the late 16th century. He was a lay-clerk at Norwich from 1575 to 1580, and then at King’s College, Cambridge until 1595. He may have taught the choristers there until the appointment of Edward Gibbons as Informator choristarum in 1592-3.
 A man named ‘Wilkinson’ succeded John Hilton as Master of the Choristers at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1609 until at least 1612, and circumstantial evidence suggests that it is the same person. He wrote a considerable quantity of music for viols, as well as verse and full anthems.

He should not be confused with Robert Wilkinson, who lived a century earlier (b c.1475–80 d c.1515), and whose music (Salve regina, Gaude virgo) appears in the Eton choirbook.

Wilkinson's music is found in many of the important collections of the early 17th century, alongside more familiar masters like Byrd, Gibbons, Tomkins and Morley. Although his style may lack the rigour of the greatest composers of this period, it is perhaps his idiosyncracies which, to a modern ear, provide the greatest satisfaction. There is plenty of chromatic contradiction (‘false relations’) and surprising harmonic movement. His verse anthems tend to be penitential in outlook: conversely, his setting for the Burial Service of I am the resurrection has a Gabrieli-like festivity to it, which rejoices in the afterlife as an end to the pains of the mortal realm.

He often collates an assortment of verses from different psalms to create a distinct and original text.

The verse anthems are accompanied by organ; however, many of the partbooks provide viol accompaniment lines in the verse sections: these are shown in the score. Viol parts can be ordered on request.

I am the resurrection. Full Anthem for SSATTB. Audio sample

Behold, O Lord, and deliver thy people. Verse anthem for SSATB (SS soli) and organ. Audio sample

Hear my prayer, O Lord. Verse anthem for SAATB (S solo) and organ, with optional viol accompaniment.

Help, Lord, for there is not one godly man left. Verse anthem for SAATB (ATB soli) and organ, with optional viol accompaniment.

Preserve me, O Lord, Verse anthem for SSATB (S solo) and organ, with optional viol accompaniment.

Put me not to rebuke, O Lord. Verse anthem for SAATB (ATB soli) and organ, with optional viol accompaniment.