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William Turner

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Biography

Turner was in service as a chorister at Christ Church, Oxford. With Humphrey and Blow he composed "I will always give thanks" which was a club song. He also served at Lincoln Cathedral and eventually became a Gentleman of the Chapel and remained in that capacity until his death. In 1696 he received his doctorate in music from Cambridge University. Turner composed both sacred and secular music though the former comprised the most important aspect of his work. Among the anthems were "Lord, what is man," and "Lord, thou hast been our refuge." Characteristics of these pieces included a capella chorus, predominant vertical harmonies and imitative verse. Later anthems were characterized by short phrases, numerous cadences and segments in triple time and a strong sense of homophony. Instrumental anthems such as "O sing praises unto the Lord" illustrate an Italian influence for both strings and voice. Turner also composed odes, a cantata, part songs with instruments and approximately fifty solo songs. ~ Keith Johnson