Two important Renaissance composers are Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Thomas Tallis hailed from England and composed works primarily for religious performances. William Byrd, another English composer, created musical scores for churches, including the Roman Catholic church, and also composed secular works.Continue Reading
Tallis was born around the year 1502, but historians know little of his early life. His career in music gained traction in the early 1530s when he joined a musical group at Canterbury. Several years later, he became a resident musician at the English Court. From that point on, he composed music, sang and gave music lessons, which included instructing his pupil and fellow Renaissance composer William Byrd. Tallis composed a variety of music during his career, including hymns and motets. Among his most complex and renowned works are a series of six- and seven-part polyphonies for choirs. Tallis composed works for vocalists and instrumentalists, and his songs appeared in English and Latin.
Byrd, a star pupil of Tallis, also made a name for himself composing complex hymns, motets and choral works. His polyphonies attracted fame, as did his compositions for the keyboard. Byrd first found work in the musical profession as an organist with the Lincoln Cathedral. His standout compositions through the middle and late 1500s include songbooks of hymns composed of sonnets, psalms and hymns.Learn more about Renaissance & Reformation