Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Simpson, Thomas (fl.1620)

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SIMPSON, THOMAS (fl. 1620), musician, was one of two prominent English musicians who settled in Germany during the early seventeenth century. William Brade [q. v.] was the other. About 1610 Simpson was living at Rinteln, acting as a court musician to the Count of Schaumburg. In 1618 both Simpson and Brade are mentioned among the royal musicians at Copenhagen, but they apparently made only a short visit to Denmark.

Simpson published two collections of music, now very rare: 1. ‘Opus neuer Paduanen, Galliarden, Intraden, Canzonen, Ricercare, Fantasien, Balletten, Allemanden, Couranten, Volten, und Pasamezen lieblich zu gebrauchen mit 5 Stimmen gesetzt durch Thomas Simpson, Englændern,’ Frankfurt, 1611; reprinted at Hamburg 1617. A copy of the latter edition is included in Carl Israel's catalogue of the Landesbibliothek at Cassel, where English musicians were much in favour during Simpson's lifetime. It begins with a Latin poem ‘Ad musicum eximium Thomam Simsin,’ written by Michael Prætorius, and dated Dresden, 1614. Two pieces from this collection were reprinted in ‘Reigen und Tänze aus Kaiser Matthias Zeit,’ Leipzig, 1897. 2. ‘Tafel-Consort allerhand lustige Lieder von 4 Instrumenten und einem G. B.’ (figured-bass) ‘theils seiner eigenen, theils anderer,’ Hamburg, 1621. In this collection Simpson included works by J. Dowland, Peter Philipps, R. and E. Johnson, and several others. The British Museum possesses one part-book of the ‘TafelConsort;’ all the others and the Hamburg reprint of i. are in the ducal library of Wolfenbüttel (Vogel, Katalog, pp. 234, 277).

A third collection, with the date 1609 or 1610, is mentioned in Fétis's ‘Biographie Universelle des Musiciens’ and Grove's ‘Dictionary of Music and Musicians,’ but is apparently identical with the first of the above.

[Draudius's Biblioteca Classica, Frankfurt, 1611, p. 1253; Walther's Musicalisches Lexicon, Leipzig, 1732, p. 596; Bolte's Singspiele der englischen Komödianten in Deutschland, &c., p. 3; Angul Hammerich on the court musicians of Christian IV, translated in Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft, 1893, pp. 70 ff.; Emil Weller's Annalen der poetischen National-Literatur der Deutschen, ii. 35, 41; Davey's History of English Music, pp. 185, 235, 296.]

H. D.