Thorne, John (DNB00)

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THORNE, JOHN (d. 1573), musician and poet, was probably connected with York Minster, perhaps as teacher of the choristers. He is called ‘Thorne of York’ in a contemporary manuscript [see Redford, John]; and he was buried in the minster, his epitaph celebrating his skill in logic as well as in music, and giving the date of his death 9 Dec. 1573. Morley (Introduction to Practicall Musicke, 1597) mentions Thorne among the list of composers whose works he had studied, placing him after John Taverner [q. v.] and Redford; and reckons him (p. 96) with Redford and Thomas Tallis [q. v.] among the musicians specially distinguished in composing upon a plain-song. Only three of Thorne's compositions are extant: an ‘Exultabant sancti’ in Redford's writing in Addit. MS. 29996 (f. 38), an ‘In nomine’ in the collection at the music school, Oxford, and a ‘Stella cœli extirpavit’ in Baldwin's manuscript at Buckingham Palace. The last-named was printed by Hawkins. Ambros (Geschichte der Musik, ed. Kade, iii. 458) considers it a little behind the contemporary Flemish style, although he describes the part-writing as quite sterling and animated, interesting by its most successful imitations, the harmony sonorous, the effect of the whole thoroughly noble and significant.

Thorne also wrote some verse. In the manuscript which contains Redford's ‘Wyt and Science’ (printed by the Shakespeare Society) are three poems by Thorne. One is a religious version of Gray's popular ballad ‘The hunt is up;’ the others were subsequently printed in R. Edwards's ‘Paradyse of Daintie Devyces’ (1576), one being there signed ‘M[r]. Thorn,’ the other anonymous. Another piece in Edwards's, collection (No. 21) is also signed ‘M. T.,’ and is probably by Thorne.

[Baldwin's manuscript at Buckingham Palace;collection of In nomines at Oxford; Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 15233, 29996;Shakespeare Society's Publications, 1848; Sir J. Hawkins's Hist. of Music, chaps. lxxvii.xcvii.; Davey's Hist. of English Music, pp. 132, 141, 178; works quoted above.]

H. D.