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John Blow (1649-1 October 1708), was an English composer and organist. Among his students are William Croft and Henry Purcell.
John Blow was probably born in North Collingham, Nottingham County. He was a chorister of the Royal Chapel, and distinguished himself there for his excellence in music. He composed several hymns at an unusually early age, like Lord, Thou host was our refuge (Lord, our refuge is in you), Lord, rebuke me not (“Lord, do not reproach me”), and the so-called “social anthem” , I will always give thanks, composed in collaboration with Pelham Humfrey and William Turner, possibly in honor of a victory over the Dutch, or perhaps simply to commemorate the school friendship between the three choristers.
At that time also the composition for two parts of Robert Herrick, Goe, perjur’d man, written by order of King Charles I of England that imitates Dite, or cieli by Giacomo Carissimi. In 1669, Blow was appointed organist of the Abbey of Westminster and in 1673 he was appointed knight of the Royal Chapel. In September of the same year he married Elizabeth Braddock, who died in childbirth ten years later.
Blow, who by 1678 was a Ph.D. in music, was appointed in 1685 as one of the private musicians of King James II of England.
Between 1680 and 1687, he wrote the only opera (masque for the fun of the king) that still survives, “Venus and Adonis”. In it Mary Davies played the part of Venus, and her daughter with Charles II of England, Lady Mary Tudor, appeared as Cupid.
In 1687, he was appointed choirmaster of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. In 1695, was chosen organist of Santa Margarita in Westminster, and it is said that it resumed its work like organist in the Abbey of Westminster del that had retired in 1680 to yield the place to its student Henry Purcell. In 1699 he was appointed to the new position of Composer of the Royal Chapel. He was also a great musician of his time
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