Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Matthew Locke
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Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 /Matthew Locke


Matthew Locke, composer; born at Exeter, in 1629; died August, 1677. He was a chorister of Exeter Cathedral from 1638 to 1641. His first effort was as part-composer of music for Shirley's masque "Cupid and Death" (26 May, 1653). In 1654, he became a Catholic, and, in 1656, furnished some of the music for Davenant's opera "The Siege of Rhodes". In addition to some minor orchestral works he scored the processional march for the coronation of Charles II, in April, 1661, and was appointed composer to the king's private band at a salary of forty pounds a year. He composed incidental instrumental music for Dryden's and Davenant's version of "The Tempest", produced 7 November, 1667. His "Melothesia" (1673) was a good theoretical treatise. Of greater interest is the "Macbeth" music, composed in 1672, but it is almost certain that the well-known score was really the work of Henry Purcell. The ascription of it to Locke was based on an error due to Dr. Boyce, but it must be noted that Purcell's music - the so-called "Locke's" - was written for a revival of "Macbeth" in 1689. Locke composed the music for Shadwell's "Psyche" in 1673, and several anthems and Latin hymns. From 1672 to 1674 he was engaged in an acrimonious controversy with Thomas Salmon, who advocated the writing of all music on one clef. Locke's views are still upheld, while Salmon's pamphlets are forgotten. He was "Deputy Master of the King's Musick" for the year 1676-77, but his salary at Court was so irregularly paid that on 24 July, 1676, he assigned £174. l0s. 7d. - three years' and three quarters' salary due to him - to one of his creditors. He was buried in the Savoy, in which parish he spent his last years.

HUSK in GROVE, Dict. of Music and Musicians (London, 1906); s. v.; MATTHEW, Handbook of Musical History (London, 1898); WALKER, History of Music in England (Oxford, 1907); DE LAFONTAINE, The King's Musick (London, 1909).

W. H. Grattan-Flood.


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