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Michael Wise

Michael Wise was one of several young composers who helped to forge a new style of sacred music in England following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Born in Salisbury in 1647 or 1648, he became a Chapel Royal chorister in 1660 and a Gentleman there in 1676. He was appointed Organist of Salisbury Cathedral in 1668 and Almoner and Master of the Children at St Paul's Cathedral, London, in 1686. A volatile person, he died a year later in Salisbury (reportedly) where 'he was knock'd on the head and kill'd downright by the night-watch for giving stubborne & refractory language to them'.

Apart for a few published songs and catches, his output was entirely sacred. He wrote more than thirty anthems while two of his services survive as well as two Communion settings. His verse anthems, which include more solo writing for the treble voice than was usual at the time, display an attractive individuality, particularly those in an expressive vein. Several have retained their place in the repertoire, thanks in part to the inclusion of six of them, including the present work, in William Boyce's Cathedral Music (1760-78).

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