Walter Porter

(c.1588 - 1659)

English composer. Porter may have studied with Monteverdi in 1613-16. He became a tenor singer in the Chapel Royal in 1618, and in 1639 was made choirmaster at Westminster Abbey, although he lost the post in 1644. After 1644 he was in service to Sir Edmund Spenser. Porter's Italian leanings are apparent in his Madrigals and Ayres (1632) and the duet motets of 1657. He introduced the figured bass (although this did not catch on in English church music) and wrote in Italian recitative style with Italian types of ornamentation, indeed in a true baroque manner that stood quite apart from the English madrigal tradition. The 1632 publication includes instrumental toccatas, sinfonias and ritornellos as well as vocal pieces.

The English Madrigalists   |   IV M: England Through 1635