Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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C. MacDonald: ‘Thomas the Rhymer’, MT, cxvii (1976), 305–7

J. Reid-Baxter: ‘David Johnson and the Guid Scots Tongue’, Tempo, no.180 (1992), 26 only

N. Mackay: ‘David Johnson’s 12 Preludes and Fugues’, Tempo, no.193 (1995) 49 only


Johnson, Edward (i)

(fl 1572–1601). English composer. He was employed as a musician by the Kytson family at Hengrave Hall in Suffolk by 1572 and was still there in 1575 when he took part in the lavish entertainment that the Earl of Leicester mounted at Kenilworth for Queen Elizabeth; he received his expenses for this from the Kytson household. There is documentary evidence that he remained at Hengrave Hall for some years afterwards; in 1588 Sir Thomas Kytson granted Johnson and his wife Rose a ‘mancion house’ and land nearby for 21 years. Two songs of his survive from another entertainment (emulating Kenilworth) put on for the queen by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, at Elvetham, Hampshire, in 1591. In 1594 Johnson received the MusB from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, after stating that he had been a student and practitioner of music for many years, undertaking to write a ‘canticum components cantandum’ and asking to be examined by John Bull and Thomas Dallis. The timing of Johnson's degree, after over 20 years in the profession, and his fulsome praise of Elizabeth throughout the Hymnus that survives from his exercise (the text is preserved in a printed broadside), may imply an attempt to succeed the royal lutenist John Johnson, who died that year. Dowland also sought the post, but it was not filled until Edward Collard was appointed in 1598. Edward Johnson and John Wilbye, his successor at Hengrave, were deponents in a lawsuit in 1601 over Dowland's Second Booke, giving their address as Clerkenwell, where the Kytsons had a London house. The following year both musicians were provided with mourning cloth for Sir Thomas's funeral.

Several writers on music praised a Johnson (with no first name), but Francis Meres, in his Palladis Tamia (London, 1598), mentioned Edward in a list of England's leading composers. An elaborate setting of ‘Jhonsons Medley’ is ascribed to Edward in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, as are a pavan-galliard pair ‘sett by William Byrd’. ‘Iohnsons Medley’ is specified for one of the ‘ditties’ in Anthony Munday's Banquet of Daintie Conceits (London, 1588) and the same music was used for a song, The flaming fire, found in some early 17th-century Scottish manuscripts (GB-En Panmure 11, Eu La.III.488, Lbl Add.36484; ed. in MB, xv, 1957).

Five-part versions of the two Elvetham songs survive, for one or more voices and instruments. They were originally sung ‘with the musicke of an exquisite consort; wherein was the lute, bandora, base-violl, citterne, treble-violl, and flute’; the first, Eliza is the fayrest quene, so delighted Elizabeth ‘that shee commanded to heare it sung and to be danced three times over’. There are two pavans of Johnson's for instrumental ensemble in continental collections. Also in manuscript is a three-part song. ‘Ah, sillie John’, while his published vocal music comprises three four-part settings for East's metrical psalter of 1592 and a single contribution to The Triumphes of Oriana (1601), a madrigal that is notable for its puzzling poem referring to the mysterious royal favourite, Bonny-Boots, its possible allusion to Byrd, and its modification of the final couplet, common to most pieces in the collection, to ‘Then sang the woodborn minstrel of Diana: Long live fair Oriana’.


Com agayne, faire Natures treasure, 2vv, 3 insts; Elisa is the fayrest quene, 1v, 4 insts for the Elvetham entertainment, 1591, GB-Lbl Add.30480–84

3 psalms, 15927

Ah, sillie John, song, 3vv, Lcm 684

Come, blessed bird, madrigal, 6vv, 160116; ed. in EM, xxxii (1923, 2/1962)

2 paduans, 160728, 162119

Jhonsons Medley, Pavana (‘Delight’), Galiarda (set by Byrd): Cfm 32 G 29, Fitzwilliam Virginal Book; ed. J.A. Fuller Maitland and W.B. Squire (Leipzig, 1899/R, 2/1980)

Hymnus comitialis, MusB choral exercise, Lbl c.161.f.2.(64); text only preserved

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