Early Tudor Composers: Biographical Sketches of Thirty-Two Musicians and Composers of the Period 1485-1555

By W. Henry Hadow; William H. Grattan Flood | Go to book overview

XI. Richard Bramston

JUST as in the case of Thomas Farthing, whose name was included in Morley's Valhalla of sixteenth-century English composers, so also in the case of Richard Bramston, praised by Morley in his Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke in 1597, we have had no exact biographical data hitherto. 'Master Bramston', so far as English musical historians are concerned, has remained a ghost-like figure, of whom nothing has been chronicled by Burney, Hawkins, Chappell, Davey, or Grove, save an incidental reference to some of his compositions. Even Mr. Cecil Forsyth, in the chapter on 'The Golden Age' in the recent History of Music by Sir Charles Stanford and himself ( 1916), merely includes the name of Bramston in a foot-note as an English composer whose works are to be met with in manuscript. But though many of Bramston's compositions have disappeared, the few that remain give ample evidence of his abilities as a polyphonic composer. Dr. Ernest Walker says that his works deserve mention, yet from a cursory examination I would be inclined to place Bramston motet, 'Recordare, Domine, testamenti', as evidencing potential powers quite equal to those of Taverner, Redford, Cowper, or Johnson. In this manuscript, which will be found among the Add. MSS. 17802-17805 of the British Museum, his name appears as Master Bramston'. Another beautiful motet, Mariae Virgini is in Peterhouse College, Cambridge1.

It is only fair to state that a brief reference to Bramston is given by Mr. John E. West in his excellent book on Cathedral Organists (Novello, 1921), under date of 1507, when he was appointed deputy-organist of Wells Cathedral in place of ' Richard Hugo'.

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1
See the Rev. Dr. Jebb catalogue in the Ecclesiologist for 1859.

-46-

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