Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bennet, John (fl.1600)

BENNET, JOHN (fl. 1600), was one of the best composers of madrigals of the Elizabethan period. Little is known of his biography. In 1599 he printed his first work, 'Madrigalls to Foure Voyces,' which, though termed by the composer 'the indeavours of a yong wit,' already displays the hand of a finished master. This work (which was reprinted in 1845) was dedicated to Ralph Assheton, receiver of the duchy of Lancaster. In 1601 Bennet contributed to Morley's 'Triumphs of Oriana' the beautiful madrigal, 'All creatures now are merry-minded.' In 1614 he published several compositions in Thomas Ravenscroft's 'Briefe Discourse, in the preface to which work he is mentioned as 'Maister John Bennet, a gentleman admirable for all kindes of Composures, either in Art or Ayre, Simple or Mixt, of what Nature soever.' It is probable that he died young, as no later published works of his exist, though in Thomas Myrtell's 'Tristitiæ Remedium' (Add. MSS. 29372-77), compiled in 1616, there is an anthem by him. Other manuscript anthems and madrigals of Bennet's are in the British Museum, Fitzwilliam and Peterhouse (Cambridge), and Christ Church (Oxford) collections.

[Grove's Dictionary, vol. i.; Library Catalogues; Hawkins's History of Music.]

W. B. S.