Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Johnson, Robert (fl.1550)

JOHNSON, ROBERT (fl. 1550), priest, and possibly chaplain to Anne Boleyn, was a composer of motets, part-songs, and pieces for the virginal. His music is among the earliest English music for the church extant, and includes the motet, ‘Sabbatum Maria’ (in die Pasce), printed by Burney (ii. 593). The Complaint of Anne Boleyn, a 4, ‘Defyled is my name,’ was printed by Hawkins (iii. 921). There are preserved in manuscript the motets, ‘Ave Dei Patris Filia,’ a 5 (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 5059); ‘Gaude Maria Virgo,’ and ‘Dum transisset Sabbatum’ (ib. 17802–5); ‘Benedicam Domino,’ ‘O Lord, with all my heart’ (ib. 4900); ‘Ave plena gratia’ (ib. 29240, in tablature); ‘Ave Domini Filia’ (Royal College of Music Library); ‘A Knell,’ a 8, ‘In nomine’ (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 31390). The part-song ‘Tye the Mare, Tom, the Boy,’ is attributed, probably in error, to Johnson in Ritson's ‘Ancient Songs.’ Fétis states that he published a collection of organ fugues, which were re-printed in Amsterdam in 1770.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. vol. ii. col. 586; Burney's Hist. of Music, ii. 556; Cat. Sacred Harmonic Society, p. 203.]

L. M. M.