John Bull

(c. 1562—1628) composer

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(b ?Old Radnor, c.1562; d Antwerp, 1628).

Eng. composer and virginalist. In Hereford Cath. choir 1573. Choirboy in Queen Elizabeth I's Chapel Royal from 1574. Org., Hereford Cath. 1582–5, Gentleman of Chapel Royal 1586; D.Mus., Oxford and Cambridge, and first Gresham Public Reader in Mus., London 1597. Granted pension by James I in 1605. Active as org.‐builder 1609. In 1613, accused of adultery and fornication, he fled from Eng. to Belg., becoming organist, Chapel Royal, Brussels, and of Antwerp Cath., 1615 until his death. Friend of Sweelinck.

His importance is as a highly skilled performer on and ingenious composer for the virginals, as in his Walsingham (30 vars. on a theme). He ranks as one of the founders of kbd. perf. and the kbd. repertory. He contributed to Parthenia, 1611. One of his comps. is called God Save the King but bears no resemblance to the nat. anthem; however, another untitled piece by Bull is a possible source of this melody.

Subjects: Music.

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