John Browne


John Browne (fl. c. 1490–1500) is the pre-eminent composer of the Eton Choirbook, not just in terms of the number of his compositions it contains but also of their quality. Frank Harrison, the pioneering scholar of the Eton Choirbook, described Browne as ‘the outstanding figure of the collection and perhaps the greatest English composer between Dunstable and Taverner’, and his magnificent eight-voice antiphon O Maria salvatoris mater takes pride of place as the first piece in the choirbook.

Eton originally contained fifteen pieces by Browne: of these, seven have survived intact and a further two can be completed relatively easily. The remaining six have either been lost entirely or are too incomplete to allow reconstruction.

Browne’s music is notable for the variety of its scoring – no two pieces use exactly the same combination of voices – and in his book Music in Medieval Britain Harrison praised ‘the penetrating quality of his imagination and his capacity for strikingly dramatic expression’.

O Maria salvatoris mater

£4.95
{"id":9516763466,"title":"O Maria salvatoris mater","handle":"o-maria-salvatoris-mater","description":"\u003cp\u003eThis monumental eight-part antiphon, which takes pride of place as the opening piece in the Eton Choirbook, is symbolic in a variety of ways. The third and fourth stanzas of the text speak of the rod of Aaron – one of the more well-known Marian metaphors of the Middle Ages. The Book of Numbers (17:1–11) describes how Jahweh resolved the leadership of the twelve tribes of Israel by ordering that the leader of each tribe was to lay a rod in the tabernacle of witness. The rod of the man chosen to be leader of all the tribes (Aaron) would then flourish. Through this example of the unfertilised bearing of fruit, and because of the similarity of the Latin words \u003cem\u003evirgo \u003c\/em\u003e(virgin) and \u003cem\u003evirga \u003c\/em\u003e(rod), Aaron’s rod came to be associated with Mary’s virginity.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe scoring of the work for eight voices is also highly significant. Early Christian writers came to associate the number eight with the concept of \u003cem\u003eregeneratio \u003c\/em\u003eor re-birth into a new life. This is thought to derive from the saving of eight souls ‘by water’ during the building of the Ark (1 Peter 3:20), and is the reason that many baptismal fonts are octagonal. A striking example of the structural use of the number eight can be seen in the magnificent Octagon of Ely Cathedral, whose eight beams each measure sixty-four (eight times eight) feet in length. In Leonardo’s painting \u003cem\u003eSalvator mundi\u003c\/em\u003e, the orphery of Christ’s stole has two series of eight threads, and the central jewel is surrounded by an eight-pointed star. Similarly, in Fra Angelico’s \u003cem\u003eVirgin and Child Enthroned\u003c\/em\u003e, Mary’s coat also shows an eight-pointed star. Christ’s throne is surrounded by eight saints, one of whom, St Dominic, has an eight-pointed star in his halo.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFinally, the fact that the text has twelve stanzas may be intended to identify Mary with the woman of chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation, who is wearing a crown of twelve stars.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMuch of this information is derived from Willem Elders, \u003cem\u003eSymbolic scores: Studies in the Music of the Renaissance\u003c\/em\u003e (New York, 1994).\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSATTTTBB, ii + 26 pp, 190 × 270 mm.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eClick \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/files\/O_Maria_salvatoris_mater_sample.pdf?12662237122039660863\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003ehere\u003c\/a\u003e to view a sample of this piece.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis edition has been recorded by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on \u003cem\u003eChoirs of Angels \u003c\/em\u003e(AV2184). It was also broadcast live from the 2018 BBC Proms by The Tallis Scholars.\u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2016-11-16T17:26:00+00:00","created_at":"2016-11-16T17:28:30+00:00","vendor":"Cantus Firmus Music","type":"Printed music","tags":[],"price":495,"price_min":495,"price_max":495,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":33420008010,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":true,"name":"O Maria salvatoris mater","public_title":null,"options":["Default Title"],"price":495,"weight":88,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_quantity":-1,"inventory_management":null,"inventory_policy":"deny","barcode":""}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/products\/Browne_O_Maria_salvatoris_mater.png?v=1479843195"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/products\/Browne_O_Maria_salvatoris_mater.png?v=1479843195","options":["Title"],"content":"\u003cp\u003eThis monumental eight-part antiphon, which takes pride of place as the opening piece in the Eton Choirbook, is symbolic in a variety of ways. The third and fourth stanzas of the text speak of the rod of Aaron – one of the more well-known Marian metaphors of the Middle Ages. The Book of Numbers (17:1–11) describes how Jahweh resolved the leadership of the twelve tribes of Israel by ordering that the leader of each tribe was to lay a rod in the tabernacle of witness. The rod of the man chosen to be leader of all the tribes (Aaron) would then flourish. Through this example of the unfertilised bearing of fruit, and because of the similarity of the Latin words \u003cem\u003evirgo \u003c\/em\u003e(virgin) and \u003cem\u003evirga \u003c\/em\u003e(rod), Aaron’s rod came to be associated with Mary’s virginity.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe scoring of the work for eight voices is also highly significant. Early Christian writers came to associate the number eight with the concept of \u003cem\u003eregeneratio \u003c\/em\u003eor re-birth into a new life. This is thought to derive from the saving of eight souls ‘by water’ during the building of the Ark (1 Peter 3:20), and is the reason that many baptismal fonts are octagonal. A striking example of the structural use of the number eight can be seen in the magnificent Octagon of Ely Cathedral, whose eight beams each measure sixty-four (eight times eight) feet in length. In Leonardo’s painting \u003cem\u003eSalvator mundi\u003c\/em\u003e, the orphery of Christ’s stole has two series of eight threads, and the central jewel is surrounded by an eight-pointed star. Similarly, in Fra Angelico’s \u003cem\u003eVirgin and Child Enthroned\u003c\/em\u003e, Mary’s coat also shows an eight-pointed star. Christ’s throne is surrounded by eight saints, one of whom, St Dominic, has an eight-pointed star in his halo.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFinally, the fact that the text has twelve stanzas may be intended to identify Mary with the woman of chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation, who is wearing a crown of twelve stars.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMuch of this information is derived from Willem Elders, \u003cem\u003eSymbolic scores: Studies in the Music of the Renaissance\u003c\/em\u003e (New York, 1994).\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSATTTTBB, ii + 26 pp, 190 × 270 mm.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eClick \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/files\/O_Maria_salvatoris_mater_sample.pdf?12662237122039660863\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003ehere\u003c\/a\u003e to view a sample of this piece.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis edition has been recorded by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on \u003cem\u003eChoirs of Angels \u003c\/em\u003e(AV2184). It was also broadcast live from the 2018 BBC Proms by The Tallis Scholars.\u003c\/p\u003e"}

Salve regina I

£3.95
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Salve regina II

£3.95
{"id":9539751370,"title":"Salve regina II","handle":"salve-regina-ii","description":"\u003cp\u003eThe second of Browne’s settings of Salve regina is scored for men’s voices.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eTTTBarB, i+18 pp, 190 × 270 mm.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eClick \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/files\/Salve_regina_II_sample.pdf?10450487141829736369\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ehere\u003c\/a\u003e to view a sample of this piece.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis edition has been recorded by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on \u003cem\u003eThe Sun Most Radiant \u003c\/em\u003e(AV2359).\u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2016-11-19T22:35:00+00:00","created_at":"2016-11-19T22:38:25+00:00","vendor":"Cantus Firmus Music","type":"Printed music","tags":[],"price":395,"price_min":395,"price_max":395,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":33546781386,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":true,"name":"Salve regina II","public_title":null,"options":["Default Title"],"price":395,"weight":55,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_quantity":0,"inventory_management":null,"inventory_policy":"deny","barcode":""}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/products\/Browne_Salve_regina_II.png?v=1479843476"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/products\/Browne_Salve_regina_II.png?v=1479843476","options":["Title"],"content":"\u003cp\u003eThe second of Browne’s settings of Salve regina is scored for men’s voices.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eTTTBarB, i+18 pp, 190 × 270 mm.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eClick \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/files\/Salve_regina_II_sample.pdf?10450487141829736369\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ehere\u003c\/a\u003e to view a sample of this piece.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis edition has been recorded by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on \u003cem\u003eThe Sun Most Radiant \u003c\/em\u003e(AV2359).\u003c\/p\u003e"}

Stabat mater

£4.95
{"id":454199637,"title":"Stabat mater","handle":"browne-stabat-mater","description":"\u003cp\u003eHugh Benham has described the \u003cem\u003eStabat mater\u003c\/em\u003e as ‘almost certainly both Browne’s masterpiece and the finest work in the Eton Choirbook’, while Frank Harrison thought it ‘a work of inexhaustible interest’.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSATTBarB, 29+i pp, 7 × 10 in.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eClick \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/files\/Browne_Stabat_mater_sample.pdf?17333604599000738433\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003ehere\u003c\/a\u003e to view a sample of this piece.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis edition has been recorded by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on \u003cem\u003eMore Divine Than Human \u003c\/em\u003e(AV2167).\u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2015-04-11T13:26:00+01:00","created_at":"2015-04-11T13:27:24+01:00","vendor":"Cantus Firmus Music","type":"Printed music","tags":[],"price":495,"price_min":495,"price_max":495,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":1189083829,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":false,"featured_image":null,"available":true,"name":"Stabat mater","public_title":null,"options":["Default Title"],"price":495,"weight":80,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_quantity":0,"inventory_management":null,"inventory_policy":"deny","barcode":""}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/products\/Browne_Stabat_mater.png?v=1479843568"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/products\/Browne_Stabat_mater.png?v=1479843568","options":["Title"],"content":"\u003cp\u003eHugh Benham has described the \u003cem\u003eStabat mater\u003c\/em\u003e as ‘almost certainly both Browne’s masterpiece and the finest work in the Eton Choirbook’, while Frank Harrison thought it ‘a work of inexhaustible interest’.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSATTBarB, 29+i pp, 7 × 10 in.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eClick \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0716\/6299\/files\/Browne_Stabat_mater_sample.pdf?17333604599000738433\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003ehere\u003c\/a\u003e to view a sample of this piece.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis edition has been recorded by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on \u003cem\u003eMore Divine Than Human \u003c\/em\u003e(AV2167).\u003c\/p\u003e"}

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