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Mr. Ben Jonson's Pleasure (A Study on an Old English Tune)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (10/02/18)
Composer: Milford, Robin
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Mid-20th century
Description:
Robin Humphrey Milford (22 January 1903 – 29 December 1959) was born in Oxford, son of Sir Humphrey Milford, publisher with Oxford University Press. He attended Rugby School from 1916 where his musical talent for the piano, flute and theory was recognised, and studied at the Royal College of Music from 1921 to 1926. His composition teachers were Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and he studied harmony and counterpoint under R. O. Morris. He also studied organ.

In 1927, he married, and worked for a time with the Aeolian Company correcting Duo-Art pianola rolls until 1930. He also taught part-time at Ludgrove School and at Downe House School. In 1929 he had met fellow-composer Gerald Finzi, and the two formed a lifelong friendship. His early compositions met with some success.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Milford volunteered for the army, and was posted to the Pioneer Corps. After just one week, he suffered a breakdown, and after treatment he and his family moved to Guernsey. His depression was deepened by the death of his mother in 1940. He returned to England, to teach and compose, but soon afterwards his five-year-old son, Barnaby, was killed in a road accident. His grief at this tragedy prompted him to attempt suicide several times. By 1946 he had recovered sufficiently to resume teaching and to undertake musical activities. He continued composing throughout this period.

After the death of his father in 1952, and the deaths of Finzi (1956) and Vaughan Williams (1958) affected Milford deeply, aggravating the effects of his physical decline, which involved loss of vision and impaired balance. He died by his own hand in December 1959.

For more info about Ben Jonson, and musical notes about this piece, please see the FIRST COMMENT.

The score is attached below, as well a photo of Robin Milford, a painting of Ben Jonson, and the title page of a folio of his works.

I'll be uploading more unusual works by Milford in the coming days.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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