John Redford

John Redford (died November 1547) was a major English composer and organist of the Tudor period.

From about 1525 he was organist at St Paul's Cathedral (succeeding Thomas Hickman) and choirmaster there from 1534. Many of his works are represented in the Mulliner Book. All his organ music is liturgical and mostly vocal in style, but some are in a distinctively keyboard style containing idiomatic ornamentation, and require high technical skill.

Unlike most of his colleagues, Redford also wrote songs and produced masques, or dramatic entertainment for the court. As he also held the post of Almoner and Master of the Choristers, Redford was in overall charge of the choristers' education, and this included performing entertainments at court. The most celebrated of these entertainments is the morality play, The Play of Wyt and Science (written ca 1530-1550), some of which is now lost.

He also wrote a number of poems, including the 23 verse Nolo mortem peccatoris, which was set to music by Thomas Morley, who was a later organist at St Paul's.

Another poem is The Chorister's Lament, in which choirboys complain of the cruel beatings meted out to them:

We have a cursyd master, I tell you all for trew
so cruell as he is was never Turke or Jue.
he is the most unhappiest man that ever ye knewe,
for to poor syllye boyes he wurkyth much woe.
Do we never so well, he can never be content,
but for our good wylles we ever more be shente ,
ofttimes our lytle butokes he dooth all to rent,
that we, poore sylye boyes, abyde much woe.
We have many lasshes to lerne this peelde song,
that I wyll not lye to you now & then among;
out of our butokes we may plucke the stumpes thus long
that we, poore sylye boyes, abyde much woe.

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