ROBERT JOHNSON (1583 - 1633)
The English composer and lutenist Robert Johnson was employed in the latter capacity at the court of King James I from 1604 until his death, his last five years under Charles I as composer for the lute and voices. He was particularly concerned with theatre music, collaborating with playwrights including Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, whose songs he set.
Many of Johnson’s surviving songs were written for the theatre, including songs for Shakespeare’s The Tempest, A Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline.
Lute and Keyboard Music
Only a score or so of Johnson’s lute pieces survive, but they represent an important example of the music of the Jacobean period. Some of his instrumental compositions are for keyboard or other instruments, often in the form of dances.