The sacred music of John Weldon (1676-1736)

Electronic versions


  • Stephen Bullamore

    Research areas

  • PhD, School of Music


John Weldon (1676-1736) was 'Composer to the Chapel Royal' from 1708/9 until his death. As such he was a highly regarded member of an elite musical institution in early eighteenthcentury England. Over the last quarter century or so, musicological studies in this area have largely concentrated on the canonic figures of Purcell and Handel, leaving something of a terra incognita as regards the music of their contemporaries. Recent studies in the field of theatre music have begun to address this gap and there has been some limited renewed interest in the music of William Croft, Weldon's contemporary, also a Composer to the Chapel Royal. This study further addresses this lacuna by providing the first complete critical edition of Weldon's sacred work, much of which is unpublished and is edited here for the first time. Of particular interest are several substantive verse anthems; not one example of these important contributions to the repertory of the Chapel Royal in the early eighteenth century has previously been printed. The introduction to the edition comprises five chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 contextualise the music through a thorough re-examination of Weldon's biography and a consideration of the Chapel Royal in which the music was performed, respectively. Chapter 3 provides, for the first time, a proposed chronological catalogue of his sacred music followed by an in-depth stylistic assessment of that music. Chapter 4 provides two case studies of compositional practices that result in either new versions of extant anthems that exist alongside previous versions, or revisions by the composer that supersede the previous material. Performance issues themselves are explored not only through Notes on Performance (addressing issues such as tempo, ornamentation and voice type), but also through a detailed study in Chapter 5 of accompanimental practice as deduced from the extant primary source material.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award dateJan 2015