Genre: Vocal Music
Robert Jones was an English composer active in the early-17th century known for his lute-songs and madrigals. Although he was chided for the lute writing and unimaginative harmonies in some of his works, as well as for his less adventurous style in general, he was nevertheless effective in his simpler songs, not least because of his melodic talent.
Nothing is known of Jones' early years, though he suggested in an introductory note to his first song collection, The First Booke of Songes and Ayres of Foure Parts (1600), that he had developed his ability to speak at the same time he was learning to sing. It is thus quite likely he served as a choirboy in his childhood.
In 1597 Jones graduated from Oxford with a Bachelor's degree in music, and was probably by then already composing his first songs. His second song collection, The Second Booke of Songs and Ayres, appeared in 1601, with three further volumes following in the years 1605 (Ultimum vale), 1609 (A Musicall Dreame) and 1610 (The Muses Gardin for Delights). In the middle of this series Jones produced his only volume of madrigals, The First Set of Madrigals (1607). Each of the five volumes of lute-songs contained 21 songs, while madrigal collection contained 26.
- Robert Cummings (All Music Guide)