Biography:John Playford

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John Playford

 Given name:     John
 Middle name:     
 Family name:     Playford
 Place of birth:     
 Place of death:     London
 Year of birth:     1623
 Year of death:     1687
 Profile:     Publisher
 Source of information:     

Biographical notes

John Lavagnino writes in his book Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture (2007, p. 127):

Although Playford was not a composer, he is the last important figure in this succession of Stuart musicians associated with [playwright Thomas] Middleton [i.e. along with John Wilson, John Hinton and William Lawes]. 'The first great capitalist of music history' (Krummel 112), Playford probably got his musical education at the cathedral choir school in Norfolk, before taking up an apprenticeship in the London print trade in 1640. After seven years he became a freeman of the Stationers' Company, and from 1647 to 1651 he published twenty-six books, none of them having to do with music; twenty-five were political, and 'by 1650 Playford had established himself as a figure of Royalist credentials and sympathies.' Then, from 1651 to 1659, twenty-four of his twenty-seven publications were music books. This seemingly abrupt shift in his business conceals an underlying continuity: the musicians Playford published, and the poets whose lyrics they set to music, were almost all associated with the Stuart court in the years before the outbreak of the Civil War. Like Humphrey Moseley, who catered to the consumer demand for dramatic texts no longer performable, Playford nostalgically sustained a royalist musical tradition, publishing the work of unemployed musicians for 'a now disempowered and disenfranchised audience and clientele' (Lindenbaum).