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date: 15 November 2019

Brownson, Oliver locked

  • Ruth M. Wilson

Extract

(b Bolton, CT, May 13, 1746; d Smithfield, NY, 1815). American composer, singing master, and printer. He was prominent among the Connecticut composers who contributed many psalm and fuging-tunes to the repertory of 18th-century choral music. Brownson taught in several parts of Connecticut, and from 1775 to 1797 was mostly in Litchfield, Simsbury, West Simsbury, and New Hartford. He was associated with Asahel Benham, Timothy Swan, and Alexander Ely in the sale of music books. He settled in Peterboro, New York, sometime between 1797 and 1800.

Brownson’s compositions were first published in Law’s Select Harmony (Cheshire, CT, 1779). Brownson’s own Select Harmony, issued in four editions (probably in Hartford, CT) between 1783 and 1791, contained a large number of new pieces by Americans with “Author’s Names set over the tunes,” as well as 22 original works. The title page, engraved by Isaac Sanford, depicts a church choir arranged around three sides of the gallery, the leader at the center with a pitchpipe in hand. Brownson also published ...

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