Yonge, Nicholas (DNB00)

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YONGE, NICHOLAS (d. 1619), musician, was almost certainly the Nicholas Young who was one of the singing-men at St. Paul's Cathedral in the latter part of the sixteenth century. He was born at Lewes, Sussex; his mother's name was Bray. He settled in the parish of St. Michael's, Cornhill, and several of his nine children remained there, their descendants being traceable for a century after his death. Yonge gave daily musical performances in his house, which were much frequented by ‘gentlemen and merchants of good accompt;’ and about 1583 a gentleman whom Yonge calls a ‘counsellor of estate,’ translated many of the Italian madrigals performed there. After the appearance of the first English madrigals printed, the ‘Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of Sadness and Pietie,’ by William Byrd [q. v.], Yonge published some of the translated works under the title of ‘Musica Transalpina, Madrigales, translated of foure, five, and six parts, chosen out of divers excellent Authors, with the first and second part of “La Verginella,” made by Maister Byrd upon two stanz's of “Ariosto,” and brought to speak English with the rest.’ The dedication to Gilbert Talbot (afterwards seventh Earl of Shrewsbury) [q. v.] is dated 1 May 1588. No secular music had previously been printed in England, except the feeble songs published in 1571 by Thomas Whithorne [q. v.], and at any rate the success of Byrd's and Yonge's publications seems to have been great and immediate. Thomas Watson (1557?–1592) [q. v.] and afterwards Thomas Morley [q. v.] also issued translations of Italian madrigals, and in 1597 Yonge published another collection entitled ‘Musica Transalpina. The Second Booke of Madrigalles, to 5 and 6 Voices.’ The selections were admirably made from Ferabosco, Marenzio, Palestrina, Lassus, and others of the best Italian and Flemish composers; many numbers of both books have always remained upon the repertory, and have been reprinted in various forms during the nineteenth century. Three of the poems were included in ‘England's Helicon,’ 1600. In the portrait of William Heather [q. v.] in the Music School, Oxford, he is represented holding a volume lettered ‘Musica Transalpina.’ In 1843 G. W. Budd began a complete edition in score, but issued only six of the eighty-one pieces. Some of the poems are in Oliphant's ‘La Musa Madrigalesca’ and Bullen's ‘Lyrics from the Song-books of the Elizabethan Age;’ and the whole text of the first collection was included in Arber's ‘English Garner,’ vol. iii.

Yonge's will is dated 19 Oct. 1619; and he was buried at St. Michael's, Cornhill, on the 23rd. His wife Jane proved the will on 12 Nov.

[Yonge's publications, in the British Museum Library; Visitation of London, i. 277, and Reg. of St. Michael's, Cornhill, in Harleian Society's publications; Grove's Dict. of Music and Musicians, ii. 191, 416, and iv. 495; Rimbault's Bibliotheca Madrigaliana. Burney, through misreading Yonge's first dedication, speaks of him as a London merchant, a mistake copied by several writers.]

H. D.