John Weldon

John Weldon (1676-1736)

The English composer and organist, John Weldon, was born in Chichester and educated at Eton College, where he was a chorister. His musical training included a year as a pupil of Henry Purcell.

Aged only 18, he was appointed organist at New College, Oxford, and later became organist at two London churches, St Bride's in Fleet Street and St Martin-in-the-Fields. In 1708 he succeeded John Blow as organist at the Chapel Royal, where he was later appointed additional composer. He was succeeded in this latter post by William Boyce.

Weldon composed mainly choral and vocal music, both secular and sacred, and he also wrote much music for the theatre. His musical style shows the influence of his teacher, Henry Purcell, but with a notable Italianate flavour.

In 1716 a performance of The Tempest was advertised with 'all the musick compos'd by Mr Weldon and perform'd compleat, as at the revival of the play', and some scholars now believe that the music to Purcell's semi-opera, The Tempest, was actually Weldon's work.

After a long illness, he died at his home in Downing Street and was buried in the churchyard of St Paul's, Covent Garden. His grandson, Samuel Thomas Champnes, continued the musical tradition by becoming one of Handel's soloists.