Avery (Avere) Burton (Burnet)


English composer. A Gentleman of the Chapel Royal from about 1509 to 1542, he traveled abroad with the choir on several occasions and associated with Wolsey's Cardinal College chapel choir for a time in 1527, which probably explains the inclusion of his fine hexachord Mass in the Forrest-Heyther Partbooks.

The Mass is called Ut re mi fa la because its cantus firmus is simply a hexachord running from f to d' and down again. Burton presents the melody in equal notes, except where sections with many syllables require sub-division. In the first two movements the time-unit be comes progressively shorter in quasi-isorhythmic fashion. 'Abstract' cantus firmi such as Burton's hexachord theme were by no means rare in the early sixteenth century: they are found for instance in puzzle canons by Fayrfax and John Lloyd in British Museum Additional MS. 3192, and in Continental music including Josquin's Mass La sol fa re mi.

A Te Deum for organ is extant in MS. Burton is also known as Davy, David.

IV M: England Through 1635  |  English Keyboard Composers Index  |  Latin Church Music 1460-1575: The Composers