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Composers

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Balfe, Michael William, 1808 - 1870

Barnett, John, 1802-1890
John Barnett, a distant relative of Meyerbeer, had been a child actor who then took up a varied career in the theatre including two short lived attempts at theatre management. He composed music for a number of plays and comic pieces, an oratorio and songs before his first opera, The Mountain Sylph, in 1834, which was a great success and which Macfarren, writing in 1863, claimed "opened a new period for music in this country, from which is to be dated the establishment of an English dramatic school"[1]. It was followed by Fair Rosamond and Farinelli, neither of which managed anything like the same success. In 1841, Barnett moved to Cheltenham where he became a successful singing teacher. Barnett's daughter, Clara Kathleen Rogers, a singer, published two memoirs: Memories of a musical career (Plimpton Press, 1932) and The story of Two Lives (Plimpton Press, 1932), which include many references to John Barnett. His son, Eugene, wrote the music for a number of songs and comic works.

[1] George A. Macfarren, "Barnett, John", in ed. John F. Waller, Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 1. London: William Mackenzie, 1863, p.389. 

á Beckett, Mary Ann (née Glossop) 1815 - 1863

Benedict, Julius, 1804 - 1885

De Pinna, Joseph, 1799(?) - 1885

Forbes, Henry 1804 - 1859
Henry Forbes was an organist, composer and conductor of Societé Armonica from 1827 - 1850. The latter started as an amateur band which then graduated to employing professionals and hosting public concerts at a cheaper rate than the Philharmonic, although with a lower orchestral standard, according to The Spectator (March 13, 1835).    Forbes wrote mainly smaller scale works, such as songs and psalm tunes but did create an opera, The Fairy Oak, and an oratorio, Ruth.

Goring Thomas, Arthur, 1850-1892
Arthur Goring Thomas was born in Sussex into a wealthy household and showed an early aptitude for music, which he went on to study in Paris and London. He wrote five operas, the best known being Esmeralda and Nadeshda, both successful and both also performed on the continent. The Golden Web was premiered after his suicide in 1892. Goring Thomas was particularly praised for his melodic gifts and his lightness of touch, no doubt a legacy of his French training.

Laurent, Henri

Lavenu, Lewis Henry, 1818-1859

Linley, George, 1798 - 1865

Loder, Edward James, 1809-1865

Macfarren, George Alexander, 1813 - 1887

Packer, Charles Sandys, 1810-1883
Packer was born in Reading and studied at the RAM, later becoming a teacher there during which time he wrote Sadak and Kalasrade. However, a few years after that, in 1839,his career took a novel turn when he was transported to Australia for forgery but he was able to set up as a music teacher in Hobart, even though still serving his sentence, and, then,following a conditional pardon, branched out into theatre management [1]. Eventually, he set himself up as a professor of music in Sydney but does not seem to have composed any further operas, although he did write an oratorio The Crown of Thorns, the score of which can be found here. His career took a further stumble when he was imprisoned for five years for bigamy. On release, he again took up teaching and composition. He died in Australia in 1883[2]. More information can be found in Graeme Skinner's dissertation on music in colonial Australia [3].

[1] Maree-rose Jones, "Musical Activities at the Royal Victoria Theatre, Hobart", Tasmanian Historical Research Association, No. 54, Vol. 3, December 2007, in particular pp.149-151.

[2] E. J. Lea-Scarlett, "Packer, Charles Sandys (Stuart Shipley) (1810 - 1883)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, ( National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 1974) http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/packer-charles-sandys-stuart-shipley-4353/text7071

[3]Graeme Skinner, Towards a general theory of Australian Musical composition. (University of Sydney: PhD thesis, 2011) http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au//bitstream/2123/7264/1/ga-skinner-2011-thesis.pdf) , p.284-291.

Rodwell, George Herbert Bonaparte, 1800 - 1852
Rodwell was born in London and was a pupil of Henry Bishop and Vincent Novello. He wrote both books and stage works as well as composing. At various points he took over managing the Adelphi theatre, taught at the Royal Academy of Music and became Director of Music at Covent Garden. Despite a long, varied and often successful career he ended up in the Insolvent Debtors Court shortly before his death. His work was often of a less serious nature but he was an ardent advocate for English opera, most notably in an 1833 pamphlet entitled A Letter to the Musicians of Great Britain; containing a Prospectus of Proposed Plans for the Better Encouragement of Native Musical Talent and for the Erection and Management of a Grand National Opera in London. An article on the Letter can be found here. Fitzball said of him [1] "Rodwell, though not a great composer, was a first rate melodist".

[1] Edward Fitzball, Thirty Five Years of a Dramatic Author's Life. (London: T.C.Newby, 1859), p.36

Thomson, John, 1805-1841
John Thomson was born near Kelso in Scotland. He met Mendelssohn on the latter's visit to Edinburgh in 1829 and again when Thomson went to Leipzig to study. He became Reid Professor of Music in Edinburgh in 1839, only 18 months before his early death in 1841. He composed songs and chamber works as well for the stage and was the first person in Britain to write musical analysis and commentary on concert works.In December 1829, he provided music for the Edinburgh performances of Sir Walter Scott's youthful drama The House of Aspen. His only opera was Hermann or The Broken Spear (1834). He also produced the music for Serle's play The Shadow on the Wall (1835).

Tully, James Howard, 1814-1868

Wallace, William Vincent, 1812 - 1865

 






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