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Lowell Mason

1792 - 1872 Composer of "RIPLEY" in Luther League Hymnal Dr. Lowell Mason (the degree was conferred by the University of New York) is justly called the father of American church music; and by his labors were founded the germinating principles of national musical intelligence and knowledge, which afforded a soil upon which all higher musical culture has been founded. To him we owe some of our best ideas in religious church music, elementary musical education, music in the schools, the popularization of classical chorus singing, and the art of teaching music upon the Inductive or Pestalozzian plan. More than that, we owe him no small share of the respect which the profession of music enjoys at the present time as contrasted with the contempt in which it was held a century or more ago. In fact, the entire art of music, as now understood and practiced in America, has derived advantage from the work of this great man. Lowell Mason was born in Medfield, Mass., January 8, 1792. From childhood he had manifested an intense love for music, and had devoted all his spare time and effort to improving himself according to such opportunities as were available to him. At the age of twenty he found himself filling a clerkship in a banking house in Savannah, Ga. Here he lost no opportunity of gratifying his passion for musical advancement, and was fortunate to meet for the first time a thoroughly qualified instructor, in the person of F. L. Abel. Applying his spare hours assiduously to the cultivation of the pursuit to which his passion inclined him, he soon acquired a proficiency that enabled him to enter the field of original composition, and his first work of this kind was embodied in the compilation of a collection of church music, which contained many of his own compositions. The manuscript was offered unavailingly to publishers in Philadelphia and in Boston. Fortunately for our musical advancement it finally secured the attention of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, and by its committee was submitted to Dr. G. K. Jackson, the severest critic in Boston. Dr. Jackson approved most heartily of the work, and added a few of his own compositions to it. Thus enlarged, it was finally published in 1822 as The Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music. Mason's name was omitted from the publication at his own request, which he thus explains, "I was then a bank officer in Savannah, and did not wish to be known as a musical man, as I had not the least thought of ever making music a profession." President Winchester, of the Handel and Haydn Society, sold the copyright for the young man. Mr. Mason went back to Savannah with probably $500 in his pocket as the preliminary result of his Boston visit. The book soon sprang into universal popularity, being at once adopted by the singing schools of New England, and through this means entering into the church choirs, to whom it opened up a higher field of harmonic beauty. Its career of success ran through some seventeen editions. On realizing this success, Mason determined to accept an invitation to come to Boston and enter upon a musical career. This was in 1826. He was made an honorary member of the Handel and Haydn Society, but declined to accept this, and entered the ranks as an active member. He had been invited to come to Boston by President Winchester and other musical friends and was guaranteed an income of $2,000 a year. He was also appointed, by the influence of these friends, director of music at the Hanover, Green, and Park Street churches, to alternate six months with each congregation. Finally he made a permanent arrangement with the Bowdoin Street Church, and gave up the guarantee, but again friendly influence stepped in and procured for him the position of teller at the American Bank. In 1827 Lowell Mason became president and conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society. It was the beginning of a career that was to win for him as has been already stated the title of "The Father of American Church Music." Although this may seem rather a bold claim it is not too much under the circumstances. Mr. Mason might have been in the average ranks of musicianship had he lived in Europe; in America he was well in advance of his surroundings. It was not too high praise (in spite of Mason's very simple style) when Dr. Jackson wrote of his song collection: "It is much the best book I have seen published in this country, and I do not hesitate to give it my most decided approbation," or that the great contrapuntist, Hauptmann, should say the harmonies of the tunes were dignified and churchlike and that the counterpoint was good, plain, singable and melodious. Charles C. Perkins gives a few of the reasons why Lowell Mason was the very man to lead American music as it then existed. He says, "First and foremost, he was not so very much superior to the members as to be unreasonably impatient at their shortcomings. Second, he was a born teacher, who, by hard work, had fitted himself to give instruction in singing. Third, he was one of themselves, a plain, self-made man, who could understand them and be understood of them." The personality of Dr. Mason was of great use to the art and appreciation of music in this country. He was of strong mind, dignified manners, sensitive, yet sweet and engaging. Prof. Horace Mann, one of the great educators of that day, said he would walk fifty miles to see and hear Mr. Mason teach if he could not otherwise have that advantage. Dr. Mason visited a number of the music schools in Europe, studied their methods, and incorporated the best things in his own work. He founded the Boston Academy of Music. The aim of this institution was to reach the masses and introduce music into the public schools. Dr. Mason resided in Boston from 1826 to 1851, when he removed to New York. Not only Boston benefited directly by this enthusiastic teacher's instruction, but he was constantly traveling to other societies in distant cities and helping their work. He had a notable class at North Reading, Mass., and he went in his later years as far as Rochester, where he trained a chorus of five hundred voices, many of them teachers, and some of them coming long distances to study under him. Before 1810 he had developed his idea of "Teachers' Conventions," and, as in these he had representatives from different states, he made musical missionaries for almost the entire country. He left behind him no less than fifty volumes of musical collections, instruction books, and manuals. As a composer of solid, enduring church music. Dr. Mason was one of the most successful this country has introduced. He was a deeply pious man, and was a communicant of the Presbyterian Church. Dr. Mason in 1817 married Miss Abigail Gregory, of Leesborough, Mass. The family consisted of four sons, Daniel Gregory, Lowell, William and Henry. The two former founded the publishing house of Mason Bros., dissolved by the death of the former in 19G9. Lowell and Henry were the founders of the great organ manufacturer of Mason & Hamlin. Dr. William Mason was one of the most eminent musicians that America has yet produced. Dr. Lowell Mason died at "Silverspring," a beautiful residence on the side of Orange Mountain, New Jersey, August 11, 1872, bequeathing his great musical library, much of which had been collected abroad, to Yale College. --Hall, J. H. (c1914). Biographies of Gospel Song and Hymn Writers. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

1756 - 1791 Person Name: W. A. Mozart Composer of "ELLESDIE" in Songs for Christ and the Church Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Austria 1756-1791. Born at Salzburg, Austria, the son of Leopold Mozart, a minor composer and violinist, and youngest of seven children, he showed amazing ability on violin and keyboard from earliest childhood, even starting to compose music at age four when his father would play a piece and Mozart would play it exactly as did his father. At five, he composed some of his own music, which he played to his father, who wrote it down. When Mozart was eight, he wrote his first symphony, probably transcribed by his father. In his early years his father was his only teacher, teaching his children languages and academic subjects, as well as fundamentals of their strict Catholic faith. Some of his early compositions came as a surprise to his father, who eventually gave up composing himself when he realized how talented his son was. His family made several European journeys and he and his sister, Nanneri, performed as child prodigies, at the court of Prince-elector Maximillian II of Bavaria in Munich, and at the Imperial Courts in Vienna and Prague. A long concert tour followed, for 3.5 years, taking the family to courts in Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, Dover, The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Mechelen, and again to Paris, and back home via Zurich, Donaueschingen, and Munich. During these trips Mozart met many musicians, acquainting himself with the works of other composers. He met Johann Christian Bach in London in 1764. Family trips were challenging, and travel conditions were primitive. They had to wait for invitations and reimbursements from nobility, and they endured long, near-fatal illnesses far from home. First Leopold (1764) got sick, then both children (1765). They traveled again to Vienna in 1767 and stayed there over a year. After a year back in Salzburg, Leopold and Wolfgang went to Italy (1769-1771), Leopold wished to display his son’s abilities as a performer and maturing composer. In Bologna, Italy, Wolfgang was accepted as a member of the famous Academia Filamonica. In Rome he heard Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere twice in performance. Back in the Sistine Chapel, Mozart wrote the whole performance out from memory, thus producing the first unauthorized copy of this closely guarded property of the Vatican. In the next few years Mozart wrote several operas performed with success in Italy, but his father’s hopes of securing a professional appointment for his son were not realized. At age 17 he was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position. After returning to Salzburg, Mozart was employed as a court musician by the ruler of Salzburg, Prince Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. This gave Mozart ample opportunity to develop relationships with other musicians and his admirers, resulting in his development of new symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, masses, serenades, and some minor operas. In 1775 he wrote his only violin concertos, five in all. Again, he was discontent with work in Salzburg and traveled to find more opportunity to write operas. He and his father again visited Munich and Vienna, but neither visit was successful with the exception of his opera ‘La finta giardiniera’ in Munich. In 1777 he resigned his Salzburg position and went to Augsburg, Mannheim, Paris, and Munich again. In Mannheim he met and fell in love with Aloysia Weber, one of four daughters of a musical family. He could find no real employment there and left for Paris in 1778. He might have had a position as organist at Versailles, but he was not interested in that. He fell into debt and started pawning valuables. During these events his mother died. Meanwhile his father was still trying to find him a position in Salzburg. After checking out several other European cities and Munich, he again encountered Aloysia, but she was no longer interested in him, so he returned to Salzburg, having written another symphony, concerto, and piano sonata, and took the new appointment his father had found. However, he was still in discontent. Visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He wrote another opera, ‘Idomeneo’, in 1781, that was successful in Munich. Two months later he was summoned to Vienna, where his employer, Archbishop Colloredo, wanted him around due to his notoriety. Mozart wished to meet the emperor and perform for him, and finally got that opportunity. It resulted in a part-time position and substantial commissions. Colloredo became a nemesis to Mozart’s career, finally releasing Mozart from his employ with a literal kick in the pants, much against his father’s wishes. However, he was now independent. Mozart then decided to settle in Vienna as a free lance performer and composer. He lived with the Fridolin Weber family, who had moved from Mannheim to Vienna. Fridolin, the father, had died, and they were taking in lodgers to make ends meet. His career there went well, and he performed as a pianist before the Emperor, establishing himself as the finest keyboard player in Vienna. He wrote another opera in 1782, again achieving success. Mozart had now become a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period and was known throughout Europe. Aloysia was now married to actor, Joseph Lange, and Mozart’s interest shifted to her sister, Constanze. In 1782 he married Constanze Weber Mozart Nissen. The marriage started out with a brief separation, and there was a problem getting Mozart’s father’s permission, which finally came. They had six children, but only two survived infancy: Carl and Franz. He lived in Vienna and achieved some notoriety, composing many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas. In 1782-83 he became intimately acquainted with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Friederic Handel, as his friend, Gottfried van Swieten, owned many manuscripts of the Baroque masters, which Mozart studied intently. He altered his style of composition as a result. That year Mozart and his wife visited his father and sister, and he composed a liturgical piece, a Mass, with a singing part for his wife. He also met Joseph Hadyn in Vienna in 1784 and they became friends. They even played together in a string quartet from time to time. Mozart wrote six quartets dedicated to Hadyn. In 1785 Hadyn told Leopold Mozart, “Your son is the greatest composer known to me by person and repute, he has taste, and what is more, the greatest skill in composition”. Over the next several years Mozart booked several piano concertos in various places as a sole performer to delighted audiences, making substantial remuneration for his work. He and his wife then adopted a more luxurious lifestyle. They moved to an expensive apartment and he bought a fine fortepiano and billiard table. They sent their son, Karl, to an expensive boarding school and also kept servants. In 1784 Mozart became a Freemason and even composed Masonic music. Over the next several years he did little operatic writing and focused on his career as a piano soloist and writer of concertos. He again began operatic collaboration in 1785, creating ‘The marriage of Figaro’, then ‘Don Giovanni’ in 1787. That year his father died. Also that year he obtained a steady post under Emperor Joseph II as his chamber composer. This was part-time employment that was important when hard times arrived. However, Joseph aimed at keeping Mozart from leaving Vienna for better work. The Austrio-Turkish War made life difficult for musicians, and his aristocracy support had declined. He moved to save on expenses, but that did not help much, and he was reduced to borrowing funds from his friends, and pleading for loans. During this period he produced his last three symphonies. In 1789 he then set up on a journey to Leipzig, Dresden, and Berlin hoping to improve his fortunes. In 1790 he was highly productive, producing concertos, an opera, ‘The magic flute’, a series of string quintets, a motet, and an (unfinished) Requiem. Finances began to improve and he begin paying back his debts. Public reaction to his works also brought him great satisfaction. In 1791, while in Prague for the premiere of his opera, ‘La clemenza di Tito’, he fell ill. He continued professional functions for a short time, but had to go home and be nursed by his wife over the next couple of months. He died at Vienna, Austria, at the age of 35, a small thin man with undistinguishing characteristics. He was buried in a modest grave, having had a small funeral. Beethoven composed his early works in the shadow of Mozart, and Joseph Hadyn wrote “posterity will not see such a talent (as Mozart) again in 100 years”. 600+ works. Side note: Mozart enjoyed billiards, dancing, and had a pet canary, a starling, a dog, and a horse for recreational riding. He liked off-color humor. He wore elegant clothing when performing and had a modest tenor voice. John Perry

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

1809 - 1847 Person Name: fr. Mendelssohn Arranger of "MANSFIELD" in Laudes Domini Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (b. Hamburg, Germany, 1809; d. Leipzig, Germany, 1847) was the son of banker Abraham Mendelssohn and the grandson of philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. His Jewish family became Christian and took the Bartholdy name (name of the estate of Mendelssohn's uncle) when baptized into the Lutheran church. The children all received an excellent musical education. Mendelssohn had his first public performance at the age of nine and by the age of sixteen had written several symphonies. Profoundly influenced by J. S. Bach's music, he conducted a performance of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829 (at age 20!) – the first performance since Bach's death, thus reintroducing Bach to the world. Mendelssohn organized the Domchor in Berlin and founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music in 1843. Traveling widely, he not only became familiar with various styles of music but also became well known himself in countries other than Germany, especially in England. He left a rich treasury of music: organ and piano works, overtures and incidental music, oratorios (including St. Paul or Elijah and choral works, and symphonies. He harmonized a number of hymn tunes himself, but hymnbook editors also arranged some of his other tunes into hymn tunes. Bert Polman

Charles Wesley

1707 - 1788 Author of "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" in Psalter Hymnal (Gray) Charles Wesley, M.A. was the great hymn-writer of the Wesley family, perhaps, taking quantity and quality into consideration, the great hymn-writer of all ages. Charles Wesley was the youngest son and 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, and was born at Epworth Rectory, Dec. 18, 1707. In 1716 he went to Westminster School, being provided with a home and board by his elder brother Samuel, then usher at the school, until 1721, when he was elected King's Scholar, and as such received his board and education free. In 1726 Charles Wesley was elected to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1729, and became a college tutor. In the early part of the same year his religious impressions were much deepened, and he became one of the first band of "Oxford Methodists." In 1735 he went with his brother John to Georgia, as secretary to General Oglethorpe, having before he set out received Deacon's and Priest's Orders on two successive Sundays. His stay in Georgia was very short; he returned to England in 1736, and in 1737 came under the influence of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, especially of that remarkable man who had so large a share in moulding John Wesley's career, Peter Bonier, and also of a Mr. Bray, a brazier in Little Britain. On Whitsunday, 1737, [sic. 1738] he "found rest to his soul," and in 1738 he became curate to his friend, Mr. Stonehouse, Vicar of Islington, but the opposition of the churchwardens was so great that the Vicar consented that he "should preach in his church no more." Henceforth his work was identified with that of his brother John, and he became an indefatigable itinerant and field preacher. On April 8, 1749, he married Miss Sarah Gwynne. His marriage, unlike that of his brother John, was a most happy one; his wife was accustomed to accompany him on his evangelistic journeys, which were as frequent as ever until the year 1756," when he ceased to itinerate, and mainly devoted himself to the care of the Societies in London and Bristol. Bristol was his headquarters until 1771, when he removed with his family to London, and, besides attending to the Societies, devoted himself much, as he had done in his youth, to the spiritual care of prisoners in Newgate. He had long been troubled about the relations of Methodism to the Church of England, and strongly disapproved of his brother John's "ordinations." Wesley-like, he expressed his disapproval in the most outspoken fashion, but, as in the case of Samuel at an earlier period, the differences between the brothers never led to a breach of friendship. He died in London, March 29, 1788, and was buried in Marylebone churchyard. His brother John was deeply grieved because he would not consent to be interred in the burial-ground of the City Road Chapel, where he had prepared a grave for himself, but Charles said, "I have lived, and I die, in the Communion of the Church of England, and I will be buried in the yard of my parish church." Eight clergymen of the Church of England bore his pall. He had a large family, four of whom survived him; three sons, who all became distinguished in the musical world, and one daughter, who inherited some of her father's poetical genius. The widow and orphans were treated with the greatest kindness and generosity by John Wesley. As a hymn-writer Charles Wesley was unique. He is said to have written no less than 6500 hymns, and though, of course, in so vast a number some are of unequal merit, it is perfectly marvellous how many there are which rise to the highest degree of excellence. His feelings on every occasion of importance, whether private or public, found their best expression in a hymn. His own conversion, his own marriage, the earthquake panic, the rumours of an invasion from France, the defeat of Prince Charles Edward at Culloden, the Gordon riots, every Festival of the Christian Church, every doctrine of the Christian Faith, striking scenes in Scripture history, striking scenes which came within his own view, the deaths of friends as they passed away, one by one, before him, all furnished occasions for the exercise of his divine gift. Nor must we forget his hymns for little children, a branch of sacred poetry in which the mantle of Dr. Watts seems to have fallen upon him. It would be simply impossible within our space to enumerate even those of the hymns which have become really classical. The saying that a really good hymn is as rare an appearance as that of a comet is falsified by the work of Charles Wesley; for hymns, which are really good in every respect, flowed from his pen in quick succession, and death alone stopped the course of the perennial stream. It has been the common practice, however for a hundred years or more to ascribe all translations from the German to John Wesley, as he only of the two brothers knew that language; and to assign to Charles Wesley all the original hymns except such as are traceable to John Wesley through his Journals and other works. The list of 482 original hymns by John and Charles Wesley listed in this Dictionary of Hymnology have formed an important part of Methodist hymnody and show the enormous influence of the Wesleys on the English hymnody of the nineteenth century. -- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907) ================== Charles Wesley, the son of Samuel Wesley, was born at Epworth, Dec. 18, 1707. He was educated at Westminster School and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. In 1735, he took Orders and immediately proceeded with his brother John to Georgia, both being employed as missionaries of the S.P.G. He returned to England in 1736. For many years he engaged with his brother in preaching the Gospel. He died March 29, 1788. To Charles Wesley has been justly assigned the appellation of the "Bard of Methodism." His prominence in hymn writing may be judged from the fact that in the "Wesleyan Hymn Book," 623 of the 770 hymns were written by him; and he published more than thirty poetical works, written either by himself alone, or in conjunction with his brother. The number of his separate hymns is at least five thousand. --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872.

Rowland Hugh Prichard

1811 - 1887 Person Name: Rowland H. Prichard Composer of "HYFRYDOL" in Psalter Hymnal (Gray) Rowland H. Prichard (sometimes spelled Pritchard) (b. Graienyn, near Bala, Merionetshire, Wales, 1811; d. Holywell, Flintshire, Wales, 1887) was a textile worker and an amateur musician. He had a good singing voice and was appointed precentor in Graienyn. Many of his tunes were published in Welsh periodicals. In 1880 Prichard became a loom tender's assistant at the Welsh Flannel Manufacturing Company in Holywell. Bert Polman

E. J. Hopkins

1818 - 1901 Person Name: E. J. Hopkins, Mus. Doc. Composer of "[Love divine, all love excelling]" in The Hymnal, Revised and Enlarged, as adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the year of our Lord 1892 Dr Edward John Hopkins MusDoc United Kingdom 1818-1901. Born at Westminster, England, the son of a clarinetist with the Royal Opera House orchestra, he became an organist (as did two of his brothers) and a composer. In 1826 he became a chorister of the Chapel Royal and sang at the coronation of King William IV in Westminster Abbey. He also sang in the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a double schedule requiring skill and dexterity. On Sunday evenings he would play the outgoing voluntary at St. Martin’s in-the-field. He left Chapel Royal in 1834 and started studying organ construction at two organ factories. He took an appointment at Mitcham Church as organist at age 16, winning an audition against other organists. Four years later he became organist at the Church of St. Peter, Islington. In 1841 he became organist at St. Luke’s, Berwick St., Soho. Two Years later he was organist at Temple Church, which had a historic organ (built in 1683). He held this position for 55 years. In 1845 he married Sarah Lovett, and they had four sons and five daughters. He was closely associated with the Bach Society and was organist for the first English performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. In 1855 he collaborated with Edward Rimbault publishing “The organ, its history and construction” (3 editions 1855-70-77). In 1864 he was one of the founders of the “College of organists”. In 1882 he received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the Archbishop of Canterbury. He composed 30+ hymn tunes and some psalm chants, used by the Church of England. He died in London, England. John Perry

Samuel Webbe

1740 - 1816 Person Name: S. Webbe, 1740—1816 Composer of "[Love divine, all love excelling]" in The Lutheran Hymnary Samuel Webbe (the elder; b. London, England, 1740; d. London, 1816) Webbe's father died soon after Samuel was born without providing financial security for the family. Thus Webbe received little education and was apprenticed to a cabinet­maker at the age of eleven. However, he was determined to study and taught himself Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German, and Italian while working on his apprentice­ship. He also worked as a music copyist and received musical training from Carl Barbant, organist at the Bavarian Embassy. Restricted at this time in England, Roman Catholic worship was freely permitted in the foreign embassies. Because Webbe was Roman Catholic, he became organist at the Portuguese Chapel and later at the Sardinian and Spanish chapels in their respective embassies. He wrote much music for Roman Catholic services and composed hymn tunes, motets, and madrigals. Webbe is considered an outstanding composer of glees and catches, as is evident in his nine published collections of these smaller choral works. He also published A Collection of Sacred Music (c. 1790), A Collection of Masses for Small Choirs (1792), and, with his son Samuel (the younger), Antiphons in Six Books of Anthems (1818). Bert Polman

John Zundel

1815 - 1882 Person Name: John Zundel, 1815-1882 Composer of "BEECHER" in Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) John Zundel; b. 1815, near Stuttgart, Germany; organist in Brooklyn, N. Y., from 1847 to 1878; d. Cannstadt, Germany, 1882 Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal, 1908

Asa Hull

1828 - 1907 Composer of "[Love divine, all love excelling]" in Chiming Voices Asa Hull USA 1828-1907. Born in Keene, NY, he became a music publisher in New York City. He married Emma F Atherton, and they had a daughter, Harriett. He wrote many tunes and authored temperance rallying songs. He published 33 works, of which 21 were songbooks, between 1863-1895. He died in Philadelphia, PA. John Perry

Anonymous

Person Name: Anon. Author of "Christ dwelling in his People" in Select Hymns In some hymnals, the editors noted that a hymn's author is unknown to them, and so this artificial "person" entry is used to reflect that fact. Obviously, the hymns attributed to "Author Unknown" "Unknown" or "Anonymous" could have been written by many people over a span of many centuries.

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