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William Boyce (composer)

 

William Boyce (composer)

William Boyce

William Boyce (7 February 1710 – 7 February 1779)[1] is widely regarded as one of the most important English-born composers of the 18th century.

Contents

  • Life 1
  • References 2
  • Sources 3
  • External links 4

Life

Born in Chapel Royal in 1758. One of his students was the prodigy Thomas Linley.

By the year 1758 his deafness had increased to such an extent that he was unable to continue in his organist posts. He resolved to give up teaching and to retire to Kensington, and devote himself to editing the collection of church music which bears his name. He retired and worked on completing the compilation Cathedral Music that his teacher Greene had left incomplete at his death.[1] This led to Boyce editing works by the likes of William Byrd and Henry Purcell. Many of the pieces in the collection are still used in Anglican services today.

Boyce is best known for his set of eight symphonies, his anthems and his odes. He also wrote the masque Peleus and Thetis and songs for John Dryden's Secular Masque, incidental music for William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale, and a quantity of chamber music including a set of twelve trio sonatas. He also composed the British and Canadian Naval March "Heart of Oak". The lyrics were later written by David Garrick for his 1759 play Harlequin's Invasion.

Boyce was largely forgotten after his death and he remains a little-performed composer today, although a number of his pieces were rediscovered in the 1930s and Constant Lambert edited and sometimes conducted his works. Lambert had already launched the early stages of the modern Boyce revival in 1928, when he published the first modern edition of the Eight Symphonies (Bartlett and Bruce 2001). The great exception to this neglect was his church music, which was edited after his death by Philip Hayes and published in two large volumes, Fifteen Anthems by Dr Boyce in 1780 and A Collection of Anthems and a Short Service in 1790 (Bartlett 2003, 54).

Boyce's portraits were painted by Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Hudson. He was drawn and engraved by John Keyse Sherwin, and a vignette made by Drayton after Robert Smirke.[3]

His only son, also William Boyce (25 March 1764 – 1824), was a professional double bass player.[4]

On the 7 February 1779 Boyce died from an attack of gout. He was buried under the dome of St Paul's cathedral.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c  
  2. ^ Bruce (2005)
  3. ^ "Boyce, William".  
  4. ^ British musical biography (Birmingham: S.S. Stratton, 1897) p. 56.

Sources

  • Bartlett, Ian. 2003. "Lambert, Finzi and the Anatomy of the Boyce Revival". Musical Times 144, no. 1884 (Autumn): 54–59.
  • Bartlett, Ian, and Robert J. Bruce. 2001. "Boyce, William". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Bruce, Robert J. 2005. "Boyce, William (bap. 1711, d. 1779)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, [2004; online edition, Oct 2005; subscription or UK library membership required]
  • Kenyon, Nicholas. 1978–79. "William Boyce (1711–1779)" Music and Musicians 27, no. 6:24–27.

External links

Court offices
Preceded by
Maurice Greene
Master of the King's Music
1755–1779
Succeeded by
John Stanley
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Joseph Kelway
St Michael, Cornhill
1736–1768
Succeeded by
Theodore Aylward Sr.
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