Maurice Greene - Encyclopedia

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MAURICE GREENE (1695-1755) English musical composer, was born in London. He was the son of a clergyman in the city, and soon became a chorister of St Paul's cathedral, where he studied under Charles King, and subsequently under Richard Brind, organist of the cathedral from 1707 to 1718, whom, on his death in the last-named year, he succeeded. Nine years later he became organist and composer to the chapel royal, on the death of Dr Croft. In 1730 he was elected to the chair of music in the university of Cambridge, and had the degree of doctor of music conferred on him. Dr Greene was a voluminous composer of church music, and his collection of Forty Select Anthems became a standard work of its kind. He wrote a "Te Deum," several oratorios, a masque, The Judgment of Hercules, and a pastoral opera, Phoebe (1748); also glees and catches: and a collection of Catches and Canons for Three and Four Voices is amongst his compositions. In addition he composed many occasional pieces for the king's birthday, having been appointed master of the king's band in 1735. But it is as a composer of church music that Greene is chiefly remembered. It is here that his contrapuntal skill and his sound musical scholarship are chiefly shown. With Handel, Greene was originally on intimate terms, but his equal friendship for Buononcini, Handel's rival, estranged the German master's feelings from him, and all personal intercourse between them ceased. Greene, in conjunction with the violinist Michael Christian Festing (1727-1752) and others, originated the Society of Musicians, for the support of poor artists and their families. He died on the 1st of December 1755.

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