Sir John Goss - Encyclopedia




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SIR JOHN GOSS (1800-1880), English composer, was born at Fareham, Hampshire, on the 27th of December 1800. He was elected a chorister of the Chapel Royal in 1811, and in 1816, on the breaking of his voice, became a pupil of Attwood. A few early compositions, some for the theatre, exist, and some glees were published before 1825. He was appointed organist of St Luke's, Chelsea, in 1824, and in 1838 became organist of St Paul's in succession to Attwood; he kept the post until 1872, when he resigned and was knighted. His position in the London musical world of the time was an influential one, and he did much by his teaching and criticism to encourage the study and appreciation of good music. In 1876 he was given the degree of Mus.D. at Cambridge. Though his few orchestral works have very small importance, his church music includes some fine compositions, such as the anthems "O taste and see," "O Saviour of the world" and others. He was the last of the great English school of church composers who devoted themselves almost exclusively to church music; and in the history of the glee his is an honoured name, if only on account of his finest work in that form, the five-part glee, Ossian's "Hymn to the sun." He died at Brixton, London, on the 10th of May 1880.

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