William Boyce

(1711—1779) composer, organist, and music editor

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(b London, 1711; d London, 1779).

Eng. composer and organist. Org. of Earl of Oxford's Chapel, Vere Street, 1734–6, and became known as composer of masques and oratorios. Org., St Michael's, Cornhill, 1736, also becoming composer to Chapel Royal. Appointed cond., 3 Choirs Fest., 1737. Org., Allhallows the Great and Less, Thane Street, 1749. D.Mus., Oxford, 1749. Succeeded Greene as Master of the King's Musick, 1755. Org., Chapel Royal, 1758. Resigned from St Michael's 1768, dismissed from Allhallows 1769. Increasing deafness, which had first manifested itself in his youth, caused him to give up other posts c.1770. Retired to Kensington to edit a coll. of English Cathedral Music, a task projected by Greene who bequeathed to Boyce the material he had collected. Boyce's 3 vols. remained in use for almost 150 years. His comps. incl. masques, odes, ovs., church anthems and services, trio sonatas, and 8 syms. (1760), of which the modern revival is due to the researches and enthusiasm of Constant Lambert. Their dates of comp. are not accurately known. As pubd., the first two date from c.1759, the last four from 1735 to 1741. The song Heart of Oak was comp. by Boyce in 1759, to words by David Garrick, for the pantomime Harlequin's Invasion.

Subjects: Music.

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