William Hayman Cummings

(1831—1915) singer and musical antiquary

Quick Reference

(b Sidbury, Devon, 1831; d London, 1915). Eng. organist, tenor, and musicologist. Chorister at St Paul's Cath., London, and Temple Church. Org. Waltham Abbey 1847. Sang at Birmingham Fest. 1864 and became noted for perf. in Bach Passions. Prof. of singing RAM 1879–96, Prin., GSMD 1896–1910. Ed. 3 vols. of Purcell Soc. of which he was a founder. Wrote biographies of Purcell (1881) and Handel (1904) and monographs on national anthem, Rule! Britannia, and Blow. Comp. cantata The Fairy Ring. While at Waltham, adapted theme from second number of Mendelssohn's Festgesang to hymn ‘Hark! the herald angels sing’ (pubd. 1856). Formed magnificent mus. library, beginning when he was 19. By 1900 it comprised 4,500 items, incl. autograph letters and MSS. It was dispersed by auction after his death.

From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

Reference entries