Reference Entry

Humphreys, Samuel

Ruth Smith

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(b c1698; d Canonbury, London, Jan 11, 1738). English author. He had a reputation as a translator (Peruvian Tales, London, 1734, ‘from the French’, was reprinted into the 19th century), in which capacity he worked for Handel, providing the translations printed in the wordbooks of his operas Poro, Rinaldo (1731 version), Ezio, Sosarme and Orlando, and of two produced under his management, the pasticcio Venceslao and Leo's Catone in Utica. Handel also commissioned him to provide (at short notice) additional text for the extended version (1732) of his oratorio Esther and the librettos of his two subsequent oratorios, Deborah and Athalia (both 1733). Humphreys's most substantial work was his three-volume The Sacred Books of the Old and New Testament, Recited at Large (London, 1735), compiled from the major commentaries ‘and a variety of other eminent authors, ancient and modern’, but with considerable comment from Humphreys himself, which yields interesting glosses on many of the subjects of biblical oratorio. He tended often to choose politically sensitive subjects for his works, for example he wrote a life of the ‘Tory martyr’ poet Matthew Prior, which prefaced an edition of his poems (London, ...

Reference Entry.  326 words. 

Subjects: Baroque Music

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