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Classical Composers A-Z: Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Peter Wintersgill summarises the life of Samuel Sebastian Wesley, the composer of church music.

14th August, 1810, illegitimate. Was the greatest composer in the English
tradition between Purcell and Stanford.

Samuel, composer and organist.

Sarah, father's housekeeper.

Brother Robert and sister Eliza.

Chorister at Chapel Royal at 10.

Organist of several London churches from the age of 16, and briefly conductor of a London theatre.

Adult Life
Organist successively at Hereford (1832), Exeter (1835), Leeds (1842), Winchester (1849), and Gloucester (1865).

Most of his output was for the church, especially anthems, e.g. Blessed be the God and Father, Ascribe unto the Lord, The Wilderness, Thou wilt keep him, and O Give Thanks.
Other works were the Service in E, hymn tunes, notably Aurelia, glees, songs and piano music.

He died 19th April, 1876, in Gloucester aged 65.


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