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Henry John Gauntlett - JPop.com
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Henry John Gauntlett

Henry John Gauntlett

Henry John Gauntlett


An exceptionally gift­ed or­gan­ist, Gaunt­lett was well known in 19th Cen­tu­ry Eng­lish mu­sic cir­cles. He was al­so, in turn, law­yer, au­thor, or­gan de­sign­er, and or­gan re­ci­tal­ist. His fa­ther, Hen­ry Gaunt­lett, was Cur­ate at Well­ing­ton Par­ish Church, Sa­lop, Eng­land, where Hen­ry John was born. Hen­ry had two sis­ters, Ly­dia and Ar­a­bel­la, both ac­comp­lished mu­si­cians. When his fa­ther moved to Ol­ney Read more on Last.fm
An exceptionally gift­ed or­gan­ist, Gaunt­lett was well known in 19th Cen­tu­ry Eng­lish mu­sic cir­cles. He was al­so, in turn, law­yer, au­thor, or­gan de­sign­er, and or­gan re­ci­tal­ist. His fa­ther, Hen­ry Gaunt­lett, was Cur­ate at Well­ing­ton Par­ish Church, Sa­lop, Eng­land, where Hen­ry John was born. Hen­ry had two sis­ters, Ly­dia and Ar­a­bel­la, both ac­comp­lished mu­si­cians. When his fa­ther moved to Ol­ney, Buck­ing­ham­shire, in 1814, he int­end­ed the two girls to share the post of or­gan­ist, but the young Gaunt­lett per­suad­ed his fa­ther to ap­point him ins­tead.

With­in six months, be­ing taught by his mo­ther, he was pro­fi­cient enough to take up the post. Lat­er, he took less­ons from Wes­ley. Att­wood, a pu­pil of Mozart, want­ed to ap­point him as his as­sist­ant at St. Paul’s Ca­thed­ral, Lon­don.

Gaunt­lett the el­der dis­cour­aged his son from be­com­ing a pro­fess­ion­al mu­si­cian, be­liev­ing they were sub­ject to too ma­ny tempt­a­tions of the flesh! Con­se­quent­ly, Hen­ry the young­er be­came a law­yer and moved to Lon­don, where he prac­ticed with his br­other. In 1827 he took up his first post as or­gan­ist at St. Ol­ave, South­wark. It was here he be­gan his cam­paign for the re­form of or­gan de­sign, which was to bring him in­to such con­flict with the es­tab­lished or­gan world. Ne­ver­the­less, he per­sist­ed to the point where he int­ro­duced the Grand Chor­us based on con­ti­nent­al style or­gans, ex­tend­ing the pe­dal com­pass and pa­tent­ing elec­tri­ci­ty to pow­er the in­str­ument. His collabora­tion with or­gan de­sign­er Will­iam Hill last­ed from the late 1830’s to 1860.

Dur­ing this per­i­od, Gaunt­lett ed­it­ed The Mu­sic­al World and lat­er pro­vid­ed ar­ti­cles for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions. He was al­so much in de­mand as a per­form­er. In 1846, Men­dels­sohn chose him to play the or­gan part in the first per­for­mance of Elijah in Birm­ing­ham Town Hall. It was about this time he was grant­ed a Lam­beth Doc­tor­ate by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr.

How­ley. Gauntlett was a pro­li­fic hymn writ­er; it is said he wrote 10,000 hymns. As this would re­quire him to write three hymns a day for thir­ty years, this fig­ure is doubt­ful. He did, how­ev­er, ed­it var­i­ous hymn books and was ac­tive­ly con­cerned with ev­ery ma­jor col­lect­ion of hymns made over the course of about fif­ty years (Bishop, 1971). Gauntlett has been de­scribed as The Fa­ther of Church Mu­sic, for he was the cre­at­or of the school of four-part hymn tunes. Whe­ther he de­serves this ac­co­lade is de­bat­a­ble.

Yet he was ad­mired by Men­dels­sohn no less who wrote of him, His li­ter­a­ry at­tain­ments, his know­ledge of the his­to­ry of mu­sic, his ac­quaint­ance with acous­ti­cal law, his mar­ve­lous mem­o­ry, his phil­o­so­phi­cal turn of mind as well as prac­ti­cal ex­per­i­ence—these ren­der him one of the most re­mark­a­ble pro­fess­ors of the age. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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