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Gwilym Beechey

revised by Linda Troost

Member of Linley family

(b Badminton, Gloucs., Jan 17, 1733; d London, Nov 19, 1795). English composer and concert director. His father, William, was a carpenter who moved to Bath in the late 1740s. Linley showed a marked gift for music when young and studied with Thomas Chilcot, organist of Bath Abbey. Later he studied in London with William Boyce, and also perhaps with the Italian harpsichordist Paradies, who lived in England from 1746 until about 1770. Linley directed concerts in Bath from the mid-1750s to about 1774, and also appeared in London as a solo performer. His capacities as a singing teacher were amply proved by the extraordinary abilities of his own children, several of whom were precocious soloists. He had 12 children by his wife Mary Johnson, whom he married in 1752 and who was later wardrobe mistress at Drury Lane (1776–c1800). All but three of his children predeceased him, and this naturally saddened his final years. Besides those noted below, three were connected with the musical or theatrical professions: Samuel (...

Article

Gwilym Beechey

revised by Linda Troost

Member of Linley family

(b Bath, Jan 27, 1771; d London, May 6, 1835). English composer and director of theatre music, son of Thomas Linley (i). The youngest of the Linley children, he was educated at Harrow and St Paul’s School, and studied music with his father and with the composer and viol player C.F. Abel. He had a fine singing voice that inspired Coleridge to write a sonnet about him. He was a civil servant in India, 1790–96 and 1801–6. In the late 1790s he took over his father’s post as composer to Drury Lane and wrote musical works of mostly limited success, often supplying his own librettos. He also provided the incidental music to the famous Shakespeare forgery Vortigern (1796). He settled in London in 1807 and wrote several sets of songs, elegies, glees, and some sacred music, and in 1816 issued a two-volume anthology of settings of Shakespearean lyrics by various composers. He was a member of many clubs and won a Glee Club prize in ...