Adams, James B(lake)
- Robin Langley
(bc1749; d after 1794). English composer, organist and cellist. According to his recommendation by Francis Hackwood to the Society of Musicians, on 1 February 1784 he was 35 years old, married with two children, organist of Brompton Chapel and a competent violinist, viola player and cellist. He performed as a cellist in the Handel commemoration concerts in 1784 and played in the band for the Academy of Ancient Music during the 1787–8 season. He probably also took part as a cellist in the concerts (held annually) at St Paul’s Cathedral for the relief of the clergy in 1785, 1789, 1790, 1793 and 1795.
From his extant published works it can be seen that Adams was a competent purveyor of small-scale vocal and instrumental works in the manner of Haigh, Osmond or Reeve. His music shows an awareness of changing styles: the early songs and canzonets accompanied either by harpsichord or orchestra with obbligato instrument are in the manner of Arne, giving way to a symphonic style like that of J.C. Bach or Hook in the three sonatas of op.4 (for piano or harpsichord with violin or flute accompaniment); his late sonata for piano duet shows some grasp of larger forms, and ...