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date: 17 February 2020

Barnby, Sir Josephlocked

  • Nicholas Temperley


(b York, Aug 12, 1838; d London, Jan 28, 1896). English conductor and composer. He was the son of Thomas Barnby, an organist, and became a chorister at York Minster at the age of seven. In 1854 he went to London and entered the RAM. After holding positions as organist at various London and York churches, he received his first important appointment in 1863 as organist of St Andrew’s, Wells Street, under its prominent Tractarian vicar Benjamin Webb. Responding perhaps to pressure from their affluent and fashionable congregation, Webb and Barnby developed a type of music far removed from the austerity desired by the early Tractarians. A paid, surpliced choir of 32 boys and 32 men adorned the chancel, and performed ‘fully choral’ services. The music for these services from 1866 onwards included adaptations of Roman Catholic masses and motets, principally those of Gounod, with the words translated by Webb and the music adapted by Barnby. At the performance of Gounod’s ...

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