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Leanne Langley

(b Norwich, Jan 22, 1784; d Brentwood, March 12, 1863). English bass and writer on music. Born into a prominent Unitarian family with literary leanings, he worked as an ironmonger and was active in liberal politics as well as amateur musical life in Norwich. He sang at the Octagon Chapel and the Glee and Catch Club, was principal bass at the Hall Concerts, and played a key role in the founding and organization of the Norwich Triennial Festival in 1824; he was also skilled as a wind player and choir trainer. Among his teachers were the Rev. Charles Smyth, William Fish and J.C. Beckwith.

In 1825 Taylor started an engineering firm in London, but on its failure a year later took up music professionally, as a concert singer and teacher. Still associated with opposition politics, by 1829 he had become music critic for the weekly Spectator. Its didactic, reform-minded tone suited him well, and he wrote there regularly for 14 years, notably on provincial festivals, the relative merits of Spohr (his friend) and Mendelssohn (whom he thought overrated), and on the importance of earlier music and of amateur music-making. In ...