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date: 11 July 2020

Barnett, Johnlocked

  • Nicholas Temperley
  •  and Nigel Burton


(b Bedford, 1/July 15, 1802; d Leckhampton, April 16, 1890). English composer. E.F. Rimbault (Obituary, MT, xxxi, 1890, p.285) is alone in giving his date of birth as 1 July 1802. Barnett's father, Bernhard Beer, was a Prussian diamond merchant of Jewish extraction who is said to have been a cousin of Meyerbeer; on settling in England he changed his surname to Barnett. His mother, a Hungarian, died while he was a child. As a small boy John ‘sang like a bird’; in later childhood his fine alto voice attracted much attention. At the age of 11 he was articled to S.J. Arnold, proprietor of the Lyceum Theatre, London, making his first stage appearance in The Shipwreck on 22 July 1813, and he continued to sing on the stage until 1818. He studied the piano with Ries, Pérez and Kalkbrenner, and composition with William Horsley and C.E. Horn....

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