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David Galbraith

[Scheidemantel, Johann Christian]

(b Erfurt-Gispersleben, May 13, 1706; d Great Yarmouth, Dec 28, 1761). English organist and composer of German birth. The son and grandson of Lutheran pastor-musicians, he entered Erfurt University in 1725 to study theology, and left in 1732 after the death of his mother, his father having died in 1729. His earliest mention in England is as a subscriber to Handel’s opera Faramondo in 1738, around which time he became organist of South Benfleet, Essex. The parish church was acquiring a new organ, and Handel himself may have recommended Mantel for the vacant post (at £30 p.a.). In 1748 Mantel progressed to the more prestigious church of St Nicholas, Great Yarmouth, and a salary of £40. Here he directed church music and civic entertainments – including his own annual benefit concert – until he died.

The buoyant style of Mantel’s music is typical of the Italian-influenced English late Baroque, despite his upbringing in the more solid Thuringian tradition of Pachelbel and the Bachs. The movements of his organ concertos and of his violin solos are imaginatively varied: ...