Synopses & Reviews
Born into one of England's best-known families, Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-76) was not only the foremost organist and church musician of his generation, but a vigorous campaigner for higher standards in cathedral music. Peter Horton has drawn on a wide range of source material to produce a detailed account of Wesley's life and career as he moved from cathedral to cathedral in search of an unattainable ideal. The book is illustrated by a generous selection of musical examples and plates, and includes the most detailed list of works to appear in print.
"Peter Horton is the leading S.S. Wesley scholar, and this fine book is the result of many years' work...this is crucial reading for all organists and choir directors."--BIOS Journal
"The author's natural fluid writing style is a delight and at one level this is almost like reading a novel...Those who love nineteenth-century church music and want to become better acquainted with Wesley will willingly pay the high price for this exceptional book."--Church Music Quarterly
"Without doubt it is the definitive biography, written in a very readable style, with perceptive and scholarly analyses of the works incorporated into a chronological account of Wesley's life."--The Elgar Society Journal
"A fascinating yet magisterial and well rounded portrait of the composer...a compassionate and fair minded appraisal of this complex character and his many-faceted contributions to Victorian musical life."--The Hymn Society Bulletin
"His analyses are never less than perceptive, and always make their point in a clear and straightforward manner... Judiciously argued, perceptive in understanding, and lucid in expression, it is a fitting tribute to one of England's greatest musicians."--Music and Letters
"Peter Horton's comprehensive, rounded and well written study, far from a fusty antiquarian exercise, engages admirably with Wesley's ambitious character."--The Musical Times
"The scholarship is of the highest quality throughout...I would recommend this study to all major libraries and individuals particularly interested in 19th [century] English church and cathedral music."--The Organ
"Rarely does one pick up a musicological/biographical study such as this and find oneself drawn in at every level so putting it down becomes as hard as shutting the latest novel by one's favorite author...It is a richly-embroidered canvas, hugely rewarding to read, scrupulously researched, with large and useful appendices, immaculately produced by OUP...A definitive study if ever there were one."--Organists' Review
"In Horton's lively narrative the ups and downs of Wesley's life unfold like a soap opera, revealing tensions beneath the calm surfaces of life in England's cathedral closes'... Horton's advocacy establishes Wesley as a composer of striking originality and ability in a sea of mediocrity and insularity. He played a major role in rescuing English cathedral music from years of neglect and abuse."--The Times Higher Education Supplement
Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-76) was the foremost organist and church music composer of his generation. Peter Horton paints a picture of the life and career of this remarkable man whose output includes such favourites as "Blessed be the God and Father" and "The Wilderness".
About the Author
Born in Kent in 1953, Peter Horton
read music at the University of Oxford. He is currently Reference Librarian at the Royal College of Music, where he organized the 3rd Conference on Music in nineteenth-century Britain and has tried to encourage the performance of little-known nineteenth and early twentieth-century British music. He has edited Wesley's anthems for Musica Britannica
and has written widely on his music.
Table of Contents
List of Plates
2. Wesley the Composer