John Marsh (composer)

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John Marsh (31 May 1752 – 31 October 1828) was an English music composer, born in Dorking, England. A lawyer by training, he is known to have written at least 350 compositions, including at least 39 symphonies. While today known primarily for his music, he also had strong interest in other fields, including astronomy and philosophy, and wrote books about astronomy, music, religion, and geometry.

Marsh lived in Dorking, Gosport, Romsey, Salisbury and Canterbury before settling in Chichester in 1787 until his death in 1828. As a concert organizer, he was responsible for the music making in the towns and cities where he worked, especially in Chichester, where he led the subscription concerts for some 35 years.

Marsh was perhaps the most prolific English composer of his time. His own catalog of compositions records over 350 works, of which he lists 39 symphonies. Of these, only the nine that Marsh had printed are extant, together with three one-movement finales.

Marsh was a man of varied interests, and his 37 volumes of journals are among the most valuable sources of information on life and music in 18th-century England. They represent one of the most important musical and social documents of the period. It remained unpublished until the first volume was published in 1998. In one passage, Marsh describes the great Handel Commemoration of 1784 in London.

Marsh's son was poet and cleric Edward Garrard Marsh.

Extant Works[edit]

  • The Salisbury Symphonies
    • Symphony No. 8 [9] in G Major (1778)
    I. Allegro
    II. Andante
    III. Allegro
    • A Conversation Symphony for Two Orchestras [No. 10] in E-flat Major (1778)
    I. Allegro maestoso
    II. Andante
    III. Allegretto
    • Symphony No. 2 [12] in B-flat Major (1780)
    I. Allegro
    II. Largo 8 in a bar
    III. Allegro spirituoso
    • Symphony No. 1 [13] in B-flat Major (1781)
    I. Allegro
    II. Andante
    III. Chasse: Allegro
  • The Canterbury Symphonies
    • Symphony No. 5 [16] in E-flat Major (1783)
    I. Largo staccatto
    II. Allegro moderato
    III. Minuetto; Allegro spirituoso
    • Symphony No. 3 [17] in D Major (1784)
    I. Allegro
    II. Andante
    III. Presto
  • The Chichester Symphonies
    • Symphony No. 4 [19] in F Major (1788)
    I. Allegro
    II. Larghetto
    III. Minuetto
    IV. Allegro
    • Symphony No. 7 [24] in E-flat Major (La Chasse) (1790)
    I. Andante (The hunter’s call in the morning)
    II. Allegretto (Setting out from home; the fox discovered)
    III. Allegro (Chasse)
    • Symphony No. 6 [27] in D Major (1796)
    I. Largo maestoso; Allegro spiritoso
    II. Andante
    III. Minuetto: Allegro
    IV. Allegro scherzando
  • The Finales
    • Finale No. 3 in E-flat Major (1799)
    Andante; Allegro
    • Finale No. 1 in D Major (1800)
    Pomposo
    • Finale No. 2 in B-flat Major (1801)
    Maestoso; Trio
    Allegro

References[edit]

  • The John Marsh Journals—The Life and Times of a Gentleman Composer (1752–1828) Edited, introduced and annotated by Brian Robins. Pendragon Press, Stuyvesant, NJ, 1998. ISBN 0-945193-94-7. A second volume, covering the period from June 1802 to Marsh's death on October 31, 1828, was published by Pendragon Press in July 2013. ISBN 978-1576471630.
  • "The John Marsh Journals: The Life and Times of a Gentleman Composer (1752-1828)." Music & Letters, Nov. 1999.
  • Temperley, Nicholas, "Marsh of Chichester: Gentleman, Composer, Musician, Writer 1752-1828” (review), Music and Letters - Volume 86, Number 4, 2005, at p. 633.
  • Marsh of Chichester: Gentleman, Composer, Musician, Writer 1752-1828. Ed. by Paul Foster. pp. 158. Otter Memorial Papers, 19. University College Chichester, Chichester, England, 2004. ISBN 0-948765-34-8.
  • John Marsh--Symphonies, Edited by Ian Graham-Jones
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians (2000)

External links[edit]

There are 2 c.d's of John Marsh's symphonies:One of the c.d.'s is Chandos 10458(64 minutes,2008).It contains 5 of his symphonies: Number 2(LaChasse-1780),Number 6(1796),Number 7(LaChasse-1790),Number 8(1778)and Conversation Symphony for 2 Orchestras(1778).It's played by the London Mozart and conducted by Matthias Bamert.The other c.d.is by The Chichester Concert conducted by Ian-Graham Jones(64 minutes,1989).It also contains 5 symphonies(Number 1,3,4,6 and A Conversation Symphony for 2 Orchestras.It was given a favorable review in Gramophone Magazine in 1989.