Charles King Hall

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Charles King Hall (1845-1895), often credited as King Hall, was a versatile English composer of both sacred and secular music. He favored the sentimental ballad and the church anthem. He specialized in arranging for piano and voice the works of famous composers such as Gounod and Mendelssohn. In addition, he wrote primers for the harmonium. Active in the London theatre, he contributed regularly to the popular German Reed Entertainments at St. George's Hall, Langham Place.

Early life and family[edit]

King Hall was born 17 August 1845, St Pancras, London. His father, Charles Frederick Hall, played violin in the Drury Lane Theatre orchestra and was later musical director at the Adelphi Theatre. King Hall's mother, Eleanor Eliza Jane Vining, came from a family of actors. She was cousin to George James Vining (1817-1875), the London actor and theatre manager, and Fanny Elizabeth Vining (1821-1891), the actress and mother of the American actress Fanny Davenport (1850-1898).

In 1876, King Hall married Isabel Maud Penton (1852-1932) at All Saints Church, Gordon Square. They had five children. The eldest, Edith Jane Gertrude (b. 1877),[1] wrote children's books, including Adventures in Toyland; their younger son, Ernest Vincent (1885-1941), married Hylda May Shallard, who sang in the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in the early 1900s. The only one of King Hall's children to follow in his footsteps was Lucy Harriet Greenfield (1879-1900), a student at the London Conservatory at the time of her early death.

Career and later years[edit]

King Hall composed of both sacred and secular music. He favored the sentimental ballad and the church anthem. In addition, he wrote primers for the harmonium. He contributed regularly to the popular German Reed Entertainments at St. George's Hall, Langham Place. In its obituary, The Musical Times (1 October 1895) called King Hall's German Reed music "his most popular works." He composed the scores for librettists Frank Burnand, Arthur Law, Gilbert Arthur à Beckett, and J. Comyns Carr to the following operettas: "A Happy Bungalow" (1877), "Foster-brothers," "Doubleday's Will" (1878), "A Tremendous Mystery" (1878), "Grimstone Grange" (1879), "A Christmas Stocking" (1880), "A Strange Host" (1882), "The Automaton," "The Naturalist" (1887), "The Verger" (1889), and "Missing" (1894). King Hall published throughout his adult life. From 1867 ("Golden Moments Gallop for the Pianoforte") to the year of his death ("An Emblem of Life; A Duet for Female Voices"), his work appeared regularly in both England and America.

King Hall also supported his family as an organist, teacher, composer, and consultant to Chappell & Co., the theatre music publishers, who brought out much of King Hall's sheet music. He specialized in arranging for piano and voice the orchestral works of famous composers such as Gounod and Mendelssohn and theatre scores of other British composers, such as those of Arthur Sullivan's Haddon Hall and Ernest Ford's Jane Annie.[2] As church organist, King Hall served the Anglican parishes of St. Paul's, Camden Square; St. Luke's, Oseney Crescent; and Christ Church, Brondesbury.

On 1 September 1895, King Hall died of throat cancer at the age of 50 at his home in Islington. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baptismal certificate, 8 October 1877 at Saint Matthew, Saint Pancras, Camden — states date of birth 2 August, parents' names, father's profession as Professor of Music.
  2. ^ Hall, King. Piano/vocal arrangement of Jane Annie, Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, accessed 20 July 2012