Henry Smart

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Henry Thomas Smart (26 October 1813 – 6 July 1879) was an English organist and composer.

Smart was born in London, a nephew of the conductor Sir George Smart and son of a music publisher, orchestra director and accomplished violinist (also called Henry Smart). He studied first for the law, but soon gave this up for music. In 1831 he became organist of Blackburn parish church, where he wrote his first important work, a Reformation anthem; then of St Giles-without-Cripplegate; St Luke's, Old Street; and finally of St Pancras New Church, in 1864, which last post he held at the time of his death, less than a month after receiving a government pension of £100 per annum. Smart was also skilled as a mechanic, and designed several organs.[1]

Smart was highly rated as a composer by his English contemporaries, but is now remembered only by a few organists and choral singers. His many compositions for the organ were described as "effective and melodious, if not strikingly original" by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which also praised his part songs. His cantata The Bride of Dunkerron was written for the Birmingham Festival of 1864; another cantata was a version of the play King René's Daughter (1871). The oratorio Jacob was created for Glasgow in 1873; and his opera Bertha was produced with some success at the Haymarket in 1855. His best-known composition is now probably the hymn tune "Regent Square", commonly sung with the words "Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation," "Light's Abode, Celestial Salem" or "Angels from the Realms of Glory". His Evening Service in B Flat has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years.

Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote his "God of Grace and God of Glory" to be sung to Smart's REGENT SQUARE. He was horrified when in 1935 the Methodist Hymnal set the lyrics instead to Ralph Vaughan Williams' CWM RHONDDA, the tune to which "God of Grace and God of Glory" has since been almost universally sung in churches worldwide.[2]

In the last 15 years of his life Smart was practically blind. He composed by dictation, primarily to his daughter Ellen, who was married to Joseph Joachim´s brother Henry.


  1. ^ George P Upton, The Standard Cantatas, Echo, 2010 (reprint of 1888 edition), p.190-3.
  2. ^ McCann, Forrest Mason (1997). Hymns & history: An annotated survey of sources. Abilene, Texas: ACU Press. pp. 258–259. 


  • William Spark, Henry Smart (London, 1881)

External links[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.