1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hatton, John Liptrot

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

HATTON, JOHN LIPTROT (1809-1886), English musical composer, was born at Liverpool on the 12th of October 1809. He was virtually a self-taught musician, and besides holding several appointments as organist in Liverpool, appeared as an actor on the Liverpool stage, subsequently finding his way to London as a member of Macready's company at Drury Lane in 1832. Ten years after this he was appointed conductor at the same theatre for a series of English operas, and in 1843 his own first operetta, Queen of the Thames, was given with success. Staudigl, the eminent German bass, was a member of the company, and at his suggestion Hatton wrote a more ambitious work, Pascal Bruno, which, in a German translation, was presented at Vienna, with Staudigl in the principal part; the opera contained a song, “Revengee,” which the basso made very popular in England, though the piece as a whole was not successful enough to be produced here. Hatton's excellent pianoforte playing attracted much attention in Vienna; he took the opportunity of studying counterpoint under Sechter, and wrote a number of songs, obviously modelled on the style of German classics. In 1846 he appeared at the Hereford festival as a singer, and also played a pianoforte concerto of Mozart. He undertook concert tours about this time with Sivori, Vieuxtemps and others. From 1848 to 1850 he was in America; on his return he became conductor of the Glee and Madrigal Union, and from about 1853 was engaged at the Princess's theatre to provide and conduct the music for Charles Kean's Shakespearean revivals. He seems to have kept this apppointment for about five years. In 1856 a cantata, Robin Hood, was given at the Bradford festival, and a third opera, Rose, or Love's Ransom, at Covent Garden in 1864, without much success. In 1866 he went again to America, and from this year Hatton held the post of accompanist at the Ballad Concerts, St James's Hail, for nine seasons. In 1875 he went to Stuttgart, and wrote an oratorio, Hezekiah, given at the Cyrstal Palace in 1877; like all his larger works it met with very moderate success. Hatton excelled in the lyrical forms of music, and, in spite of his distinct skill in the severer styles of the madrigal, &c., he won popularity by such songs as “To Anthea,” “Good-bye, Sweetheart,” and “Simon the Cellarer,” the first of which may be called a classic in its own way. His glees and part-songs, such as “When Evening's Twilight,” are still reckoned among the best of their class; and he might have gained a place of higher distinction among English composers had it not been for his irresistible animal spirits and a want of artistic reverence, which made it uncertain in his younger days whether, when he appeared at a concert, he would play a fugue of Bach or sing a comic song. He died at Margate on the 20th of September 1886.