Nelson, Sydney (DNB00)

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NELSON, SYDNEY (1800–1862), composer, son of Solomon Nelson, was born in London on 1 Jan. 1800. Evincing musical ability when quite young, he was adopted by a gentleman who gave him a good musical and general education. He was for some time a pupil of Sir George Smart, and eventually became a teacher in London. He was in partnership with Jeffreys as a music-seller until 1843, when he was elected an associate of the Philharmonic Society. Subsequently he became a music publisher, but, being unsuccessful, he arranged a musical and dramatic entertainment with members of his family, and went on tour in North America, Canada, and Australia. He died in London on 7 April 1862, and was buried at West Ham. He was a prolific composer, and claimed to have written about eight hundred pieces, some of which were published under an assumed name. He composed a burletta, ‘The Grenadier,’ produced by Madame Vestris [q. v.] at the Olympic; ‘The Cadi's Daughter,’ performed after ‘Macbeth’ for Macready's farewell benefit; and ‘The Village Nightingale,’ words by H. T. Craven, his son-in-law. He had a grand opera, ‘Ulrica,’ in rehearsal at the Princess's under Maddox's management, but, owing to some dispute, it was not produced. He was the author of ‘Instructions in the Art of Singing’ (London, n.d.), and composed many duets, trios, pianoforte pieces, and songs, some of the latter, such as ‘The Pilot’ and ‘The Rose of Allandale,’ having attained considerable popularity.

[Information from his son, Alfred Nelson, esq.; Baptie's Musical Scotland, p. 207.]

J. C. H.