Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Aspull, George

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ASPULL, GEORGE (1813–1832), musician, born at Manchester in June 1813, was the ninth of ten sons of Thomas Aspull, a merchant who had failed in business and gained his living by teaching music and playing the violin. George Aspull began to learn the piano under his father's instruction on 1 Feb. 1821, and soon made such rapid progress that he both played and sang at a concert in January 1822. In February of the following year Kalkbrenner, having heard him play at Liverpool, advised his father to take him to London, which was accordingly done in April. Here he played to Clementi, who was struck by the extraordinaiy genius and poetry of his playing, although at this time he was so small that he generally stood at the piano. Aspull soon became quite the rage in London. On 20 Feb. 1824 he went to Windsor to play before George IV, and he gave numerous concerts which attracted large audiences. At a concert at Brighton he played (for the first time in England) Weber's 'Concertstück.' In April 1825 Aspull and his father went to Paris, where they met Hummel and Moscheles. On his return he began a series of concert tours in Great Britain and Ireland, which lasted, almost without intermission to the end of his life. On Clementi's death in 1832 Aspull came up to London to attend the funeral, on which occasion he caught a cold which eventually caused his death. In spite of his illness he played at Chesterfield and Newark, and then drove up to London in an open gig to attend concerts given by John Field, Moscheles, and Mendelssohn. He was able to go to the first of these concerts, but his illness increased so alarmingly that he was immediately afterwards taken to Tunbridge Wells, where he was prostrated by fever. Becoming slightly better he was brought back to London and then taken to Leamington, but he gradually sank and died on Sunday, 19 Aug. 1832. He was buried at Nottingham. Besides his performances on the piano, Aspull used to sing at his concerts, being possessed of a sweet, if not very powerful, tenor voice. Rossini—who heard him more than once—advised that he should not sing much, 'for his soul is too much for his body.' He wrote a small amount of pianoforte music and some songs; these were published after his death by his father, together with a prefatory memoir and a charming portrait of the ill-fated boy.

[The Posthumous Works of George Aspull, 1837; the Harmonicon, vol. ii.; article by E. Taylor in S.D.U.K. Dictionary.]

W. B. S.