Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hart, Joseph Binns

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HART, JOSEPH BINNS (1794–1844), organist and compiler of dance music, born in London in 1794, was chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral, under Sale, from 1801 to 1810, and during those years had lessons on the organ from S. Wesley and Matthew Cook, and on the pianoforte from J. B. Cramer. At the early age of eleven Hart often played as deputy for Attwood, the organist of St. Paul's. In 1810 he was elected organist of Walthamstow Church, Essex, and joined the Earl of Uxbridge's household as organist for three years. Hart was elected, after severe competition, organist of Tottenham Church (Middlesex). On the introduction of the quadrille at Almack's by Lady Jersey after 1815 (Grove, iii. 55), Hart, who was described as teacher and pianist at private balls, began his long series of adaptations of national and operatic airs to the fashionable dance measures. His most notable achievement was the compilation in 1819 of the tunes of the Original Lancers, which are still popular (ib. ii. 89). From 1818 to 1821 Hart was chorus-master and pianist at the English opera (Lyceum), and wrote the songs for ‘Amateurs and Actors,’ 1818, ‘The Bull's Head,’ ‘A Walk for a Wager,’ 1819, ‘The Vampyre,’ 1820, and other musical farces and melodramas. From 1829 until his death Hart lived at Hastings, where he opened a musicseller's shop, conducted a small band, and played the organ at St. Mary's Chapel. He died on 10 Dec. 1844 at Hastings, aged 50.

Some of Hart's most successful quadrilles were based on the music of ‘Don Giovanni,’ 1818, ‘Les Lanciers,’ 1819, ‘Les Hussars,’ Locke's ‘Macbeth,’ ‘Pietro l'Eremita,’ 1822, English melodies, ‘Donna del Lago,’ 1823, ‘Der Freischütz,’ 1824, Irish melodies, and Scotch melodies. He composed forty-eight sets in all. He was also the author of some waltzes and royal gallopades. ‘An Easy Mode of Teaching Thorough Bass and Composition’ is ascribed to him.

[Dict. of Music, 1827, p. 333; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 693, ii. 89, iii. 55; Sussex Advertiser, 17 Dec. 1844.]

L. M. M.