Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nares, James

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

NARES, JAMES (1715–1783), composer, son of George Nares and brother of Sir George Nares [q. v.] the judge, was born at Stanwell, Middlesex, in 1715, and baptised 19 April (parish register). The family removed to Oxfordshire, and he became a chorister in the Chapel Royal under Dr. Croft and Bernard Gates. He subsequently studied under Dr. Pepusch, and, after acting as deputy organist at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, was in 1734 appointed organist of York Cathedral. By the interest of Dr. Fountayne, dean of York, he was in 1756 chosen to succeed Dr. Greene as organist and composer to the king; and in 1757 graduated Mus. Doc. at Cambridge. In the same year he succeeded Gates as master of the children of the Chapel Royal, and held the post until ill-health compelled him to resign in July 1780. He died 10 Feb. 1783, and was buried in St. Margaret's, Westminster. He married Miss Bacon of York, who survived him forty years, and by her he had four children. The eldest son, Robert [q. v.], is noticed separately.

It is as a composer for the church that Nares is now known, and, although he has left nothing of great merit, several of his anthems and other pieces are still in use. They include three sets of harpsichord lessons, two treatises on singing, ‘A Regular Introduction to Playing on the Harpsichord or Organ’ (1759), six organ fugues, and twenty anthems composed for the Chapel Royal (1778). A ‘Morning and Evening Service and Six Anthems’ were published in 1788. This volume contains his portrait, engraved by W. Ward after Engleheart, ætate 65, and a biographical notice by his son, which is reprinted in the ‘Harmonicon,’ 1829. His compositions are to be found in Arnold's ‘Cathedral Music’ (vol. iii.), Steven's ‘Sacred Music,’ and Warren's collections.

[His son's biographical notice and Harmonicon as above; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Didot's Nouvelle Biographie Générale, xxxvii.; Biographical Dict. of Musicians, 1824; Brown's and Grove's Dictionaries of Musicians; Love's Scot- tish Church Music; Yorks. Archæol. Journ. iii. 119; Parr's Church of England Psalmody; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. viii. 346; Abdy Williams's Degrees in Music, p. 135.]

J. C. H.