Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Hopkins, Edward John

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HOPKINS, EDWARD JOHN (1818–1901), organist, born at Westminster on 30 June 1818, was son of George Hopkins (1789–1869), a clarinet player. John Hopkins (1822–1900), organist of Rochester cathedral, and Thomas Hopkins (d. 1893), organ builder, were his brothers. Edward Hopkins (1818–1842), organist of Armagh cathedral, and John Larkin Hopkins, Mus.Doc. [q. v.], organist successively of Rochester cathedral (1841–56), and of Cambridge University (1856–73), were his cousins. After serving as a chorister at the Chapel Royal, St. James's, from 1826 to 1834, Hopkins was organist in turn of Miteham church, Surrey, from 1834, of St. Peter's, Islington, from 1838, and of St. Luke's, Berwick Street, from 1841.

In October 1843 he was elected organist at the Temple church, London, and remained there for fifty-five years. On completing his jubilee in 1893 he received a valuable testimonial from the benchers, and on his retirement in 1898 was made hon. organist. He sang at Westminster Abbey in the choir at the coronation of William IV in 1831 and at Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee celebration in 1897.

He received the honorary degree of Mus.Doc. from the archbishop of Canterbury in 1882, and from the University of Toronto in 1886.

Hopkins was an excellent organist and a fine extemporaneous player. His compositions, though neither numerous nor of large calibre, are always melodious and pleasing. His anthems 'Out of the Deep' and 'God is gone up' won the Gresham prize medals in 1838 and 1840 respectively. His two services in A and F, and many of his chants and hymn tunes, which number 160, have obtained world-wide celebrity.

Hopkins was one of the first to issue a series of elaborate arrangements for the organ. For the services at the Temple church he arranged and edited a 'Book of Responses,' and a collection of chants, all of which were incorporated in the 'Temple Church Choral Service Book' (1867; 2nd edit. 1880) and the 'Temple Psalter' (1883). He also issued a collection of '165 single chants of the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries' and 'single chants with additional harmonies for unison use.' His historical prefaces to the Temple service books exhibit much scholarly research. He also edited Purcell's organ music and several volumes for the Musical Antiquarian Society, and contributed many musical articles to the press. As an authority on organ construction Hopkins was without an equal, and standard rank has long been accorded his book, 'The Organ, its History and Construction' (1855; third edit, with Dr. Rimbault, 1877).

Hopkins died on 4 Feb. 1901, and was interred in Hampstead cemetery. He married in 1845 Sarah Lovett, by whom he had four sons and five daughters.

[The Life and Works of Edward John Hopkins, by Dr. C. W. Pearce, 1910; Grove's Dict. of Music; private information.]

J. C. B.