Moir, Frank Lewis (DNB12)

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MOIR, FRANK LEWIS (1852–1904), song composer, was born at Market Harborough on 22 April 1852. Early in life he showed musical and other artistic talents, and while still a boy composed a song. After acting as tuner in London and Nottingham, he became an art student at South Kensington. Though he had no musical training, he won a scholarship at the National Training School for Music, where he studied under Prout, Stainer, and Bridge; and while there Boosey & Co. engaged him to compose ballads for four years. He won the Madrigal Society's prize in 1881. Possessing a good baritone voice, he gave recitals and taught singing at a studio in Oxford Street, London. He composed sentimental drawing-room ballads with extraordinary facility; many had very great popularity, especially 'Only once more' (1883) and 'Down the Vale' (1885). He wrote both music and words in many cases, including a comic opera, 'The Royal Watchman.' He tried a higher style in a harvest cantata, a communion service in D, and some elaborate songs, which met with little success. He published a work on 'Natural Voice Production' (1889), and contributed organ solos, of little value, to the collections 'Abbey Voluntaries,' 'Chancel Echoes,' 'Cathedral Voluntaries,' and 'Stark's Select Series.'

The music-pirates, who surreptitiously printed popular songs and sold them in the streets at a penny, ruined Moir. Publishers refused his compositions; he fell into despondency and penury, and after a painful illness died at Deal on 14 July 1904. He had married Eleanor Farnol, a vocalist from Birmingham, and left three children.

[Goodworth's Musicians of All Times; Musical Herald and Musical Times, August 1904 (obit.); Moir's works in Brit. Museum.]

H. D.