Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Spofforth, Reginald

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SPOFFORTH, REGINALD (1770–1827), glee composer, the son of a currier, was born at Southwell, Nottinghamshire, in 1770. His uncle, Thomas Spofforth, organist of Southwell collegiate church, adopted him and taught him music, and he became a pupil of Dr. Benjamin Cooke [q. v.] He wrote his first glee, ‘Lightly o'er the village green,’ in 1797, and in 1793 obtained two prizes offered by the Nobleman's Catch Club for glees (‘See! smiling from the rosy east’ and ‘Where are those hours?’), which brought him into notice. In 1799 he published a ‘Set of Six Glees,’ which permanently established his reputation. One of these, ‘Hail! smiling morn,’ is probably the most popular glee ever written. Another, ‘Fill high the grape's exulting stream,’ gained a prize in 1810. As a member of the ‘Concentores Sodales’ he wrote a number of glees and canons, and some of these, left in a crude state and not intended for publication, were afterwards issued without authority by his pupil, William Hawes (1785–1846) [q. v.] He wrote some ephemeral music for the stage, and, being a good pianist, accompanied at Covent Garden, under William Shield [q. v.] He is best represented by his glees, about seventy in number, which are excellent and marked by a lively fancy and a chaste style. He died at Brompton on 8 Sept. 1827, and was buried at Kensington parish church. On the colonnade, near the bell tower, in Brompton cemetery, there is a tablet to his memory. A younger brother, Samuel (1780–1864), was organist successively of Peterborough and Lichfield cathedrals. He composed some once popular chants and other church music, and died at Lichfield on 6 June 1864.

[Barrett's English Glees and Part Songs; Baptie's English Glee Composers; Biogr. Dict. of Musicians, 1824; Grove's Dict.; Parr's Church of England Psalmody; Brown and Stratton's British Musical Biography, 1897.]

J. C. H.