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Voluntary VIII in G Minor

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (04/25/23)
Composer: Bennett, John
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Baroque
John Bennett (c. 1735 – London, September 1784) was an English organist and composer.

Details of Bennett's life are limited, but it is known that he died in September 1784, after serving as organist at St. Dionis Backchuch Fenchurch in London, for over thirty years. He had been a pupil of Johann Christoph Pepusch.

As the typical versatile eighteenth-century English musician, he played the organ and the viola, taught the harpsichord, and performed at Drury Lane as a singer in the chorus and as a dancer. According to Thomas Mortimer's The Universal Director (1763), he lived at Queen-square Bloomsbury, and succeeded Charles Burney as organist at St. Dionis-Backchurch, Fenchurch Street (demolished in 1878), in 1752.

An interesting aside for organists is the information provided in the church minutes for July 27, 1749: ". . . that the Salary of Organist be Thirty pounds p. Ann and that he be annually chose. . . .That the person who shall be chosen Organist shall attend in Person twice on every Sunday and on other usual Festivals, and to have no Deputy but in case of sickness."

The Ten Voluntaries for the Organ or Harpsichord are his only works known to this day; they were published by the composer in 1758, and printed a number of times since.

"Voluntary No. 8 in G Minor" is yet another a prelude and fugue for the "Full Organ" of the period. The opening section is marked "Andante" and the second section, a fine, extended fugue, is marked "Allegro." I thought this showed the composer at his best in terms of counter and melodic/harmonic interest.

Although the piece gives no registration other than "Full Organ," I tried to get some slight variation in tone, however any "variation" is small, and does not greatly alter the "full" effect.

The score is attached below, as well as a painting of St. Dionis-Backchurch, Fenchurch Street.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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