1902 Encyclopedia > Maurice Greene

Maurice Greene
English composer
(c. 1696 - 1755)

MAURICE GREENE, an English composer, was born in London towards the close of the 17th century (about 1696, it is generally stated). He was the son of a clergyman in the city of London, and soon became a chorister of St Paul's Cathedral, where he studied under Charles King, and subsequently under Richard Brind, organist of the cathedral from 1707 to 1718, whom, on his death in the last-named year, he succeeded. Nine years later he became organist and composer to the chapel royal, on the death of Dr Croft. In 1730 he was elected to the chair of music in the uni-versity of Cambridge, and had the degree of doctor of music conferred on him. Dr Greene was a voluminous composer of church music, and his collection of Forty Select Anthems is a standard work of its kind. He also wrote a Te Beam, several oratorios, a masque, The Judgment of Hercules, and a pastoral opera, Phoebe (1748). He is also among the writers of glees and catches, a form of music peculiar to English composers (see GLEE) ; and a collection of Catches and Canons for Three and Four Voices is amongst his com-positions. In addition to this he wrote many occasional pieces for the king's birthday, having been appointed master of the king's band in 1735. But it is as a composer of church music that Greene will be chiefly remembered. It is here that his contrapuntal skill and bis sound musical scholarship are chiefly shown. The influence of Handel is, however, discernible in his compositions. With that great master Greene was originally on intimate terms, but his equal friendship for Buononcini, Handel's rival, estranged the German master's feelings from him, and all personal intercourse between them ceased. Greene, in conjunction with Festing and others, originated that excellent institution, the Society of Musicians, for the support of poor artists and their families. He died September 1, 1755.

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