James Coward

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Born: 25 Jan 1824

Died: 22 Jan 1880


COWARD, James, born in London, Jan. 25, 1824, entered the choir of Westminster Abbey at an early age. He was given the appointment of organist at the parish church, Lambeth; and at the opening of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham he received a similar appointment there, which he retained until his death. He held various church appointments in addition to this, being at one time or another organist of St. George's, Bloomsbury, and St. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge. He was conductor of the Western Madrigal Society from 1864 to 1872, and directed also the Abbey and City Glee Clubs for some time before his death, which took place at his house in Lupus Street, Jan. 22, 1880. He was for some time organist to the Sacred Harmonic Society, and the Grand Lodge of Freemasons. Although best known by his brilliant transcriptions for the organ of operatic melodies, etc., his published works show him to have possessed considerable musical knowledge and artistic feeling. They include an anthem, 'O Lord, correct me'; 'Sing unto God,' a canon four in two; two other canons; Ten Glees; 'Ten Glees and a madrigal,' published 1871; besides many pieces for pianoforte, organ, etc. He had a remarkable power of improvisation, which however, was often turned to account in order to accompany the performances of acrobats and similar exhibitions. (Source: A_Dictionary_of_Music_and_Musicians_vol_4.djvu/617)

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