By Mark Argent
R.J.S.Stevens used to be an organist, composer and singer, energetic in past due eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century London. His reminiscences supply a desirable glimpse of the lifetime of a typical musician as he went approximately his day-by-day enterprise serving as a church organist, making a song glees - sometimes with the Prince of Wales - and instructing. They convey how the occasions of his time bore, or did not endure, at the lives of standard humans, and current an enjoyable insider's view of the recognized musical associations of London, together with the Anacreontic Society, whose membership track is now The Star-Spangled Banner, the nationwide anthem of the USA.
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Extra info for Recollections of R.J.S.Stevens: An Organist in Georgian London
Mr. Potter introduced me to him as a young man who wanted preferment in the Musical line. Sir Thomas, upon this, expressed a wish that I would come and live with him, at Chelsea, to be his Organist? I had no objection, as my Father and Mr. Potter approved of the Proposal, and accordingly, I went to reside with Sir Thomas Robinson, at Chelsea, at the Salary of Thirty Pounds per annum. My business there, I. This Sir Thomas Robinson, who was a major shareholder in Ranelagh, was not the Sir Thomas Robinson, later Baron Grantham, who became Secretary of State for the South and Leader of the House of Commons in 1754, and died in 1770.
By Mr. Savage's command, the two Seniors had eighteen pence each; and the two other boys one shilling each. This with a Banbury Cake, or two penny Cheesecakes each night, was all the remuneration we received from the Society for many years. I recollect that one evening particularly, we were very much diverted and entertained with the performance of Dr. Arne, and Charles Dibdin. Dibdin sang many humorous songs, accompanying himself upon the Harpsichord. Doctor Arne accompanied some Glees, but his method of playing the Harpsichord, and his figure at the Instrument being remarkable and EARLY YEARS II rather ridiculous, could not but tickle the fancy of us boys: we, also particularly noticed his bad habit of swearing.
With great kindness, at the beginning of the year; he recommended me to Miss Le Cour, who kept a Ladies Boarding School at Dulwich, to instruct the young Ladies in Music. My Father had placed my youngest Sister at this school sometime before. There were three Pupils when I first began my attendance at Dulwich School. The two daughters of the Attorney General, Mr. Thurlow, were day scholars with Miss Le Cour. In June Mr. Thurlow was made Lord High Chancellor, and Baron Thurlow: notwithstanding, the young ladies still attended the School.
Recollections of R.J.S.Stevens: An Organist in Georgian London by Mark Argent