Born: July 15, 1802; Bedford, Bedfordshire, England
Died: April 16, 1890; Leckhampton, England
John Francis Barnett was the nephew of English opera composer John Barnett (1802-1890). Barnett took a King's Scholarship at the Royal College of Music at age 13 and debuted as pianist in Felix Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40, in 1853. Ignaz Moscheles was among Barnett's teachers. After making some appearances in Germany, Barnett settled in as an instructor of piano at the Royal College of Music starting in 1860. He composedRead more a Symphony in A minor in 1864, and in 1883, "completed" the unfinished Symphony No. 7 in E major (sketch) (D. 729) of Franz Schubert at the request of Sir George Grove. Barnett made his reputation with a series of cantatas and oratorios, beginning with The Ancient Mariner (1867) and continuing with The Raising of Lazarus (1873), The Building of the Ship (1880; after Longfellow), and several others. Barnett also composed symphonic poems such as The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1874), concertos for piano and flute, chamber music, music for piano and organ, part songs, solo songs, and many small miniatures for piano. In this last genre, Barnett was perhaps most effective; while The Raising of Lazarus was quite popular among church choirs in the late nineteenth century, Barnett's overall style was considered conservative even in its own day. In his late works, such as the cantata The Eve of St. Agnes (1913), Barnett adopted some stylistic features derived from the example of Richard Wagner. Barnett wrote an interesting and valuable autobiography, Musical Reminiscences and Impressions, which appeared in London in 1906. Read less
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