Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hall, Henry (1655?-1707)

HALL, HENRY, the elder (1655?–1707), organist and composer, was born about 1655. His father, Captain Henry Hall, was connected with Windsor between 1657 and 1675 (Tighe and Davis, Annals of Windsor, ii. 281 et seq.) Hall was a chorister of the Chapel Royal, and, as it appears from his lines printed in Purcell's 'Orpheus Britannicus,' a fellow-student with Purcell, under Blow. In 1674 Hall was admitted lay vicar and succeeded Coleby as organist of Exeter Cathedral; in 1679 he was elected vicar choral, and in 1688 organist, of Hereford Cathedral. He died there on 30 March 1707, and was buried in the cloisters of the vicars choral. Tudway has preserved music by Hall in vols. iv. and vi. of his collection: this includes 'Morning and Evening Services in E flat' (of which the Te Deum has been printed), and anthems, 'Let God arise,' clap your hands,' 'By the waters of Babylon,' 'Comfort ye,' and 'The Souls of the Righteous.' An anthem, 'Blessed be the Lord my strength,' is in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 17840, p. 273). Hall was referred to by contemporary writers not only as an excellent organist and a sound musician, but also as a staunch upholder of the dignity of art. The duets, 'As Phœbus' and 'Beauty the painful mother's prayer' (Deliciœ Musicœ, 1695); the song, 'In vain I strive,' and others; an opera on the subject of the marriage of the Doge of Venice and the Adriatic (mentioned by Duncombe as an example of Hall's humour), may possibly have proceeded from the lighter and more ingenious talent of his son Henry Hall the younger [q. v.]

Another son, William Hall (d. 1700), was a violinist, and in 1692 and until 1700 one of the musicians in ordinary to the king. He died in 1700, and was buried at Richmond, Surrey. An inscription on his gravestone proclaims him 'a superior violin.' His compositions are few and unimportant.

[Authorities quoted; Hawkins's Hist. of Music, p. 768; Bedford's Great Abuse of Music, p. 197; Warren's Tonometer, p. 7; Duncombe's Hist. of Hereford, i. 586; Havergal's Fasti Herefordenses, pp. 98, 103; music; Bloxam's Magd. Coll. Reg. ii. 192; Chamberlayne's Notes, 1692 p. 174, 1700 p. 498; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 646.]

L. M. M.