Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hart, Philip

HART, PHILIP (d. 1749), organist and musical composer, was son of James Hart (1647–1718), a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and chorister of Westminster Abbey, many of whose songs appear in Playford's ‘Collections’ from 1676 to 1692, and who was buried in Westminster Abbey on 5 May 1718. The son Philip was for upwards of fifty years organist of St. Andrew Undershaft and of St. Michael's, Cornhill. He resigned his appointment at St. Michael's, and on 28 May 1724 was elected the first organist of St. Dionis Backchurch. He died on 17 July 1749, at an advanced age, and after a long illness. By his will (dated 13 Oct. 1747, which was witnessed by John Byfield, apparently the organ-builder), he bequeathed his property to his nephew William, son of his brother, George Hart (a member of the Chapel Royal, 1694). Hart is said by Hawkins to have been a sound musician, but to have ‘entertained little relish’ for innovations. Hawkins also describes Hart's frequent use of the ‘shake’ in playing, and records how he was wont to discourse music at Britton's in the company of Handel, Pepusch, Woollaston, and others. As a composer, Hart was no more than respectable. His setting of Hughes's ‘Ode in Praise of Musick’ was performed on St. Cecilia's day, 1703, and published in 4to. The manuscript score, entitled ‘An Ode to Harmony,’ is now in the British Museum. Hart edited about 1720 in 8vo, ‘Melodies proper to be sung to … ye Psalms of David,’ and published music to ‘The Morning Hymn’ (from ‘Paradise Lost’) in 1729, 4to. His other compositions were:

  1. ‘Fugues for the Organ and Harpsichord,’ an early work.
  2. Anthems: ‘I will give thanks,’ and ‘Praise the Lord, ye Servants,’ in vol. v. of the Tudway Collection (Harleian MS. 7341).
  3. Many songs, including a ‘Song upon the Safe Return of His Majesty King William,’ written about 1700, and ‘Sound the Trumpet,’ which was written to celebrate the nuptials of the Prince of Orange and the Princess Royal, 1734, and others, like ‘Ye curious Winds,’ in Handelian style.

Some of Hart's music is in a manuscript collection of ‘Suites for the Harpsichord,’ Addit. MS. 31465 (British Museum).

[Hawkins's Hist. of Music, iii. 734, 791, 825; Husk's Celebrations of St. Cecilia's Day, p. 53; Reg. of Wills, P. C. C. Lisle, 218.]

L. M. M.