Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Roseingrave, Daniel

ROSEINGRAVE, DANIEL (1655?–1727), organist and composer, born about 1655, was a child of the chapel royal under Pelham Humphrey [q. v.] In 1681 he became organist at Winchester Cathedral, where he remained till 1692; in 1684 his daughter Ann was buried in the cathedral. In 1692 he was appointed organist at Salisbury Cathedral, whence, in 1698, he was permitted to go to Dublin ‘to look after an organist's place.’ Some further leave was granted to him, but eventually, in 1700, Anthony Walkeley was elected organist in the absence of Roseingrave beyond leave (Chapter-books of Salisbury). In the meantime Roseingrave held from 9 June 1698 the post of organist to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, and from 11 Nov. the same office at Christchurch Cathedral (Brown). After helping to found the Dublin St. Cecilia musical celebration, he resigned his appointments in favour of his son. He is believed to have died at Dublin in May 1727.

Few of Roseingrave's works have survived, although in his day they gained for him great reputation as a writer of vocal music. There exist in Christ Church, Oxford, collection an anthem, ‘Lord, Thou art become gracious,’ and in the Bodleian MS. C. 1. ‘Haste Thee, O God.’

He married Ann, the daughter of Dr. Thomas Washbourne, prebendary of Gloucester (d. 1687). Dr. Washbourne's widow cut off her daughter, Ann Roseingrave, with ‘a guinney of twenty-one shillings and sixpence,’ but she left a fourth of her property to her grandchild, Dorothy Roseingrave.

Roseingrave's son, Ralph Roseingrave (1695–1747), musician, born at Salisbury in 1695 (Baptie), was vicar-choral of St. Patrick's in 1719, and organist of St. Patrick's, and of Christchurch, Dublin, from 1727 (Brown). On 13 April 1742 he took part as bass soloist in the production of the ‘Messiah.’ He died in October 1747.

Thomas Roseingrave (1690?–1755?), organist and composer, the elder son of Daniel Roseingrave, was born about 1690. In 1710 he was sent to Italy, where he met Domenico Scarlatti; his vivid impressions of the master's performance on the harpsichord were confided to Burney (History, iv. 263). In 1720 Roseingrave was in London, where he produced, at the Haymarket, Scarlatti's ‘Narcisso,’ adding to the score two songs and two duets of his own. The learning of Roseingrave and his skill on the harpsichord were soon widely recognised. His power of seizing the spirit and parts of a score, and of executing the most difficult music at sight, extraordinary as it was, was equalled by the ingenuity of his extempore playing. After exhibiting his talent in competition with other musicians, Roseingrave was in 1725 elected organist to the new church of St. George's, Hanover Square. Pupils flocked to him, among them Henry Carey, John Worgan, Jonathan Martin (who sometimes deputised for him), and John Christopher Smith. The latter took lodgings in Roseingrave's house in Wigmore Street, and during this time Roseingrave was a constant guest at his table, ‘the only recompense which he would receive’ (Anecdotes, p. 41). When his reputation was at its height, Roseingrave's prospects of enduring success were shattered by a partial mental failure, the result, it is said, of a disappointment in love. Neglecting his pupils, he lived on his organist's salary of 50l., until, in 1737, his eccentricities necessitated his resignation. His successor, John Keeble [q. v.], shared the salary with the afflicted musician until the end of his life. Roseingrave, after spending some time at Hampstead, retired to a brother's house in Ireland. Mrs. Delany writes, 12 Jan. 1753: ‘Mr. Rosingrave, who … was sent away from St. George's Church on account of his mad fits, is now in Ireland, and at times can play very well on the harpsichord. He came to the Bishop of Derry's, he remembered me and my playing’ (Correspondence, iii. 194). The ‘Dublin Journal’ of 30 Jan. 1753 announced that the ‘celebrated opera “Phaedra and Hippolitus” composed by Mr. Thomas Roseingrave, lately arrived from London, will be performed at the great music-hall in Fishamble Street, and conducted by himself, on 6 March. Between acts, Mr. R. will perform Scarlatti's Lesson on the harpsichord, with his own additions, and will conclude with his celebrated Almand.’ Roseingrave probably died soon after this performance. He published at dates which cannot be accurately ascertained: 1. ‘Additional Songs in Scarlatti's opera “Narcisso.”’ 2. ‘Six (Italian) Cantatas,’ inscribed to Lord Lovell. 3. ‘Eight Suits of Lessons for the Harpsichord or Spinet;’ they are dedicated to the Earl of Essex, and consist of an overture and suites in dance measures. 4. ‘Voluntaries and Fugues (fifteen) for the Organ or Harpsichord.’ 5. ‘Forty-two Suits of Lessons for the Harpsichord composed by Domenico Scarlatti’ (2 vols.); they are preceded by an introduction of his own. 6. ‘Six Double Fugues for the Organ or Harpsichord, and a Lesson in B flat by Scarlatti,’ to which (as published among the above forty-two lessons), Roseingrave appears to have added twenty bars of his own. 7. ‘Twelve Solos (actually Sonatas) for a German Flute, with a thorough-base for the Harpsichord;’ dedicated to Henry Edgeley Ewer. 8. A round, ‘Jerusalem,’ published in Hullah's ‘Part Music.’ 9. An opera, ‘Phaedra and Hippolitus.’

In manuscript is Roseingrave's anthem, ‘Arise, shine,’ composed in 1712 at Venice (Tudway, Harl. MS. 7342). His anthems, ‘Great is the Lord’ and ‘One Generation,’ are at the Royal College of Music (Husk, Cat.)

[Notes from the Bodleian Library, kindly supplied by Mr. Arkwright; from Salisbury Chapter-books, by the Rev. S. M. Lakin; from Gloucester Chapter-office, by the Rev. A. C. Fleming; Grove's Dict. iii. 161; Husk's Celebrations, p. 106; Baptie's Handbook; Hawkins's History, p. 824; Brown's Dict.; P. C. C. administration grant, July 1687; P. C. C. Registers of Wills, Exton, 25; authorities cited.]

L. M. M.