Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sale, John

602126Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 50 — Sale, John1897Louisa M. Middleton

SALE, JOHN (1758–1827), vocalist and composer, the son of John Sale (1734–1802), junior vicar of Lincoln in 1761, and lay clerk of Windsor in 1767, was born in London in 1758. From 1767 to 1775 Sale was a chorister of Windsor and Eton, and from 1777 to 1796 lay vicar. In 1788 he was appointed gentleman of the Chapel Royal, in 1795 vicar choral of St. Paul's Cathedral, and in 1796 lay vicar of Westminster Abbey. In 1800 he succeeded to the position of almoner of St. Paul's and master of the choristers, which posts he held until his resignation in 1812. In 1818 he became senior gentleman or father of the Chapel Royal, and was excused further duty and attendance.

Sale possessed an excellent bass voice and sang as soloist and in concerted music at many important concerts and cathedral festivals. From 1789 to 1814 his name appeared in the Ancient Concerts programmes, where Handel's music occupied the chief place. He did not, however, neglect the homelier art of glee-singing. He conducted the glee club, and was from 1 Feb. 1785 honorary member, and from 14 Jan. 1812 secretary, to the Noblemen's Catch Club. Henry Phillips, himself a bass soloist, described Sale's basso-secondo as ‘mellow and beautiful’ (Recollections, i. 149). Sale's method was that of the best English school, careful and pure, and his articulation distinct. Possessed of considerable judgment and taste, he was much sought after as a teacher. He died, aged 69, at Marsham Street, Westminster, on 11 Nov. 1827, and was buried on the 19th at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Sale published, about 1800, ‘A Collection of New Glees,’ including six original numbers for three and four voices, namely, ‘My Phillida, adieu,’ ‘Thyrsis, the music of that murmuring spring,’ ‘With an honest old friend,’ ‘No glory I covet,’ ‘With my jug of brown ale,’ ‘Sometimes a happy rustic swain.’ He also edited Lord Mornington's glees. His son,

John Bernard Sale (1779–1856), organist, was born at Windsor on 24 June 1779. In 1785 he was a chorister of Windsor and Eton. In 1792 he belonged to the chorus of the Ancient Concerts, and in 1794 he sang as a principal soprano at the Hereford Three Choirs Festival. In 1800 he became lay vicar of Westminster Abbey, obtaining a second appointment in 1806; in 1803 he was admitted gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and in 1809 succeeded to the post of organist to St. Margaret's, Westminster. A similar appointment at the Chapel Royal was accepted in 1838 by Sale, who in the meantime had won a reputation as a teacher, and was in 1826 chosen to teach singing to the Princess Victoria. While most English basses could hardly be distinguished from baritones, Sale, like his father, had a true bass voice. He sang at the Ancient Concerts from 1821 to 1838. He died at Millbank, Westminster, on 16 Sept. 1856, aged 77. His three daughters survived him; two, Mary Anne and Sophia (d. 1869), were musicians; Laura, the youngest, married William John Thoms [q. v.], the antiquary.

He published, besides songs, duets, and arrangements, the glee ‘You ask the reason why I love,’ which gained the king of Hanover's prize at the Catch Club, 1844, and ‘Psalms and Hymns,’ a collection of church music especially adapted for St. Margaret's choir and congregation, 1837. John Bernard's brother,

George Charles Sale (1796–1869), organist, youngest son of John Sale, succeeded Dr. Busby in 1817 as organist of St. Mary's, Newington, and in 1826 was appointed organist of St. George's, Hanover Square. He died on 23 Jan. 1869.

[Grove's Dict. iii. 218; Annual Biogr. xiii. 466; Dict. of Musicians, ii. 406; Gent. Mag. 1856, ii. 652; Pohl's Haydn in London, passim; Quarterly Musical Mag., 1827 p. 544, 1828 p. 281; Harmonicon, 1827, i. 250; Annals of the Three Choirs, pp. 71, 76, 86; Musical World, 1837–56, passim; Lincoln Archæological Soc. Reports, 1891.]

L. M. M.