Coombs, Charles Whitney


American composer, who was born in Bucksport, Maine, and passed his early years in Portland, where his fondness for music early manifested itself. He spent five years at Stuttgart, becoming, at the age of nineteen, a pupil in piano of Speidel and in theory and composition of Max Seifriz, then the director of the Royal Opera at Stuttgart. Coombs also spent some time in Italy and Switzerland, six years in Dresden studying under several teachers and a year in England, giving special attention to the music and methods of the English churches. At Dresden, Draeseke taught him counterpoint, and he studied orchestration under Hermann John. He was organist of the American church at Dresden from 1887 to 1891, when he returned to the United States to take charge of the music of the Church of the Holy Communion in New York City, a position which he still holds. Among Mr. Coombs' works are the following: The Vision of St. John, a cantata with full orchestra and organ; The Sorrows of Death, a Lenten motet; The First Christmas, a cantata for mixed voices and solos; A Hymn of Peace; Song of Judith; motets for soprano and barytone; a number of sacred songs; hymns; several anthems; and about thirty songs and choruses, among the best of which are I Arise from Dreams of Thee, an Indian serenade; Song of a Summer Night, and The Journey is Long, settings of two of Charles Sayle's poems; Alone and My Love. Mr. Coombs' most recently published works are the song, My Heart It Was a Cup of Gold, which is singularly beautiful and melodious, and The Ancient of Days, a church cantata, generally considered his ripest f and best work r which is purely devotional in its spirit.