Goss, Sir John

1800-1880

English organist and church composer; born at Fareham, Hants; was the son of Joseph Goss, an organist. He entered the choir of the Chapel Royal under John Stafford Smith in 1811, but afterward became a pupil of Attwood. After being organist at several churches he went to St. Paul's Cathedral, as Attwood's successor in 1828, a position he held for thirtyfour years. He was an associate of the Philharmonic Society from 1822, becoming a member in 1825. In 1824 he became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians, and in 1834 of the Society of British Musicians. He was professor of harmony at the Royal Academy of Music from 1827 to 1874. In 1856 he succeeded Knyvett as one of the composers to the Chapel Royal and remained in this position till after he was knighted in 1872. He received the degree of Doctor of Music from Cambridge in 1876. He died in London, highly respected as a man and a musician. As a boy he was fond of the stage, and at nineteen wrote a negro song for three voices and small orchestra. An overture in F minor, written at the age of twenty-five, was produced at a Philharmonic concert in 1827. Still prior to this, about 1820, he wrote an opera, The Soldier's Wife, which ran for over one hundred nights with much success, but was never published. He was a good extempore player on the organ. Sir Arthur Sullivan was one of his pupils. It is as a composer of church music, however, that he is remembered. His compositions include Church Service in A; Burial Service in E minor; Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in E; four Te Deums; two overtures and other pieces for orchestra; anthems; glees; madrigals; songs; and organ voluntaries. He also published the following: Parochial Psalmody; The Organist's Companion, in four yolumns; Collection of Chants, ancient and modern; and Introduction to Harmony and Thorough-bass.