Jackson, William (II)

1815-1866

Gifted English composer, organist and conductor. Born at Masham, Yorkshire. His father was a miller and the boy worked at the mill, but, loving music, he learned counterpoint and harmony from books in the library, and taught himself to play on home-made organs and about fifteen other instruments. At sixteen he was appointed organist at the church in his native city. By trade he was for thirteen years a tallow chandler, but still kept up his study of music, publishing in 1839 an anthem, For Joy Let Fertile Valleys Ring. The next year he won first prize at the Huddersfield Glee Club for his national glee, The Sisters of the Sea. He wrote at Masham his best works: the oratorios, The Deliverance of Israel from Babylon, and Isaiah. In 1852 he removed to Bradford, where he set up as a music-seller with William Winn, a noted vocalist of the day. He became organist of St. John's Church, Bradford, and later of Horton Lane Chapel. When Winn left Bradford, Jackson took his place as conductor of the Bradford Choral Union, and in 1856 he became leader of the Festival Society, two years later having the honor of performing with his chorus before the Queen at Buckingham Palace. He was a composer of originality and genius, and did much to cultivate musical taste in his district. Beside the works already mentioned he wrote the cantatas, The Year, and The Praise of Music; a slow movement and rondo for the piano; a symphony for orchestra and chorus; church services; a mass; anthems; glees; The Bradford Tune Book, containing hymns and  chants, written with Samuel Smith; a Singing Class Manual; and many songs; and part-songs, among them Tears, Idle Tears; The Dream, and a very impressive song called Night.