Jacob, Benjamin


English organist and composer, most celebrated in his day. Born and died in London. Learned the rudiments of music from his father, an amateur violinist; studied singing from Willoughby, at seven years of age; at eight took harpsichord and organ lessons from Shrubsole and Cooke, and later, 1796, studied harmony under Dr. Arnold. At ten he was appointed organist at Salem Church, Soho Square; the next year was organist for Carlisle Chapel, Kennington Lane; in 1790 organist at Bentinck Chapel, Lisson Green. He took part in the commemoration of Handel at the Festival in Westminster Abbey in 1791. In 1794 he accepted the position of organist at Surrey Chapel, Rowland Hill's Church, remaining there for thirty-one years. In 1799 he became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians. In 1800 he conducted a series of oratorios under Bartleman at Hatton Garden, and from 1808 to 1814 gave organ recitals with Samuel Wesley and later with Dr. Crotch. Although these recitals began at eleven o'clock in the morning and lasted for three or four hours, they were attended by thousands of people, so fine an executant did Jacob prove himself. He became an associate of the Philharmonic Society in 1818, and one of the court assistants in the Royal School of Music in 1823. In 1825 he accepted the position of organist of St. John's church, Waterloo Road, and continued there until his death. Jacob's chief works are Dr. Watt's Divine and Moral Songs as solos, duets and trios, published about 1800; and National Psalmody, which he edited in 1819, containing among many old church melodies several pieces of his own. This work became a standard book on psalmody. He also wrote, Tunes for the use of Surrey Chapel; some glees; and songs, among them Stay, Oh Stay Thou Lovely Shade, in memory of Dr. Arnold. He is also the author of An Analytical and Analogical Treatise on Thorough-Bass and the Principles of Harmony.