Davy Davison, James William



Composer and writer, who was born in London. He studied the piano under W. H. Holmes and composition with Sir G. A. Macfarren. He composed much for the orchestra and voice and his settings to several of the poems of Keats and Shelley have been greatly admired. Davison lived in the period of Mendelssohn and belonged to a little group of musicians, the others being Sterndale Bennett and G. A. Macfarren, his former teacher, who were the most enthusiastic musicians of their time, working together with the same ambitions and entertaining the same great admiration for the music of Mendelssohn, and equally hating that of Wagner. Davison was musical critic for The Times and The Musical World, and also contributed to Grove's Dictionary of Music. Among his most important literary productions  was an essay on the works of Frederic Chopin, published in London in 1849. He wrote several songs and some piano music, including a sonata, a tarantella and a dramatic overture to the fairy tale of Fortunatus, which was a duet for the piano. During one of his visits to England he made the acquaintance of Mendelssohn, and was ever afterward his enthusiastic admirer and champion. In 1842 he started the Musical Examiner, a weekly, which lasted only two years. He then succeeded G. A. Macfarren as editor of the Musical World.