Rimbault, Edward Francis



Eminent English lecturer and writer on musical subjects; born at Soho, London; was the pupil of his father, Stephen Francis Rimbault (1773-1837), an organist and composer, and later of Samuel Wesley. In 1832 he became organist of the Swiss Church in Soho, and later of several other churches in London. He was most prominent as a specialist in musical history and literature. In 1840 he cooperated with Chappell and Taylor in founding the Musical Antiquarian Society, and superintended in this connection the publication of many works by old English composers. In the same year he was also made secretary and editor of the Percy Society, and of the Motet Society, which published with English text, works by Palestrina, Lasso and other ancient composers. In 1842 he became a F. S. A., a member of the Stockholm Academy, and the recipient of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Gottingen. In 1848 the degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by Oxford and also by Harvard, in which institution he had been offered the professorship of music. His time was divided chiefly between lectures at the Royal Institution, also at Liverpool and Edinburgh, and extensive editorial work, embracing works published by the musical societies above named; but he found time to compose two operettas, The Fair Maid of Islington, and The Castle Spectre; a cantata, Country Life; and part-songs. One of his songs, Happy Land, attained wide popularity. He was the author of numerous elementary musical works, arranged for piano many of the operas of his day, contributed articles to various periodicals, and edited a large number of collections, principally of Cathedral music and church services, but including some of secular vocal and instrumental music, also other musical works, including three oratorios of Handel's for the Handel Society, an edition of Thomas Overbury's works, and others. He also published The Organ, its History and Construction; the Pianoforte, its Origin, Progress and Construction; a bibliography of musical and poetical works of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; musical illustrations to Percy's Reliques; articles in the Imperial Dictionary of Biography, and Grove's Dictionary of Music. His works are considered valuable, not only for his contributions to musical history in England, but also for the revival of a number of the best works of early English composers. He died at London, leaving a valuable musical library.