Smith, John Christopher



German operatic composer and conductor; born at Ansbach. He wrote ten English and Italian operas, and is of interest chiefly because of his relations with the great Handel. His father was a school friend of Handel, followed the latter to London, and had his son instructed at the age of thirteen by the master. Afterward Smith studied composition with Dr. Pepusch and with Thomas Roseingrave. When Handel's eyesight failed him he dictated his music to Smith, who copied it out for him, and often played the organ and harpsichord in Handel's place at the oratorio performances, which he continued for a time after the death of Handel. Among his best known operas were The Fairies, and The Tempest. He also composed an oratorio, entitled Paradise Lost, and two cantatas. His first opera, Terraminta, was produced when he was only twenty. Handel bequeathed to Smith his manuscript scores, his harpsichord and other belongings.