Thomson, John



First Reid professor of music at Edinburgh University; son of a wellknown divine; born at Spronston, Roxburgh. Thomson met Mendelssohn when that great musician visited Edinburgh in 1829 and renewed the acquaintance later, when he went to Leipsic to study with Schnyder von Wartensee. During his student days there he also met Moscheles and Schumann and other great musicians of that period. In 1839 he was made first professor of music at Edinburgh University and in February of 1841 he gave the first Reid concert, for which he wrote a critical analysis of the program for the book of words that is probably the first example of an analytical program. He died in May of that year, six months after his marriage to a daughter of John Lee, principal of the University. His compositions are three operas, The House of Aspen; The Shadow on the Wall; and Hermann, or The Broken Spear, of which the two former were produced at the Lyceum and enjoyed long engagements. He published The Vocal Melodies of Scotland, with symphonic and accompaniment by John Thomson and Finlay Dunn, and wrote many songs, of which the best known are Harold Harfagor; The Pirate's Serenade; and The Arab to His Steed.