Wesley, Samuel



Great English organist, zealous exponent of the works of Bach, author of numerous and varied compositions. He was born at Bristol, younger brother of Charles Wesley; like Charles was a youthful prodigy, began lessons at the age of six, at the age of eight produced an oratorio, Ruth; when only eleven published his Eight Lessons for the harpsichord. He studied the violin, his playing on this instrument excited admiration and wonder, became noted for his extemporaneous playing of organ and piano, also became an excellent classical scholar. His career was a brilliant one though interrupted by an accident in 1787, in which he suffered an injury to the skull, and subsequently had to forego work for long periods at a time. Samuel Wesley was an ardent admirer of Bach and labored persistently to make the great master's works better known in England. In 1810, in association with C. F. Horn, he issued an edition of Bach's Well-tempered Clavier. In 1820 was instrumental in bringing forward an English translation of Forkel's Life of Bach. He was author of numerous songs, glees, many pieces for the piano, organ concertos,  voluntaries, oratorios, masses, services, anthems, choruses, overtures, symphonies, as well as much other work.