Haack [Haacke, Haak, Haake], Friedrich Wilhelm

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Holmes, George

(b c1680; d Lincoln, 1720). English organist and composer. He was a chorister at Durham Cathedral from 1688 to 1694, before becoming domestic organist to the Bishop of Durham. A book of keyboard music in the British Library (GB-Lbl Add.31446) once bore the inscription ‘George Holmes his Book, 1698, at my Lord Bishop of Durham's’, which seems to have been lost in rebinding. In 1705 he became organist of Lincoln Cathedral, and was appointed one of the junior vicars on 7 November 1707. He was also master of the company of bell-ringers. An earlier composer of this name, who had some catches and partsongs published by Playford (RISM 16585, 16676, 16725), was one of Christopher Hatton's secretary-copyists and a ‘cousin’ of Thomas Holmes, who also wrote numerous catches.

Holmes is known to have written at least ten anthems, including a burial service (printed in John Barker's A Select Number of the Best Psalm Tunes Extant, Birmingham, c1756). Six survive in score (GB-LF 10 and 12, in the hand of John Barker) and are among the best examples of English church music composed outside the Chapel Royal in the period immediately following Purcell. Most are verse anthems and include Arise [and] shine, O daughter of Zion, celebrating the Act of Union between England and Scotland (1707), and Blessed is thy people, marking the coronation of George I (1714). I will sing of thy power is a good example of the solo anthem, while Hear my prayer, O God is a richly sombre full anthem mixing homophonic and imitative writing in a highly expressive manner. The date of composition of Holmes's Ode for St Cecilia's Day, Down from the fix'd serene on high (US-LAuc f0235 M4, in Barker's hand), is not known, but the text suggests that it belongs to the reign of Queen Anne. The autograph keyboard manuscript mentioned above contains organ music by Blow, Christopher Gibbons and Purcell, with some anonymous pieces that may or may not be by Holmes. Six lighter keyboard pieces attributed to ‘Holmes’ or ‘George Holmes’ also survive (in GB-Lbl Add.17853 and 31465).



Arise [and] shine, O daughter of Zion, verse, Act of Union, 1707, Divine Harmony (London, 1712) (words only), GB-Cu, DRc (inc.), Lbl, LF, LI (inc.), Ob, Y

As for me, I will sing of thy power, Divine Harmony (London, 1712) (words only)

Blessed is thy people, verse, coronation, 1714, LF, LI (inc.)

Burial service, full, Lbl, LF; incl. I am the resurrection, I know that my redeemer liveth, and We brought nothing into this world

Hear my crying, O God, verse, c1708, Divine Harmony (London, 1712) (words only), LF, LI (inc.), Y

Hear my prayer, O God, full, before 1720, LF, LI (inc.), Ob

I said in the cutting off, LI (inc.)

I will love thee, O Lord, verse, before 1708, Divine Harmony (London, 1712) (words only), Cu, Lbl, LF, LI (inc.), Y

I will sing of thy power, verse, DRc (inc.), Lbl, LF, LI (inc.), US-BEm

The Lord is king, GB-LI (inc.)

secular vocal

Appear ye nymphs, S, fl, bc, US-LAuc

Down from the fix'd serene on high (ode), St Cecilia's Day, solo vv, 5vv, 2 fl, str, LAuc

Gentle shepherds, leave your flocks, S, B, bc, LAuc

Let the soft and mournful flute, S, fl, bc, LAuc

See the God of wine appears (A Verse on St Cecilia's Day) (London, ?1715)

Shepherdesses, pretty pretty lasses (A Pastoral Song) (London, ?1730)

Tell me ye little wanton boy (London, ?1720)


12 pieces, kbd, GB-Lbl; 8 doubtful

Mr Holmes Coranto, kbd, in Anne Cromwell's Virginal Book, London Museum, Kensington Palace, on loan to the Cromwell Museum, Huntingdon (MS, 1638; ed. H. Ferguson, London, 1974)

Piece for 2 tr viols and 1 b viol, Lbl, attrib. ‘Holmes’, probably by Thomas Holmes or earlier George Holmes


W.H. Husk: An Account of the Musical Celebrations on St Cecilia’s Day in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (London, 1857), 51–3, 193–4

H.W. Shaw: The Succession of Organists of the Chapel Royal and the Cathedrals of England and Wales from c1538 (Oxford, 1991), 161

I. Spink: Restoration Cathedral Music, 1660–1714 (Oxford, 1995), 286–9

J.P. Wainwright: Musical Patronage in Seventeenth-Century England: Christopher, First Baron Hatton (1605–1670) (Aldershot, 1997), 32–5

IAN SPINK (work-list with GRAYDON BEEKS)

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