Haack [Haacke, Haak, Haake], Friedrich Wilhelm

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Hooper, Edmund

(b North Halberton, Devon, c1553; d London, 14 July 1621). English organist and composer. He may have been a chorister at Exeter Cathedral. By 1582 he was a member of the choir of Westminster Abbey where, by patent dated 3 December 1588, he became Master of the Choristers. Hooper appears to have been the first regularly appointed organist of the abbey; his patent, dated 19 May 1606, was renewed for life in 1616. On 1 March 1604 Hooper became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. There are several references to Hooper in the Chapel Royal Cheque Book and in the Lord Chamberlain’s Accounts for the period. These include allowances for mourning livery for the funerals of Queen Elizabeth I (1603), Prince Henry (1612) and Queen Anne (1618). By November 1615 Hooper had attained the prestigious position of joint Organist of the Chapel Royal with Orlando Gibbons. He held this position until his death. On 16 July 1621 Hooper was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey; his widow, Margaret, was buried there on 7 March 1652. Hooper’s eldest son, James, who died in December 1652, was a lay vicar of Westminster Abbey.

With the exception of a small quantity of keyboard music found in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (GB-Cfm 32.G.29) and in US-NYp Drexel 5120 and 5612, Hooper’s surviving music consists entirely of settings of sacred or semi-sacred texts. Although not as prolific as many of his contemporaries he was one of the most respected composers of his generation. Almost every surviving pre-Restoration source of English liturgical music contains at least one composition by him. John Barnard selected three of Hooper’s full anthems for inclusion in his First Book of Selected Church Musick (1641). Barnard’s large and comprehensive manuscript collection (GB-Lcm 1045–51) contains a further six anthems in addition to a fragmentary text of one of Hooper’s sets of Preces and two of his festal psalms. (The indexes to manuscirpts Lcm 1049 and 1051 list four full anthems which are missing from the manuscript themselves, including O praise the Lord for ‘trebles’.) Hooper was commissioned by Sir William Leighton to contribute to his publication The Teares or Lamentacions of a Sorrowfull Soule (1614). Other music by Hooper printed in the composer’s lifetime included psalm-tune harmonizations in the psalters of Thomas East (1592) and Thomas Ravenscroft (1621).

Much of Hooper’s music is marked by a strong sense of tonal direction, sometimes combined with bold experiments in chromaticism. His full anthem Behold, it is Christ, one of the most popular anthems of its period, is notable in this respect. The style of some of the full anthems attributed to Hooper in contemporary sources is so characteristic of the 16th century, however, that such pieces would appear to be early works, if indeed they are by Hooper at all. The authenticity of no fewer than four of the eight surviving full anthems has been questioned on grounds of style. Of the verse anthems three exist in secular versions (with the same texts) for voices and viols in addition to the more usual sacred versions for voices and organ. Hooper’s liturgical music includes examples of all three types of service composition favoured by composers of this period (‘short’, ‘verse’ and ‘great’).

The former popularity of Hooper’s music is in sharp contrast to its present neglect. Only a very limited amount of his music is available in modern editions; this is probably due both to the poor quality of so many of the metrical texts which he set and to the incomplete state of many compositions. A further possible explanation of the current lack of interest in Hooper’s music may lie in the restricted nature of his outputs if the surviving compositions are faithfully representative of the composer’s works. He would appear to have been as uninspired by the secular vocal forms as by the instrumental ensemble genres. This is regrettable, since his few pieces of keyboard music are characterized by a sense of poise and a feeling for balanced phrases seldom found in his more extended works.



Preces (associated with Ps xxiv and Ps cviii – Ascension Day Evensong, and Ps lvii – Easter Day Evensong), inc., GB-Lcm, Ojc

Preces (associated with the Flat Service), inc., Ob

Long, or Full Service (Mag, Nunc), 5vv, Cp, Cpc, Cu, DRc, Ojc

Short Service (Ven, TeD, Bs, Ky, Cr, San, Gl, Mag, Nunc), 5vv, Cp, Cu, Llp, Ob, Ojc

Verse Service (Mag, Nunc), 6/5vv, Cp, DRc, Ob

Flat Service (Ven, TeD, Jub, Mag, Nunc), inc., Ob

Te Deum and Benedictus, inc., Ob

7 full anthems, 4, 5vv, Cfm, Cp, Cpc, Cu, DRc, GL, Lbl, Lcm, Llp, Ob, Och, Ojc, WRch, Y, US-BEm, NYp, 16415

5 verse anthems, 4/5vv, 5/5vv, 6/5vv, GB-Cp, DRc, GL, Lbl, Lcm, Llp, Ob, Och, Ojc, WRch, Y, US-NYp, 16415

5 inc. anthems, GB-DRc, Lbl, Lcm, Ob, Y

Works in 15927, 16147, 162111


4 Almans, hpd, GB-Cfm, US-NYp

Corranto, hpd, GB-Cfm

The First Part of the Old Year, US-NYp (doubtful)

The Last Part of the Old Year, NYp (doubtful)


AshbeeR, viii

P. Le Huray: Music and the Reformation in England, 1549–1660 (London, 1967, 2/1978)

W. Shaw: The Succession of Organists of the Chapel Royal and the Cathedrals of England and Wales from c.1538 (Oxford, 1991)


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