1800–1880

Introduction

portrait

Born: De­cem­ber 27, 1800, Fare­ham, Hamp­shire, Eng­land.

Died: May 10, 1880, Brix­ton, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Buried: Ken­sal Green Ce­me­te­ry, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Biography

John was the son of Jo­seph Goss, or­gan­ist in Fare­ham.

He was a cho­ris­ter in the Cha­pel Roy­al un­der John Staff­ord Smith (1811), and af­ter­wards a pu­pil of Tho­mas Att­wood.

Goss com­posed most­ly church mu­sic. He was or­gan­ist at St. Luke’s, Chel­sea (1824) and St. Paul’s Ca­the­dral (1838–72). He was al­so a com­pos­er to the Cha­pel Roy­al (1856–72), and Pro­fes­sor of Har­mo­ny at the Roy­al Acad­e­my of Mu­sic for al­most half a cen­tu­ry.

Queen Vic­tor­ia knight­ed him in 1872, and Cam­bridge Un­i­ver­si­ty award­ed him a Doc­tor of Mu­sic degree in 1876.

In the Mu­sic­al Times for 1901 Dr. Ho­pkins has giv­en some in­ter­est­ing rem­in­is­cenc­es.

‘Goss had not long been in­stalled be­fore he dis­co­vered that the or­gan stood in need of the ad­di­tion of a few use­ful stops, so he took the op­por­tun­i­ty, af­ter one of the week-day ser­vic­es, of ask­ing the Ca­non whe­ther these de­sir­a­ble al­ter­a­tions might be made. Mr. Goss, sol­emn­ly re­plied Syd­ney Smith, what a strange set of crea­tures you or­gan­ists are! First you want the bull stop, then you want the tom-tit stop; in fact you are like a jad­ed old cab-horse, al­ways long­ing for an­oth­er stop!

‘In the Psalms,’ con­tinues Dr. Hop­kins, ‘when­ev­er there oc­curred any ref­er­ence to storms and tem­pest, the or­gan used to give forth a deep roll, to the great de­light of good Miss Hack­ett, who would look up at the in­stru­ment with a smile of in­tense sa­tis­fac­tion. On one oc­ca­sion, when the psalms had been unu­su­al­ly full of ref­er­enc­es to at­mo­spher­ic dis­turb­anc­es, and the or­gan had been de­mon­stra­tive to an un­u­su­al de­gree, this good la­dy’s face had been beam­ing al­most in­cess­ant­ly. Af­ter the ser­vice Syd­ney Smith ac­cost­ed the or­gan­ist with this pro­found re­mark: Mr. Goss, I don’t know whe­ther you have ev­er ob­served this re­mark­a­ble phe­nom­e­non: when­ev­er your or­gan ‘thun­ders,’ Miss Hack­ett’s face ‘light­ens’!

Lightwood, p. 193–94

Publications

The mon­u­ment to Goss in the crypt of St. Paul’s Ca­thed­ral:

In remembrance of Sir John Goss, Knt., Mus.D., Cantab.;
Composer to H. M. Chapels Royal,
and for 34 years Or­gan­ist and Vi­car Chor­al of this Ca­thed­ral.
Born 27th De­cem­ber 1800. Died 10th May 1880.
His ge­ni­us and skill are shewn in the var­i­ous com­po­si­tions
with which he has en­riched the mu­sic of the church.
His vir­tues and kind­ness of heart en­deared him to his pu­pils and friends,
who have erect­ed this mon­u­ment in tok­en of their ad­mi­ra­tion and es­teem.

Sources

Music