Russell Horizontal John Speller's Web Pages -- Church Music

Choral Music of William Russell (1777-1813)
William Russell, was the son of prominent eighteenth-century organ builder Hugh Russell, and brother of prominent early-nineteenth-century organ builder Timothy Russell. He began his career in 1793 as organist of the Great Queen Street Methodist Chapel, a grim and foreboding building that had to be reached through a passage between the houses that surrounded it. In 1798 he moved on to become organist of the much more important St. Anne's, Limehouse, and in 1801 he became organist of the Foundling Hospital in London, where the organ was the personal gift of Handel. This was an important musical center since it was the organist's responsibility to train some of the orphans to be professional musicians, and it was also -- as it had been in Handel's day -- a venue for concerts in order to raise money for the care of the orphans. Russell is believed to have been the first composer in Britain to have written organ music with an independent pedal part. As well as works for the Anglican liturgy, he composed music in Latin for his friend the Roman Catholic organist and publisher, Vincent Novello.
The Foundling Hospital, London, where Russell was organist. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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