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     Cummings, William Hayman (22nd August  1831-10th June 1915)

    He was an organist, tenor, musician, composer and author born in Sidbury, Devon, England.  He started his musical education as a chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral when he was seven and when he as 15 or 16 he sang at a performance of Elijah that was conducted by its composer, Felix Mendelssohn.  The quality of his voice brought him recognition and he would go on to sing throughout the United Kingdom as well as make appearances in America. He became very interested in Mendelssohn's work and while working as an organist in Waltham Abbey he adapted the second chorus from his Festgesang (Festival Song) and this would become the music for the version of  "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" that is used today.  Continuing his career in music he would become the founder of the Purcell Society in 1876 and held the position of Singing Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London for fifteen years from 1879.  From 1879 he was Principal of the Guildhall School of Music and in 1900 Dublin University awarded him an honorary doctorate in music.  As an author he wrote works that included The Origin of "God Save The King" and books on the lives of Handel and Purcell. He died in London when in 1915 when he was 83.


    Hark! The Herald Angels Sing recordings

    Black Dyke Mills Band

    Chandos 4541 (CD: A Christmas Fantasy)


    Boston Pops

    Philips 416 287 - 2 (CD:  We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

    Conductor - John Williams 


    DG 419 414-2 (CD: White Christmas)

    Conductor - Arthur Fiedler


    RCA 09026-61685-2 (CD: Pops Christmas Party)

    Conductor - Arthur Fiedler


    Sony SK 48232 (CD: Joy to the World)

    Conductor - John Williams

    Tanglewood Festival Chorus 


    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

    Naxos 8.990005 (CD: Joy to the World)

    Conductor - Richard Hayman 


    Rochester Pops Orchestra 

    Koch CHD 1531 (CD: Joy to the World - Carols for Orchestra and Chorus)


    St Louis Philharmonic Orchestra

    Sonari records - 7 55724 00272 3 (CD: Christmas with the Philharmonic)

    Conductor - Robert Hart Baker



    1. http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/c/u/cummings_wh.htm
    2. http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/William_Hayman_Cummings
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hayman_Cummings














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