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Murray, James Ramsey (7th March 1841-10th March 1905)

He was a musician and composer born in Ballard Vale, Andover, Massachusetts.  When he was 15 he went to study in North Reading, Massachusetts, at its Musical Institute and there his teachers included George Webb, Lowell Mason, William Bradbury and George Root.

The American civil war began and in 1862 he enlisted into the army, where he would serve as a musician.  He was posted to a camp in Virginia and it was there in 1863 that he composed his first song, “Daisy Dean”.  He would also write “Today, The Hallowed Place We Seek” and “Sleep, Sacred Dust of Noble Dead” in 1865.

After the war had come to an end he returned to Massachusetts and taught piano for a short while before moving to Chicago, Illinois, to work as an editor for The Song Messenger in its Root & Cady publishing house.  After the great fire happened in Chicago in 1871 he moved back to Andover, Massachusetts, as a music teacher but after staying there for a decade he once again relocated, this time to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1881.

Going back to his work as an editor he would edit The Musical Visitor and manage the publishing department for the John Church Company.  Throughout many of these years he would continue to compose and published books such as Pure Diamonds, Murray’s Sacred Songs and Royal Gems among others.

Music that he is recognised for includes “Cling to the Bible”, “The Dear Old Christmas Story”, “Eudora” and “At Last” but the piece he is most remembered for today is “Mueller” which is the tune heard for the popular Christmas carol “Away in a Manger”.

Leroy Anderson and His Orchestra recordings
Decca B0003552-02 (CD: A Leroy Anderson Christmas)

Cambridge Singers and City of London Sinfonia recordings
Collegium 106 (CD: Christmas Night. Carols of The Nativity)
Conductor – John Rutter

Choir of St. John’s, Cambridge recordings
London 421 022 (CD: Christmas Weekend -16 Favourite Carols)

Robert DeCormier Singers and Ensemble recordings
Arabesque 6526 (A Victorian Christmas)
Conductor – Robert DeCormier

Paul Hill Chorale recordings
CRC 2258 (CD: A Paul Hill Chorale Christmas)
Conductor – Paul Hill
Organist – Sondra Proctor
National Capital Brass and Percussion Ensemble

Kings College Choir, Cambridge recordings
London 444 848 (CD: Noel – Christmas at Kings)
Conductor – Sir David Willcocks

Robert Shaw Chorale recordings 
RCA 6429 – 2 – RG (CD: A Festival of Carols)
(Arrangers – Robert Shaw/Alice Parker)