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SC 1996.1

Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections
Sibley Music Library
Eastman School of Music
University of Rochester

prepared by Stanley C. Pelkey II
Spring 1996





William L. Viner Collection (1814-1863; bulk 1830s, 1852-1863)
Location: M1A 3,3
5″, manuscripts and printed music

Viner, William L_Box 1-2 (Kyrie Eleison)
William L. Viner, Kyrie Eleison. Manuscript score, from William L. Viner Collection, Box 1, Folder 2.

Biographical Sketch

William Letton Viner was born on 14 May 1790 in Bath, England. Viner studied organ with Charles Wesley jr. (1757-1834) and became organist of St. Michael’s Church in Bath in c. 1810. Past editions of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians record that he became organist at St. Michael’s in 1820. An autograph note on the manuscript in folder 8 reads, however, “Recollections of my old parish church St. Michaels Bath, of which I was organist 25 years. W.L.V. Elected organist March 1810.” While in Bath he built a reputation as a gifted keyboard teacher. Between 1835-59, Viner served as organist at St. Mary’s in Penzance. Most of the manuscripts in this collection were produced while Viner worked in Bath and Penzance. During his years in Penzance, Viner published a number of compositions which were sold at “Viner’s Musical Repository.” He was also the editor of One Hundred Psalms and Hymn Tunes in Score (London, 1838), A Useful Selection from the Most Approved Psalms (London, 1846), and The Chanter’s Companion (1857). Viner emigrated to the United States in 1859. He died in Westfield, MA on 24 July 1867.



This collection of manuscripts and printed music is the result of William L. Viner’s work as a church musician. Dates on the manuscripts range from 1814 through 1863. The collection was purchased by the Sibley Music Library from T.D. Mahony prior to 1986; no additional information is available.


Scope and Content

The collection contains two bound manuscript volumes, one consisting of organ music copied and compiled by Viner, the other containing vocal service music composed by Viner. The rest of the collection consists of keyboard and vocal music in individual autograph manuscripts, or smaller unbound manuscript collections, as well as ten imprints. The majority of this material was composed by Viner. The collection is of special interest to those researching (a) Anglican service music of the first half of the nineteenth century; (b) the reception history of German keyboard music in England; (c) cycles of keyboard pieces in all the major and minor keys.


Restrictions and Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.



The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections of the Sibley Music Library contains numerous printed volumes of English church music from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries, including works by Purcell, Boyce, Croft, and Samuel Wesley. In addition, the Sibley Library owns various nineteenth-century Anglo-American hymnals.



The William L. Viner Collection has been organized into three major series: Manuscript Vocal Music, Manuscript Instrumental Music, and Printed Music. These are further divided into sub-series as described below.

Series 1: Manuscript Vocal Music

Sub-series A: Bound manuscript volume
This volume includes numerous compositions for use within the Anglican church service. Most of the music is composed for SATB choir.
Sub-series B: Service music
This section includes single manuscripts of extended works, like the Kyrie Eleison and the Sanctus of c. 1830, as well as small manuscript collections of service music. These smaller collections contain compositions with coordinating key schemes, suggesting that some of the compositions were intended to be performed together. The manuscript that begins with a Te Deum (Folder 7) contains a complete Service.
Sub-series C: Anthems on Psalm and Gospel texts
These anthems are typically set for a four-part choir, although a few are for solo voice. Several of the choral anthems employ sections for soloists and have fully independent organ parts.
Sub-series D: Miscellaneous vocal compositions
This section includes three vocal compositions that share many of the stylistic features of the anthems but have non-biblical texts.

Series 2: Manuscript Instrumental Music

Sub-series A: Bound manuscript volume
This volume contains organ or keyboard music copied and compiled by Viner. Most of the music was written by composers a generation or two older than Viner. It includes none of his own organ music.
Sub-series B: Interludes and Organ Voluntaries
This section contains manuscripts of short interludes and several voluntaries for organ. Viner probably used the interludes to accompany liturgical actions or to fill the time between such actions. Only one of the three voluntaries is an extended composition.
Sub-series C: Preludes for the Piano Forte
This section consists of short preludes for the piano written in all the keys of the octave. Similar short didactic keyboard pieces were composed by other musicians, including Cramer, Clementi, and Samuel Wesley, in England in the early nineteenth century.
Sub-series D: Other compositions for keyboard
This section includes Marches for the piano, the piano part (only) to an overture for a chamber ensemble, several manuscripts with various keyboard parts (only) to vocal compositions, and Psalm tones for organ.

Series 3: Printed Music

This section includes the printed music in the collection. All but one imprint is of music composed by Viner, and most were published by his company, Viner’s Musical Repository, Penzance.



Series 1: Manuscript Vocal Music

Sub-series A: Bound manuscript volume

Box 1

folder 1 Manuscript book of vocal compositions by Viner. 1) Te Deum Laudimus [sic], 2) Jubilate Deo, 3) Sanctus, 4) Responses, 5) Doxology, 6) Magnificat, 7) Verse, 8) Verse, 9) Cannon [sic], 10) Nunc Dimittis; 11) Sanctus, 12) Responses, 13) Doxology, 14) 10th Commandment; 15) Collect; 16) Sanctus, 17) Responses, 18) 10th Commandment, 19) Doxology, 20) Collect; 21) Sanctus, 22) Responses, 23) 10th Commandment, 24) Doxology, 25) Collect; 26) Cantate Domine, 27) Deus Misereratur, 28) Te Deum Laudimus [sic], 29) Jubilate Deo. [c. 1835]

Sub-series B: Service music

folder 2 Manuscript: Kyrie Eleison (voices and keyboard) by Viner.
folder 3 Small Manuscript Collection [c. 1818] :1) Sanctus, 2) Doxology, 3) Responses, 4) 10th Commandment; 5) Sanctus, 6) Responses, 7) 10th Commandment, 8) Doxology. All composed by Viner.
folder 4 Manuscript: Sanctus by Viner [performed in Bath, 1830]: 1) Manuscript score of Cembalo and eight vocal parts (double choirs), 2) Manuscript score of organ part [different from Cembalo above], instrumental parts, and vocal parts of the same Sanctus.
folder 5 Manuscript [1832]: Sanctus and Doxology (voices and keyboard) by Viner.
folder 6 Manuscript [1832]: Sanctus (solo soprano or tenor, chorus and keyboard) by Viner.
folder 7 Small Manuscript Collection: 1) Te Deum Laudamus, 2) Jubilate Deo, 3) Sanctus, 4) Responses, 5) 10th Commandment, 6) Doxology. All composed by Viner.
folder 8 Small Manuscript Collection: 1) Te Deum Laudamus, 2) Jubilate Deo; 3) Non- texted Chant, 4) Canticle, 5) Responses, 6) 10th Commandment, 7) Non-texted Chant. The first two items are attributed to Dr. Herschell [1800]; the collection was copied by Viner sometime after his tenure at St. Michaels, Bath [see autograph note on ms].

Sub-series C: Anthems on Psalm and Gospel texts

folder 9 Manuscript [1820]: Anthem on Psalm 86 [vs 1, 3, 5] (solo, chorus, and organ) by Viner; performed at the funeral of the Rev. J. Richard in 1825.
folder 10 Manuscript [1814]: Anthem on Psalm 86 [vs 11, 12, 13, 15] (solo, chorus, and organ) by Viner, 2 copies.
folder 11 Manuscript [1852, Penzance]: Anthem on Psalm 103 [vs 1, 2] (voices and organ) by Viner.
folder 12 Manuscript: Anthem on Psalm 105 (solo, chorus, and keyboard) by Viner, 2 copies.
folder 13 Manuscript [1861]: Anthem on Psalm 122 (solo, chorus, and keyboard) by Viner.
folder 14 Manuscript: Anthem on Psalm 134 (solo and keyboard) by Viner.
folder 15 Manuscript [May 1859]: Anthem on Psalm 143 [v 2] (voices) by Viner.
folder 16 Small Manuscript Collection [June 1853]: 1) Anthem on Matthew 11: 28-29 (voices), 2) Anthem on Psalm 143:2 (voices). Both composed by Viner.
folder 17 Small Manuscript Collection: 1) Anthem on Luke 15:18 (voices), 2) Grace (voices). Both composed by Viner.
folder 18 Manuscript: The Lords [sic] Prayer (solo, chorus, keyboard) by Viner.

Sub-series D: Miscellaneous vocal compositions

folder 19 Manuscript [1821]: Tantum Ergo (solo, chorus, keyboard) by Viner.
folder 20 Manuscript: Hymn (solo and keyboard) by Viner.
folder 21 Manuscript [1863]: Ballad “My Mother” by Viner.

Series 2: Manuscript Instrumental Music

Sub-series A: Bound manuscript volume

folder 22 Manuscript book of organ compositions compiled by Viner. 1) Fugue by Kelner, 2) Fugue by Kelner, 3) Fugue by Kelner, 4) Fugue by Kelner, 5) Fugue by Kelner, 6) Fugue by Kelner, [These first six fugues were published as “Six Fugues Pour les Orgues ou le Clavecin Dedicees A Son Excellence Monsieur le Baron de Wittorf… Par J.C. Kelner, a la Haye chez B. Hummel” see Vault M 10 k29], 7) Fugue by C. Wesley, 8) Fugue by C. Wesley, 9) Voluntary and Fugue by Dupuis, 10) Voluntary and Fugue by Dupuis, 11) Voluntary and Fugue by Dupuis, 12) Fugue by Dupuis, 13) Voluntary and Fugue by Dupuis, 14) March by Boyce, 15) Grace by Clifton, 16) Choral by Cramer, 17) Adagio by Novello, 18) Symphoni to the Creation by Haydn, 19) Anthem by Dupuis, 20) Fugue by Baumgarten, 21) Fugue by Bennett, 22) Fugue by Bennett, 23) Fugue by Dr. Nares, 24) Fugue by Bennett, 25) Fugue by Bennett, 26) Prelude and Fugue [Op. 6, No.1] by Albrechtsberger, 27) Prelude and Fugue [Op. 6, no.2] by Albrechtsberger, 28) Prelude and Fugue [Op. 6, no.3] by Albrechtsberger, 29) Prelude and Fugue [Op. 6, No.4] by Albrechtsberger, 30) Prelude and Fugue [Op. 6, No.5] by Albrechtsberger, 31) Prelude and Fugue [op. 6, No.6] by Albrechtsberger, 32) Fugue by Baumgarten, 33) Fugue by Baumgarten, 34) Air by M.L. 35) Fugue by Novello, 36) Fugue by Novello, 37) Fugue [Anon.], 38) Introduction and Fugue by Pinto, 39) Fuga by Albrechtsberger, 40) Fuga by Albrechtsberger, 41) Fuga by Albrechtsberger, 42) Fuga by Albrechtsberger, 43) Fuga by Albrechtsberger, 44) Fuga by Mozart, 45) Larghetto by Winter, 46) Thema by Rode.

Sub-series B: Interludes and Organ Voluntaries

folder 23 Manuscript: Interludes for Organ by Viner.
folder 24 Manuscript: Morning Hymn with Interludes for Organ by Viner.
folder 25 Manuscript: Prelude with Interludes for Organ by Viner.
folder 26 Manuscript [1835]: Two Voluntaries for Organ by Viner.
folder 27 Manuscript [1856]: Voluntary for the Organ… [on] subjects taken from Mr. Costa’s Oratorio Eli, by Viner.

Sub-series C: Preludes for the Piano Forte

folder 28 Manuscript [1837]: Major and Minor Preludes (Piano Forte) by Viner [published].
folder 29 Manuscript [1860]: Preludes Major and Minor Keys (Piano Forte) by Viner.

Sub-series D: Other compositions for keyboard

folder 30 Manuscript [March 16, 1860, Westfield, MA]: Grand Military March (keyboard) by Viner.
folder 31 Manuscript [March 16, 1860, Westfield, MA]: March (keyboard) by Viner.
folder 32 Manuscript: Overture (Flute, Piano Forte, Harp, Violoncello; piano part only) by Viner.
folder 33 Manuscript: Anthem — Collect 7th Sunday after Trinity (keyboard) by Mason.
folder 34 Manuscript of Miscellaneous music [r. June 1, 1853, v. 1861]: 1) Psalms for the Visitation of the Arch-Deacon (keyboard only), 2) Tantum Ergo (keyboard only), 3) O Salularis (voice). All composed by Viner.

Series 3: Printed Music

folder 35 Print: The Much Admired Hymns, “Lord Dismiss Us,” and “Through the Day,” as Sung at the Close of the Evening Service at St. Mary’s Chapel Penzance Arranged for the Voice and Piano Forte… by W.L. Viner. (London, D’Almaine and Co.)
folder 36 Print: The Chanter’s Companion, Comprising Twenty-Six Chants, [The Most celebrated,] Arranged for the Organ or Piano Forte by W.L. Viner. (Penzance, Viner’s Musical Repository) 3 copies.
folder 37 Print: Anthem, “I Heard A Voice From Heaven,” As sung at St. Mary’s Church, Penzance; composed and arranged for Voice and Paino Forte, by W.L. Viner. (Penzance, Viner’s Music Repository) 2 copies.
folder 38 Print: The Much Admired Christmas Hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” Reprinted with Additions, as sung at Saint Mary’s Church, Penzance, composed by W.L. Viner. (Penzance, Viner’s Musical Repository).
folder 39 Print: A Second Christmas Hymn, “High Let Us Swell Our Tuneful Notes,” as sung at St. Mary’s Church, Penzance; composed and respectfully dedicated to the Rev. Henry Batten… by W.L. Viner. (Penzance, Viner’s Musical Repository).
folder 40 Print: The Maid of Woodburn Valley, a popular Scotch Melody, sung by Mr. Leoni Lee… The Air, altered and Arranged by W.L. Viner. (London, Phillips, Mayhew, & Co.).
folder 41 Print: New Instrumental Parts to God Save the King and Rule Britannia… by W.L. Viner. (London, Goulding & Co.).
folder 42 Print: “First Cornwall Rifles” March, Composed and arranged for the Pianoforte, and dedicated to the Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Privates of that Corps, by Henry Viner (Penzance, the author).



The following biographical notes are included to identify the less well-known composers represented in the collection, and in particular those composers included in Viner’s manuscript book of organ music.

Albrechtsberger, Johann Georg (1736-1809):
Austrian composer, theorist, organist, and teacher. For many years Albrechtsberger served as an organist in a number of Austrian provincial churches. From 1793 until his death, Albrechtsberger was Kapellmeister at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the highest church music post in the Empire. He was well-known as a teacher of counterpoint and composition and wrote over 240 fugues for various instruments, including the organ. The first six compositions in Viner’s organ book by Albrechtsberger are copies of Albrechtsberger’s set of six preludes and fugues published as his Opus Six.
Baumgarten, Karl Friedrich (c.1740-1824):
German organist, violinist and composer active in England. Baumgarten was born in Lubeck where he received his earliest training. He moved to England when he was about 18 and thereafter served as the organist of the Lutheran Church of the Savoy. He was also the “leader” of the orchestra at Covent Garden.
Bennett, John (c. 1725-1784):
Probable identification. John Bennett was an English organist and composer known for his competent contrapuntal writing. He was organist at St. Dionis Backchurch in London and in 1758 published his Ten Voluntaries for the Organ or Harpsichord. Other English organists of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with the name “Bennett” include Charles Bennett (c. 1740-1804), Robert Bennett (1788-1819), Saunders Bennett (d. 1809), Thomas Bennett (1779-1848), and William Bennett (1767-c.1830).
Boyce, William (1711-1779):
English organist and composer. Boyce was one of the most important English composers of the late Baroque. He was a pupil of Charles King and J. C. Pepusch, held several organ posts, and in 1755 became Master of the King’s Musick. Boyce’s interest in early music culminated in the publication of Cathedral Music (1760, 1768, 1773), an anthology of early English service and sacred music.
Clifton, John C. (1781-1841):
Probable identification. English musician. Clifton was born in 1781, received his earliest musical training as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and later studied with Charles Wesley. His first musical appointment was as the conductor of the Harmonic Society of Bath. He later spent several years in Ireland and eventually settled in London where he gained a reputation as a fine teacher of harmony.
Costa, Michael [Michele Andrea Agniello] (1808-1884):
Italian-born conductor and composer active in England. He directed a number of the leading London musical organizations during the 1840s-1880s, including the Philharmonic Society and the orchestra at Covent Gardens. He wrote his oratorio Eli for the provincial choral festivals popular in England throughout the nineteenth century.
Cramer, Johann Baptist (1771-1858):
Probable identification. Composer, pianist, and publisher active in England. The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections owns a number of early editions of his keyboard works.
Dupuis, Thomas Sanders (1733-1796):
English organist and composer. He received his earliest musical education as a child in the Chapel Royal. Dupuis served as organist at the Charlotte Street Chapel in London (1773) before becoming organist of the Chapel Royal upon the death of Boyce (1779). On 26 June 1790 he was awarded the degrees of BMus and DMus at Oxford. He was well- known as an improvisor.
Herschel, William (1738-1822):
German-born musician and astronomer active in England. Herschel became organist of the Octagon Chapel in Bath in October 1766 and director of the Bath orchestra in 1776. In 1782 he was made Royal Astronomer; for the rest of his life he devoted his time to the study of astronomy and to amateur music-making.
Kelner, Johann Christoph (1736-1803):
German organist and composer. Kelner served as court organist and Kantor in the Lutheran church at Kassel. He wrote one Singspiel, various chamber music, and a substantial amount of keyboard music. The first six fugues in Viner’s organ book were published by B. Hummel. See Vault M 10 K29.
Nares, James (1715-1783):
English composer, organist and teacher. In 1756 he became one of the organists and composers of the Chapel Royal and he took his MusD degree from Cambridge in 1757. A copy of his treatise A Treatise on Singing… is owned by the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections [MT 830. N226].
Novello, Vincent (1781-1825):
Novello is best-known for his activities as a publisher in England, although he was also a capable organist. He and Samuel Wesley (1766-1837) gave some of the earliest performances of the keyboard music of J.S. Bach in England. The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections holds numerous volumes of his publications of sacred English music.
Rode, Jacques Pierre Joseph (1774-1830):
French violinist and composer. He was the finest French violinist of his day, although his single appearance in London was unsuccessful, and he was exiled from the country for political intrigue in 1798. He was professor of violin at the Paris Conservatoire and made numerous concert tours throughout Europe. The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections contains several early imprints of his music.
Wesley, Charles jr. (1757-1834):
English organist, composer, and son of the Methodist hymn writer and Anglican priest Charles Wesley (1707-88). He studied organ with Joseph Kelway and composition with William Boyce. Wesley was organist at several dissenting parishes before finally becoming organist at St. Marylebone parish. He was William Viner’s organ teacher.
Winter, Peter (1754-1825):
Probable identification. Peter Winter was born in Mannheim and received his earliest musical education there. In 1778 he became director of the orchestra of the electoral court in Munich, later became Kapellmeister in 1798, and enjoyed some success as an opera composer. Several of his operas were staged in London between 1803-05.

[These biographical notes were drawn principally from the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: MacMillan, 1980), Brown and Stratton’s British Musical Biography (London: William Reeves, 1897), William Bingley’s Musical Biography (London: Henry Colburn, 1834), and the Dictionary of Musicians edited by John Sainsbury (London: Sainsbury, 1825, reprinted New York: De Capo Press, 1966).]



Brown, James Duff and Stephen S. Stratton. “Viner, William Letton,” British Musical Biography: A Dictionary of Musical Artists, Authors and Composers Born in Britain and its Colonies. London: William Reeves, 1897.

Kidson, Frank. “Viner, William Letton,” Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 3rd ed. H. C. Colles, ed. London: MacMillan, 1928. see also reprint in 5th ed. Eric Blom, ed. (1954).

Sainsbury, John, ed. “Viner, William Letton,” Dictionary of Musicians. London: Sainsbury, 1825. Reprinted New York: De Capo Press, 1966.