Kent, James

Kent, James a distinguished English composer of Church music, was born at Winchester in 1700, and at an early age employed as chorister in the cathedral of that city. His talents secured him admittance to the Chapel Royal, London, where he enjoyed the tuition of the celebrated Dr. Croft. After completing his education, he was chosen organist of Finden, in Northamptonshire, and subsequently was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1737 he was elected to fill the same situation in the cathedral of his native place, which he accepted and held until 1774. He died in 1776. Mr. Kent greatly assisted Dr. Boyce in the preparation of his magnificent work, the collection of Cathedral Music, and his services are duly acknowledged by that learned editor. Mr. Kent published a volume of Twelve Anthems (London, 1773, 4to), among which are, Hear my Prayer, When the Son of Man, My Song shall be of Mercy, and others which are favorites with the congregations of English cathedrals. After his decease, a Morning and Evening Service, and Eight Anthems, composed by him for the Winchester choir, were collected and printed by Mr. Corfe, of Salisbury; but the probability is that the author never intended them for publication, as they are not equal to his other published productions. " Mr. Kent was remarkably mild in his disposition, amiable in his manners, exemplary in his conduct, and conscientiously diligent in the discharge of his duties. His performance on the organ was solemn and impressive, and he was by competent judges considered one of the best musicians of the age in which he lived" (Harmizonicon). (J. H.W.)

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