Cook, Benjamin

, Mus.D. an eminent organist and contra-puntist, in the style of our best ecclesiastical composers, whom he had studied, from Tailis to Crofts, Weidon, and Green, a very correct harmonist and good organ player, but with limited powers of invention, was organist of Westminster abbey, and on the dealh of Kelway elected organist of St. Martin’s in the Fields. He long presided at the Crown and Anchor concert, which was originally established for the preservation of the best works of the most eminent masters of old times. It is a curious circumstance, that at this concert of ancient music Handel was regarded as an innovator, and Geminiani thought it an honour to be allowed to dedicate his last concertos to this society. Dr. Pepusch, who established and directed this concert to the time of his death, never allowed Handel any other merit than that of a good practical musician, The irreconcileable enmity between the lovers of old and new music became, from the time of this institution, as violent as the rage between the champions of ancient and modern learning. Dr, Cook, a steady votary of the old masters, died September 1793. He was the son of Benjamin Cook, who kept a music shop in New-street, Covent-garden, and who published by patent, among other things, six concertos for violins, tenor and bass, by Alexander Scarlatti; the chamber symphonies of Porpora, for three instruments; and the two books of lessons by Domenico Scarlatti, in long 4to, of which Rosingrave was the editor. After the decease of Cook, Johnson reprinted Scarlatti’s lessons, with the same title-page and the same errors as had escaped correction in the former edition. 2


Dr. Burney, in Rees’s Cyclopædia.