Hayes, William

, an eminent musical composer, was born in 1708, and began his musical career as organist of St. Mary’s, Shrewsbury, but quitted that place on being chosen successor to Goodson, organist of Christ Church, | Oxford, where he settled. He took his degree of bachelor of music July 8, 17 V 5 and was appointed professor of music Jan. 14, 1741. In April 1749 he was created doctor of music, and was also organist of Magdalen college. For many years he was sole director of the choral meetings, concerts, and encaenia, and every musical exhibition in that university to the time of his death.

He was a studious and active professor; a great collector of curious and old compositions, and possessed of considerable genius and abilities for producing new. He published while at Shrewsbury, a collection of English ballads, his maiden composition. But at Oxford his ecclesiastical compositions for different colleges were innumerable; yet, being local, they were never printed, and but little known out of Oxford. Those productions which gained him the most general celebrity, were his canons, catches, and glees for the catch-club, in London, during the first years of its institution; several of which were justly crowned. His canon of “Let’s drink and let’s sing together,” is perhaps the most pleasant of all those laboured compositions which go under the name of canons. He had a true sense of Handel’s superior merit, over all contemporary composers and on the publication of Mr. Avison’s well-written “Essay on Musical Expression,” in which it is perpetually insinuated that Geminiani, Rameau, and Marcello, were greatly his superiors, Dr. Hayes produced a pamphlet entitled “Remarks on the Essay of Musical Expression,” written with much more knowledge of the subject than temper: he felt so indignant at Avison’s treatment of Handel, that he riot only points out the false reasoning in his essay, but false composition in his own works.

Dr. Hayes died July 27, 1777, and was buried in the church-yard of St. Peter’s in the east, in Oxford. His son Philip was regularly educated by his father in the same art. When grown up, after he had lost his treble voice, which dropped into a tolerable tenor, he was admitted one of the gentlemen of the king’s chapel, and resided chiefly in London, till the decease of his worthy father; who having established a family interest in the university, he succeeded to all his honours and appointments. He took his degree of B. M. in May 1763, and proceeded doctor of music Nov. 6, 1777, when he succeeded his father in the professorship. He also became organist of Magdalen, New college, and St, John’s. He succeeded in | the same style of composition as his father, and was a considerable benefactor to the music-school and orchestra, and gave many valuable portraits both to that room and to some of the colleges. Dr. Philip Hayes was perhaps the most corpulent man in the kingdom, and his friends were long in apprehension of a sudden death, which at last took place when he was on his annual visit to London, about the time of the anniversary of the new musical fund. He dropped down dead, after he had dressed himself, in the morning of March 19, 1797, in his fifty -eighth year. His remains were interred in St. Paul’s cathedral with due respect. 1


Rees’s Cyclopædia, by Dr. Burney. Wood’s Annals. -—Gent. Mag. 1797.