The Gresham Prize Composition. No. 10. By E. J. ROMPS S.
Tun Gresham Prize, as perhaps our readers are aware, has no con- nexion with Gresham College, but is the liberal gift of a lady whose love of the true style of Cathedral music is as ardent as it is, among her own sex, rare. The last successful candidate was Mr. E. J. HOPKINS, and his composition is before us. The words of his anthem, " God is gone up with a merry noise," were probably suggested by early asso- ciation, no less than the manner in which they are set, which exhibits a sort of involuntary deference to the model of CROFT, as if it were a thing of course that, if set at all, the Psalm must be set in the same manner. This we take to have been Mr. Hoeims's feeling, and not a vain endeavour to challenge a comparison with so great a master. It is in the distribution and outline of the work alone that any resemblance exists ; which exhibits no attempt at pilfering. The first fugue, which is introduced by a short movement in simple counterpoint, is admirably conducted, and, as a specimen of vocal part-writing, reflects the highest credit on its author.
In the present decline and approaching extinction of our Cathedral Choirs, which, so far from offering any incitement to a musician's exer- tion, paralyze and crush every effort of industry or genius, our thanks are especially due to the giver of the Gresham Prize, which serves still to " keep the glimmering flame alive," and to show, from year to year, that the spirit of the great masters of English church music yet prompts and animates their descendants.
The composition is dedicated (in derisive irony, no doubt) to that bitter enemy of Cathedral music the Bishop of LONDON.