Samuel Howard and the Music for the Installation of the Duke of Grafton as Chancellor of Cambridge University, 1769
Samuel Howard (?1710–1782) has long been a familiar inhabitant of the diligent footnotes of Handel biographers. A choirboy in the Chapel Royal, he was a member of Handel’s chorus and the composer of much theatre music of his own; he later became organist of both St Bride’s, Fleet Street and nearby St Clement Danes, Strand, where he was buried in 1782. His most significant and ambitious work is his fine orchestrally accompanied anthem ‘This is the day which the Lord hath made’, published posthumously in 1792 with an impressive title page detailing the performance of the work ‘at St Margaret’s Church before the governors of the Westminster Infirmary, in the Two Universities, and upon many other Publick Occasions in different parts of the Kingdom’. This article confirms for the first time that this work originated as Howard’s doctoral exercise, drawing on contemporary press reports and information in the University archives; together these make clear that the composer’s doctorate was linked to the provision of music for the Duke of Grafton’s installation as Chancellor in 1769. Surviving information about this event offers a glimpse of musical life in Cambridge on a comparable scale to the much better reported proceedings upon similar occasions in Oxford. This evidence then serves as a starting point from which to consider Howard’s later prominence as a director of high-profile public performances in London and the provinces.