William Boyce, 1711-1779


Selected Recordings

Sinfonia n. 5 in Re maggiore 1 parte

The hero whom a fair one fires

In war’s fierce alarms

Selected Sheet Music

Fair Sylvia


Source: IMSLP.org

Showcase Piece

Sinfonía 8 I. Pomposo II. Largo (Andante) III. Tempo di

Notes and Commentary

William Boyce is widely regarded as one of the most important English-born composers of the 18th century. He is best known for his set of eight symphonies, his anthems, and his odes. He also wrote the masque Peleus and Thetis and songs for John Dryden’s Secular Masque, incidental music for William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale, and a quantity of chamber music including a set of twelve trio sonatas. He also composed the British and Canadian Naval March “Heart of Oak”. The lyrics were later written by David Garrick for his 1759 play Harlequin’s Invasion.

Boyce was largely forgotten after his death and he remains a little-performed composer today, although a number of his pieces were rediscovered in the 1930s and Constant Lambert edited and sometimes conducted his works. Lambert had already launched the early stages of the modern Boyce revival in 1928, when he published the first modern edition of the Eight Symphonies (Bartlett and Bruce 2001). The great exception to this neglect was his church music, which was edited after his death by Philip Hayes and published in two large volumes, Fifteen Anthems by Dr Boyce in 1780 and A Collection of Anthems and a Short Service in 1790. He lived from September 1711 to February 7, 1779.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Is Boyce sometimes referred to as “The English Bach?” That’s open to debate.

Books and Music

Selected Books

Alleluia: A Round by William Boyce
Southern Music Co., 2001 (sheet music)
$12.95 on Amazon

boyce 7

Selected Music

boyce4 8 Symphonies: The English Concert (1990), 1 CD

boyce5 Complete Trio Sonatas (1999), 2-CD set

boyce6 Overtures: Concerti Grossi (2002), 2-CD set

More William Boyce music

Complete Works

The following list incomplete.
Castalio’s Complaint
The Chaplet

The Desponding Lover
The Distracted Lover


Fair Silvia

Heart of Oak

The Maiden Rose
The Modest Petition

O Praise the Lord
Overture No.2 ‘for Horns’
Overture No.3
Overture No.5
Overture No.9

The Shepherd’s Lottery
Symphony No.1 in B-flat major
Symphony No.2 in A major

12 Trio Sonatas

10 Voluntaries for the Organ
Voluntary in D major—Source: IMSLP.org

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