Henry John King, Suite of Four Pieces

(Melbourne, 1855 – Southport, 1934)
For violin and pianoforte; edited by Richard Divall
Australian Music Series – MDA020
ISBN 978-0-9923957-9-7 / ISMN 979-0-9009643-9-7

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Henry John King descended from a long and active musical family. His father, Henry John King senior arrived in Melbourne in 1854, and advertised himself as a teacher of the harp, piano, violin and guitar, and teaching at Emerald Hill. Other members of the family were musicians and the King dynasty were listed a key performers in the Madame Anna Bishop concerts under George Loder. The father was the leader of the Royal Philharmonic Society of Melbourne orchestra from 1857 to 1860. Henry John King junior was born in South Melbourne in 1855 and was taught music at an early age within the family, and then by the composer Charles Edward Horsley, who had been a pupil of Mendelssohn, Ignaz Moscheles and Louis Spohr.

King junior’s talents were obviously valued at an early stage, for in 1872 at the age of sixteen or seventeen, he copied the orchestral parts for Horsley’s Violin Concerto in D minor. He was appointed as organist to the prestigious St Mark’s Anglican Church in Fitzroy, and began a prolific career in composition. There are several secular works cited as being written by him, including the Cantata, The Wedding, and an opera in four acts and a prologue entitled Penelope, set to a libretto by a Mrs J A King. King’s great musical opportunity was when his work, The Centennial Cantata, was selected as the winner of a competition by a committee and premiered at the Centennial International Exhibition of 1888 in Melbourne.

King distinguished himself as a composer of sacred music and settings of his Mass, a Benedictus, and a Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis were published in London and are held in Australian libraries. They are well written for the voice, and the organ parts show a considerable expertise on the instrument. King relocated to Queensland in 1910, and he passed away at Southport on 27 June 1934.