Horsley, Sonata for Flute and Piano Concertante

In A Minor. Opus 11 – 1846.
Edited by Richard Divall
Australian Music Series – MDA028
ISBN 978-0-9925672-7-9 / ISMN 979-0-9009642-7-4


 MDA028 Horsley Sonata for Flute_1_1_0007   MDA028 pic1

Charles Edward Horsley was born in London in 1822 and died in New York in 1876. He came from an intensely musical family, and his father William Horsley, also a composer was a close family friend of Felix Mendelssohn and others. Horsley evinced a great musical talent early in life, and he studied in London with Mendelssohn, and Ignaz Moscheles, Franz Liszt’s own teacher. He later continued studies first in Kassel, and then in Leipzig with the above composers and also composition with Louis Spohr.

After returning to LonMDA 013 horselypicdon in 1853 Horsley saw performances of his oratorios Gideon and Joseph given in Liverpool and in 1860 his David was performed in Glasgow. One year later he decided to migrate to Melbourne, then experiencing huge growth because of the gold rush and the development of large scale agricultural industry. His services were obtained by the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Society, which is still in existence. He served as organist variously at St Ignatius Church Richmond; St Peter’s Eastern Hill and St Francis Church in Lonsdale Street. He was a brilliant improviser, although no organ works have survived from his hand.

After arriving in Melbourne his financial and personal life went into a decline, and significant financial losses combined with the decamping of his wife with a neighbour, did little to lift his confidence. After a return to London in 1873 he went to work in New York where he remarried, but died in 1876. However he left numerous manuscripts in Australia, including two symphonies and other works. Horsley’s flute sonata is dedicated to the English flautist and instrument manufacturer Walter Broadwood. It was composed around 1846 and was published in a score and flute part by Wessel and Company as part of their series of grand original duets, by British Authors.