born in 1688 in Winchester, South East England, United Kingdom
died on 23/6/1766 in Dún Laoghaire, Rathdown County, Ireland
Thomas Roseingrave (1690 or 1691 – 23 June 1766) was an Irish musician and organist.
He was born at Winchester but spent his early years in Dublin, studying music with his father, Daniel Roseingrave. In 1707 he entered Trinity College but failed to complete his degree. In 1709 he was sent to Italy with the financial assistance of St Paul's Cathedral in order "to improve himself in the art of music". In Venice he met Domenico Scarlatti and was greatly impressed by his harpsichord playing. He followed Scarlatti to Naples and Rome and, later in life, he published an edition of Scarlatti's sonatas for harpsichord which led to a "Scarlatti cult" in England.
Roseingrave composed several works in Italy including an anthem and a cantata. He probably returned to England in 1714. In 1720 he produced Scarlatti's opera Amor d'un'ombra e gelosia d'un'aura under the title Narciso at the Haymarket Theatre, to which he added two arias and two duets of his own. He was appointed organist of St George's, Hanover Square, in 1725. He became known as an accomplished improviser, especially of fugues. He had a great admiration for the music of Palestrina and was highly skilled at contrapuntal writing. According to Charles Burney he could play the most difficult music by sight.
In the 1730s he was at the height of his technique and skill. However, his successful career came to an end when he was denied permission to marry a young lady with whom he had become infatuated. Her father would not allow her to marry a musician. The disappointment affected Roseingrave psychologically; his behaviour reportedly became irrational at times, and he neglected his duties. Eventually he retired to Dublin. He died at Dún Laoghaire in 1766 and was buried in his family's grave in the churchyard of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.
Roseingrave's best compositions are his keyboard works which show surprisingly little influence of continental composers. His harpsichord works occasionally reflect the influence of Scarlatti, but the organ works are closer to the English style of Purcell and Blow. They are at times highly chromatic, reflecting the dissonant approach of English music such as Purcell's viol fantasies. They show irregular phrasing and form, suggesting that they may have arisen from freely extemporised performances for which he had been so famous. He also wrote solos for flute, and Italian cantatas. His contemporaries often criticised him for his "harsh, ungrateful harmony, and extravagant and licentious modulations". Most English composers in the 18th century had adopted the Italianate style in the Handelian manner, and the ears of English music lovers were becoming accustomed to the easier harmony and form of the galant style. Thus Roseingrave's music would have appeared to many to be too intellectual and old-fashioned.
- Grove Music Online. Accessed 5 October 2006. The Oxford Companion to Music gives 1688.
- The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie; 1980; ISBN 1-56159-174-2
- Free scores by Thomas Roseingrave in the International Music Score Library Project