Henry F. Chorley

Henry F. Chorley
Short Name: Henry F. Chorley
Full Name: Chorley, Henry Fothergill, 1808-1872
Birth Year: 1808
Death Year: 1872

Chorley, Henry Fothergill, was born at Blackleyhurst, Lancashire, Dec. 15, 1808, and educated at the Royal Institution, Liverpool. In 1834 he was engaged as a member of the staff of the London Athenaeum. This connection he retained for 35 years. He died Feb. 15, 1872. He published some novels and a large number of songs.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)


Born: De­cem­ber 15, 1808, Black­ley Hurst, near Bil­linge, Lan­ca­shire, Eng­land.
Pseudonym: Paul Dell.
Died: Feb­ru­a­ry 16, 1872, Lon­don, Eng­land.
Buried: Bromp­ton Cem­e­te­ry, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Son of an ir­on work­er and lock mak­er, Chor­ley moved with his fam­i­ly to Li­ver­pool af­ter his fa­ther’s death in 1816. He was ed­u­cat­ed by pri­vate tu­tors in Li­ver­pool and at the school of the Roy­al In­sti­tu­tion. His youth was shaped part­ly by time spent in the house­hold of the wealthy and in­tel­lect­u­al Mrs. Ben­son Rath­bone of Green Bank, and he be­came a close friend of her son Ben­son, who died in an ac­ci­dent in 1834.

Chorley be­gan writ­ing for the Lon­don Athen­æ­um in 1830, and was the pa­per’s mu­sic critic and lit­er­a­ry re­view­er un­til 1868. He al­so be­came mus­ic crit­ic for the Lon­don Times and wrote, for these and other jour­nals, re­views and mu­sic­al gos­sip col­umns, dis­cuss­ing com­pose­rs and per­form­ers in Bri­tain and on the Eur­o­pean con­ti­nent. He was quite con­ser­va­tive, and was a per­sist­ent op­po­nent of in­no­va­tion, but was a live­ly chron­ic­ler of Lon­don life. In the Athen­æ­um and else­where, Chor­ley oft­en cri­ti­cized the mu­sic of Schu­mann and Wag­ner for what he called "de­ca­dence." In 1850 and 1851, Chor­ley ed­it­ed the La­dies’ Com­pan­ion, which co­vered fa­shion and do­mes­tic wo­men’s is­sues.

Chorley was al­so a jour­nal­ist, no­vel­ist, play­wright, and po­et, and op­era li­bret­tist. One of his best known piec­es was his obit­u­ary of Tur­ge­nev, mis­tak­en­ly writ­ten while the Russ­ian was still ve­ry much alive. Tur­ge­nev was not of­fend­ed by the er­ror near­ly as much as he was by the cri­tic­al opin­ions of his work Chorley gave in the obit­u­a­ry.

Chorley was con­sid­ered ec­cen­tric and abras­ive, but was re­spect­ed for his in­te­gri­ty and kind­ness. He en­thus­i­as­tic­al­ly gave and at­tend­ed din­ner par­ties, and cul­ti­vat­ed friend­ships with Eliz­a­beth Bar­rett, Fe­lix Men­dels­sohn, Charles Dick­ens, Ar­thur Sul­li­van and Charles Sant­ley. Af­ter the death of his bro­ther, John Rut­ter Chor­ley (1806–1867), Hen­ry in­her­it­ed enough mo­ney to re­tire from the Athen­æ­um, though he con­tin­ued to con­trib­ute ar­ti­cles for that pa­per and for The Or­ches­tra.

In spite of Chorley’s ef­forts to pro­mote the mu­sic of Charles Gou­nod in Eng­land, the com­poser dis­liked Chor­ley in­tense­ly. When Gou­nod lived in Eng­land in the ear­ly 1870’s, he wrote a satir­i­cal pi­a­no piece in­tende­d to be a par­o­dy of Chor­ley’s per­son­al­i­ty. It great­ly amused Gou­nod’s Eng­lish pa­tron, Geor­gi­na Weld­on, who de­scribed Chor­ley as hav­ing a "thin, sour, high-pitched so­pran­ish voice" and mov­ing like a "stuffed red-haired mon­key." Gou­nod in­tend­ed to pub­lish the piece with a ded­i­ca­tion to Chor­ley, but died be­fore this was pos­si­ble. Wel­don then in­vent­ed a new pro­gram for the piece, which was re-titled Fun­er­al March of a Mar­i­onette. It be­came pop­u­lar as a con­cert piece, and in the 1950s, its open­ing phras­es be­came well known as the theme mu­sic for the tel­e­vi­sion pro­gram Al­fred Hitch­cock Pre­sents.

Chorley’s works in­clude:
Music and Man­ners in France and Ger­ma­ny, 1841
Pomfret, 1845
Roccabella, 1859
The Pro­di­gy, 1866


Texts by Henry F. Chorley (7)sort descendingAsInstances
Dio majesta, kiu ordonasHenry Fothergill Chorley (Author (vv. 1, 3, 5?))1
God, the all merciful, Earth has [hath] forsakenHenry F. Chorley (Author)57
God the All-terrible! King, who ordainestHenry F. Chorley (Author (st. 1-3))163
God, the Omnipotent, mighty AvengerHenry F. Chorley (Author (st. 1, 2))2
God, the Omnipotent, King, mighty AvengerHenry F. Chorley (Author)2
Shepherds who folded your flocks beside youHenry F. Chorley (Author)2
Though poor be the chamberH. F. Chorley (Author)3

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