September 12, 1768 - May 24, 1831
born in England, composed during the Romantic period
The greatly expansive musical career of Benjamin Carr covered nearly every aspect of the art, at times with remarkable depth. Under church musicians in London he built the foundation of his involvement in music through education and performance. With a solid understanding of its basic discipline, which he had gained from Charles Wesley and Samuel Arnold, Carr ventured to the United States to explore business opportunities. Upon arriving in Philadelphia in 1793 he founded Carr's Musical Repository, which he later expanded in 1797 to include a branch in New York. At the music store he issued the works of many American composers through his Musical Journal and Musical Miscellany. Shortly thereafter he made his debut with the Old American Company and then returned to his interests in performance, displaying his talents as an opera and concert singer, harpsichordist, pianist, and organist. Concurrently he returned to composing and wrote many anthems, hymns, litanies, masses, motets, rondos, sonatas, variations, and operas.
Even though during his lifetime Carr's accomplishments at places such as St. Peter's, St. Augustine's, and with the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia were lovingly praised by his acquaintances and confidants, his compositions have since been of little interest to recording companies. His best known pieces include his orchestral work the Federal Overture (1794), his opera The Archers of Switzerland (1796), his setting of Scott's Hymn to the Virgin (1810), and his sacred tune Voluntary (1801). ~ Meredith Gailey, Rovi