Terry, Sir R(ichard) R(unciman)

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Terry, Sir R(ichard) R(unciman)

Terry, Sir R(ichard) R(unciman), noted English organist, choirmaster, and music scholar; b. Ellington, Northumberland, Jan. 3, 1865; d. London, April 18, 1938. In 1890 he was appointed organist and music master at Elstow School, and from 1892 to 1896 he was organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Cathedral, Antigua, West Indies. From 1896 to 1901 he was at Downside Abbey, where he attracted attention by his revival of the Catholic church music of early English masters (Byrd, Tallis, Tye, Morley, Mundy, White, Fayrfax, etc.); from 1901 to 1924, he was organist and director of music at Westminster Cathedral. He was chairman of the committee appointed to prepare the Eng. supplement of the Vatican Antiphonary, and music ed. of the Westminster Hymnal (London, 1912; 3rd ed., rev, 1916; 7th ed., 1937), the official Roman Catholic hymnal for England. He was knighted in 1922. Besides masses, motets, and other church music, he composed 48 Old Rhymes with New Tunes (1934). He ed. The Shanty Book (2 vols.; 1921; 1926), Old Christmas Carols (1923), Hymns of Western Europe (with Davies and Hadow; 1927), Salt Sea Ballads (1931), A Medieval Carol Book (1932), 200 Folk Carols (1933), and Calvins First Psalter [1539], harmonized (1932), and also the collections of 16th-century music Downside Masses and Downside Motets, Motets Ancient and Modern, and many separate works by early Eng. composers. He wrote the books Catholic Church Music (1907), On Music’s Borders (1927), A Forgotten Psalter and Other Essays (1929), The Music of the Roman Rite (1931), and Voodooism in Music and Other Essays (1934).


H. Andrews, Westminster Retrospect: A Memoir of Sir R. T (London, 1948).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire