John Medley

John Medley. Clergyman, choirmaster, composer, b London 19 Dec 1804, d Fredericton 9 Sep 1892. Medley, the Oxford-educated first Anglican bishop (1845) of Fredericton, had studied the writings of the 19th-century musical theorist Adolf Bernhard Marx.

Medley, John

John Medley. Clergyman, choirmaster, composer, b London 19 Dec 1804, d Fredericton 9 Sep 1892. Medley, the Oxford-educated first Anglican bishop (1845) of Fredericton, had studied the writings of the 19th-century musical theorist Adolf Bernhard Marx. For over 40 years Medley directed the choir at his cathedral. 'No choir practice was considered complete until every anthem and introit, every chant and hymn was perfect' (Col George Maunsell, quoted by Ketchum, p 323). 'It would have been difficult to meet with a better [musical] service out of England' (Alexander Ewing, quoted by Ketchum, p 328). 'He... was a good musician. Church music was beginning to change, from the style of Tate and Brady to that which produced Hymns Ancient and Modern; and the Bishop did all he could to promote this improvement in his own diocese' (Mockridge p 116). In 1855 he edited Hymns for Public Worship in the Diocese of Fredericton (Saint John, NB, 1855, 1863, 1870). Medley composed about 20 anthems and many introits, services, and other pieces of church music. After Medley's death, Edward Cadwallader compiled and arranged Church Anthems, Services & Chants by Bishop Medley (Fredericton before 1900). From this volume, 13 pieces have been reprinted in CMH vol 2. Clifford Ford has observed in Medley's music 'the stirrings of what might be called a period of sentimentality which dominated church music by the opening of the 20th century' ('Introduction,' CMH, vol 2).


Further Reading

  • Ketchum, W.Q. The Life and Work of the Most Reverend John Medley, D.D. (Saint John 1893)

    Mockridge, C.H. The Bishops of the Church of England in Canada and Newfoundland (Toronto 1896)

    Cooper, Timothy Gene. 'Church music in nineteenth-century Canada as represented by the choral compositions of John Medley,' DMA thesis, U of Georgia 1989