Today, May 10th, is Ascension Day.
By custom, it is a day for fanfares! As the appointed psalm of the day (Ps. 47) states: God is gone up with a merry noise, * and the LORD with the sound of the trump.
Well, I am fresh out of fanfares, but I did do 2 Stanley Trumpet Voluntaries.
John Stanley was born in London on 17th January, 1712. At about the age of two, he had the misfortune to fall on a marble hearth with a china basin in his hand, an accident which left him almost blind.
He began studying music at the age of seven. Under the guidance of Maurice Greene, composer and organist at St. Paul's Cathedral, he studied "with great diligence, and a success that was astonishing" (Burney). At the age of nine he played the organ, probably as an occasional deputy, at All Hallows, Bread Street. The organist died on 23rd September 1723 and exactly one month later eleven-year-old Stanley was appointed organist to the church at a salary of £20 per annum. The St. James's Evening Post reporting the event stated that Stanley "is become the Surprize of the Town for his ingenious Performance on the Harpsichord and Organ; and, in the opinion of good Judges, bids fair to equal, if not exceed the Merit of his celebrated Predecessor."
When he was fourteen "in preference to a great number of candidates" (Burney) he was chosen as organist at St. Andrew's, Holborn and at the age of seventeen became the youngest person ever to obtain the Bachelor of Music degree (B.Mus.) at Oxford University.
In 1734 he was appointed organist to the Society of the Inner Temple - a position he held until his death. It was at the ancient Temple Church that his brilliant playing upon the organ and harpsichord attracted the attention of many fine musicians including Handel who regularly visited the church to hear him.
The score of the Voluntary in C, Op. 7, No. 2 is attached below, as well as a portrait of Stanley, as well as an 18th century image of the Temple Church.