Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876) was the illegitimate son of Samuel Wesley (1766–1837) and Sarah Suter, who had been his housekeeper. Suter bore him several children and their relationship out of wedlock continued because of Samuel’s addiction to the unorthodox views on marriage held by Martin Madan, the minister of the then-fashionable non-conformist Lock Chapel. Despite the stigma attached to being illegitimate—a very considerable burden at the turn of the nineteenth century—Samuel Sebastian was to become the most important English church composer between Purcell and Stanford.
He was successively organist of Leeds Parish Church, and the cathedrals of Hereford, Exeter, Winchester, and Gloucester.
Wesley took his middle name from his father’s love of Bach’s music and is known to have been ‘saturated with old-time ideas, clinging even to the long-condemned and barbarous system for tuning in unequal temperament’). Wesley’s old-fashioned ideas may well have been a saving grace as far as his compositions are concerned. Trends in anthem-writing at the end of the eighteenth century had shown a tendency towards deteriorating taste; many anthems were multi-sectional, intent merely on showing off the merits of individual singers. .
The anthem, "Thou wilt keep him" is one of the "Twelve Anthems," published in 1853.
It was almost certainly writtnen well Wesley was at Winchester. It's craftsmanship assures its continued solid place in the repertoire of all Anglican choirs.
Although not the most "interesting" organ part, I've included this as part of Armley demos. Wesley played the "first dedication" recital of the Schulze organ, and you'll read more about that in the sample set spotlight.
I'll be talking about the instrument as a "church organ," and will illustrate my points with this anthem and several hymns.
The score is attached below (this won't have much interest without following it), a photo of Wesley and one of Winchester Cathedral.