William Russell (6 October 1777 – 21 November 1813) was an English organist and composer.
He was the son of William Russell, an organ-builder, and was born in London on 6 October 1777. From age seven Russell was taught by the organists William Cope, William Shrubsole, and John Groombridge. Between 1789 and 1793 he was deputy to his father, who was organist to St. Mary's, Aldermanbury.
In 1793 he was appointed organist to the Great Queen Street chapel; cathedral services were performed there until 1798, when the chapel became a Wesleyan meeting-house. On 2 September 1798 he was elected organist at St. Anne's, Limehouse. In 1801 he was elected to a similar post at the Foundling Hospital. About the same time he resumed musical studies under Samuel Arnold.
In 1808 Russell graduated Mus. Bac. at Oxford. He died on 21 November 1813 at Cobham Row, Coldbath Fields, in Clerkenwell.
Russell's organ voluntaries were in suite form. He published Twelve Voluntaries for the Organ or Pianoforte (1807?), and a Second Book (1812).
"Voluntary in E Minor" is the eleventh work of the first book. It begins with a grand prelude (Largo), written in "French overture style". The registration calls for the "full organ," but that does not mean the FULL organ! This leads directly in a nicely energetic fugue, which builds up quite effectively. The finale, is a calming "Andantino," which passes to E major, and is played upon the Great diapasons.
In this piece, the baroque is the dominant style, although I suppose the "Andantino" could be thought of as being somewhat more of the classical period.
Hereford is certainly not a "period instrument," but I think it gives a good representation of the sound, and excellent account of itself in this style of music.
The score is attached below, as well as two photos of St. Anne's, Limehouse, where Russell was appointed organist in 1798.