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.
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 "Voluntary in D Minor, Op. 5 No. 6" is a typical voluntary by its composer, but it's a very nice one.
It begins with a brief prelude played upon the Great diapasons, followed by an extended and sparkling "violin solo," played upon the fine, clear cornet of the Choir.
I don't usually do Stanley on Salisbury, but since I "had it loaded," I thought a cornet piece would go well here, and I think it certainly did.
I always find these pieces SO nervous, as you hope and pray you'll make to the end without a mistake. :-)
The score is attached below, as well as a portrait of Stanley, and an 18th century image of the Temple Church.