Westbrook, Francis Brotherton

Composer

b Thornton Heath, Surrey 1903, d Harpenden, Herts 1975. Whitgift (now Trinity) Middle Sch, Croydon; Didsbury Theol Coll Manchester; ordained 1930 (Wesleyan Methodist). Distinguished pianist; BA (London), FRCO, MusD (Manchester, while in circuit ministry). Prof at London Coll of Music 1968–75; Principal, Williams Sch of Church Music, 1971–75. Held office at RSCM and Methodist Ch Music Soc; edited The Choir 1948–64. 2 tunes and 20 arrangements in The School Hymn Book of the Methodist Church 1950, which he helped to edit, as also Hymns and Songs, 1969. H&S had 6 of his tunes, Praise for Today (1974) had 3. Other music includes cantatas, motets, and anthems. Methodist though he was, FBW commended John Merbecke’s plainsong Music for the Congregation at Holy Communion (1550, some 6 years after JM compiled the first-ever English Bible concordance) as a work ‘which for simplicity and beauty has never been surpassed’; he also believed that, unlike N American churches, British ones did not offer their members ‘anything that deserves to be called a hymn book’—since they hand out no more than word-books! (Or often, not even that.) Fred Pratt Green’s tribute in verse, among Ten Friends, begins ‘Of all the people I have known well, you were the nearest to being a genius.’ No.81, 448*.

Tunes and arrangements by Westbrook, Francis Brotherton

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