The British Musical Biography


Abell, John

[E] Abell, John, alto singer and song col-
lector, born, probably, about 1660. In May,
1679, he became a gentleman extraordinary
of the Chapel Royal, and was shortly after-
wards sent to Italy by Charles II., to study
music and singing. He returned to England
in 1681-2, and re-entered the Chapel Royal,
where he remained till 1688. He was made
a Bachelor of Music at Cambridge, in 1684.
In 1688 he was dismissed on account of his
being a Roman Catholic, and he went to
Holland and Germany, where he became
known as a lute-player and singer. He sang
also in Poland, and it is related of him that
on refusing to sing before the King at War-
saw, he was seized and suspended in a chair
over a bear-pit, when the threat of being
lowered into its midst compelled a display of
his vocal powers. In 1698-9 he was Intendant
at Cassel, and in 1700 he returned to England.
He afterwards resided at Cambridge, and is
supposed to have died there about 1724.

[W] Works. — Collection of songs in several lan-
guages, London, 1701. Collection of songs
in English, London, 1701 (contains To all
lovers of musick, a poem by Abell). Song on
Queen Ann's coronation [1702]. Collection of
. . . Scotch songs, etc. [1740], containing
songs by Abell. Two songs in " Pills to purge
melancholy" [1719].

entry id: 1-L-28

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