Walmisley became Professor of Music at Cambridge in 1836, although at that time the post was so low-ranking that entry to the Senate House was barred. He elevated the chair by his own high academic abilities, on his own initiative instigated lectures on the subject of music for the university as a whole, and championed Johann Sebastian Bach of whom an English public knew virtually nothing. Walmisley died at an early age, suffering from depression and alcoholism. One curiosity is the tale of his well-known D minor Service which the composer threw into the wastepaper basket. It was rescued by the Reverend A R Ward of St John’s College, Cambridge, and has gone on to be one of the most popular settings of the Evening canticles.
Walmisley’s Lenten anthem Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us (1838) is unusual on account of the opening sarabande for organ which is followed by a dark but effective male-voice quartet. There are solo parts for a bass and a treble, the former a recitative and the latter one of Walmisley’s best treble solos. The final stages of the sturdy fugue which concludes the anthem (‘Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever’) contains an entry of the fugue subject in augmentation in the bass—that is to say, in note values twice as long as found in the initial subject; surely homage to the German master.
from notes by William McVicker © 1996