26th November 1842
26th December 1891
Worcester, Worcestershire, England
Alfred James Caldicott was the eldest son of a hop merchant and amateur musician at Worcester, the deceased musician was born there on November 26, 1842. Like his six brothers, he was a chorister in the Cathedral choir, and at the age of fourteen was articled to the late Mr. Done, the Cathedral organist. He subsequently entered the Conservatorium at Leipzig, where he studied under Moscheles, Hauptmann, and Plaidy. On his return to Worcester he became organist of St. Stephen's Church and to the Corporation, and also conductor of the Worcester Musical Society. In 1878 he took the degree of Bachelor in Music at the University of Cambridge, under the Professorate of Sir G.A.Macfarren. Three years later his sacred cantata "The Widow of Nain" was performed at the Worcester Musical Festival. After a short residence at Torquay in 1882, Mr. Caldicott settled in London in the following year, and was appointed a professor of harmony at the Royal College of Music. In I885 he became musical director of the now defunct Albert Palace at Battersea. He toured with an opera company in America, 1890–91 and was conductor at the Comedy and other theatres. Mr Caldicott is, however, best known as a composer of vocal music cast in a light vein, in which he was highly successful. For the German Reed entertainments he composed "Treasure Trove" (1883) and other operettas, thirteen in all. "John Smith" and "The Girton Girl and the Milkmaid", composed for London theatres, were of a similar nature. Two cantatas for female voices – "A Rhine Legend" and "Queen of May" – must also be mentioned. Mr. Caldicott's humorous part-songs, of which "Humpty Dumpty" (special prize, Manchester Gentlemen's Glee Society, 1878) is a highly characteristic specimen, gave the lamented composer widespread popularity.