Bantock, Granville


Bantock, Granville

Hebridean Symphony

SKU: 4003 Category:


Granville Bantock
(London 7. August 1868-London 11. Oktober 1946)

Hebridean Symphony

Granville Bantock was one of the most important English composers of the first third of the twentieth century, despite being almost completely unknown today and, even today, seventy years after his death, he is not honored with a comprehensive monograph. Bantock was primarily a composer of vocal music and choral works. Especially noteworthy are his oratorios (including Omar Khyyám, 1906, The Song of Songs, 1922, and Christus, 1901) and his large-scale, unaccompanied choral symphonies (Atalanta in Caly­don, 1911, and The Vanity of Vanities, 1913), which are among the first complex, contrapuntal choral works heard in Great Britain for more than two hundred years.

Bantock initially studied at London’s Trinity College of Music with Gordon Saunders but switched to Henry Lazarus, Reginald Steggall, Frederick Corder, and Alexander Campbell Mackenzie at the Royal Academy of Music, where he quickly became a lecturer. In 1893, he was the managing editor of the New Quarterly Musical Review. From 1897 to 1901 he held the position of musical director of The Tower in New Brighton. He then accepted the call to head the School of Music in the Birmingham Midland Institute (now the Birmingham Conservatoire) and, in 1908, became Elgar’s successor as professor of music at Birmingham University (he was knighted in 1930).

As a student of Frederick Corder at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Wagner and especially Liszt were very influential to him, as heard particularly in his tone poems (The Witch of At­las, 1902, Fifine at the Fair, 1901), but also his programmatic symphonies. These were in no small popularity within the British musical scene at the beginning of the century but the First World War brought for Bantock, as it did for many other composers, a break in popularity. Retrospectively, Bantock’s style has been described as eclectic, yet many of his works betray a creativity that, though less reliant on harmony, has lasting importance in terms formal structure and instrumentation, a point that has hardly been recognized thus far. Apart from these particular abilities, Herbert Berthold points out Bantock’s promotion of the works of his colleagues and, therefore, claims that the title “English Liszt” is apt. Bantock was a good conductor and worked tirelessly for the works of others (including Boughton, Vaughan Willaims, Harty, and Bax). He was also a close friend and confidant of Havergal Brian, Josef Holbrooke, and others. His students include Clarence Raybould, Julius Harrison, Claude Powell, Cecil Gray, and Christopher Edmunds. …


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