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Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) | Biography, Music & More – Lyric Say

“Heaven must be in me before I can be in heaven”

As a composer, Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) won’t be a family identify, however he’s remembered as a instructor of a number of generations of British composers on the RCM and Cambridge College. Nonetheless, there’s a clear disconnect between how he was celebrated in his day, and the way posterity has determined to have a look at him.

Charles Villiers Stanford

Charles Villiers Stanford

Villiers Stanford was extremely lauded throughout his lifetime as an distinctive composer of enormous works for refrain and orchestra, and he acquired a knighthood on the event of King Edward VII’s coronation. Posterity, nevertheless, has been much less type. The musicologist Robert Range writes, “Sir Charles Villiers Stanford has not so much been neglected, but posterity has derived malicious satisfaction from ostentatiously yawing in his face.”

Charles Villiers Stanford: Tune of The Sea, “Drake’s Drum”

Centenary of Loss of life

Villiers Stanford died 100 years in the past, on 29 March 1924, and he untiringly campaigned for a nationwide opera, as he noticed “opera as a vital catalyst in Britain’s musical renaissance.” He was a mover and a shaker, however his music grew to become related to Victorian fustiness, worthy if in the end inconsequential.

As Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote, “in Stanford’s music the sense of style, the sense of beauty, the feeling of a great tradition is never absent. His music is in the best sense of the word Victorian, that is to say, it is the musical counterpart of the art of Tennyson, Watts and Matthew Arnold.”

Charles Villiers Stanford: Irish Rhapsody No. 4, Op. 141 (Ulster Orchestra; Vernon Handley, cond.)

Crucial Evaluation

Charles Villiers Stanford as a boy

Charles Villiers Stanford as a boy

Villiers Stanford was a busy man. He composed roughly 200 works, together with seven symphonies, about 40 choral works, 9 operas, 11 concertos, and 28 chamber works. And that is along with songs, piano items, incidental music, and organ works. Stanford’s technical competence was by no means unsure, because the composer Edgar Bainton wrote, “Whatever opinions might be held upon Stanford’s music, and they are many and various, it is always recognised that he was a master of means.”

It’s been prompt by numerous critics that Stanford’s music lacked ardour. In his operas, critics discovered music that must convey love and romance however fails to take action. His church music is “a thoroughly satisfying artistic experience, but one that is lacking in deeply felt religious impulse. And while Stanford had a real gift for melody often infused with the contours of Irish folk music, he never emulated comic operas but produced oratorios that “only occasionally matched worthiness with power and profundity.”

Charles Villiers Stanford: Night Service in G Main, Op. 81 (Christopher Whitton, organ; St. John’s Faculty Choir, Cambridge; Christopher Robinson, cond.)


Charles Villiers Stanford

Charles Villiers Stanford

Born on 30 September 1852 in Dublin, Charles Villiers Stanford was the one baby of the town’s most outstanding lawyer. He grew up in a extremely stimulating cultural and mental setting, and his childhood dwelling was the assembly place of numerous beginner {and professional} musicians. In truth, his father was a succesful cellist and singer, and his mom an in a position pianist, with numerous celebrities reminiscent of Joseph Joachim visiting the house.

Stanford confirmed early musical promise, and he took violin, piano, and organ classes. His lecturers have been of the very best calibre, together with former college students of Ignaz Moscheles. And he clearly had loads of expertise. He gave his first piano recital for an invited viewers on the age of seven, presenting works by Beethoven, Handel, Mendelssohn, Moscheles, Mozart, and Bach. Lengthy earlier than the age of twelve, “he could play through all fifty-two Mazurkas by Chopin on sight,” and his earliest composition makes an attempt emerged on the age of eight.

Charles Villiers Stanford: Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 73 (Gould Piano Trio)

Cambridge and Leipzig

Charles Villiers Stanford's parents

Charles Villiers Stanford’s dad and mom

Not solely sudden, Stanford’s father wished his son to enter the authorized occupation. Lastly, in 1870, Stanford was in a position to acquire the consent of his dad and mom to pursue a profession in music. He received an organ scholarship at Queens’ Faculty, Cambridge, and immersed himself in numerous musical actions. He composed prodigiously and was elected assistant conductor to the Cambridge College Musical Society.

On the advice of Sir William Sterndale Bennett, Stanford spent the final six months of each 1874 and 1875 in Leipzig. He studied piano with Robert Papperitz and composition with Carl Reinecke. As Stanford reported, “Of all the dry musicians I have ever known, Reinecke was the most desiccated. He had not a good word for any contemporary composer, he loathed Wagner, sneered at Brahms, and had no enthusiasm of any sort.” To spherical off his continental examine tour, Stanford spent a while in Berlin, working with Friedrich Kiel. “I learned more from him in three months,” he writes, “than from all the others in three years.”

Charles Villiers Stanford: Symphony No. 3, “4th Movement”

Again in Cambridge

Charles Villiers Stanford

Stanford returned to Cambridge in January 1877, and he rapidly grew to become referred to as a conductor and composer. For one, he carried out the primary British efficiency of Brahms’s First Symphony, and he accomplished his personal First Symphony and the oratorio The Resurrection. He rapidly adopted up together with his Second Symphony and the Piano Quintet, and because the organist at Trinity, he composed “some highly distinctive church music.”

On the age of 35, Stanford was appointed professor of music at Cambridge, together with his college students together with Coleridge-Taylor, Holst, Vaughan Williams, and Eire. By all accounts, he was not a simple instructor. He solely taught in one-on-one tutorials, and “when students went into the teacher’s room, they came out badly damaged.” Apparently, Stanford’s instructing didn’t comply with a prescribed plan or methodology. “His criticism,” as reported by a former scholar, “consisted for the most part of “I like it, my boy,” or “It’s damned ugly, my boy” (the latter normally).”

Charles Villiers Stanford: Piano Quartet No. 1, Op. 15 (Philip Dukes, viola; Pirasti Trio)

Royal Faculty of Music

Stanford joined the employees of the newly inaugurated RCM as a professor of composition and conductor of the orchestra in 1883. He exerted appreciable affect on a protracted checklist of scholars, and he instigated an opera class with an annual manufacturing. A scholar writes, “Stanford’s enthusiasm for opera is demonstrated by his lifelong commitment to a genre in which he enjoyed varying success.”

Stanford additionally took on the conductorship of the Bach Choir, the Leeds Philharmonic Society, and the Leeds Triennial Pageant. He acquired honorary levels from Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and Leeds, and was knighted in 1902. Stanford continued to be lively as a composer as nicely, however his music was progressively eclipsed by the younger Edward Elgar. As Stanford was referred to as a hot-tempered and quarrelsome man, confrontations rapidly ensued with Stanford writing, “Elgar, cut off from his contemporaries by his religion and his want of regular academic training, was lucky enough to enter the field and find the preliminary ploughing done.”

Charles Villiers Stanford: Bible Songs, Op. 113 (Jamal Sutton, organ; Winchester Faculty Chapel Choir; Malcolm Archer, cond.)

Ideas on Music and Composers

Charles Villiers Stanford's Piano Trio

Charles Villiers Stanford’s Piano Trio

In his writings on music, Stanford often makes use of visible metaphors and references to portray and sculpture. His concepts on the topic might be lowered to easy statements. “A piece of music can survive bad texture and instrumentation, but never bad melody or design.” As he famously wrote, “Colour, the god of modern music, is in itself the inferior of rhythmic and melodic invention, although it will always remain one of its most important servants. Fine clothes will not make a bad figure good.”

Within the musical tradition battle of the interval, Stanford at all times sided with Brahms and towards the modernists, though he had an amazing admiration for Wagner. He counted Berlioz and Liszt as lesser practitioners of the musical artwork, and he most bitterly objected to the music of Richard Strauss. Regarding Debussy and the brand new French College that emerged within the 1890’s, Stanford was deeply ambivalent.

Stanford was affected by musical and aesthetic dichotomies on the finish of his life. All the time wrestling together with his standing in relation to Irish and English tradition, he skilled what Yeats described as “my hatred tortures me with love, my love tortures me with hate.”

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Charles Villiers Stanford: Clarinet Concerto, Op. 80

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