Charles Villiers Stanford is an important figure in music history. So much so, that the fifth edition of Grove’s Dictionary dedicated eight pages to the British composer. Born in Ireland, Stanford composed and played music at an early age. A prodigious composer, Stanford wrote 9 operas, 7 symphonies, 5 concerti and many other works.
But Stanford’s importance today is as a teacher as he schooled the major English composers of the early- to mid 20th century. Among his pupils were Arthur Benjamin, Arthur Bliss, Frank Bridge (who later taught Britten), Gustav Holst, Herbert Howells, John Ireland and Ralph Vaughan Williams. And although most of his students strayed compositionally from his Brahmsian roots, Stanford’s influence transformed British music for the rest of the 20th century.
On the next An English Pastorale we’ll listen to works by Stanford and his pupils. Join me Sunday morning at 9 am.
Enjoy this rendition of Stanford’s “The Blue Bird” with all parts sung by the incredibly talented Matthew Curtis.