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Boughton, Rutland

Boughton, Rutland

Boughton, Rutland , English composer; b. Ayles-bury, Jan. 23, 1878; d. London, Jan. 24, 1960. He studied at the Royal Coll. of Music in London with Stanford and Davies; without obtaining his diploma, he engaged in professional activity; was for a time a member of the orch. at the Haymarket Theatre in London; taught at the Midland Inst. in Birmingham (1905–11); also conducted a choral society there. He became a firm believer in the universality of arts along Wagnerian lines; formed a partnership with the poet Reginald Buckley; their book of essays, The Music Drama of the Future, expounding the neo-Wagnerian idea, was publ, in 1911. To carry out these plans, Boughton organized stage festivals at Glastonbury, helped by his common-law wife, Christina Walshe. Boughton’s opera, The Immortal Hour, was performed there on Aug. 26, 1914; his choral music drama, The Birth of Arthur, had a performance there in 1920; these productions were staged with piano instead of an orch. After an interruption during World War I, Bough-ton continued the Glastonbury festivals until 1926. In 1927 he settled in the country, in Gloucestershire. He continued to compose, however, and produced a number of stage works, as well as instrumental pieces. His ideas of universal art had in the meantime been transformed into concepts of socialist realism, with an emphasis on the paramount importance of folk music as against formal constructions. He publ. The Death and Resurrection of the Music Festival (1913); The Glastonbury Festival Movement (1922); Bach, the Master (1930); Parsifal: A Study (1920); The Nature of Music (1930); The Reality of Music (1934).


DRAMATIC: The Birth of Arthur (1909; Glastonbury, Aug. 16, 1920); The Immortal Hour (1913; Glastonbury, Aug. 26, 1914); The Round Table (Glastonbury, Aug. 14, 1916); The Moon Maiden, choral ballet for girls (Glastonbury, April 23, 1919); Alkestis, music drama (Glastonbury, Aug. 26, 1922); The Queen of Cornwall, music drama (Glastonbury, Aug. 21, 1924); May Day, ballet (1926); The Ever Young, music drama (1928; Bath, Sept. 9, 1935); The Lily Maid, opera (Gloucester, Sept. 10, 1934); Galahad, music drama (1944); Avalon, music drama (1946). orch.:The Skeleton in Armour, symphonic poem with Chorus (1898); The Invincible Armada, symphonic poem (1901); A Summer Night (1902); 3 syms. (Oliver Cromwell, 1904; Deirdre, 1927; 1937); Love and Spring (1906); Midnight (1907); Trumpet Concerto (1943). chamber: Violin Sonata (1921); Quartet for Oboe and Strings (1930); String Trio (1944); Piano Trio (1948); Cello Sonata (1948). vocal:Song of Liberty for Chorus and Orch. (1911); Bethlehem, choral drama (1915); Pioneers for Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (1925); many choral pieces.


The Self-Advertisement of R. B.(c. 1909); M. Hurd, Immortal Hour: The Life and Period ofR. B.(London, 1962; 2nd ed., rev. and enl., 1993, as R. B. and the Glastonbury Festivals).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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