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Bush, Alan (Dudley)

Bush, Alan (Dudley)

Bush, Alan (Dudley), English composer and teacher; b. London, Dec. 22, 1900; d. Watford, Oct. 31, 1995. He was a student of Corder (composition) and Matthay (piano) at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1918–22); also received private training in piano from Moiseiwitsch (1924–29) and Schnabel (1928), and in composition from Ireland (1927–32); also studied musicology with Wolf and Blume at the Univ. of Berlin (1929–31). From 1925 to 1978 he was prof. of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. He also was active as a pianist and conductor. In 1935 he joined the Communist Party, to which he remained deeply committed. In 1936 he founded the Workers’ Music Assn., which he served as president from 1941 to 1976. In 1947-48 he was chairman of the Composers Guild of Great Britain. He publ. Strict Counterpoint in the Palestrina Style (London, 1948), In My Seventh Decade (London, 1970), and In My Eighth Decade (London, 1980). His early works were highly modern, utilizing a thematic style in which every note retains thematic importance. After World War II, tonal elements were added.


DRAMATIC: Opera: Waf Tyler (1948-51; [East] Berlin Radio, April 3, 1952); Men of Blackmoor (1954-55; Weimar, Nov. 18, 1956); The Sugar Reapers (1961-63; Leipzig, Dec. 11, 1966); Joe Hill: The Man Who Never Died (1966-68; East Berlin, Sept. 29, 1970); also operas for young people. ballet:His Wars or Yours (1935); Mining (1935). orch.:Symphonic Impressions (1927; London, Nov. 11, 1930); Dance Overture for Military Band (1930; orchestrated 1935); Piano Concerto, with Baritone Solo and Men’s Chorus in the finale (1937); 4 syms.: No. 1 (1941; London, July 24, 1942), No. 2, Nottingham (Nottingham, June 27, 1949), No. 3, Byron Symphony, for Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1959–60), and No. 4, Lescaux Symphony (1983); Meditation on a German Song of 1848 for Violin and Strings (1941; also for Violin and Piano); Overture: Festal Day (1942); Fantasia on Soviet Themes (1942; London, July 27, 1945); English Suite for Strings (1945–46); Overture “Resolution” (1946); Homage to William Sterndale Bennett for String Orch. (1946); Piers Plowman’s Day (1946-47; Prague Radio, Oct. 16, 1947); Violin Concerto (London, July 16, 1948); Concert Suite for Cello and Orch. (1952); Defender of Peace (Vienna Radio, May 24, 1952); Dorian Passacaglia and Fugue (1959); Variations, Nocturne and Finale on an English Sea-Song for Piano and Orch. (1962); Partita Concertante (1965); Time Remembered for Chamber Orch. (1969); Africa for Piano and Orch. (1972); Concert Overture for an Occasion (1972); Liverpool Overture (1973); Festival March for British Youth (1973); Song Poem and Dance Poem for Strings (1986). chamber: String Quartet (1923; London, Dec. 4, 1924); Piano Quartet (1924); Dialectic for String Quartet (1929; London, March 22, 1935); 3 Concert Studies for Piano, Violin, and Cello (1947); Autumn Poem for Horn and Piano (1954); 3 African Sketches for Flute and Piano (1960); Prelude, Air, and Dance for Violin, String Quartet, and Percussion (1963–64); Serenade for String Quartet (1969); Suite of 6 for String Quartet (1975); Concertino for 2 Violins and Piano (1981); Piano Quintet (1984); Octet (1985); many piano pieces, including 3 sonatas (1921, 1970, 1986). vocal:The Winter Journey for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, String Quintet, and Harp (1946); Lidice for Chorus (1947); Voices of the Prophets for Tenor and Piano (1953); The Ballad of Freedom’s Soldier for Tenor, Bass-Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1953); The Alps and Andes of the Living World for Speaker, Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (1968); Africa Is My Name for Mezzo-soprano, Chorus, and Piano and Orch. (1976); The Earth in Shadow for Chorus and Orch. (1982); Mandela Speaking for Chorus and Orch. (1985); many other choral works and songs.


R. Stevenson, ed., Time RememberedA. B.: An 80th Birthday Symposium (Kidderminster, 1981).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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