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Stanford, (Sir) Charles Villiers

Stanford, (Sir) Charles Villiers (b Dublin, 1852; d London, 1924). Irish composer, conductor, organist, and teacher. Org., Trinity College, Cambridge, 1873–92. Cond., Cambridge Univ. Mus. Soc. from 1873, winning it high reputation and giving f. Eng. ps. of works by Brahms. Tennyson asked him to write incidental mus. for his play Queen Mary, 1876. Prof. of comp., RCM, 1883–1924, pupils incl. Vaughan Williams, Bliss, Howells, Ireland, Holst, Gurney, etc. Prof. of mus., Cambridge Univ., 1887–1924. Cond., Bach Choir 1885–1902, also cond. of orch. concerts and opera at RCM. Cond. of several Leeds Fests. after 1901. Prolific composer, whose best work is to be found in his operas, choral mus., and songs rather than in his orch. and chamber mus., where his admiration for Brahms tended to become paramount. One of prin. figures in late 19th-cent. ‘renaissance’ of Brit. mus. Ed. and arr. colls. of Irish traditional tunes. Knighted 1901. Prin. works:

OPERAS: The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan (1877); Savonarola (1884); The Canterbury Pilgrims (1884); Lorenza (unpubd.); Shamus O'Brien (1896); Much Ado About Nothing (1900); The Critic (1915); The Travelling Companion (1919).ORCH.: syms.: No.1 in B♭ (1875), No.2 in D minor (Elegiac) (1882), No.3 in F minor (Irish) (1887), No.4 in F (1888), No.5 in D (L'Allegro ed il Pensieroso) (1894), No.6 in E♭ (1905), No.7 in D minor (1911); Overture in the Style of A Tragedy (1904); 6 Irish Rhapsodies; cl. conc. (1902); 3 pf. concs. (1895, 1915, 1919); 2 vn. concs. (1904, 1918); Irish Concerto, vn., vc., orch. (1919).CHORAL: oratorios: The Three Holy Children (1885), Eden (1891); Requiem (1897); Te Deum (1898); Stabat Mater (1907); Magnificat in G; The Revenge, choral ballad (1886); Phaudrig Crohoore (1896); The Last Post (1900); 5 Songs of the Sea, bar., male ch., orch. (1904); 5 Songs of the Fleet, bar., ch. (1910).CHAMBER MUSIC: 8 str. qts., 2 str. quintets, 2 pf. trios, 2 pf. qts., pf. quintet, 2 vn. sonatas, 2 vc. sonatas, cl. sonata.

Also organ preludes, songs, partsongs (incl. The Blue Bird), anthems, and church services (notably that in B♭, Op.10, 1879 with additions 1910).

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Stanford, Charles Villiers

Stanford, Charles Villiers (1852–1924). Irish composer, teacher, conductor, and writer on music. Educated at Cambridge, where he was organist of Trinity College and conductor of the University Musical Society, Stanford studied composition at Berlin and Leipzig and met Meyerbeer, Offenbach, and Brahms, who was a profound influence. A fluent and prolific composer in almost every genre, Stanford was a leader of the late 19th-cent. ‘English musical renaissance’; indeed, as professor at the Royal College of Music from its inception in 1883 (he was also professor at Cambridge from 1887), he taught most of Britain's leading composers, including Vaughan Williams, Holst, Ireland, Bliss, and Howells. Stanford raised standards in British choral music and particularly in Anglican church music. The influence of Irish folk-song is reflected in his six Irish Rhapsodies, the opera Shamus O'Brien (1896), and the third ‘Irish’ Symphony (1887), although his Germanic style has earned the description ‘like leaving and returning to Ireland for a holiday in Germany’.

Eric Cross

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Stanford, Sir Charles Villiers

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, 1852–1924, English composer and teacher, b. Dublin, studied in Cambridge, and Leipzig. In 1883 he became professor of music at the Royal College of Music, and in 1887 at Cambridge; he held both positions until his death. His compositions include seven operas, of which the comic opera Shamus O'Brien (1896) was most popular; seven symphonies; choral works; and chamber music. Only his Anglican church services and anthems are still regularly performed. He edited and arranged collections of Irish songs and wrote a textbook of composition and several autobiographical works.

See biography by H. P. Greene (1935).

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