Sir Charles Villiers Stanford

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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, Sir Charles Villiers

Stanford, Sir Charles Villiers, eminent Irish organist, conductor, pedagogue, and composer; b. Dublin, Sept. 30, 1852; d. London, March 29, 1924. He studied piano, organ, violin, and composition with Michael Quarry at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and with Robert Stewart and Joseph Robinson at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. In 1862 he was sent to London, where he studied piano with Ernst Pauer and composition with Arthur O’Leary. In 1870 he entered Queen’s Coll., Cambridge, as a choral scholar (B.A., 1874), and then studied composition with Reinecke in Leipzig (1874–76) and with Kiel in Berlin (1876). Stanford was awarded the M.A. degree from Cambridge (1877). In 1883 he was appointed prof. of composition at the Royal Coll. of Music and conductor of the orch. there. In 1887 he also became a prof. of music at Cambridge, holding both positions until his death. He was conductor of the Leeds Festivals from 1901 to 1910, and appeared as guest conductor of his own works in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Brussels. From 1885 to 1902 he conducted the London Bach Choir. He was knighted in 1902. Stanford was an extremely able and industrious composer in a distinctly Romantic style, yet unmistakably national in musical materials, both Irish and English. In recent years there has been renewed interest in and appreciation of his music, both in England and abroad.

Works

DRAMATIC: Opera: The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan (1877; Hannover, Feb. 6, 1881); Savonarola (Hamburg, April 18, 1884); The Canterbury Pilgrims (London, April 23, 1884); Lorenza (c. 1894; not perf.); Shamus O’Brian (London, March 2, 1896); Christopher Patch (The Barber of Bath) (c. 1897; not perf.); Much Ado about Nothing (London, May 30, 1901); The Critic, or An Opera Rehearsed (London, Jan. 14, 1916); The Traveling Companion (1919; amateur perf., Liverpool, April 30, 1925; professional perf., Bristol, Oct. 25, 1926). Other: Incidental music. ORCH.: 7 syms.: No. 1 (1876; London, March 8, 1879), No. 2, Elegiac (1880; Cambridge, March 7, 1882, composer conducting), No. 3, Irish (London, May 17, 1887), No. 4 (1888; Berlin, Jan. 14, 1889, composer conducting), No. 5, L’Allegro ed il Penseroso (1894; London, March 20, 1895, composer conducting), No. 6, “In honour of the life-work of a great artist: George Frederick Watts” (1905; London, Jan. 18, 1906), and No. 7 (1911; London, Feb. 22, 1912); Suite for Violin and Orch. (Berlin, Jan. 14, 1889; Joachim, soloist); 3 piano concertos (1896, 1915, 1919); 6 Irish Rhapsodies (1901- c. 1923); Clarinet Concerto (1902; London, June 20, 1904, composer conducting); Overture in the Style of a Tragedy (1904); 2 violin concertos (1904, 1918); Irish Concertino for Violin, Cello, and Orch. (1919); Variations for Violin and Orch. (1921; also for Violin and Piano). chamber: 4 violin sonatas (c. 1880, 1893, c. 1898, 1919); 3 piano trios (1889, 1899, 1918); 8 string quartets (c. 1891-c. 1919); 2 string quintets (1903, c. 1903); various piano pieces, including 5 sonatas (1917–21); organ music. VOCAL: Eden, oratorio (Birmingham, 1891); Mass (London, 1893); Requiem (Birmingham, 1897); Te Deum (Leeds, 1898); Stabat Mater (Leeds, 1907); numerous other works, including 2 Magnificats (1872, 1873), anthems, services, choruses, song cycles, and solo songs.

Writings

(all publ. in London): Studies and Memories (1908); Musical Composition: A Short Treatise for Students (1911; 6thed., 1950); Brahms (1912); Pages from an Unwritten Diary (1914); Interludes: Records and Reflections (1922).

Bibliography

J. Porte, Sir C.V. S.(London and N.Y., 1921); J. Fuller Maitland, The Music of Parry and S.(Cambridge, 1934); H. Plunket Greene, C.V. S.(London, 1935); G. Norris, S., the Cambridge Jubilee and Tchaikovsky (Newton Abbot, 1980).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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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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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).