HOME

TheInfoList




Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (30 September 1852 – 29 March 1924) was an Irish composer, music teacher, and conductor of the late
Romantic era Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mas ...
. Born to a well-off and highly musical family in
Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_ ...

Dublin
, Stanford was educated at the
University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge. , established = , other_name = The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of ...
before studying music in
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...
and Berlin. He was instrumental in raising the status of the
Cambridge University Musical Society The Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) is a federation of the university's main orchestral and choral ensembles, which cumulatively put on a substantial concert season during the university term. Background Music has a long history at Camb ...
, attracting international stars to perform with it. While still an undergraduate, Stanford was appointed organist of
Trinity College, Cambridge Trinity College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education ...
. In 1882, aged 29, he was one of the founding professors of the
Royal College of Music The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire A music school is an educational institution specialized in the study, training, and research of music. Such an institution can also be known as a school of music, music academy, music faculty, c ...

Royal College of Music
, where he taught composition for the rest of his life. From 1887 he was also Professor of Music at Cambridge. As a teacher, Stanford was sceptical about modernism, and based his instruction chiefly on classical principles as exemplified in the music of
Brahms Johannes Brahms (; 7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that origin ...

Brahms
. Among his pupils were rising composers whose fame went on to surpass his own, such as
Gustav Holst Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite ''The Planets ''The Planets'', Op. 32, is a seven- move ...

Gustav Holst
and
Ralph Vaughan Williams Ralph Vaughan Williams, (; 12 October 1872– 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over ...
. As a conductor, Stanford held posts with the
Bach Choir The Bach Choir is a large independent musical organisation founded in London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in la ...
and the Leeds triennial music festival. Stanford composed a substantial number of concert works, including seven symphonies, but his best-remembered pieces are his choral works for church performance, chiefly composed in the Anglican tradition. He was a dedicated composer of opera, but none of his nine completed operas has endured in the general repertory. Some critics regarded Stanford, together with
Hubert Parry Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1st Baronet (27 February 18487 October 1918) was an English composer, teacher and historian of music. Born in Richmond Hill in Bournemouth, Parry's first major works appeared in 1880. As a composer he is be ...

Hubert Parry
and Alexander Mackenzie, as responsible for a
renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...
in music from the British Isles. However, after his conspicuous success as a composer in the last two decades of the 19th century, his music was eclipsed in the 20th century by that of
Edward Elgar Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, (; 2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestra ...

Edward Elgar
as well as former pupils.


Life


Early years

Stanford was born in
Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_ ...

Dublin
, the only son of John James Stanford and his second wife, Mary, ''née'' Henn.Dibble, Jeremy
"Stanford, Sir Charles Villiers"
''Grove Music Online'', Oxford Music Online, accessed 11 December 2011
John Stanford was a prominent Dublin lawyer, Examiner to the
Court of Chancery The Court of Chancery was a court of equity A court of equity, equity court or chancery court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal dispu ...
in Ireland and Clerk of the Crown for
County Meath County Meath (; gle, Contae na Mí or simply ) is a county A county is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human ...
."Stanford, Sir Charles Villiers"
''Who Was Who'', A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edition, Oxford University Press, December 2007, accessed 11 December 2011
His wife was the third daughter of William Henn, Master of the Court of Chancery in Ireland and his wife Susanna Lovett of Liscombe House,
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of Eng ...

Buckinghamshire
, and granddaughter of the judge
William Henn William Henn ( – 1796) was an Irish judge, who is remembered now mainly for the somewhat malicious description of him in Jonah Barrington (judge), Sir Jonah Barrington's ''Personal Sketches''. Life He was born at Ballynacally, County Clar ...
. Both parents were accomplished amateur musicians; John Stanford was a
cellist The cello ( ; plural celli or cellos) or violoncello ( ; ) is a Bow (music), bowed (sometimes pizzicato, plucked and occasionally col legno, hit) string instrument of the violin family. Its four strings are usually intonation (music), tuned in ...

cellist
and a noted
bass singer A bass is a type of Classical music, classical male singing Human voice, voice and has the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to ''The New Grove Dictionary of Opera'', a bass is typically classified as having a vocal range extend ...
who was chosen to perform the title role in
Mendelssohn Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 18094 November 1847), born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The ...

Mendelssohn
's ''
Elijah Elijah ( ; , meaning "My God In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honde ...
'' at the Irish premiere in 1847."Charles Villiers Stanford"
''The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular'', Vol. 39, No. 670 (December 1898), pp. 785–793
Mary Stanford, "a lady of great charm", was an amateur pianist, capable of playing the solo parts in concertos at Dublin concerts. The young Stanford was given a conventional education at a private day school in Dublin run by Henry Tilney Bassett, who concentrated on the
classics Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer ...

classics
to the exclusion of other subjects. Stanford's parents encouraged the boy's precocious musical talent, employing a succession of teachers in violin, piano, organ and composition. Three of his teachers were former pupils of
Ignaz Moscheles Isaac Ignaz Moscheles (; 23 May 179410 March 1870) was a Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Ge ...

Ignaz Moscheles
, including his godmother Elizabeth Meeke, of whom Stanford recalled, "She taught me, before I was twelve years old, to read at sight. ... She made me play every day at the end of my lesson a
Mazurka The mazurka (Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided ...
of : never letting me stop for a mistake. ... By the time I had played through the whole fifty-two Mazurkas, I could read most music of the calibre my fingers could tackle with comparative ease." One of the young Stanford's earliest compositions, a march in
D major D major (or the key of D) is a major scale The major scale (or Ionian mode) is one of the most commonly used musical scales In music theory Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music. ''The Oxford Companion to M ...
, written when he was eight years old, was performed in the
pantomime Pantomime (; informally panto) is a type of musical comedy Musical theatre is a form of theatre, theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos ...

pantomime
at the
Theatre Royal, Dublin Over the centuries, there have been five theatres in Dublin called the Theatre Royal. In the history of the theatre in Great Britain and Ireland, the designation "Theatre Royal", or "Royal Theatre", once meant that a theatre had been granted a P ...
three years later. At the age of seven, Stanford gave a piano recital for an invited audience, playing works by ,
Handel George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (; baptised , ; 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a of , , , , and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740 ...
, Mendelssohn, Moscheles,
Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, speci ...

Mozart
and
Bach Johann Sebastian Bach (28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque period The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that ...

Bach
. One of his songs was taken up by the University of Dublin Choral Society and was well received. In the 1860s Dublin received occasional visits from international stars, and Stanford was able to hear famous performers such as
Joseph Joachim Joseph Joachim ( hu, Joachim József, 28 June 1831 – 15 August 1907) was a Hungarian violinist, conductor, composer and teacher who made an international career, based in Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital ...

Joseph Joachim
,
Henri Vieuxtemps Henri François Joseph Vieuxtemps ( 17 February 18206 June 1881) was a Belgian composer and violinist. He occupies an important place in the history of the violin as a prominent exponent of the Franco-Belgian violin school during the mid-19th ce ...

Henri Vieuxtemps
and
Adelina Patti Adelina Patti (10 February 184327 September 1919) was an Italian 19th-century opera singer, earning huge fees at the height of her career in the music capitals of Europe and America. She first sang in public as a child in 1851, and gave her las ...

Adelina Patti
. The annual visit of the Italian Opera Company from London, led by
Giulia Grisi Giulia Grisi (22 May 1811 – 29 November 1869) was an Italian opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present t ...

Giulia Grisi
,
Giovanni Matteo Mario Giovanni Matteo De Candia, also known as Mario (17 October 1810 – 11 December 1883), was an Italian opera singer. The most celebrated tenor A tenor is a type of classical music, classical male singing human voice, voice whose vocal range l ...
and later
Thérèse Tietjens Thérèse Carolina Johanne Alexandra Tietjens (17 July 1831, Hamburg3 October 1877, London) was a leading opera and oratorio soprano. She made her career chiefly in London during the 1860s and 1870s, but her sequence of musical triumphs in the Br ...
, gave Stanford a taste for opera that remained with him all his life. When he was ten, his parents took him to London for the summer, where he stayed with his mother's uncle in
Mayfair Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, London, Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster, between Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane. It is one of the most expensive distric ...

Mayfair
. While there he took composition lessons from the composer and teacher Arthur O'Leary,Firman, Rosemary
"Stanford, Sir Charles Villiers (1852–1924)"
''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 11 December 2011
and piano lessons from
Ernst Pauer Ernst Pauer (21 December 1826 – 5 May 1905) was an Austrian piano, pianist, composer and educator. Biography Pauer formed a direct link with great Viennese traditions: he was born in Vienna, his mother was a member of the famous Streicher fa ...
, professor of piano at the
Royal Academy of Music The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head ...

Royal Academy of Music
(RAM). On his return to Dublin, his godmother having left Ireland, he took lessons from Henrietta Flynn, another former
Leipzig Conservatory The University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig (german: Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig) is a public university in Leipzig (Saxony, Germany). Founded in 1843 by Felix Mendelssohn ...
pupil of Moscheles,Dibble, p. 25 and later from Robert Stewart, organist of , as well as from a third Moscheles pupil, Michael Quarry. During his second spell in London two years later, he met the composer
Arthur Sullivan Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan Royal Victorian Order, MVO (13 May 1842 – 22 November 1900) was an English composer. He is best known for 14 comic opera, operatic Gilbert and Sullivan, collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, includin ...

Arthur Sullivan
and the musical administrator and writer
George Grove Sir George Grove (13 August 182028 May 1900) was an English engineer and writer on music, known as the founding editor of ''Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians''. Grove was trained as a civil engineer, and successful in that profession, bu ...
, who later played important parts in his career. John Stanford hoped that his son would follow him into the legal profession but accepted his decision to pursue music as a career.Stanford (1914), p. 103 However, he stipulated that Stanford should have a conventional university education before going on to musical studies abroad. Stanford tried unsuccessfully for a classics scholarship at
Trinity Hall, Cambridge Trinity Hall (formally The College or Hall of the Holy Trinity in the University of Cambridge) is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, instit ...
, but gained an organ scholarship, and later a classics scholarship, at
Queens' College Queens' College is a Colleges of the University of Cambridge, constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Queens' is one of the oldest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, and has some of the most iconic an ...
. By the time he went up to Cambridge in 1870 he had written a substantial number of compositions, including vocal music, both sacred and secular, and orchestral works (a rondo for cello and orchestra and a concert overture).


Cambridge

Stanford immersed himself in the musical life of the university to the detriment of his Latin and Greek studies. He composed religious and secular vocal works, a piano concerto, and
incidental music Incidental music is music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and i ...
for
Longfellow Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride "Paul Revere's Ride" is an 1860 poem by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that commemorates ...

Longfellow
's play ''A Spanish Student''. In November 1870 he appeared as piano soloist with the
Cambridge University Musical Society The Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) is a federation of the university's main orchestral and choral ensembles, which cumulatively put on a substantial concert season during the university term. Background Music has a long history at Camb ...
(CUMS), and quickly became its assistant conductor and a committee member. The society had declined in excellence since its foundation in 1843. Its choir consisted solely of men and boys; the lack of women singers severely limited the works that the society could present. Stanford was unable to persuade the members to admit women, and so he staged what ''
The Musical Times ''The Musical Times'' is an academic journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, ...
'' called "a bloodless revolution." In February 1872 he co-founded a mixed choir, the Amateur Vocal Guild, whose performances immediately put those of the CUMS singers in the shade. The members of CUMS rapidly changed their minds, and agreed to a merger of the two choirs, with women given associate membership of the society. The conductor of the combined choir was John Larkin Hopkins, who was also organist of
Trinity College Trinity College may refer to: Australia * Trinity Anglican College, an Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican coeducational primary and secondary school in , New South Wales * Trinity Catholic College, Auburn, a coeducational school in the inner-w ...
. He became ill, and handed over the conductorship to Stanford in 1873. Stanford was also appointed Hopkins's deputy organist at Trinity, and moved from Queens' to Trinity in April 1873. In the summer of that year Stanford made his first trip to continental Europe. He went to
Bonn The Federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langua ...

Bonn
for the
Schumann Robert Schumann (; 8 June 181029 July 1856) was a German composer, pianist, and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an ar ...

Schumann
Festival held there, where he met Joachim and
Brahms Johannes Brahms (; 7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that origin ...

Brahms
.Dibble, p. 51 His growing love of the music of Schumann and Brahms marked him as a classicist at a time when many music-lovers were divided into the classical or the modernist camps, the latter represented by the music of
Liszt Franz Liszt (; hu, Liszt Ferencz, link=no, in modern usage ''Liszt Ferenc'' ; 22 October 181131 July 1886) was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso A virtuoso (from Italian ''virtuoso'' or , "virtuous", Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas ...

Liszt
and
Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( ; ; 22 May 181313 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...

Wagner
. Stanford was not constrained by the fashion for belonging to one camp or the other; he immensely admired ''
Die Meistersinger Die, as a verb, refers to death, the cessation of life. Die may also refer to: Games * Die, singular of dice, small throwable objects used for producing random numbers Manufacturing * Die (integrated circuit), a rectangular piece of a semicondu ...

Die Meistersinger
'' though he was unenthusiastic about some of Wagner's other works. After leaving Bonn he returned home by way of Switzerland and then Paris, where he saw
Meyerbeer Giacomo Meyerbeer (born Jacob Liebmann Beer; 5 September 1791 – 2 May 1864) was a German opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by Singing, singers, but is distinct from mus ...

Meyerbeer
's ''
Le prophète ''Le prophète'' (''The Prophet'') is a grand opera in five acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. The French-language libretto was by Eugène Scribe and Émile Deschamps, after passages from the ''Essay on the Manners and Spirit of Nations'' by Voltaire ...
''. Hopkins's illness proved fatal, and after his death the Trinity authorities invited Stanford to take over as organist of the college. He accepted with the proviso that he was to be released each year for a spell of musical study in Germany. The fellows of the college resolved on 21 February 1874: Two days after his appointment, Stanford took the final examinations for his classics degree. He ranked 65th of 66, and was awarded a third-class degree.Rodmell, p. 39


Leipzig

On the recommendation of , former professor of music at Cambridge and now director of the Royal Academy of Music, Stanford went to Leipzig in the summer of 1874 for lessons with
Carl Reinecke Carl Heinrich Carsten Reinecke (23 June 182410 March 1910) was a Germans, German composer, Conducting, conductor, and pianist in the Middle Romantic Era. Biography Reinecke was born in what is today Hamburg, Germany province of Altona, Hamburg, ...
, professor of composition and piano at the
Leipzig Conservatory The University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig (german: Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig) is a public university in Leipzig (Saxony, Germany). Founded in 1843 by Felix Mendelssohn ...
.Dibble, p. 38 The composer
Thomas Dunhill Thomas Frederick Dunhill (1 February 187713 March 1946) was a prolific English composer in many genres, though he is best known today for his light music and educational piano works. His compositions include much chamber music, a song cycle, '' ...
commented that by 1874 it was "the tail-end of the Leipzig ascendancy, when the great traditions of Mendelssohn had already begun to fade." Nevertheless, Stanford did not seriously consider studying anywhere else. Neither Dublin nor London offered any comparable musical training; the most prestigious British music school, the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), was at that time hidebound and reactionary. He was dismayed to find in Leipzig that Bennett had recommended him to a German pedant no more progressive than the teachers at the RAM.Rodmell, p. 44 Stanford said of Reinecke, "Of all the dry musicians I have ever known he was the most desiccated. He had not a good word for any contemporary composer... He loathed Wagner ... sneered at Brahms and had no enthusiasm of any sort."Stanford (1914), p. 157 Stanford's biographer Paul Rodmell suggests that Reinecke's ultra-conservatism may have been unexpectedly good for his pupil "as it may have encouraged Stanford to kick against the traces." During his time in Leipzig Stanford took piano lessons from Robert Papperitz (1826–1903), organist of the city's
Nikolaikirche The St. Nikolai-Kirche, (Nikolaikirche or St. Nicholas' Church) is the oldest church in Berlin, the capital of Germany. The church is located in the eastern part of central Berlin, the borough of Mitte. The area around the church, bounded by Spa ...
, whom he found more helpful. Among Stanford's compositions in 1874 was a setting of part one of Longfellow's poem ''The Golden Legend''. He intended to set the entire poem, but gave up, defeated by Longfellow's "numerous but unconnected characters."Dibble, p. 66 Stanford ignored this and other early works when assigning opus numbers in his mature years. The earliest compositions in his official list of works are a four-movement Suite for piano and a
Toccata Toccata (from Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian ...
for piano, which both date from 1875. After a second spell in Leipzig with Reinecke in 1875, which was no more productive than the first, Stanford was recommended by Joachim to study in Berlin the following year with
Friedrich Kiel Friedrich Kiel (8 October 182113 September 1885) was a Germany, German composer and music teacher. Writing of the chamber music of Friedrich Kiel, the scholar and critic Wilhelm Altmann notes that it was Kiel’s extreme modesty which kept him an ...

Friedrich Kiel
, whom Stanford found "a master at once sympathetic and able ... I learnt more from him in three months, than from all the others in three years."


Rising composer

Returning to Cambridge in the intervals of his studies in Germany, Stanford had resumed his work as conductor of CUMS. He found the society in good shape under his deputy,
Eaton Faning Joseph Eaton Faning (20 May 1850 – 28 October 1927), known as Eaton Faning, was an English composer and teacher. The son of a music teacher, he became the organist of a church at the age of twelve. He attended the Royal Academy of Music, where ...
, and able to tackle demanding new works.Stanford (1914), p. 166 In 1876 the society presented one of the first performances in Britain of the Brahms ''Requiem''. In 1877 CUMS came to national attention when it presented the first British performance of Brahms's First Symphony. During the same period, Stanford was becoming known as a composer. He was composing prolifically, though he later withdrew some of his works from these years, including a violin concerto which, according to Rodmell, suffered from "undistinguished thematic material." In 1875 his First Symphony won the second prize in a competition held at the
Alexandra Palace Alexandra Palace is a Grade II listed A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England Historic England (officially the Historic Buildings and Monumen ...

Alexandra Palace
for symphonies by British composers, although he had to wait a further two years to hear the work performed. In the same year Stanford directed the first performance of his
oratorio An oratorio () is a large musical composition Musical composition can refer to an piece or work of , either or , the of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions ar ...

oratorio
''The Resurrection'', given by CUMS. At the request of
Alfred Tennyson Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was a British poet. He was the Poet Laureate A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate) is a poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themse ...
, he wrote
incidental music Incidental music is music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and i ...
for Tennyson's drama ''Queen Mary'', performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London in April 1876. In April 1878, despite the disapproval of his father, Stanford married Jane Anna Maria Wetton, known as Jennie, a singer whom he had met when she was studying in Leipzig. She was the daughter of Henry Champion Wetton of Joldwynds in Surrey, who had died in 1870. They had a daughter, Geraldine Mary, born in 1883, and a son, Guy Desmond, born in 1885. In 1878 and 1879 Stanford worked on his first opera, ''The Veiled Prophet'', to a libretto by his friend . It was based on a poem by
Thomas Moore Thomas Moore (28 May 1779 – 25 February 1852) was an Irish writer, poet, and lyricist celebrated for his ''Irish Melodies''. Their setting of English-language verse to old Irish tunes marked the transition in popular Irish culture from Irish ...

Thomas Moore
with characters including a virgin priestess and a mystic prophet, and a plot that culminates in poisoning and stabbing. Stanford offered the work to the opera impresario
Carl Rosa Carl August Nicholas Rosa (22 March 184230 April 1889) was a German-born musical impresario An impresario (from the Italian ''impresa'', "an enterprise or undertaking") is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or opera ...

Carl Rosa
, who refused it and suggested that the composer should try to have it staged in Germany: "Its success will (unfortunately) have much greater chances here if accepted abroad." Referring to the enormous popularity of Sullivan's comic operas, Rosa added, "If the work was of the
Pinafore A pinafore (colloquially a pinny in British English) is a sleeveless garment worn as an apron. Pinafores may be worn as a decorative garment and as a protective clothing, protective apron. A related term is ''pinafore dress'' (known as a ...
style it would be quite another matter." Stanford had greatly enjoyed Sullivan's ''
Cox and Box ''Cox and Box; or, The Long-Lost Brothers'', is a one-act comic opera Comic opera, sometimes known as light opera, is a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature, usually with a happy ending and often including spoken dialogue. Forms of c ...
'', but ''The Veiled Prophet'' was intended to be a serious work of high drama and romance. Stanford had made many useful contacts during his months in Germany, and his friend the conductor Ernst Frank got the piece staged at the Königliches Schauspiel in
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...
in 1881. Reviewing the premiere for ''The Musical Times'', Stanford's friend wrote, "Mr. Stanford's style of instrumentation ... is built more or less on that of Schumann; while his style of dramatic treatment bears more resemblance to Meyerbeer than to that of any other master."Fuller Maitland, J A
"Mr. Stanford's Opera, 'The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan
''The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular'', Vol. 22, No. 457 (March 1881), pp. 113–116
Other reviews were mixed, and the opera had to wait until 1893 for its English premiere. Stanford nevertheless continued to seek operatic success throughout his career.Rodmell, Paul
"A Tale of Two Operas: Stanford's 'Savonarola' and 'The Canterbury Pilgrims' from Gestation to Production"
''
Music & Letters ''Music & Letters'' is an academic journal published quarterly by Oxford University Press with a focus on musicology. The journal sponsors the Music & Letters Trust, twice-yearly cash awards of variable amounts to support research in the music fiel ...
'', Vol. 78, No. 1 (February 1997), pp. 77–91
In his lifelong enthusiasm for opera he differed strikingly from his contemporary
Hubert Parry Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1st Baronet (27 February 18487 October 1918) was an English composer, teacher and historian of music. Born in Richmond Hill in Bournemouth, Parry's first major works appeared in 1880. As a composer he is be ...

Hubert Parry
, who made one attempt at composing opera and then renounced the genre.Dibble, Jeremy
"Parry, Sir (Charles) Hubert Hastings, baronet (1848–1918)"
''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,'' Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 18 December 2011
By the early 1880s, Stanford was becoming a major figure in the British musical scene. His only major rivals were seen as Sullivan,
Frederic Hymen Cowen Sir Frederic Hymen Cowen (29 January 1852 – 6 October 1935), was an English composer, conductor and pianist. Early years and musical education Cowen was born Hymen Frederick Cohen at 90 Duke Street, Kingston, Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica, th ...
, Parry, Alexander Mackenzie and
Arthur Goring Thomas Arthur Goring Thomas (10 November 185020 March 1892) was an English musical composer, composer. Life He was the youngest son of Freeman Thomas and Amelia, daughter of Colonel Thomas Frederick. His elder brothers included Freeman Thomas (cricketer, ...
. Sullivan was by this time viewed with suspicion in high-minded musical circles for composing comic rather than grand operas; Cowen was regarded more as a conductor than as a composer; and the other three, though seen as promising, had not so far made a clear mark as Stanford had done. Stanford helped Parry in particular to gain recognition, commissioning incidental music from him for a Cambridge production of
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athe ...

Aristophanes
' '' The Birds'' and a symphony (the "Cambridge") for the musical society. At Cambridge Stanford continued to raise the profile of CUMS, as well as his own, by securing appearances by leading international musicians including Joachim, Hans Richter,
Alfredo Piatti Carlo Alfredo Piatti (8 January 182218 July 1901) was an Italian cellist, teacher and composer. Biography Piatti was born at via Borgo Canale, in Bergamo Bergamo (, also ; ; lmo, label=Eastern Lombard Eastern Lombard is a group of closel ...

Alfredo Piatti
and
Edward Dannreuther Edward George Dannreuther (4 November 1844, Strasbourg – 12 February 1905, Hastings) was a German people, German pianist and writer on music, resident from 1863 in England. His father had crossed the Atlantic, moving to Cincinnati, and there es ...
. The society attracted further attention by premiering works by Cowen, Parry, Mackenzie, Goring Thomas and others. Stanford was also making an impression in his capacity as organist of Trinity, raising musical standards and composing what his biographer Jeremy Dibble calls "some highly distinctive church music" including a Service in B (1879), the anthem "The Lord is my shepherd" (1886) and three Latin motets including ''Beati quorum via'' (1888). In the first half of the 1880s, Stanford collaborated with the author Gilbert à Beckett on two operas, ''Savonarola'', and ''The Canterbury Pilgrims''. The former was well received at its premiere in Hamburg in April 1884, but received a critical savaging when staged at
Covent Garden Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End West End most commonly refers to: * West End of London, an area of central London, England * West End theatre, a popular term for mainstream professional theatre st ...

Covent Garden
in July of the same year. Parry commented privately, "It seems very badly constructed for the stage, poorly conceived and the music, though clean and well-managed, is not striking or dramatic." The most severe public criticism was in ''The Theatre'', whose reviewer wrote, "The book of ''Savonarola'' is dull, stilted, and, from a dramatic point of view, weak. It is not, however, so crushingly tiresome as the music fitted to it. ''Savonarola'' has gone far to convince me that opera is quite out of tanford'sline and that the sooner he abandons the stage for the cathedral, the better for his musical reputation." ''The Canterbury Pilgrims'' had been premiered in London in April 1884, three months before ''Savonarola'' was presented at Covent Garden. It had a better reception than the latter, though reviews pointed out Stanford's debt to ''Die Meistersinger'', and complained of a lack of emotion in the love music. George Grove agreed with the critics, writing to Parry, "Charlie's music contains everything but sentiment. Love not at all – that I heard not a grain of. ... And I do think that there might be more tune. Melody is not a thing to be avoided surely." In 1896 a critic wrote that the opera had "just such a 'book' as would have suited the late Alfred Cellier. He would probably have made of it a charming light English opera. But Dr. Stanford has chosen to use it for the exemplification of those advanced theories which we know him to hold, and he has given us music which would incline us to think that ''Die Meistersinger'' had been his model. The effect of the combination is not happy."


Professor

In 1883, the
Royal College of Music The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire A music school is an educational institution specialized in the study, training, and research of music. Such an institution can also be known as a school of music, music academy, music faculty, c ...

Royal College of Music
was set up to replace the short-lived and unsuccessful National Training School for Music (NTSM).Wright, David
"The South Kensington Music Schools and the Development of the British Conservatoire in the Late Nineteenth Century"
''Journal of the Royal Musical Association'', Vol. 130, No. 2 (2005), pp. 236–282
Neither the NTSM nor the longer-established
Royal Academy of Music The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head ...

Royal Academy of Music
had provided adequate musical training for professional orchestral players, and the founder-director of the college, George Grove, was determined that the new institution should succeed in doing so. His two principal allies in this undertaking were the violinist Henry Holmes (composer), Henry Holmes and Stanford. In a study of the founding of the college, David Wright notes that Stanford had two main reasons for supporting Grove's aim. The first was his belief that a capable college orchestra was essential to give students of composition the chance to experience the sound of their music. His second reason was the severe contrast between the competence of German orchestras and the performance of their British counterparts. He accepted Grove's offer of the posts of professor of composition and (with Holmes) conductor of the college orchestra. He held the professorship for the rest of his life; among the best known of his many pupils were Samuel Coleridge-Taylor,
Gustav Holst Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite ''The Planets ''The Planets'', Op. 32, is a seven- move ...

Gustav Holst
,
Ralph Vaughan Williams Ralph Vaughan Williams, (; 12 October 1872– 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over ...
, John Ireland (composer), John Ireland, Rebecca Clarke (composer), Rebecca Clarke, Frank Bridge and Arthur Bliss. Stanford was never an easy-going teacher. He insisted on one-to-one tutorials, and worked his pupils hard. One of them, Herbert Howells, recalled, "Corner any Stanford pupil you like, and ask him to confess the sins he most hated being discovered in by his master. He will tell you 'slovenliness' and 'vulgarity.' When these went into the teacher's room they came out, badly damaged. Against compromise with dubious material or workmanship Stanford stubbornly set his face." Another pupil, Edgar Bainton, recalled: To Stanford's regret, many of his pupils who achieved eminence as composers broke away from his classical, Brahmsian precepts, as he had himself rebelled against Reinecke's conservatism. The composer George Dyson (composer), George Dyson wrote, "In a certain sense the very rebellion he fought was the most obvious fruit of his methods. And in view of what some of these rebels have since achieved, one is tempted to wonder whether there is really anything better a teacher can do for his pupils than drive them into various forms of revolution." The works of some of Stanford's pupils, including Holst and Vaughan Williams, entered the general repertory in Britain, and to some extent elsewhere, as Stanford's never did.O'Connell, Kevin
"Stanford and the Gods of Modern Music"
''The Musical Times'', Vol. 146, No. 1890 (Spring 2005), pp. 33–44
For many years after his death it seemed that Stanford's greatest fame would be as a teacher. Among his achievements at the RCM was the establishment of an opera class, with at least one operatic production every year. From 1885 to 1915 there were 32 productions, all of them conducted by Stanford. In 1887 Stanford was appointed professor of music at Cambridge in succession to George Alexander Macfarren, Sir George Macfarren who died in October of that year. Up to this time, the university had awarded music degrees to candidates who had not been undergraduates at Cambridge; all that was required was to pass the university's music examinations. Stanford was determined to end the practice, and after six years he persuaded the university authorities to agree. Three years' study at the university became a prerequisite for sitting the Bachelor of Music, bachelor of music examinations.


Conductor and composer

During the last decades of the 19th century, Stanford's academic duties did not prevent him from composing or performing. He was appointed conductor of the Bach Choir, London, in 1885, succeeding its founding conductor Otto Goldschmidt. He held the post until 1902. Hans von Bülow conducted the German premiere of Stanford's ''Irish'' Symphony in Hamburg in January 1888, and was sufficiently impressed by the work to programme it in Berlin shortly afterwards. Richter conducted it in Vienna, and Gustav Mahler, Mahler later conducted it in New York.Dibble, Jeremy
"Symphony No. 3 in F minor, Op. 28, 'Irish' (1887)"
American Symphony Orchestra, accessed 30 December 2011
For the Theatre Royal, Cambridge, Stanford composed incidental music for productions of Aeschylus's ''Oresteia#The Eumenides, The Eumenides'' (1885), and Sophocles' ''Oedipus Rex, Oedipus Tyrannos'' (1887). ''The Times'' said of the former, "Mr. Stanford's music is dramatically significant, as well as beautiful in itself. It has, moreover, that quality so rare among modern composers – style." In both sets of music Stanford made extensive use of leitmotifs, in the manner of Wagner; the critic of ''The Times'' noted the Wagnerian character of the prelude to ''Oedipus''. In the 1890s, George Bernard Shaw, Bernard Shaw writing as music critic of ''The World (journal), The World'', voiced mixed feelings about Stanford. In Shaw's view, the best of Stanford's works displayed an uninhibited, Irish, character. The critic was dismissive of the composer's solemn Victorian choral music. In July 1891, Shaw's column was full of praise for Stanford's capacity for spirited tunes, declaring that Richard D'Oyly Carte should engage him to succeed Sullivan as the composer of Savoy operas. In October of the same year, Shaw attacked Stanford's oratorio ''Eden'', bracketing the composer with Parry and Mackenzie as a mutual admiration society,Eatock, p. 90 purveying "sham classics": To Fuller Maitland, the trio of composers lampooned by Shaw were the leaders of an English Musical Renaissance, English musical renaissance (although neither Stanford nor Mackenzie was English). This view persisted in some academic circles for many years. Stanford returned to opera in 1893, with an extensively revised and shortened version of ''The Veiled Prophet''. It had its British premiere at Covent Garden in July. His friend Fuller Maitland was by this time the chief music critic of ''The Times'', and the paper's review of the opera was laudatory. According to Fuller Maitland ''The Veiled Prophet'' was the best novelty of an opera season that had also included Ruggero Leoncavallo, Leoncavallo's ''Pagliacci'', Georges Bizet, Bizet's ''Djamileh'' and Pietro Mascagni, Mascagni's ''I Rantzau''."The Opera", ''The Times'', 27 July 1893, p. 11 Stanford's next opera was ''Shamus O'Brien'' (1896), a comic opera to a libretto by George H. Jessop. The conductor was the young Henry Wood, who recalled in his memoirs that the producer, Augustus Harris, Sir Augustus Harris, managed to quell the dictatorial composer and prevent him from interfering with the staging.Wood, p. 86 Stanford attempted to give Wood lessons in conducting, but the young man was unimpressed. The opera was successful, running for 82 consecutive performances. The work was given in German translation in Breslau in 1907; Thomas Beecham thought it "a colourful, racy work", and revived it in his 1910 opéra comique season at Her Majesty's Theatre, His Majesty's Theatre, London. At the end of 1894, Grove retired from the Royal College of Music. Parry was chosen to succeed him, and although Stanford wholeheartedly congratulated his friend on his appointment, their relations soon deteriorated. Stanford was known as a hot-tempered and quarrelsome man. Grove had written of a board meeting at the Royal College "where somehow the spirit of the d----l himself had been working in Stanford all the time – as it sometimes does, making him so nasty and quarrelsome and contradictious as no one but he can be! He is a most remarkably clever and able fellow, full of resource and power – no doubt of that – but one has to purchase it often at a very dear price." Parry suffered worse at Stanford's hands with frequent rows, deeply upsetting to the highly strung Parry.Anderson, Robert
"Surveying Stanford"
''The Musical Times'', Vol. 144, No. 1882 (Spring, 2003), pp. 48–50
Some of their rows were caused by Stanford's reluctance to accept the authority of his old friend and protégé, but on other occasions Parry seriously provoked Stanford, notably in 1895 when he reduced the funding for Stanford's orchestral classes. In 1898, Sullivan, ageing and unwell, resigned as conductor of the Leeds triennial music festival, a post which he had held since 1880. He believed that Stanford's motive for accepting the conductorship of the Leeds Philharmonic Society the previous year was to position himself to take over the festival.Ainger, p. 372 Stanford later felt obliged to write to ''The Times'', denying that he had been party to a conspiracy to oust Sullivan. Sullivan was by then thought to be a dull conductor of other composers' music, and although Stanford's work as a conductor was not without its critics, he was appointed in Sullivan's place. He remained in charge until 1910. His compositions for the festival included ''Songs of the Sea (Stanford), Songs of the Sea'' (1904), ''Stabat Mater'' (1907) and ''Songs of the Fleet'' (1910). New works by other composers presented at Leeds during Stanford's years in charge included pieces by Parry, Mackenzie, and seven of Stanford's former pupils. The best-known new work from Stanford's time is probably Vaughan Williams's ''A Sea Symphony'', premiered in 1910.


20th century

In 1901 Stanford returned once again to opera, with ''Much Ado About Nothing (opera), Much Ado About Nothing'', to a libretto by Julian Sturgis that was exceptionally faithful to Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare's original. ''The Manchester Guardian'' commented, "Not even in the ''Falstaff (opera), Falstaff'' of Arrigo Boito and Giuseppe Verdi have the characteristic charm, the ripe and pungent individuality of the original comedy been more sedulously preserved." Despite good notices for the opera, Stanford's star was waning. In the first decade of the century, his music became eclipsed by that of a younger composer,
Edward Elgar Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, (; 2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestra ...

Edward Elgar
. In the words of the music scholar Robert Anderson, Stanford "had his innings with continental reputation in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, but then Elgar bowled him out." When Elgar was struggling for recognition in the 1890s, Stanford had been supportive of his younger colleague, conducting his music, putting him forward for a Cambridge doctorate, and proposing him for membership of the exclusive London club, the Athenaeum Club, London, Athenaeum. He was, however, put out when Elgar's success at home and abroad eclipsed his own, with Richard Strauss (whom Stanford detested) praising Elgar as the first progressive English composer. When Elgar was appointed professor of music at Birmingham University in 1904, Stanford wrote him a letter that the recipient found "odious". Elgar retaliated in his inaugural lecture with remarks about composers of rhapsodies, widely seen as denigrating Stanford. Stanford later counter-attacked in his book ''A History of Music'', writing of Elgar, "Cut off from his contemporaries by his religion and his want of regular academic training, he was lucky enough to enter the field and find the preliminary ploughing done." Though bitter about being sidelined, Stanford continued to compose. Between the turn of the century and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 his new works included a violin concerto (1901), a clarinet concerto (1902), a sixth and a seventh (and last) symphony (1906 and 1911), and his second piano concerto (1911). In 1916 he wrote his penultimate opera, ''The Critic''. It was a setting of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Sheridan's comedy of the The Critic (play), same name, with the original text left mostly intact by the librettist, Lewis Cairns James. The work was well received at the premiere at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, and was taken up later in the year by Beecham, who staged it in Manchester and London.


Last years

The First World War had a severe effect on Stanford. He was frightened by air-raids, and had to move from London to Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor to avoid them. Many of his former pupils were casualties of the fighting, including Arthur Bliss, wounded, Ivor Gurney, gassed, and George Butterworth, killed. The annual RCM operatic production, which Stanford had supervised and conducted every year since 1885, had to be cancelled. His income declined, as the fall in student numbers at the college reduced the demand for his services. After a serious disagreement at the end of 1916, his relationship with Parry deteriorated to the point of hostility. Stanford's magnanimity, however, came to the fore when Parry died two years later and Stanford successfully lobbied for him to be buried in St Paul's Cathedral. After the war, Stanford handed over much of the direction of the RCM's orchestra to Adrian Boult, but continued to teach at the college. He gave occasional public lectures, including one on "Some Recent Tendencies in Composition", in January 1921 which was belligerently hostile to most of the music of the generation after his own. His last public appearance was on 5 March 1921 conducting Frederick Ranalow and the Royal Choral Society in his new cantata, ''At the Abbey Gate''. Reviews were polite but unenthusiastic. ''The Times'' said, "we could not feel that the music had enough emotion behind it", ''The Observer'' thought it "quite appealing even though one feels it to be more facile than powerful." In September 1922, Stanford completed the sixth ''Irish Rhapsody'', his final work.Rodmell, p. 328 Two weeks later he celebrated his 70th birthday; thereafter his health declined. On 17 March 1924 he suffered a stroke and on 29 March he died at his home in London, survived by his wife and children. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 2 April and his ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey the following day. The orchestra of the Royal College of Music, conducted by Boult, played music by Stanford, ending the service with a funeral march that he had written for Tennyson's ''Becket (Tennyson play), Becket'' in 1893. The grave is in the north choir aisle of the Abbey, near the graves of Henry Purcell, John Blow and William Sterndale Bennett. ''The Times'' said, "the conjunction of the music of Stanford with that of his great predecessors showed how thoroughly as composer he belonged to their line." Stanford's last opera, ''The Travelling Companion'', composed during the war, was premiered by amateur performers at the David Lewis Theatre, Liverpool in 1925 with a reduced orchestra.Bonavia, F
"Stanford's Last Opera: 'The Travelling Companion
''The Musical Times'', Vol. 66, No. 988 (June 1925), pp. 523–524
The work was given complete at Bristol in 1928 and at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, in 1935.


Honours

Stanford received many honours, including honorary doctorates from University of Oxford, Oxford (1883), Cambridge (1888), Durham (1894), University of Leeds, Leeds (1904), and Trinity College, Dublin (1921). He was Knight Bachelor, knighted in the 1902 Coronation Honours, receiving the accolade from King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace on 24 October that year. In 1904 he was elected a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, Berlin.


Works

Stanford composed about 200 works, including seven symphonies, about 40 choral works, nine operas, 11 concertos and 28 chamber works, as well as songs, piano pieces, incidental music, and organ works. He suppressed most of his earliest compositions; the earliest of works that he chose to include in his catalogue date from 1875. Throughout his career as a composer, Stanford's technical mastery was rarely in doubt. The composer Edgar Bainton said of him, "Whatever opinions may be held upon Stanford's music, and they are many and various, it is, I think, always recognised that he was a master of means. Everything he turned his hand to always 'comes off. On the day of Stanford's death, one former pupil,
Gustav Holst Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for his orchestral suite ''The Planets ''The Planets'', Op. 32, is a seven- move ...

Gustav Holst
, said to another, Herbert Howells, "The one man who could get any one of us out of a technical mess is now gone from us."Howells, Herbert
"Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924). An Address at His Centenary"
''Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association'', 79th Sess. (1952–1953), pp. 19–31
After Stanford's death most of his music was quickly forgotten, with the exception of his works for church performance. His ''Stabat Mater'' and ''Requiem'' held their place in the choral repertoire, the latter championed by Thomas Beecham, Sir Thomas Beecham.Dibble, p. 461 Stanford's two sets of sea songs and the partsong ''The Blue Bird (Stanford), The Blue Bird'' were still performed from time to time, but even his most popular opera, ''Shamus O'Brien'' came to seem old fashioned with its "stage-Irish" vocabulary. However, in his 2002 study of Stanford, Dibble writes that the music, increasingly available on disc if not in live performance, still has the power to surprise. In Dibble's view, the frequent charge that Stanford is "Brahms and water" was disproved once the symphonies, concertos, much of the chamber music and many of the songs became available for reappraisal when recorded for compact disc. In 2002, Rodmell's study of Stanford included a discography running to 16 pages.Rodmell, Appendix Two, unnumbered pages The criticism most often made of Stanford's music by writers from Shaw onwards is that his music lacks passion.Rodmell, p. 415 Shaw praised "Stanford the Celt" and abominated "Stanford the Professor", who reined in the emotions of the Celt. In Stanford's church music, the critic Nicholas Temperley finds "a thoroughly satisfying artistic experience, but one that is perhaps lacking in deeply felt religious impulse." In his operas and elsewhere, Grove, Parry and later commentators found music that ought to convey love and romance failing to do so. Like Parry, Stanford strove for seriousness, and his competitive streak led him to emulate Sullivan not in comic opera, for which Stanford had a real gift, but in oratorio in what Rodmell calls grand statements that "only occasionally matched worthiness with power or profundity."


Orchestral

The commentator Richard Whitehouse writes that Stanford's seven symphonies embody both the strengths and limitations of his music, displaying "a compositional rigour and expertise matched only by his older contemporary ... Hubert Parry, Parry, while seeming content to remain well within the stylistic ambit of
Mendelssohn Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 18094 November 1847), born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The ...

Mendelssohn
,
Schumann Robert Schumann (; 8 June 181029 July 1856) was a German composer, pianist, and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an ar ...

Schumann
and
Brahms Johannes Brahms (; 7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that origin ...

Brahms
." Whitehouse comments that although Stanford's symphonic construction is conventional, "an often subtle approach to movement forms and resourceful orchestration make his symphonies worth exploring."Whitehouse, Richard (2008). Notes to Naxos CD 8.570355, OCLC 227035121 Stanford's first two symphonies (1876 and 1879) were not published and were excluded from his catalogue of works. His Symphony No. 1 (Stanford), Symphony No. 1 was written for a competition offered by the proprietors of the
Alexandra Palace Alexandra Palace is a Grade II listed A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England Historic England (officially the Historic Buildings and Monumen ...

Alexandra Palace
. It received second prize but was only performed once in his lifetime. The Third Symphony in F minor, known as the ''Irish'', was first performed in 1887. It was conducted by Gustav Mahler, Mahler in 1911 in New York (Stanford however did not reciprocate, disliking most 'modern' music, especially Ravel, Debussy and Stravinsky), and the Third remained the most popular of Stanford's symphonies during his lifetime. In his study of Stanford's works, John Porte refers to it as "full of the spirit and tunes of his country ... with its contrasting expressions of jollity and sad beauty." In this, as in many of his works, Stanford incorporated genuine Irish folk tunes. Like Parry and Mackenzie, but unlike Sullivan and Elgar, Stanford liked and respected folk songs. He generally avoided Program music, programmatic music, but his Sixth Symphony, composed ''in memoriam'' George Frederic Watts, G. F. Watts, was, Stanford acknowledged, inspired by Watts's sculptures and paintings. Of Stanford's other orchestral works, his six ''Irish Rhapsodies'' all date from the 20th century, the first from 1901 and the last from the year before his death. Two of the set feature solo instruments along with the orchestra: the third (cello) and the sixth (violin). In Dibble's view some of the concertante works such as the First Piano Concerto (1894) and the Violin Concerto of 1899 are in their orchestration and their lyricism as much in the tradition of Mendelssohn as of Brahms, with whom Stanford's music is often compared.


Chamber works

Stanford's chamber music, which as Dibble notes even Shaw praised, has not entered the general repertoire, but is well crafted. Dibble singles out the Three Intermezzi for clarinet and piano (1879), the Serenade in F major (Stanford), Serenade (Nonet) of 1905, and the Clarinet Sonata (1911) with its touching lament. Dibble writes that while his Violin Sonata No. 1 (Stanford), Violin Sonata No. 1 was still influenced by Beethoven and Schumann, his Violin Sonata No. 2 (Stanford), Violin Sonata No. 2, composed c. 1898 after studies in Germany including works by Brahms, in "seamless sonata construction gives the impression of a free form". Writing of the First String Quintet, Porte calls it a sonorous and warm-hearted sort of work, constructed on fairly classical lines, and notes that the character and construction are typical of the composer. Porte comments similarly on other chamber works, including the Second Piano Trio: "This is a typical Stanfordian work. It is sonorously scored, classical in outlook, and contains many passages of an expressive and somewhat poetical freshness. There are no very special features to note, but the work is one that makes a useful and interesting item."


Church music

The general neglect of Stanford's music in the years after his death did not extend to his ecclesiastical works. In ''Music in Britain'', one of the few books to deal with Stanford's music in detail, Nicholas Temperley writes that it is due to Stanford that settings of the service (music), Anglican church services regained their "full place beside the anthem as a worthy object of artistic invention." Vaughan Williams ranked the ''Stabat Mater'' as one of Stanford's works of "imperishable beauty". In Temperley's view, Stanford's services in A (1880), F (1889) and C (1909) are the most important and enduring additions from those years to the cathedral repertory.Temperley, p. 205 As with his concert works, Stanford's music is dominated by melody. The bass line, in Rodmell's view, is always important yet secondary and anything in between was regarded as "filling."


Operas

In a 1981 survey of Stanford's operas, the critic Nigel Burton writes that ''Shamus O'Brien'' lacks good tunes, and that the only memorable melody in it is not by Stanford but is an English folk song, "The Glory of the West."Burton, p. 349 Burton is more dismissive of ''The Critic'', which he describes as "a poor man's ''Ariadne auf Naxos''." Dibble rates ''The Critic'' much higher, considering it to be one of Stanford's two best operas. In 1921, Porte wrote that it contains music that is "remarkably fresh, melodious and thoroughly individual in character and outlook. The vocal and instrumental writing is done with consummate skill." Burton praises ''Much Ado About Nothing'', judging it to contain some of Stanford's best operatic music. He rates the last of the composer's operas, ''The Travelling Companion'' as his finest operatic achievement, though Burton credits much of its power to the brilliant story adapted by Henry Newbolt from Hans Christian Andersen, Hans Andersen. Porte writes that the music is often solemn and romantic, and curiously impressive. Christopher Webber writes that it has "an atmosphere not quite like any other: ''The Travelling Companion'' has timeless qualities ... [which] could go far to enhance Stanford's reputation as an opera composer".


Recordings

Although much of Stanford's music is neglected in the concert hall, a considerable amount has been recorded. Complete cycles of the symphonies have been issued by the Chandos Records, Chandos and Naxos Records, Naxos labels, under the conductors Vernon Handley and David Lloyd-Jones (conductor), David Lloyd-Jones. Other orchestral works recorded for CD include the six ''Irish Rhapsodies'', the Clarinet Concerto, the Second Piano Concerto and the Second Violin Concerto. Of the nine operas, only ''The Travelling Companion'' is available in a complete performance. Stanford's church music is well represented on disc. In his 2002 discography, Rodmell lists 14 versions of the Service in B, alongside multiple recordings of the Services in A, F and C, the ''Three Latin Motets'' Op. 38, and the composer's setting of "The Lord is my Shepherd." A 1926 disc of his Magnificat in G by Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle was the first recording of a boy soprano soloist using an electrical microphone. His Mass in G Major received its world première recording in 2014, featuring the Choir of Exeter College Oxford and the Stapeldon Sinfonia, with Tim Muggeridge (organ) and directed by George de Voil: EMR CD021. English mixed-voice choir the Cambridge Singers (conducted by John Rutter) released the album ''Stanford and Howells Remembered'' in 1992, including both sacred and secular works. It was remastered and re-released in 2020. The first CD dedicated to Stanford's partsongs (including the Op. 119 set to poems by Mary Coleridge) appeared in 2013, sung by the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choice, conductor Paul Spicer. He wrote around 60 partsongs in total. Stanford also wrote some 200 art songs and around 300 folksongs intended for the concert hall. Songs recorded by several artists include "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", performed by Janet Baker among others, "An Irish Idyll", whose interpreters have included Kathleen Ferrier, and ''Songs of the Sea'' in recordings by such singers as Thomas Allen (baritone), Thomas Allen. Two more recent recordings dedicated to the songs have been issued: ''Love’s White Flame'', with Elisabetta Paglia (mezzo-soprano) and Christopher Howell (piano) in 2020; and ''Songs of Faith, Love and Nonsense'', with James Way (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone) and Andrew West (piano) in 2021. Among the chamber works that have received several recordings are the Three Intermezzi for Clarinet and Piano and the Clarinet Sonata. All eight of the previously neglected string quartets have now been recorded, as have the two string quintets. The first significant recording of piano works included the Three Rhapsodies (alongside Parry's ''Shulbrede Tunes'') in 1978 by John Parry. Peter Jacobs (pianist), Peter Jacobs recorded both sets of 24 Preludes, the ''Characteristic Pieces'' and the ''Dante Rhapsodies'' in the late 1990s. Christopher Howell has since recorded the complete piano music.SHEVA SH115
an

/ref>


References


Notes


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * *


External links

* Howell, Christopher

Music Web International, 1997 * Introductory notes by Edition Silvertrust: *

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*


Stanford Family Tree
* *
Moore's Irish Melodies, arranged by C. V. Stanford

The Stanford Society
{{DEFAULTSORT:Stanford, Charles Villers 1852 births 1924 deaths 19th-century classical composers 19th-century conductors (music) 19th-century Irish people 19th-century male conductors (music) 20th-century classical composers 20th-century conductors (music) 20th-century Irish people 20th-century male musicians Academics of the Royal College of Music Academics of the University of Cambridge Alumni of Queens' College, Cambridge Bach musicians Classical composers of church music Composers awarded knighthoods Composers for piano Composers for pipe organ Irish Anglicans Irish classical composers Irish classical organists Irish expatriates in the United Kingdom Irish knights Irish male classical composers Irish opera composers Knights Bachelor Male opera composers Male organists Musicians from Dublin (city) Oratorio composers Romantic composers String quartet composers