Stanford, Charles Villiers

Composer

b Dublin 1852, d St Marylebone, C London 1924. Son of a Dublin lawyer who provided a private education and let him study music on condition that he first graduated. Queen’s Coll, Cambridge (1870–72, organ scholar, and BA, MA classics); then studied at Leipzig and Berlin while also becoming organist of Trinity Coll, Cambridge, where he played from 1872 to 1893. While still a young man he was acknowledged as a leading composer of instrumental and choral music; appointed in 1883 as the RCM’s first professor of composition and orchestral playing, and Prof of Music at Cambridge from 1887 onwards. There he also conducted the Music Society (1872–93) and the Bach Choir (1885–1902), in his wider work also taking part in the Leeds Philharmonic Soc Festivals, and conducting operas in Germany, France, Belgium and Holland. A tall man with very short sight, he was known for his authoritarian manner and sometimes sharp wit; intolerant of many of the newer trends, he insisted that higher standards were required for music in the CofE, and composed enduring works for churches, cathedrals and university foundations, as well as operas, symphonies, concertos and chamber music, bringing ‘a technical brilliance to almost all genres’ (Grove). He became a noted teacher of several generations of composers including the next, and believed that to allow clergy (or anyone other than qualified musicians) to choose the tunes for the hymns was ‘a disastrous policy’. MusD, DCL, LL.D; he was knighted in 1901. No.842*.

Tunes and arrangements by Stanford, Charles Villiers

Tune Name
Gartan