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- The Immortal Hour
- Queen of Cornwall
- Round Table
- Moon Maiden
- Lily Maid
- 3 symphonies
Rutland Boughton was born in Ayelesbury on the 23rd of January 1878. Despite evidence of an early talent for composition he received very little formal instruction until 1901 when he became a student at the Royal College of Music where he studied for five terms under Sir Charles Stanford. There followed a period of grinding poverty as he struggled to make a living from music. This was relieved in 1905 when Granville Bantock offered him a post at Birmingham’s Midland Institute of Music. Success as a singing teacher, conductor and composer soon identified him as one of the most promising talents of his generation. In 1911 he left Birmingham to follow his dream of an artistic commune built around festival performances of his music dramas, in particular the Arthurian cycle he had begun in 1908. Aided by the poet Reginald Buckley and the artist Christina Walshe, who became his second wife, he established himself in Glastonbury and in August 1914 launched the first Festival.
With the minimum of financial resources and the maximum help of local amateurs and professional friends, the Glastonbury Festivals developed into an important aspect of British operatic scene: an outlet for experimentation and a learning place for young singers. The Festivals continued with increasing success until 1926, when Boughton publicly declared his strong socialist principles that eventually undermined local support to such an extent that in July 1927 the Glastonbury Festival Players were forced into liquidation.
By this time however, Boughton was internationally famous as the composer of “The Immortal Hour”, a music drama which, after the première in Glastonbury in 1914, took London by storm in 1922–1923. With the collapse of the Glastonbury venture Boughton retired to a remote corner of Gloucestershire to complete his Arthurian cycle and to attempt further festivals (at Stroud in 1934 and Bath in 1935). He also began to diversify into orchestral and chamber music. He died in London on the 25th of January 1960.
The above lines are taken from the text by Michael Hurd in the booklet accompanying the CD containing Boughton’s string quartet 1 and 2, his first quartet for oboe and string trio and his Three Songs without Words for the same instruments (Hyperion CDA66936).
More extensive information about Rutland Boughton can be found on Wikipedia.
(Contribution by Ton Regtop.)