Bantock, Granville


One of the leading of the younger English composers, who belongs to a group that stands for originality in idea and expression, as opposed to the conservatism and formality of the older musicians. He was born in London and was intended for the Indian Civil Service and for scientific work. He did   not begin the study of music until his twenty-first year, when he entered Trinity College, London. The same year he became a student at the Royal Academy of Music and was the first winner of the Macfarren scholarship for composition. He composed a great deal while at the academy and a number of his works were given at the concerts there. From 1893 to 1896 he was editor of the New Quarterly Musical Review. During 1894 and 1895 he was conductor for the Gaiety Company on a tour around the world, including America and Australia. In 1896, Mr. Bantock gave a concert at Queen's Hall, London, the program of which consisted entirely, of compositions by the younger and more radical English musicians. These compositions were all in manuscript and were all performed for the first time. The composers represented were the late Erskine Allon, Reginald Steggall, Arthur Hinton, William Wallace, Stanley Hawley and Granville Bantock himself. From 1897 to 1900, Mr. Bantock was musical director at The Tower, New Brighton. In 1900 he became principal of the Birmingham and Midland Institute School of Music, which position, with that of conductor of the Liverpool Orchestral Society, to which he was appointed in 1903, he still holds. In 1898 he founded the New Brighton Choral Society and was made conductor of the Runcorn Philharmonic Society. He conducted a concert of British music at Antwerp, in 1900, at which a number of his own works were given their first performance. Among these was a symphonic poem, Jaga-Naut. This was from a projected series of twenty-four symphonic poems founded on Southey|s Curse of Kehama, A number of this series were completed and published, but with increase of work the idea was finally given up and Two Oriental Scenes, are all that was allowed to remain of the work. Among Bantack's choral and vocal works are: The Fire Worshippers, a dramatic cantata; the one-act operas Caedmar, and The Pearl of Iran; Omar Khayyam, in three parts; Ferishtah's Fancies; and Five Ghazals of Hafiz. These are all Oriental in spirit and show much richness of melody. Other vocal works are: Thorvenda's Dream; The Time Spirit; Christ in the Wilderness; Sea Wanderers; Sappho; Jester Songs; and Rameses II., a five-act drama, both drama and incidental music being by Bantock. The most important of his orchestral works are: Tone Poem, No. 1, Thalaba the Destroyer; Symphonic Overture Saul; variations Helena; Two Suites, Russian Scenes and English Scenes; and an overture to Eugene Aram, an unfinished opera. Mr. Bantock has also written a quartet in C minor for strings; a serenade in F for four horns; fourteen piano pieces;  Egypt, a ballet in three acts; and many songs. In 1907, Mr. Bantock published, God Save the King, for chorus and orchestra. Many of his works have been produced at the festivals of the principal English cities. Mr. Bantock's musical settings are always worthy of the great literary productions which he uses and he is noted for his depth of idea and his mental energy. His favorite recreations are chess and the collecting of Japanese color-prints.