Bullard, Frederick Field


An American composer and teacher, particularly distinguished as a songwriter. He did notable work in the field of the dramatic ballad. Bullard was born in Boston. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as a special student of chemistry, but was led by his love of music to forsake this beginning and devote his attention to art. In 1888 he went to Munich, entered the Conservator}', and studied under Josef Rheinberger, the teacher of such strong influence on American composition. He remained abroad four years; then returned to Boston, and made a name for himself as a teacher, composer, and song-writer, by no means least in what has come to be called the " Boston Colony." Mention should be made of the songs, In The Greenwood; A June Lullaby; From Dreams of Thee; The Lass of Norwich Town; At Daybreak; On The Way; The Sword of Ferrara; The Indifferent Mariner; The Best of All Good Company; The Singer; and The Hermit. He edited various collections of songs, was the author of a series of cantatas and of other music, and had more ambitious work under way when death brought his career to an untimely close.

In his Contemporary American Composers, Rupert Hughes says: "Bullard's setting of Tennyson's almost lurid melodrama in six stanzas, The Sisters, has caught the bitter mixture of love and hate, and avoided claptrap climaxes most impressively.

Bullard has found the right occasion for wild dissonances, and has dared to use them. The effect is one of terrific power. His war song of Gamelbar, for male voices, the Song of Pan and The Sisters give him a place apart from the rest of native song-writers." And in further survey of the work of this composer, the writer calls attention to the virility of his settings to Richard Hovey's songs, Here's a Health to Thee, Roberts; Barney McGee; and the Stein Song, and declares: "These songs have an exuberance of the roistering spirit, along with a competence of musicianship, that lifts them above any comparison with the average balladry."