Rutland Boughton

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Born: 1878

Died: 1960


Rutland Boughton was the son of a grocer of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. He studied only briefly at the Royal College of Music but, though he was substantially self-taught, he had opportunity to study with Charles Villiers Stanford and Walford Davies. He was friends with Gustav Holst, Granville Bantock, Edward Elgar, Thomas Beecham and George Bernard Shaw. Boughton’s output included three symphonies, several concertos, part-songs, songs, and chamber music but he is primarily known as a composer of opera and the principal English advocate of the theories of music drama expounded by Richard Wagner. Boughton set out to create a new form of opera he called “choral drama”. He was enamored with Arthurian legends and created an “Arthurian Cycle” of operas. He had planned a fourteen-day cycle of dramas on the life of Christ in which the story would be enacted on a small stage in the middle of an orchestra while soloists and the chorus would comment on the action. However, it never developed. His Bethlehem (1915) is based on the Coventry Nativity Play and notable for its choral arrangements of traditional Christmas carols. Arthurian legends, narrative folk-tales or folk songs were often the basis for his part-songs. Some were titled “Choral Variations,” especially those with texts in strophic form. As a result, some of them are longer than the norm for the genre.

View the Wikipedia article on Rutland Boughton.

List of choral works

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