[Sir] Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)


Life
b. Dublin, ed. Dublin and Cambridge, BA 1874; studied Brahms in Leipzig and Berlin; Prof. of Music, Cambridge, and Prof. of Composition at Royal College of Music with pupils incl. Vaughan Williams, Bliss, Benjamin, Howells, and Gustav Holst; organist Trinity College, Cambridge; conductor of Back Choir, 1885-1902; conductor Leeds Philharmonic Society and Leeds Music Festival; music to Eumenides stormed in Cambridge;
 
his music includes five orchestral Irish Rhapsodies, operas incl. Shamus O’Brien (1896), with a libretto by George Jessop after Joseph Le Fanu - a success which he later repressed as encouraging Home Rule enthusiasm; also issued The Critic, and The Travelling Companion; ed. Music of Ireland by George Petrie (1882); other Irish works incl. An Irish Idyll (1901), Cushendall (1910), song cycle, Songs from Leinster (1914); knighted in 1901; Musical Composition (1911); Pages from an Unwritten Diary (1914);
 
issued Irish Concertino (1919); bur. in Westminster Abbey; his Irish Symphony was extremely popular in the late 1880s, the second movement being a scherzo in the time of a jig; revived BBC3, 19 Sept. 1991; his Irish Rapsody No. 3 recorded by Ulster Orchestra (Belfast); his Irish Rhapsody No. 6 produced by the BBC3 (1992). DIB [PI] DIH OCEL

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Works
Scores, Shamus O’Brien (London: Boosey & Co. 1896); Oh, Ye Dead!: Song [from A Selection of Irish Melodies; 8th Number] (London & NY: Boosey & Co 1895), ... &c.

Songs [by] Charles Villiers Stanford / edited by Geoffrey Bush. [Musica Britannica Ser., No. 52] (London: Stainer & Bell 1986), 230pp. [facsims., 33cm.]
CONTENTS

Sterne mit den goldnen Fusschen, Opus 4/1 (Heine); From the red rose (Robert Graves); La belle Dame sans merci (John Keats).

Three ditties of the olden time: Out upon it (John Suckling); Why so pale (Suckling); To carnations (Robert Herrick).

There be none of Beauty’s daughters, Opus 14/4 (George Gordon [Lord] Byron); Le bien vient en dormant, Opus 14/6 (old French); Prospice (Robert Browning); Golden slumbers, Opus 19/2 (John Dekker); Crossing the bar (Alfred Tennyson); Windy nights, Opus 30/4 (John Stevenson).

Three songs to poems by Robert Bridges: Since thou, O fondest and truest, Opus 43/1; I praise the tender flower, Opus 43/2; Say, O say! saith the music, Opus 43/3.

The clown’s songs from Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night: O mistresss mine, Opus 65/1; Come away, death, Opus 65/2; The rain it raineth every day, Opus 65/3.

The battle of Pelusium (John Fletcher); The fairy lough, Opus 77/2 (Moira O’Neill); O one deep sacred outlet of my soul, Opus 82/1 (Edmond Holmes); Like as the thrush in winter, Opus 82/2 (Holmes); O flames of passion (Opus 82/5), (Holmes); Dainty Davie (Robert Burns).

Songs of faith, Set II (poetry by Walt Whitman): To the soul, Opus 97/4; Tears, Opus 97/5; Joy, shipmate, joy, Opus 97/6.

Spring, Opus 112/1 (Tennyson); Phoebe, Opus 125/3 (Thomas Lodge).

A fire of turf: poetry by W. M. Letts: A fire of turf, Opus 139/1; The chapel on the hill, Opus 139/2; Cowslip time, Opus 139/3; Scared, Opus 139/4; Blackberry time, Opus 139/5; The fair, Opus 139/6; The west wind, Opus 139/7.

A soft day, Opus 140/3 (Letts); The bold unbiddable child, Opus 140/5 (Letts); The pibroch, Opus 157/1 (Maclean); The sailor man, Opus 174/2 (O’Neill); Drop me a flower, Opus 175/2 (Tennyson); The merry month of May, Op. [posthum] (Dekker)

Appendix: Sterne mit den goldnen Fusschen, Opus 4/1 (original version); Windy nights, Opus 30/4 (original version); O fondest and truest (alternative version of Opus 43/1).  

—Listed in COPAC online; accessed 23.11.2010.

Discography, Peter Jacobs, Piano Music of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (Priory Records 1995) [1 CD].

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Criticism
Harry Plunket Greene, Charles Villiers Stanford (London: Edward Arnold 1935), 287pp,, front. ills., music [facs], ports; Jeremy Dibble, Charles Villiers Stanford: Man and Musician (Oxford: OUP 2002), 450pp., ill. [16pp. of pls.]; Paul Rodmell, Charles Villiers Stanford [Music in 19th c. Britain] (Aldershot: Ashgate [2002]), xx, 495pp., ill. [12pp. of pls], map, ports.

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Commentary
A. P. Graves
, Irish Literary and Musical Studies (1913), p.7, ‘[...] Denis O’Sullivan, the Shamus O’Brien of Stanford’s opera ...’.

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W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), in which remarks on an enthusiastic classical school-teacher in C. V. Stanford’s Pages of an Unwritten Diary (London 914) are cited.

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Keith Jeffrey, ‘Irish Culture and the Great War’, Bullán (Autum 1994), p.92, quoting remarks from Robert Stradling and Meirion Hughes, The English Musical Renaissance 1860-1940 (London 1993), to the effect that Stanford’s dual identity was tested by the war, and that he brought out a conservative rhapsody dedicated to the Irish Guards, which ‘reasserted his conservative vision of his native island’ (Stradling, p.74).

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Harry White, review of Jeremy Dibble, Charles Villiers Stanford: Man and Musician (OUP), in The Irish Times (10 May 2003), Weekend, p.12: ‘[...] Dibble offers a portrait of the artist not only as a Victorian figure of immense significance to the future of English music which followed hard upon his own career, but as an Irishman, an Englishman (Stanford referred to himself variously as both) and as a perplexing admixture of the two. / The struggle between what Bernard Shaw called “the Celt and the professor” is only one strand in the complex fabric of Stanford’s amazing career as a musician. [...] The most explicitly Irish of his stage works, however, Seamus O’Brien (1896), enjoyed notable popularity and was revived by Stanford as an ‘Irish folk opera’ in 1906. / Shamus O’Brien prompts me finally to consider the presence of Ireland in this book. Dibble’s treatment of this abiding preoccupation in Stanford’s life could scarcely be bettered. His account of Stanford’s privileged, Anglo-Irish background includes a vivid sketch of the composer’s father that rivals Ellmann on John Joyce, and his understanding of Stanford’s own ‘pugnacious’ ’ brand of unionism is deftly secured by a grasp of Irish politics that struck this reader as both informed and sensitive. Two fascinating disclosures in this regard must stand here for many: Dibble shows that Stanford’s hostility towards Gladstone, when the two met to discuss the formation of the Royal College of Music, was firmly based on the prime minister’s support for Home Rule in Ireland. Secondly, Stanford’s lifelong engagement with Irish music (in particular his arrangements and editions of the-ethnic repertory) did not deter him from withdrawing Shamus O’Brien from performance in 1910 lest it encourage nationalist sympathies and the renewed case for Irish political autonomy.’ (For full text, see infra.)

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References
Colm Ó Lochlainn (Anglo-Irish Songwriters, 1958, p. 13) lists the following titles in collaboration with Alfred Percival Graves are listed in , Songs of Old Ireland (Graves-Stanford); Irish Folk Songs (do.); Songs of Erin (do.); Thirty Irish Songs and Ballads (do.)

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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 2; lists a bibliography under Le Fanu, p.211.

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Margaret Drabble, Oxford Companion of English Literature (OUP 1985); British composer and teacher here called the fndr. of the English musical renaissance in last decades of 19th c.; works include settings of many English texts; oratorio, Eden (1892), to words by Bridges; Songs of the Seas, Newbolt cantatas (1904); Tennyson’s ‘The Revenge’ (186); Songs of the Fleet (1906); his nine operas had little success except Shamus O’Brien (1896), with a text after Le Fanu; others are Much Ado About Nothing (1901); The Critic (1916), based on Sheridan’s play; The Travelling Companion, libretto Newbolt.

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