Granville Bantock  
Granville Bantock

Sir Granville Bantock
Sir Granville Bantock (7 August 1868 – 16 October 1946) was a British composer of classical music.


Granville Ransome Bantock was born in London. His father was an eminent Scottish surgeon. He was intended by his parents for the Indian Civil Service but he suffered poor health and initially turned to chemical engineering. At the age of 20, when he began studying composers' manuscripts, at South Kensington Museum Library, he was drawn into the musical world. His first teacher was Dr Gordon Saunders at Trinity College of Music. In 1888 he entered the Royal Academy of Music where he studied harmony and composition with Frederick Corder winning the Macfarren Prize in the first year it was awarded.

Early conducting engagements took him around the world with a musical comedy troupe. He founded a music magazine, The New Quarterly Music Review, but this lasted only a few years. In 1897, he became conductor at the New Brighton Tower concerts, where he pioneered the works of Joseph Holbrooke, Frederic Hymen Cowen, Charles Steggall, Edward German, Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford, Corder and others, frequently devoting whole concerts to a single composer. He was also conductor of the Liverpool Orchestral Society with which he premiered Delius's Brigg Fair on 18 January 1908. He became Principal of the Birmingham and Midland Institute school of music in 1900. He was a close friend of fellow composer Havergal Brian. He was Peyton Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham from 1908 to 1934 (in which post he succeeded Sir Edward Elgar). In 1934, he was elected Chairman of the Corporation of Trinity College of Music in London. He was knighted in 1930. His students included the conductor and composer Anthony Bernard and the composer Eric Fogg.

He was influential in the founding of the City of Birmingham orchestra (later the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), whose first performance in September 1920 was of his overture Saul. Bantock's Hebridean Symphony was recorded by the CBO on 28 January 1925 at Riley Hall, Constitution Hill, Birmingham. This acoustic version, conducted by Adrian Boult, was never released.

His music was influenced by folk song of the Hebrides (as in his 1915 Hebridean Symphony) and the works of Richard Wagner. Many of his works have an "exotic" element, including the choral epic Omar Khayyám (1906–09).[6] Among his other better-known works are the overture The Pierrot of the Minute (1908) and the Pagan Symphony (1928). Many of his works have been commercially recorded since the early 1990s.

Shortly after the composer's death in London, in 1946, a Bantock Society was established. Its first president was Jean Sibelius, whose music Bantock championed during the early years of the century. Sibelius dedicated his Third Symphony to Bantock.

Edward Elgar dedicated the second of his Pomp and Circumstance Marches to Bantock.

Three books have been published on Granville Bantock. The first was authored by his long-time (and long suffering) friend and 'secretary', 'Colonel' H. O. Anderton for the Living Masters of Music series in 1915. It is a very dry but useful book. The second is a 'personal portrait' by Bantock's daughter, published by Dent in 1972. It is an engaging read and contains a number of photographs. The third, An Introduction to the Life and Work of Sir Granville Bantock by Vincent Budd, was published in 2000, by Gnosis Press. It is also illustrated and contains a discographical guide. A larger volume is in progress.

The Bantock Society published a Journal between 1996 and 1999 and its issues contained a number of articles on the composer. There are also numerous other published pieces scattered in various magazines and journals. A Doctoral thesis by Trevor Bray, written in 1972, is very useful as a record of Bantock's musical output. A collection of the composer's letters to Muriel Mann, with whom he had an affair between 1936 and 1940, was published in May 2013 by her granddaughter Katherine de Marne Werner, with the title "My Dear Rogue".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sir Granville Bantock - Hebridean Symphony - 1915
Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic (Kosice) under Adrian Leaper.
Sir Granville Bantock "Celtic Symphony"
Symphony No 4 "Celtic" for strings and
harps by Sir Granville Bantock
London Promenade Orchestra
Walter Collins, conductor
Granville Bantock - The Witch of Atlas
The Witch of Atlas, Bantock's Tone Poem No 5, is a particularly effective example of his preoccupation with the interpretation of unusual subjects. It was composed in 1902 and first performed on 10 September at the Worcester meeting of the Three Choirs Festival; the composer himself conducted. The subject is derived from Shelley's poem of the same name.

London Philharmonic/Vladimir Jurowski.

Granville Bantock - The Vanity of Vanities: Choral Symphony after Ecclesiastes (1913)
The Vanity of Vanities: Choral Symphony after Ecclesiastes (1913)

I. "Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher" [0:00]
II. "I said in mine heart" [7:32]
III. "Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness" [12:03]
IV. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" [16:18]
V. "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift" [19:19]
VI. "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart" [23:20]
VII. "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth" [27:28]

This is the second monumental choral symphony by British composer Granville Bantock (1868-1946), composed two years after "Atalanta in Calydon" (which is also available on my channel). Like the previous work, "The Vanity of Vanities" is a purely vocal work, scored for extravagant choral forces that were all but impossible to muster at the time of its composition, at a professional level. Bantock asks for a twelve-part choir, each consisting (at minimum) of two sopranos, two mezzo-sopranos, two contraltos, two tenors, two baritones and two basses - bringing the total to a minimum of 144 singers. Often the forces were much larger, and for one Bantock performance there were 400 singers. In this recording, there are a mere 50 in the choir, although they all professional singers; Bantock's choirs were largely amateur. "The Vanity of Vanities" is dedicated to the choirmaster Harry C. Evans and the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union, which gave the premiere on February 14, 1914.

The text is drawn from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes (also known as קֹהֶלֶת‎‎ or Qohelet). Granville Bantock was not a religious man; in fact, his study was furnished with a Chinese shrine, several statues of Buddha and an imposing cast of the Greek god Pan. Bantock's friend Edward Elgar used to call him "the arch-heretic" affectionately. Nevertheless, he found himself drawn to the power and the simple beauty of the language in the King James version of Ecclesiastes, with its numerous highly memorable phrases which have passed into common English parlance. Indeed, Bantock's daughter described how her family often found "pleasure in reciting poetry aloud just for the joy of it ... We had grown up to the sound of quotations from the Greek and Persian poets interspersed with sayings from the Bible, the Chinese philosophers and Shakespeare." The text Bantock selected for his Choral Symphony omits the famous concluding phrase from the biblical text, "Fear God, and keep his commandments", replacing it instead with a final repetition of the stoical, pessimistic phrase, "All is vanity."

Conductor: Simon Joly
BBC Singers

Granville Bantock - Atalanta in Calydon, after Algernon Swinburne (1911)
Atalanta in Calydon: Choral Symphony after Algernon Swinburne (1911)

I. Ode 1: When the hounds of spring are on winter's traces [0:00]
II. Ode 2: Before the beginning of years [7:13]
III. Ode 3: We have seen thee, O Love, thou art fair [16:47]
IV. Ode 4: Who hath given man speech? [19:30]

This is a large-scale choral symphony by British composer Granville Bantock (1868-1946). Bantock was self-taught in music until he turned twenty-one and won a place at the Royal Academy of Music, studying under Frederick Corder. After his 1897 appointment as musical director of the New Brighton Tower concerts, where he converted the local marching band into a professional orchestra and programmed modern British and European music, Bantock rose to prominence as an important composer and his name was often paired with that of his close friend Edward Elgar. In 1908, Elgar offered his professorship at Birmingham University to Bantock; he accepted and remained there for two decades and a half, founding the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Throughout his life, Bantock composed prolifically. Among his most ambitious works dating the early part of his tenure at the University of Birmingham are two monumental choral symphonies: "Atalanta in Calydon" and "The Vanity of Vanities" (both can be found on this channel). "Atalanta in Calydon" is based on the 1865 poetic work of the same name by the English decadent poet and novelist Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909). Bantock's composition is a purely vocal work, demanding a twenty-part choir with "not less than ten voices to each part" according to the composer's directions. The work was dedicated to the choirmaster R. H. Wilson and the Hallé Choir from Manchester, which premiered "Atalanta in Calydon" in January 1912 under Bantock's direction.

The poem is a verse drama that depicts episodes from Greek mythology, particularly the legend of the chaste huntress Atalanta, a favourite of Artemis. The goddess sent a ferocious, monstrous boar to ravage Calydon; the hero Meleager organized the famous Calydonian boar hunt to defeat it, calling all the famous warriors of Greece to join him, including Atalanta. Meleager immediately fell in love, and although his arrow first struck the boar, he allowed Atalanta to finish the job and carry away the spoils of the hunt. This sparked the vicious jealousy of Meleager's uncles. After he fought and killed them both, his distraught mother Althaea invoked a curse that had been placed on Meleager as an infant, burning the brand in which the Moirae (Fates) had placed her son's life.

Conductor: Simon Joly
BBC Singers

Sir Granville Bantock "Overture The Frogs"
The Frogs (of Aristophanes), Comedy Overture
by Sir Granville Bantock
London Promenade Orchestra
Sir Granville Bantock, conductor
Granville Bantock - Prelude to "The Bacchanals" (1929)
Prelude to "The Bacchanals" (1929, revised 1945)

A concert overture by British composer Granville Bantock (1868-1946).

Conductor: Leon Botstein
American Symphony Orchestra

Granville Bantock - Violin Sonata No. 1 in G (1928-29)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G (1928-29)

I. Allegro con moto [0:00]
II. Andante sostenuto [12:58]
III. Allegro vivo non tanto [20:38]

The first sonata for violin and piano by the late Romantic British composer Granville Bantock (1868-1946), a student of Frederick Corder. Bantock was a close friend of the composers Edward Elgar and Havergal Brian.

Violin: Lorraine McAslan
Piano: Michael Dussek

Granville Bantock - Violin Sonata No. 2 in D (1929-32)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D (1929-32)

I. Lentemente non troppo - Allegro con anima [0:00]
II. A piacere, quasi recitativo - Agitato con moto [10:32]
III. Andante con moto rubato - Con brio [20:07]

A charming, beautiful sonata for violin and piano by the late Romantic British composer Granville Bantock (1868-1946), his second work in the form (the first can also be found on my channel). This work dates from the same period as Bantock's Pagan Symphony and Prometheus Unbound, and it was composed near the end of his long tenure as Peyton Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham.

Violin: Lorraine McAslan
Piano: Michael Dussek

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