Edmund Rubbra

Biography

Born: May 23, 1901; Northampton, England   Died: February 13, 1986; Gerard's Cross, England  
Edmund Rubbra's emergence during the interwar period as one of England's most skillful symphonists, and the subsequent dissemination of his musical ideals through 40 years of teaching at major British institutions, have earned him a place of honor among twentieth century British musicians. Rubbra was born into an impoverished Northampton family in 1901. His mother gave him his first musical lessons at the age of eight, and, although Rubbra was Read more forced to take a job as a railway clerk at age 14, his enthusiasm for music continued unabated. By 1917 he had discovered the music of Cyril Scott, and his subsequent recital of that composer's piano works impressed the composer enough that he invited Rubbra to study both piano and composition with him privately. After working with Scott for three years he attended Reading University on a musical scholarship for one year (1920-1921), after which he entered the Royal College of Music to study composition with Gustav Holst and harmony/counterpoint with R.O. Morris.

Rubbra's career was somewhat uncertain after graduating from the Royal College in 1925, and he was forced to work in a number of capacities to make ends meet (teaching school, working as an accompanist on a part-time basis, and writing reviews of new music for the Monthly Musical Record). By the mid-1930s, however, Rubbra was beginning to make waves as a composer, and the premieres of his first three symphonies (between 1937 and 1939) were sufficient to thrust him into the front rank of contemporary British composers.

Rubbra found professional stability with an appointment as lecturer at Oxford in 1947 (for which purpose he made a thorough and insightful examination of both books of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier), and in 1961 he was invited to join the composition faculty of the Guildhall School of Music, where he remained until the 1980s. His later years were marked by an increasing interest in Eastern spirituality, in conjunction with a devout Roman Catholicism. Rubbra died in 1986.

Although a major facet of British musical life during the second half of twentieth century, Rubbra's music has been sadly neglected by North American musicians. Rubbra developed his compositional voice slowly and with great care, absorbing the myriad influences of British composers, from Holst and Vaughan Williams to his childhood idol Cyril Scott, and eventually emerging with a musical language all his own. His later music shows a keen awareness of sixteenth century polyphony (especially that of Monteverdi). The 11 symphonies (the ninth, entitled Sinfonia Sacra, for soloists, chorus, and orchestra) are undoubtedly Rubbra's most significant contribution to the repertory. Read less

There are 70 Edmund Rubbra recordings available.

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Works

Formats & Featured

Edmund Rubbra


MOST POPULAR WORKS
I. Magnificat
II. Nunc dimittis
Kyrie
Gloria
Credo
Sanctus
Benedictus
Agnus Dei
I. Allegro moderato
II. Lento
III. Vivace (revised 1946 version)
I. Allegro moderato
II. Scherzo polimetrico ? Vivace assai
III. Cavatina ? Adagio tranquillo
IV. Allegro
I. Andante moderato, ma liberamente - Allegretto scherzando
II. Adagio e con molta espressione
I. Allegretto comodo
II. Adagio mesto
III. Variations on En la fuente del Rosel
I. Lento rubato -
II. Scherzo: Vivace assai
III. Adagio tranquillo
IV. Rondo: Allegretto amabile - Coda: Presto
I. Moderato
II. Allegro
III. Molto adagio ma liberamente
IV. Tema con 7 variazioni e una fuga
I. Con moto
II. Intermezzo: Allegretto gracioso
III. i) Introduzione: Grave e molto calmo
III. ii) Allegro maestoso
I. Lento [Sempre flessibile] - Allegretto
II. Canto: Largo e sereno
III. Vivace impetuoso
IV. Poco andante - Allegro moderato
I. Lento e molto espressivo
II. Vivace e leggiero
III. Passacaglia and Fugue: Lento
I. Moderato
II. Allegretto con brio
III. Poco lento
WORKS
I. Sonnett LXXVIII
II. Sonnett LXX
III. Sonnett LXXXIX
IV. Sonnett XXXVII
V. Sonnett XL
I. Allegro
II. Poema: Lento ma non troppo
III. Allegro giocoso
I. Farnaby's Conceit
II. His Dreame
III. His Humour
IV. Loth to Depart
V. Tell me, Daphne
I. Magnificat
II. Nunc dimittis
Kyrie
Credo
Sanctus
Benedictus
Agnus Dei
Gloria in excelsis
Kyrie
Gloria
Credo
Sanctus
Benedictus
Agnus Dei
I. Sound forth celestial organs
II. Fair as unshaded light
III. Yet once again, let us our measures move
I. Allegro moderato
II. Lento
III. Vivace (revised 1946 version)
I. Allegro moderato
II. Scherzo polimetrico ? Vivace assai
III. Cavatina ? Adagio tranquillo
IV. Allegro
I. Andante moderato, ma liberamente - Allegretto scherzando
II. Adagio e con molta espressione
I. Fantasia: Lento con molto rubato - Allegro
II. Saltarella: Allegro vivace
III. Prelude and Fugue: Lento - quarter note = 56
I. Allegretto comodo
II. Adagio mesto
III. Variations on En la fuente del Rosel
I. Allegro moderato e tempestoso
II. Perigourdine: Allegro bucolico e giocoso
III. Lento
I. Lento e liberamente -
II. Scherzando ma grazioso -
III. Lento -
IV. Molto adagio
I. Lento rubato -
II. Scherzo: Vivace assai
III. Adagio tranquillo
IV. Rondo: Allegretto amabile - Coda: Presto
I. Moderato
II. Allegro
III. Molto adagio ma liberamente
IV. Tema con 7 variazioni e una fuga
I. Con moto
II. Intermezzo: Allegretto gracioso
III. i) Introduzione: Grave e molto calmo
III. ii) Allegro maestoso
I. Adagio
II. Allegro moderato
III. Grave -
IV. Allegro vivo
I. Lento [Sempre flessibile] - Allegretto
II. Canto: Largo e sereno
III. Vivace impetuoso
IV. Poco andante - Allegro moderato
I. Lento e molto espressivo
II. Vivace e leggiero
III. Passacaglia and Fugue: Lento
I. Moderato
II. Allegretto con brio
III. Poco lento
I. Prelude
II. Crux fidelis (Chorus)
III. Chorale: Almighty Lord we pray thee (Chorus)
IV. Now in the place were he was crucified (Narrator)
V. Peter went forth (Narrator)
VI. Regina coeli (Chorus)
VII. And behold, two of them went (Narrator)
VIII. Conversation piece
IX. And Jesus led them (Narrator)
X. Viri Galilaei (Narrator)
Andante moderato e molto flessibile -
Episodio scherzando -
Tema ? 3 Meditazione ? Coda


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