George Dyson

Biography

Born: May 28, 1883; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada   Died: September 28, 1964; Winchester, England  
As a composer, George Dyson was almost too talented for his own good. He was sufficiently gifted to write music in a unique style that was also accessible, uplifting, and memorable; but he was also a teacher and administrator, an author, and he devoted much of his time to those activities. Dyson was born in Halifax in 1883 to a working-class family. He was a natural musician with a special affinity for the keyboard and was playing the organ at Read more his church at 13; he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists three years later. Dyson entered the Royal College of Music at age 16 and in 1904, he won the Mendelssohn Scholarship and spent the next four years studying in Italy, Austria, and Germany. Dyson's early life and training were rooted in the late Romantic era and his early compositions strongly reflected the influence of Richard Strauss, Joseph Joachim, and other turn-of-the century composers. His symphonic poem Siena (now lost) was very Straussian and was performed under the baton of Arthur Nikisch. After returning to England, he devoted much of his attention to teaching, first at the Royal Naval College at Osborne and then at Marlborough College before joining the Army at the outbreak of World War I. During his Army service, Dyson authored a manual on the use of the hand grenade that became standard issue. He was appointed a professor at the Royal College of Music in 1921 and began teaching at Winchester College three years later. It was during this period that Dyson separated himself from the mainstream of English music; a passionate believer in the notion that music had to move forward, he felt that the Brahms-influenced music of Sir Edward Elgar, the folk song-inspired works of Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the Celtic romanticism of Sir Arnold Bax were all remnants of an era that had passed. Dyson abandoned his early compositions -- almost none of which survive -- and pursued teaching and writing during the early '20s. In 1928, Dyson emerged as a significant composer with In Honour of the City, a work for chorus and orchestra built on a series of verses attributed to William Dunbar, dating from the year 1500. The piece displayed a majesty reminiscent of Elgar and Sir Charles Hubert Parry and found immediate public and critical favor; but it was also written in a leaner, more modernistic style than would ever have come from either of those two composers. That piece led him directly to the work that is usually regarded as his crowning achievement, The Canterbury Pilgrims (1931), constructed around the work of Chaucer. Dyson was principally associated with choral music over the next decade, but his Symphony in G (1937) and his violin concerto (1941) gave him considerable credibility as an author of orchestral music, finding favor with audiences and critics. In 1938, Dyson assumed the job of director of the Royal College of Music; a knighthood followed in 1942 and he remained at the RCM for another decade. He continued composing new music in that curious style, modern yet tonal and melodic, right into the early '60s, though by that time even The Canterbury Pilgrims -- his most popular work -- had fallen out of the repertory of England's choral societies. In the mid-'90s, amid the growing interest in English music beyond the orbits of Elgar and Vaughan Williams, Dyson's work was rediscovered. A dozen of his major choral and orchestral works have been recorded by Chandos and other labels specializing in English and church music. Read less
Dyson: Nebuchadnezzar, Etc / Hickox, Padmore, Et Al
Release Date: 11/06/2007   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10439   Number of Discs: 1
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Dyson: The Canterbury Pilgrims / Hickox, Kenny, Tear, Roberts, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Release Date: 07/31/2012   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 24143   Number of Discs: 2
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Dyson: Quo Vadis / Hickox, Barker, Langridge, Rigby, Et Al
Release Date: 05/20/2003   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10061   Number of Discs: 2
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Dyson: Symphony In G / Hickox, City Of London Sinfonia
Release Date: 05/24/2005   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10308   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 32 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Dyson: The Canterbury Pilgrims / Hickox, Kenny, Tear, Roberts, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 24143 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Performer:  Yvonne Kenny,  Robert Tear,  Stephen Roberts
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 2.
    Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee - Royal Music From Westminster Abbey
    Label: Griffin   Catalog: 4077 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  George Frideric Handel,  Traditional,  Anonymous  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Neary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Brass,  Westminster Abbey Choir
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  • 3.
    Choral Classics - Choral Classics From Cambridge
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9234 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina,  Gregorio Allegri,  Robert Ramsey,  Thomas Weelkes  ... 
    Performer:  Jennifer Ward-Clarke,  Jonathan Brown,  Elizabeth Kenny,  Robert Howes  ... 
    Conductor:  Timothy Brown,  Stephen Cleobury,  Christopher Robinson,  Matthew Best
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clare College Choir,  Baroque Brass of London,  Cambridge King's College Choir  ... 
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  • 4.
    My Spirit Hath Rejoiced / Scott, Dearnley, Choir Of St Paul
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55402 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tertius Noble,  Basil Harwood,  Herbert Murill,  Harold Edwin Darke  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Dearnley,  George Pooley,  Peter Hall,  Nigel Bevan  ... 
    Conductor:  John Scott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
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  • 5.
    Great European Organs No. 80
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1029 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Peter Dyke,  Harold Drake,  George Dyson
    Performer:  Peter Dyke
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  • 6.
    Evensong & Vespers At King's /Choir Of King's College, Et Al
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 958785 Release Date: 10/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Hans Leo Hassler,  Sebastian de Vivanco,  Pier Francesco Cavalli  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Quinney,  James Vivian
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 7.
    Evensong For St Swithin's Day
    Label: Herald Records   Catalog: 297 Release Date: 10/11/2008  
    Composer:  Alwyn Surplice,  Marcel Dupré,  Philip Moore,  Edward Bairstow  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Baldock
    Conductor:  Andrew Lumsden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Winchester Cathedral Choir
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  • 8.
    Gibbs: Odysseus; Dyson: Four Songs For Sailors / Drummond, Gritton, Stone
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 7201 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Cecil Armstrong Gibbs,  George Dyson
    Performer:  Susan Gritton,  Mark Stone
    Conductor:  David Drummond
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra,  London Oriana Choir
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  • 9.
    Evensong From Exeter Cathedral - Bruckner, Harris, Etc / Nethsingha, Morgan, Exeter Cathedral Choir
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 112 Release Date: 06/17/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Dyson,  William Henry Harris,  Edward Bairstow,  Charles Hubert Parry  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Morgan
    Conductor:  Lucian Nethsingha
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Exeter Cathedral Choir
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  • 10.
    English Idyll / Julian Lloyd Webber, Sir Neville Marriner
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 442530 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Frederick Delius,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  John Birch,  John Lenehan
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 11.
    Sea Fever / Yates, Williams, Bbc Concert Orchestra, Et Al
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 7199 Release Date: 01/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edgar Bainton,  John Ireland,  Rutland Boughton,  George Dyson  ... 
    Performer:  Ailish Tynan,  Roderick Williams
    Conductor:  Martin Yates
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Dyson: Nebuchadnezzar, Etc / Hickox, Padmore, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10439 Release Date: 11/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Performer:  Mark Padmore,  Neal Davies
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Chorus,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    English Concert Music - Adams / Colin Wright
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 810 Release Date: 08/21/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Adams,  Matthias Hawdon,  Matthew Camidge,  William Walond  ... 
    Performer:  Colin Wright
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  • 14.
    English Idylls / Lloyd Webber, Birch, Lanehan, Marriner, ASMF
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4428415 Release Date: 06/04/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Frank Bridge,  John Foulds,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  John Birch,  John Lenehan
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 15.
    Te Deum And Jubilate - Stanford, Et Al / Sayer, Et Al
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 934 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Charles Villiers Stanford,  John Hopkins,  Philip Wilby  ... 
    Performer:  David Wells-Cole,  Andrew Bryden,  Geraint Bowen,  Roger Sayer  ... 
    Conductor:  Kerry Beaumont,  Roy Massey,  Barry Ferguson,  Michael Nicholas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ripon Cathedral Choir,  Hereford Cathedral Choir,  Rochester Cathedral Choir  ... 
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  • 16.
    Dyson: Violin Concerto, Etc / Hickox
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10337 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Performer:  Eric Parkin,  Lydia Mordkovitch
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
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  • 17.
    Dyson: Symphony In G Major, Etc / Lloyd-jones, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557720 Release Date: 09/20/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Performer:  Duncan Riddell,  Helen Cox,  Stuart Green,  Timothy Walden
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Dyson: Symphony In G / Hickox, City Of London Sinfonia
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10308 Release Date: 05/24/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Bear Essentials - Lullaby Classics
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 24116 Release Date: 08/24/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Agustín Barrios Mangoré,  Claude Debussy  ... 
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  • 20.
    George Dyson: St. Paul's Voyage To Melita; Agincourt
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 234 Release Date: 10/21/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Performer:  Neil Mackie,  Osian Ellis,  Jane Watts
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Sir David Willcocks
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  • 21.
    Dyson: Quo Vadis / Hickox, Barker, Langridge, Rigby, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10061 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Performer:  Cheryl Barker,  Jean Rigby,  Philip Langridge,  Roderick Williams
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales,  BBC National Chorus of Wales,  Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Chamber Choir
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  • 22.
    Te Deum And Jubilate Vol 4 / K. Beaumont, A. Bryden, Et Al
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 786 Release Date: 12/24/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Bill Grayston Ives,  Philip Wilby,  Herbert Sumsion  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Bryden,  David Wells-Cole,  Robert Thompson,  Simon Deller
    Conductor:  Kerry Beaumont
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ripon Cathedral Choir
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  • 23.
    Dyson: Choral Music / Willcocks, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Dyson
    Performer:  Stephen Roberts,  Osian Ellis,  Richard Markham,  David Nettle
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal College of Music Chamber Choir
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  • 24.
    Music from the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
    Label: Griffin   Catalog: 3050 Release Date: 06/28/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Herbert Howells,  William Henry Harris,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Martin [Choral Conductor] Baker,  Andrew Crowley,  Mark Bennett,  Thomas Sneddon  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Neary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Brass
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  • 25.
    Fear And Rejoice, O People - Music For Advent And Christmas
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5589 Release Date: 09/07/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki,  George Dyson,  Anthony Milner  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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