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Herbert Howells

Biography

Born: October 17, 1892; Lydney, Gloucestershire, England   Died: February 24, 1983; Oxford, England  
Herbert Howells decided at a young age that he wanted to compose music and then sought out musical training. His most important teacher was the cathedral organist at Gloucester, Herbert Brewer, and he became Brewer's assistant. At the age of 20, he entered and won an open scholarship competition at the Royal College of Music.

His main teachers were Charles Wood in counterpoint and Charles Villiers Stanford in composition. He is said
Read more to have been Stanford's favorite pupil and Stanford conducted Howells' Piano concerto No. 1 at a Queen's Hall concert in 1913. Meanwhile, Howells' Mass in Dorian Mode was sung in Westminster Cathedral. In 1916, his piano quintet became the first work to be published under the Carnegie Trust.

He obtained a position as a sub-organist at Salisbury Cathedral, but had to give it up because of ill health, which had already kept him out of military service during World War I. He was not expected to live, but did recover and in 1920 was able to resume his career. He started teaching composition at the Royal College of Music in 1920.

His compositional style quickly emerged: it is in the tradition of modal, folk-based music that is sometimes called "English pastoralist," continuing the trends of Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams. His imagination was often stimulated by particular places and by people he knew. This holds true even for his large body of church music, which was not inspired by religious sentiments ("I am not a religious man any more than Ralph was," he once said). It is probable that he wrote so much church music simply because he liked choral writing and his style is rich and melodic.

Although he wrote a substantial amount of fine instrumental and orchestral music, his choral and other vocal music is considered the work most likely to keep his memory alive. His masterwork is usually considered to be the Hymnus paradisi, a quasi-requiem he wrote out of the grief suffered when he lost his nine-year-old son in 1938. It is a visionary work, with the kind of deep but quiet feeling that is also associated with Frederick Delius.

He received other teaching appoinments as well. After Holst's death in 1934, Howells was chosen to succeed him as director of music at St. Paul's School and in 1954, he was named King Edward VII Professor of Music at the University of London. He was made Commander of the British Empire in 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II. He retired from his St. Paul's position and the University of London post in 1964, but retained his professorship at the Royal College of Music and held classes there almost right up to his death at the age of 90. Read less
Psalms For The Soul - Howells, Stanford, Parry, Sumsion, Etc
Release Date: 09/26/2000   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554823   Number of Discs: 1
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Howells: Requiem, Etc / Robinson, Farrington, Et Al
Release Date: 11/30/1999   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8554659   Number of Discs: 1
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Howells: Rhapsodic Quintet, Violin Sonata No 3, Etc / Mobius
Release Date: 05/18/2004   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8557188   Number of Discs: 1
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Howells: Hymnus Paradisi, Sir Patrick Spens / Hill, Et Al
Release Date: 06/26/2007   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570352   Number of Discs: 1
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Howells, Britten, Vaughan Williams: Sonatas For Violin And Piano / Gilbert, Wass
Release Date: 06/24/2008   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 2922   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 277 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    A Walk With Ivor Gurney / Tenebrae
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 557 Release Date: 10/19/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Herbert Howells,  Ivor Gurney,  Judith Bingham
    Performer:  James Sherlock,  Sarah Connolly,  Christopher Deacon
    Conductor:  Nigel Short
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aurora Orchestra,  Tenebrae
    CD: $17.99
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  • 2.
    Come to Me in My Dreams / Connolly, Middleton
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10944 Release Date: 07/06/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Muriel Herbert,  John Ireland,  Thomas Dunhill,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Connolly,  Joseph Middleton
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  • 3.
    British Music for Viola and Orchestra / Callus, Taddei, New Zealand Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573876 Release Date: 05/11/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Herbert Howells,  Sir William Walton,  York Bowen
    Performer:  Helen Callus
    Conductor:  Marc Taddei
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
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  • 4.
    A Rose Magnificat / McCreesh, Gabrieli Consort
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 536 Release Date: 05/04/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kenneth Leighton,  Thomas Tallis,  Peter Warlock,  Robert White  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort
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  • 5.
    Fanfares / Wilson, Onyx Brass
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5221 Release Date: 03/16/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Herbert Howells,  Malcolm Arnold,  Frederic Curzon,  Elisabeth Lutyens  ... 
    Conductor:  John Wilson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Onyx Brass
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  • 6.
    Great Cathedral Anthems / Newsholme, Girls & Men of Canterbury Cathedral Choir
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 514 Release Date: 01/26/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  William Byrd,  Orlando Gibbons,  William Croft  ... 
    Performer:  Adrian Bawtree,  Nicholas Wearne
    Conductor:  David Newsholme
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canterbury Cathedral Choir
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Finzi & Howells: Mid-Century Masterworks / Adelmann, Phillips, All Saints' Choir
    Label: Gothic Records   Catalog: 49307 Release Date: 01/19/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gerald Finzi,  Herbert Howells
    Performer:  Craig Phillips,  Ashely Hoffman,  Michael Lichtenauer,  Jay Tuttle  ... 
    Conductor:  Dale Adelmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  All Saints Choir
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    Nostos: Tes Mousikes / Istad, Cal State Fullerton University Singers
    Label: Yarlung Records   Catalog: YAR80173 Release Date: 11/10/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arvo Pärt,  Knut Nystedt,  Eriks Esenvalds,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Istad
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California State University Fullerton Singers
    CD: $19.99
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  • 9.
    Durufle & Howells: Requiems / Scott, Saint Thomas Choir of Men & Boys
    Label: Resonus Classics   Catalog: 10200 Release Date: 10/20/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Herbert Howells,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Maurice Duruflé
    Performer:  Frederick Teardo,  Myron Lutzke,  Richard Lippold,  Kirsten Sollek
    Conductor:  John Scott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Thomas Choir of Men & Boys
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  • 10.
    Silence & Music / McCreesh, Gabrieli Consort
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 490 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort
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  • 11.
    Christmas Presence / The King's Singers
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 497 Release Date: 09/01/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Orlando de Lassus,  Michael Praetorius,  William Byrd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 12.
    Like as the Hart / Quinney, New College Oxford Choir
    Label: Novum   Catalog: 1392 Release Date: 07/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Ockeghem,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Thomas Tallis,  John Taverner  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Quinney,  Daniel Edgar,  Gabriel Amherst,  Jean Paterson  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Quinney
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford New College Choir
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    The Complete Argo Recordings / The Choir of St. John's College Cambridge, Guest
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4831252 Release Date: 06/23/2017   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Otto Goldschmidt,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Alastair Roberts,  Peter White,  George Guest,  Richard Lewis  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Brass  ... 
    CD: $148.49
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  • 14.
    Mater ora filium: Music for Epiphany / Ross, Choir of Clare College Cambridge
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907653 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Orlando de Lassus,  Traditional,  John Sheppard,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Papadopoulos
    Conductor:  Graham Ross
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Clare College Choir
    CD: $19.99
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  • 15.
    Arundel Experience / Eadon
    Label: Willowhayne Records   Catalog: 43 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Herbert Howells,  Louis Vierne  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Eadon
    CD: $18.99
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  • 16.
    Carols from Chelsea / Vann, Orford, Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 0161 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Henry John Gauntlett,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  James Orford,  Eloise Irving,  Thomas Stoddart,  Angus McPhee  ... 
    Conductor:  William Vann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chelsea Royal Hospital Chapel Choir
    On sale! $18.99
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  • 17.
    Ethereal Voices / Priddy, Texas Boys Choir
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 51318 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Wood,  Herbert Howells,  Anonymous,  William Byrd  ... 
    Conductor:  S. Bryan Priddy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Texas Boys Choir
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    English Visionaries / Spicer, Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 0159 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst,  Herbert Howells
    Performer:  Nicholas Morris,  Victoria Adams,  Elizabeth Adams,  Nicola Starkie  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Spicer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir
    CD: $18.99
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  • 19.
    Christmas 101
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002507302 Release Date: 09/23/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Traditional,  John Francis Wade,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Performer:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Simon Preston,  Harvey Alan,  David Corkhill  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  John Rutter,  Sir Neville Marriner,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Adeste Fideles: Christmas Carols from Her Majesty's Chapel Royal
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 460 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Elisabeth Poston,  Henry John Gauntlett,  John Tavener  ... 
    Conductor:  Huw Tregelles Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chapel Royal Choir
    On sale! $17.99
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  • 21.
    David Heller: Organist
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 971 Release Date: 08/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Cook,  Johann Pachelbel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  David Heller
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 22.
    Evensong Live 2016 / Cleobury, Choir of King's College
    Label: King's College Choir   Catalog: 0015 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Hubert Parry,  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Tom Hopkins,  Tom Etheridge,  Tom Pickard,  Benjamin Sheen  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Tom Etheridge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  King's Voices
    CD: $14.99
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  • 23.
    The Aeolian Organ at Duke University Chapel / Jacobson
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186577 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Herbert Howells,  André Fleury,  Edwin Lemare  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Jacobson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amalgam Brass Ensemble
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  • 24.
    Rubbra: The Complete Chamber Music & Songs with Harp / Chadwell, Perrett
    Label: Lyrita Recorded Edition - Nimb   Catalog: 353 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edmund Rubbra,  Lennox Berkeley,  Herbert Howells
    Performer:  Tracey Chadwell,  Danielle Perrett,  Timothy Gill
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Howells: Collegium Regale / Layton, Choir of Trinity College
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68105 Release Date: 04/01/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Herbert Howells
    Performer:  Owain Park,  Jamie Roberts,  Eleanor Kornas
    Conductor:  Stephen Layton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Choir of Trinity College
    Recommendation
    CD: $21.99
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