Born in Hulme, Manchester on 2 November 1880, John Foulds was the son of one of the Hallé Orchestra's bassoonists and was mostly self-taught as a composer. In some ways ahead of his time, he used quarter tones in the 1890s and some of his later music anticipates that of Messiaen and minimalism. His ambitious and exploratory music [listen] was often coloured by the music of the East, where he went travelling, and it was in Calcutta, whilst working on his dream of creating a synthesis of the music of East and West, that he died suddenly of Cholera on 25 April 1939.
Foulds was all but forgotten after his death, but Malcolm Macdonald, editor of Tempo magazine, came across Foulds' scores in the British Library and from 1974 campaigned to have the music performed and recorded, getting results only gradually [listen].
A selection of M&V articles about John Foulds
Bizarre Perception - Alistair Hinton discusses a recent article on English music by David Hamilton
Appropriate Temperament - Gordon Rumson replies to Patric Standford's article on keys and the decline of tonality
CD Spotlight. Swimming against the tide - Music by John Foulds, reviewed by Rex Harley. '... in performance terms, everything about this disc is excellent ...'