British composer Edmund Rubbra was born in Northampton on 23 May 1901 and studied privately with Cyril Scott and then at University College, Reading, where his teachers included Gustav Holst, and at the Royal College of Music.
Called up for army service in 1941, Rubbra ran a small orchestra and also formed a piano trio with William Pleeth and Joshua Glazier to entertain the troops. After the war, he became a Roman Catholic, and was invited to lecture at Oxford University. He was held in high esteem in the 1940s, with his music being programmed alongside that of Elgar, Kodály and Vaughan Williams at the 1948 Three Choirs Festival.
He retired from Oxford in 1968 but continued teaching at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and continued to write his melodically inspired music, starting a twelfth symphony in 1985, shortly before he died on 14 February 1986 in Gerrards Cross.
Rubbra's eleven completed symphonies have all been recorded, with a complete cycle from Richard Hickox on Chandos. His choral works are mostly based on religious or philosophical texts, and there's also a diversity of chamber music, with his quartets all recorded on the Dutton Epoch label, although he wrote little for his own instrument, the piano.
A selection of M&V articles about Edmund Rubbra
CD Spotlight. Musically Engaging - English recorder works played by Jill Kemp, heard by Patric Standford. '... a virtuoso performer ...'
CD Spotlight. Fifty Years - Celebrating Lyrita's recordings of British music, by George Balcombe. '... a meticulous reproduction of orchestral sound ...'
Bizarre Perception - Alistair Hinton discusses a recent article on English music by David Hamilton
Ensemble. Playful rapport - A recital by Harriet Adie and Jessica Burroughs, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight - Reflective modality. '... a notable collection of songs in beautifully controlled and devoted performances ...' Listening to a recital of music by Rubbra and Vaughan Williams, with Patric Standford
CD Spotlight - Impeccable ensemble. 'Christopher Robinson demonstrates that his team is at the forefront of our church choirs ...' Rubbra's church music, with Robert Anderson
CD Spotlight - Fresh and stylish. 'Richard Edgar-Wilson gives musicianly interpretations of all works, admirably partnered by the Coull Quartet ...' Songs for tenor, with Trevor Hold