Dead Socialist Watch, #256

Rutland Boughton, socialist composer, born in Aylesbury, 23 January 1878, died in Barnes, 25 January 1960. Achieved success with Midnight, a choral setting of words by Edward Carpenter in 1909; founder of the Glastonbury music festival, which ran from 1914 to 1926; and composer of music-dramas, often inspired by Arthurian mythology and Wagnerian example: The Immortal Hour, Bethlehem, The Round Table, The Birth of Arthur, Alkestis and The Queen of Cornwall. He joined the Communist Party for the first time in 1926, and left for the last time thirty years later. Hyperion occasionally releases recordings of his work, though I haven’t heard any of them.

0 thoughts on “Dead Socialist Watch, #256”

  1. Hi Chris,

    Glad you included RB here, though perhaps it was wise to omit the fact that one of his patrons in the late ’20s was the Marchioness of Londonderry, whose views were, erm, somewhat controversial. _The Immortal Hour_ was by far his biggest success, with over 500 performances between 1922 and 1926. It’s attractive enough if Celtic mythology is your thing, but is unlikely to appeal to anyone who prefers opera to possess the faintest degree of realism. (And I have a colleague who admits that he can’t listen to the final chorus of _The Immortal Hour_ without thinking of the theme music to _The Archers_…)

    Cheers,
    Aidan.

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