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Ivor Gurney (1880-1937)


Ivor Gurney's tragically curtailed career robbed England of a huge

compositional talent that was set to reach high artistic maturity. His

war-time experiences left him too scarred to develop further as a composer

and we can now only speculate as to what he might have produced had he lived

in full mental health. A poet as well as composer, Gurney's songs display

all of the hallmarks of great art song composing: from sensitive choice of

poetry and naturalness of musical setting, through to the ability to

present the singer with a work which demands interpretive powers of a high

degree. Although his songs appear to revel in a pure English folk vein, they

have, in fact, more in common with the German lied (art song) tradition of

Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Wolf in their close musical examination of

the texts set.

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