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Edmund Rubbra


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Edmund Rubbra (23 May 1901–14 February 1986) was a British composer. He composed both instrumental and vocal works for soloists, chamber groups and full choruses and orchestras. He was highly respected by fellow musicians and was at the peak of his public popularity in the mid-20th century. The most famous of his works are his eleven symphonies. Although he was composing at a time when many people wrote twelve-tone music, he decided not to compose in this style. Instead he devised his own distinctive method of composition. His later works were less popular with the concert-going public, although he never lost the respect of his fellow-professionals. His music is, therefore, less well-known today than would have been expected from his early popularity. His compositions are full of drama, with an improvisatory feel.

Edmund Rubbra was born in Northampton. His parents encouraged him in his music, but they were not professional musicians, though his mother had a good voice and sang in the church choir, and his father played the piano a little, by ear. Rubbra’s artistic and sensitive nature were apparent from early on. He remembered waking one winter’s morning when he was about three or four years old, and noticing something different about the light in his bedroom; there was light where there was usually shadow, and vice versa. When his father came into the room, Edmund asked him why this was.

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  • CosmicPi

    What Kraehek said x2.

    25 Nov 2013 Reply
  • relax2music

    Edmund Rubbra: Lyric Movement op.24 (1929) -

    17 Feb 2013 Reply
  • elnimio

    viola concerto - too beautiful

    8 Jan 2011 Reply
  • elnimio

    I like

    8 Jan 2011 Reply
  • arcaneaether

    great comment, KraeheK. I agree fully. The molto vivace of his Viola Concerto is stunning, but also, compositionally...very unusual.

    18 Nov 2010 Reply
  • KraeheK

    This cool guy needs a shout. Not just a romantic or a rhapsodic, he had a stunning original style. No concessions to "spiritual" modernism, nor slavishly regressive. Just creative, provocative and genial - no wonder he's unpopular.

    8 Jan 2010 Reply

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