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Rutland Boughton


Boughton at Glastonbury, circa 1915
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Rutland Boughton (Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire January 23, 1878 – London, January 25, 1960) was an English composer who became well known in the early 20th century as a composer of opera and choral music.

A pupil of Charles Villiers Stanford and Walford Davies, Boughton’s output included three symphonies, several concertos, part-songs, songs, chamber music and opera (which he called “Music Drama” after Wagner). His best known work was the opera The Immortal Hour. His Bethlehem (1915), based on the Coventry Nativity Play and notable for its choral arrangements of traditional Christmas carols also became very popular with choral societies world-wide.
Other operas by Boughton were: The Birth of Arthur (1913), The Round Table (1916), The Lily Maid (1934), Avalon and Galahad (1945) (all four from the Arthurian cycle of music dramas), The Moon Maiden (1919), Alkestis (1922), and The Queen of Cornwall (1924).

Through the Boughton Trust (see below), many of his major works have been recorded and are available on disc including The Immortal Hour, Bethlehem, Symphony No 1 “Oliver Cromwell”, Symphony No 2, Symphony No 3, Oboe Concerto No 1, string quartets and various chamber pieces and songs.

In addition to his compositions, Boughton is remembered for his attempt to create an “English Bayreuth” at Glastonbury, establishing the first series of Glastonbury Festivals . (They ran with enormous success from 1914 until 1926). From 1927 until his death in 1960, he lived at Kilcot near Newent, Gloucestershire.

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