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Arthur Somervell (1863 – 1937)
Sir Arthur Somervell (1863 – 1937) was an English composer, born in Windermere in the beautiful English Lake District, just south of the Scottish border.
Somervell was educated at Uppingham School in Rutland and then at King’s College, Cambridge. Here he studied composition under Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. He studied composition over the next six years at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and the Royal College of Music in London. He under Sir Hubert Parry and Friedrich Kiel.
Appointed professor at the Royal College of Music in 1894, he conducted his own works at the Leeds and Birmingham Festivals. He was appointed Inspector of Music at the Board of Education and Scottish Education Department in 1901, and in June the following year received the degree Doctor of Music from the University of Cambridge.
He had success with his choral works including The Forsaken Merman (1895), Intimations of Immortality (1907) and The Passion of Christ (1914). However, he is mostly remembered for his song cycles: Tennyson’s Maud (1898) and A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad (1904). His adaptation of Handels “Silent Worship” featured in the 1996 film of Jane Austin’s Emma.
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