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Full text of "Granville Bantock;"

Living JWdsters of Music 

GRANVILLE BANTOCR 




ANNEXH. O. ANDERTON 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
AT LOS ANGELES 




LIVING MASTERS OF MUSIC 
EDITED BY ROSA NEWMARCH 



GRANVILLE BANTOCK 




<;KA\\ II.I.E BANTOCK 
1914 

Photo, by H'alter Scott 




BY H. ORSMOND ANDERTON 



LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD 
NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMXV 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BV 
W. BRENDON AND SON, LTD.. PLYMOUTH 



MU 

4-iD 



PREFACE 

( MANY hold that a man's friends are not fit to write his 

^ biography because they are too partial. On the other 

I hand, a man's enemies are certainly not fit for the task : 

j they are too prejudiced. " Impartial " people only, it 

is said, can do the work properly. But these Minoses 

can only fit themselves for the undertaking by entering 

5 into sympathetic relations with their subject, i.e. by 

< becoming his friends, and so ceasing to be impartial. 

I And thus this singular argument ends in a vicious 

circle. 

Why all this solemn pretence ? Why not frankly 
\ acknowledge friends in the first instance and judge 
T according to the result ? Only by sympathy can one 
man understand another ; and the greatest dramatic 
poet is he who can get inside another man's skin, see 
through his eyes, feel with his heart, and think with his 
brain : only so through sympathy can he realise 
and show forth his characters. 

Bantock and I are friends, it is true. I have received 
many kindnesses at his hands, and I am pleased to own 
it. I do so frankly, and my readers are welcome to the 
knowledge of the fact. He and I are in many ways 
opposed : our philosophical views, our outlook on life, 



vi GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

differ : our friends, in fact, often say that we agree in 
nothing : but we agree to differ, and we do so friendly. 
Biography of a living man is, of course, subject to 
many reticencies. There are personal matters that 
should not be public property : and the affairs of others 
are often involved and act as a restriction. Much, 
however, can be given that is of interest : and this, 
I hope, will be found in these pages. 

H. O. A. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

PREFACE ....... v 

CHAPTER 

I. INTRODUCTORY : THE SETTING OF THE PICTURE i 

II. EARLY LIFE UP TO ENTRANCE AT THE ROYAL 

ACADEMY OF Music . . . .14 

III. ROYAL ACADEMY OF Music, 1889-93 . . 20 

IV. DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7. .... 28 
V. NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900. ... 43 

VI. BIRMINGHAM, PART I . . . . .68 

Midland Institute, 1900 Conducting, 
etc. Songs, 'Cello Pieces Greek Plays, 
Choral Works, Omar, 1906-9. 

VII. BIRMINGHAM, PART II .... 104 

University Work Birmingham Philhar- 
monic Society Competition Festival Work 
Adjudicating, etc. Unaccompanied Choral 
Music Part -Songs, Atalanta, Vanity of 
Vanities Instrumental Work, String Orches- 
tras, Dante and Beatrice, Fifine, etc. The 
Great God Pan. 

VIII. PERSONAL MATTERS AND TRAITS . .140 

LIST OF WORKS ..... 147 
WORKS BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS VOLUME . 156 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PORTRAIT, 1914 (Walter Scott) . . Frontispiece 

FACSIMILE LAST PAGE OF OMAR . . p age 93 

PORTRAIT, 1904 (J. Russell & Sons) . . 104 

FACSIMILE PAGE OF PAN . . . . 131 

BROAD MEADOW (Reginald Haines) . . 141 

MANUSCRIPT AND SIGNATURE . . . , 16 



GRANVILLE BANTOCK 



GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY. THE SETTING OF THE PICTURE 

To one travelling through a forest it is sometimes 
difficult to judge which are the tallest trees. One must 
get away from the over-arching roof of leafage, away 
from the glades and alleys, and the fretwork of light 
and shade, to some open space if possible to a piece of 
rising ground whence one can see the woodland spread 
out at one's feet, and note the mightier trees, perhaps 
a pair of giant oaks or beeches, that stand out above 
their fellows. And in the same way, if the ordinary 
observer to-day were asked to name the largest person- 
alities in the musical worldof England, leaving outDelius, 
who is now more Continental than English, he would 
perhaps find it difficult at first to answer. Ask a foreigner, 
however, and the answer would come without hesitation 
Elgar and Bantock. They are the two outstanding 
figures, and complementary to each other, though they 
do not cover the whole range of the English spirit. There 
is none of that sweet delicacy of woodland charm which 
is so common among the poets, in either of these : and 
there is not the spirituality, or the peculiar seraphic 



2 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

blitheness that we find in the best of Walford Davies's 
work, or again in Byrd's. But they do, in a sense, 
supplement and complete each other. Elgar's outlook 
is largely one might say chiefly religious, and 
especially Catholic. The Dream of Gerontius is full of 
intense religious fervour ; and such works as The 
Apostles and The Kingdom, though far behind that in 
essential quality, show the same devotional attitude of 
mind. The symphonies, too, are Western in their type 
of mentality. The idea of the first the return of man's 
spirit to faith and strength after long battling with the 
difficulties and doubts of life is cast in the mould of 
the West. Another aspect of Elgar's mind is shown in 
the Pomp and Circumstance marches, and the Froissart 
and Cockaigne overtures a glorification of, and exulta- 
tion in, this external visible life, which essentially and 
typically is characteristic of our homme moyen sensuel. 
On the whole, too, Elgar's music has a peculiar nervous 
excitement which seems to arise from a somewhat 
feverishly neurotic temperament : this being the case 
with The Music-Makers and the symphonies to a re- 
markable extent. 

With Bantock all is different. His outlook is rational- 
istic, and largely Eastern, though this latter phase is 
rather less pronounced since the completion of Omar. 
He hates all pomp, and circumstance, and ceremony, 
with a perfect hatred. Instead of Imperial or Corona- 
tion marches, he gives us a Labour March. His music 
shows none of that nervous excitement of which I have 
spoken. So far from the devotionalism of the Catholic 
Church, we find in him not infrequently that note of 
arraignment of the very nature of things, that defiance 
of Providence, which is so strong in Shelley, and which 
Fitzgerald has imported into, or greatly intensified in, 



INTRODUCTORY 3 

his translation of the Riibdiydt of Omar Khayyam, as, 
for instance : 

O Thou, who man of baser earth didst make, 
And even with Paradise devise the snake, 

For all the sin wherewith the face of man 
Is blackened, man's forgiveness give and take ! 

(LXXXI.) 

Or again : 

Ah Love ! could you and I with Him conspire 
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire, 
Would we not shatter it to bits, and then 
Remould it nearer to the heart's desire ! 

(XCIX.) 

At the same time it is to be remarked that in Shelley 
and in all such writers there is a subconscious instinct 
of appeal to some more remote power or ideal. There 
is an ideal Order of the Universe, they feel, in which the 
actual visible order is condemned. In Shelley, the Zeus 
whom Prometheus defies is at last dethroned by the 
ordinance of this overruling justice : and in ^Eschylus 
there was some harmonisation, though we know not 
exactly what. Though they think they arraign the 
nature of things, they unconsciously stultify the verdict. 
More terrible is Shakespeare's indictment in King Lear / 
but that was a phase through which he passed to the 
tranquillity of his last period. Bantock dwells upon 
and intensifies such passages in a way that makes his 
own sympathetic attitude clear. A striking instance is 
the close of Omar, II, where the first of the above- 
quoted passages brings this section of the work to a 
large climax, and where this defiant protest is thundered 
out with all the forces at command on a chord of Dfr, 
the trumpets blaring out against it a C, and the whole 
ending with this rebellious discord. 

On Bantock's bias for Oriental colouring and ways of 



4 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

thought it is hardly necessary to dwell much ; this 
aspect of his genius is already a commonplace. The use 
of Eastern scales and melodic phrases, the sympathetic 
treatment of the imagery of Omar, in which the Sultan, 
the Angel of Death, the Hand of Fate writing human 
lives, the shadow-dance of humanity, the Beloved, the 
garden of roses, and the wine, are the chief figures 
employed his choice of these subjects and long- 
self-identification with them are sufficient to show his 
essential kinship with this aspect of the Oriental mind. 
And yet there is of course a strong vein of the West in 
him. He is a curious mixture what one might call 
an optimistic pessimist. His ultimate views of life and 
destiny are those of Omar pessimistic ; but his more 
vigorous Western organisation gives him a zest for the 
life that hovers for an instant in the jaws of oblivion, 
and brings him to the typically pagan position of Horace 
carpe diem : or, as it is put in nobler form in the work 
which he has set comparatively lately : 

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might : 
For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, 
in the grave whither thou goest. 

(Eccles. ix. 10.) 

There is another contrast between the two musicians, 
that will perhaps be of interest. Elgar's symphonies 
and such works deal with ideas, but, if one may say it, 
in the somewhat abstract manner of the philosopher 
as a sort of artistic Pure Reason. Bantock always 
treats such matters from the poet's point of view. He 
will set Meredith : or he takes a subject such as Brown- 
ing's Fifine for orchestral treatment, where the problems 
of human relationships are veiled beneath the move- 
ments of living, breathing, human personalities of the 
poet who feels the need of a wider mental range even 



INTRODUCTORY 5 

though it lead him into the snares, the wife who foolishly 
tries to confine him to her own small though noble 
circle of life, the butterfly figure of the dancer with its 
allurement and the consequent catastrophe. Bantock, 
like Browning, is absorbed by this great question ; but, 
also like Browning, he shapes the matter out by the 
drama of throbbing human creatures goes down into 
the bustle, and noise, and tawdry vulgarity of " the 
fun of the fair," and draws his views of life from its 
rough and tumble : while Elgar, on the contrary, views 
it, and moralises on it like a priest, or a philosopher aloof 
in his study. Bantock's figures glow vividly on his 
canvas : Elgar hardly has figures save that of a solitary 
muser. 

Of this pictorial quality in Bantock's music one need 
not say much. Sometimes it is little more than surface 
painting ; but in other cases he seems to penetrate to 
the heart of the Idea, and work from within outwards. 
To those who have not felt it in such instances as the 
figure of Life as a Caravan stumbling through the 
desert, or the Shadow-dance, nothing that one could 
say would much avail. Of all this Elgar has nothing : 
he writes, as I have said, either as a philosopher or as 
a maker of " abstract music," whatever that phrase 
may cover. 

It will thus be seen that the two are really in a true 
sense complementary, as well as being the two out- 
standing figures in our musical art of to-day. At the 
York Festival of 1910 both had works performed ; and 
before the gathering broke up the two were photo- 
graphed together. Men's actions sometimes have a 
significance deeper than they know ; and we may see 
in this picture a piece of unconscious symbolism which 
is not without a very real significance. It is hardly 



6 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

necessary to labour the antithesis further ; what I have 
said will perhaps prove suggestive to the reader of other 
points of contrast. It will now be more profitable to 
turn to the surroundings into which these two figures, 
and especially of course our own immediate subject, 
were born, which moulded them to some extent, and 
which they are helping in their turn to mould. 

During the years 1884-9, when Bantock's interest 
in music awoke and kindled into life, musical conditions 
in England were very different from what they are now. 
There was less popular interest in music of any high 
value, none of that widespread democratic movement 
which is to-day its most remarkable feature the Musi- 
cal Competition Festivals. Music in the provinces was 
hibernating. There were no orchestras out of London 
save the Halle Orchestra at Manchester. There were 
choral societies which practised such works as The 
Holy City, The Wreck of the Hesperus, and The Ancient 
Mariner, together, of course, with the Messiah, St. 
Paul, and Elijah. In London and the suburbs there 
were similar choral societies giving similar works, but 
adding others such as The Creation, Schubert's masses, 
and Mozart's masses (especially the Twelfth, which is 
not his), and a few more modern works. Barnby was 
doing good work at the Albert Hall, where he produced 
Dvorak's Stabat Mater for the first time in England, in 
1883. Prout's Borough of Hackney Choral Association, 
too, were cultivating the wilderness of the East End, 
and performing music of the highest class : and modern 
works were slowly filtering into the country by other 
channels. Bach was gradually becoming known : 
not so very many years before, anyone ordering a 
copy of the Wohltemperirte Klavier had to wait till 
it could be procured from Germany. In 1871 the 



INTRODUCTORY 7 

Matthew Passion was performed at Westminster Abbey, 
and about the same time the annual performances at 
St. Paul's were established. The Philharmonic Society 
had for years been doing good work, performing the 
best music in existence ; and the season of 1855 had 
been conducted by Wagner, who had somewhat startled 
them out of their Mendelssohn cult. The celebrated 
Popular Concerts at St. James's Hall reached their 
thousandth performance in 1887, and were a powerful 
influence in spreading a knowledge of chamber-music 
of the highest class, as well as in setting a high standard 
of performance. A galaxy of players appeared there 
Joachim, Halle, Norman Neruda (afterwards Lady 
Halle), Piatti, Ries (2nd violin), Zerbini (viola), Mme. 
ScS'Umann, and in fact, all the principal artists of the 
day. At the same time it must be remarked that 
although there were by now many English musicians 
of high attainments, public favour was unduly concen- 
trated upon these foreign singers and players a fact 
which retarded our own musical renaissance. Intelli- 
gent interest had been awakened as to the work of the 
Madrigal Era, and the Musical Antiquarian Society had 
issued in score many works by the best writers of that 
period. Chappell, too, had made his very valuable 
collection of folk-songs, Music of the Olden Time, which 
is still one of our most important sources for such 
things. Connected with both these undertakings, and 
an ardent worker, was Macfarren, of whom I shall 
speak in a moment. 

The Triennial Festivals played, at that time, a useful 
part, and gave opportunities for works to be heard in 
the provinces, which would otherwise have been im- 
possible. Unfortunately, from a musical point of view, 
although some new works were performed and a few 



8 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

commissioned under these conditions, these festivals 
not being primarily musical, but charitable events, 
and thus being under the management of non-musicians 
tended to encourage a stagnant state of things ; and 
the works more heard than any others were money- 
earners such as Messiah and Elijah. Of course, one 
must not lay the whole blame on organisers : the public 
demand is a condition which has to be reckoned with. 
But organisers have some function of direction, and 
this they abdicated. They cared chiefly, as Plato says, 
to tickle the tastes and fancies of the monster : they 
gave little encouragement to English musicians : the 
errors of each reacted on the other : and the result 
was a musical morass, or quagmire, which is only now 
being drained and cultivated. 

Among those who had done most thus to " stub 
Burnaby Waste " was G. A. Macfarren, who at the 
time of which we are speaking was Principal of the 
R.A.M., and Professor of Cambridge University. He 
was born in 1813, and his long and strenuous life was 
spent in teaching and writing. His Chevy Chace over- 
ture was produced in 1836, and was performed later in 
Leipsic by Mendelssohn. His John the Baptist came in 
1873, and King David in 1883. But his less pretentious 
work, such as May Day, with its rustic English atmo- 
sphere, and some part-songs, such as The Three Fishers, 
are perhaps more essentially valuable. His support of 
the Mendelssohn cult seems to have been somewhat 
excessive ; but his later growth into an admiration for 
Bach, and his preaching of the Bach gospel, were a 
valuable force on the right side. At the time of which 
we are speaking his harmonic theories held the field. 
They were coherent, and brought order and perspicuity 
where previously had been mere empiricism. They had 



INTRODUCTORY 9 

the defects of a system, however. Neither nature nor 
art can be got into a bottle : and though an aid at first 
the system became later a restraint that prevented free 
growth. The present teaching methods are, however, 
largely founded upon him, and through him on Day. 
He died in 1887, and was succeeded at the R.A.M. by 
Mackenzie, at Cambridge by Stanford. 

Another prominent figure was that of Sullivan, who 
was born in 1842. By this time (1889) the stream of 
Savoy operas was slackening, though performances 
went on merrily. Pinafore came in 1878, Pirates in 
1880, Patience in 1881, and lolanthe in 1882 ; and 
however we may regard these, they were at least a 
typical product of the time we are considering, and so 
must not be passed over. The Martyr of Antioch ap- 
peared in 1881. The great but ill-managed experiment 
in national opera, beginning and almost ending 
with the production of Ivanhoe in 1891, was a severe 
disappointment to many who had hoped for the es- 
tablishment of a permanent opera in London. The 
Golden Legend followed in 1898, and in 1900 Sullivan 
died. 

A personality of to-day, who was then one of the more 
living forces, is Parry, born in 1848. His music to 
Aristophanes' Birds was written for the production at 
Cambridge in 1883. Blest Pair of Sirens came in 1887, 
and Judith in 1888. In 1894 he succeeded Grove as 
Director of the Royal College of Music, which had 
been founded in 1883 ; and in 1900 succeeded Stainer 
as Professor at Oxford. His books on music are 
valuable. The Art of Music appeared in 1893, and 
more lately there has been a good one on Bach. 

A man of great promise, and with a growing reputa- 
tion, was Goring Thomas, who was born in 1851, and 



io GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

studied under Sullivan and Parry. His early opera, 
The Light of the Harem, appeared in 1879 ; the cantata, 
The Sun-Worshippers, at Norwich in 1881 ; the opera 
Esmeralda in 1883, at Co vent Garden ; and Nadeshda 
(also at Co vent Garden) in 1885. Both of these attained 
success in Germany. Thomas's hopeful career was cut 
short in 1892. 

The next whose name must be mentioned, and who 
at the period of which we are speaking formed one of 
a sort of triumvirate, the other two being Parry and 
Mackenzie, is Stanford, born in 1852. He studied in 
Germany, and his opera, The Veiled Prophet, was pro- 
duced at Hanover in 1881. In 1885 he became con- 
ductor of the Bach Choir in succession to Goldschmidt. 
In 1883, on the opening of the Royal College of Music, 
he became professor of composition there, and succeeded 
Macfarren at Cambridge in 1887. His German training 
has not been altogether to the good ; but in some 
works he has broken away from this influence to a 
considerable extent, and the choral ballad, The Revenge, 
produced at Leeds in 1896, made an instant appeal. 
His Irish descent has had considerable influence on his 
work, and the Voyage of Maeldune, the opera Shamus 
O'Brien, and some Irish songs, are among its fruits. 
Of the second we shall hear again in connection with 
Bantock's own life. 

The third of this triumvirate is Mackenzie, who was 
born in 1847. He, too, was trained in Germany, and 
then entered the Royal Academy of Music as a violin 
student under Sainton. Jason appeared in 1882, but 
his larger reputation began with the opera Colomba in 
1883 ; and this led to the Rose of Sharon (Norwich, 
1884). About the same time appeared the orchestral 
ballad, La belle Dame sans Merci, founded on Keats's 



INTRODUCTORY n 

poem, and perhaps Mackenzie's most valuable orches- 
tral work. The Troubadour appeared in 1886 ; and in 
1888 Mackenzie was elected to succeed Macfarren at the 
Royal Academy of Music. 

When Bantock entered this Institution in 1889, there- 
fore, Mackenzie was Principal, as now : Parry was soon 
to be Principal at the Royal College, as now : and 
Stanford occupied his present position on the staff. 
So that for twenty years and more these three posts 
and one of them for thirty years have been in the 
same hands : a fact which gives food for thought. 

Another of this generation, with whom Bantock came 
into close relations, since he studied under him at the 
Royal Academy of Music, was Corder, born in 1852. 
He won the Mendelssohn Scholarship at the Royal 
Academy of Music, and went to Cologne to study under 
Hiller. His opera Nordisa was produced at Covent 
Garden in 1887 ; and the Sword of Argantyr at the Leeds 
Festival of 1889. He is the author of the translations 
of Wagner's operas, of a book on Instrumentation, etc. 

Of the younger men, more nearly Bantock's con- 
temporaries, one need say little, as their influence, in 
this earlier period, except when he came into personal 
contact with them, was slighter. Elgar was born in 
1857. He was to have gone to Germany to study, but 
the plan, perhaps fortunately, proved impossible. He 
is thus an English product, and a provincial one, since 
he comes from Worcester where he remained till, in 1877, 
he went to London and took violin lessons of Pollitzer. 
He then returned to Worcester and became an organist. 
His larger reputation was delayed till after Bantock's 
student days were over. The Enigma Variations ap- 
peared in 1899 ; the Froissart overture in 1900. In 
the same year came his great achievement, Geronlius ; 



12 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

in 1901, Pomp and Circumstance ; and in 1903, The 
Apostles. 

A group of promising students Bennett (now 
organist at Lincoln Cathedral), Ed. German, and Stuart 
Macpherson had already left the Royal Academy of 
Music when Bantock entered, the last-named remaining 
on the staff as professor. McCunn, too, had left the 
Royal College of Music (resigning his scholarship in 
1886), and had produced The Land of the Mountain 
and the Flood, by which his name became widely known, 
in 1887. The cantata Lord Ullin's Daughter came in 
1888 ; and The Lay of the Last Minstrel at Glasgow in 
December, 1888, and the Crystal Palace February, 

1889, the year of Bantock's entrance at the Royal 
Academy of Music. Another man with whom Ban- 
tock was thrown into contact was Wm. Wallace, who 
was born in 1860, and studied for two terms at the 
Royal Academy of Music in 1889, his scena, The Lord of 
Darkness being produced at one of their concerts in 

1890. His symphonic poem The Passing of Beatrice 
was brought out at the Crystal Palace in 1892 by 
Manns, who thought highly of his powers and did a good 
deal for him. 

For a fuller realisation of the conditions at this 
time, it should be remembered that though Wagner 
had died in 1883 the controversies that raged about his 
name were still violent. The great Wagner Festival 
held at the Albert Hall in May, 1877 (Wagner and 
Richter conducting), although not a success financially, 
had stimulated and popularised the interest in Wagner 
in this country, and had led to discussions on musical 
art-principles, and to a more vivid artistic life generally. 
The Richter concerts, making Wagner propaganda one 
of their main features, were a flourishing institution. 



INTRODUCTORY 13 

Walter Bache's concerts, too, championing Liszt's 
cause, had prepared the way for the master himself; 
and at his visit to London in 1886 he was received with 
enthusiasm. The adherents of Brahms were crying up 
their hero and decrying Wagner as such people usually 
do. To such minds it seems impossible to be loyal to 
one man without running down another. It is unin- 
telligible to them that both may be great though in 
different ways and on different planes; and that one 
order of mind will necessarily admire one, while another 
type must find its mental nourishment elsewhere. Into 
these controversies Bantock plunged eagerly, and, as 
will be supposed by all who have known him later, he 
violently espoused the cause of the moderns. Wagner 
and Liszt, as iconoclasts, appealed to his pioneer in- 
stincts. And Wagner, full of life and colour, and the 
passion of living, enlisted his sympathies far more than 
Brahms, whose somewhat cold, grey, passionless what 
one might call abstract and philosophical music, left 
Bantock cold and unresponsive. 

Such is a hasty sketch of the conditions into which 
Bantock was thrown at his entrance into the arena of 
his future life and labours : we will now give a rapid 
outline of his own early life up to his initiation at the 
Royal Academy of Music. 



CHAPTER II 

EARLY LIFE UP TO ENTRANCE AT THE ROYAL 
ACADEMY OF MUSIC 

GRANVILLE RANSOME BANTOCK was born on the 7th 
August, 1868, his father being the distinguished surgeon 
and gynaecologist, George Granville Bantock, M.D., 
F.R.C.S.EDIN., who was at one time President of the 
Gynaecological Society. During the period when Lister's 
method of using the carbolic spray in surgery became 
fashionable, Dr. Bantock and Lawson Tait held out 
strongly against the innovation, insisting that wounds 
did not heal under carbolic influence, and that all that 
was needed was absolute cleanliness. Although he 
suffered considerably in his practice for many years, Dr. 
Bantock refused to give way to what he considered a 
mistake. Lister, at the International Medical Congress 
at Berlin, said : " Dr. Bantock, whose remarkable series 
of successful ovariotomies may seem to justify his 
practice, does not, I believe, prepare his ligatures 
antiseptically. The success achieved by Bantock and 
Tait proves a stumbling-block to some minds." Dr. 
Bantock's opposition has been justified : his views have 
finally prevailed : the carbolic spray has been aban- 
doned : clean water only is now used : and what is 
currently called Listerism is nearer to Bantock's practice 
than to Lister's own early gospel. May we not see in 
this dogged persistence in the face of overwhelming 
odds on the part of the father, one of the roots from 

14 



EARLY LIFE 15 

which grew that untiring perseverance which has helped 
the son to his present position ? 

At the time of the boy's birth the family were living 
in Cornwall Road, Westbourne Park. About the age of 
six he went to a preparatory school kept by three ladies, 
in Lancaster Road. Here he remained some three years, 
and then went to Mr. Shapcote's school in Powis Square. 
He was plodding, and a good worker ; his memory was, 
from the first, good ; but as is often the case with men 
built on a large scale, mentally he was not quick or 
brilliant in any way in childhood. He took piano lessons 
from a lady teacher, but hated them, and shirked practice. 

About 1880 the family moved to the house in Gran- 
ville Place with which the doctor is usually associated. 
The boys (the next brother, Leedham, being now 
included) remained for a time at Mr. Shapcote's as 
weekly boarders. The school was given up shortly 
afterwards, however, and they were transferred to Mr. 
Sutton's in Holland Park. 

Although he worked well at his lessons, he was no 
bookworm, and had a healthy boy's love of play which, 
in a London house without garden, was not always easy 
to get. The favourite cricket-pitch was a long passage 
at the top of the house, the noise and racket in which 
were constantly bringing down reproofs from the Olym- 
pians on the heads of the budding champions, consisting 
now of Gran, Leedham, Claude, and, finally, the sister, 
Connie. The usual children's games of course played 
their part ; but the passion for trains seems to have 
had deeper roots than usual and to have appealed 
to some mathematical instinct, which has apparently 
reappeared in still greater force in the next generation. 
The passion for animals, too, which has remained with 
him through life, appeared thus early ; and squirrels, 



16 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

snakes, toads, lizards, white rats, etc., were stowed 
away somehow. His old nurse has described to me 
her disgust when the white rats ran over her at meals. 
As some alleviation of this cramped life, the children 
had friends at Turnham Green, then a country place, 
whither they sometimes went to stay. Here there 
was a large garden where they could play freely. On 
one occasion, while at their games there, Gran got 
a splinter of glass into his little finger. An operation 
was necessary to remove it ; but the finger got drawn 
up, and has never fully recovered. 

About 1884 (cetat. 16) Gran began to take a real 
interest in music, and a liking for his piano lessons. 
This slowly developed into a wish to take up music as 
a profession ; but of this the usual story the doctor 
would not hear, and the boy began to prepare for the 
Indian Civil Service Examinations, first at school, 
and finally under a coach. A physical trouble saved 
the situation. Had Schumann not injured his hand 
we should probably have had one pianist the more, 
and been the poorer by much of his finest work. In 
the present case it was an affection of the eyes that 
intervened like the good fairy in disguise. He was 
examined by a specialist, who found no radical defect, 
and said that it was due to general overwork, and that 
all reading and study must be given up for six months. 
This, as he was now about seventeen, necessitated 
relinquishing the idea of the Indian Civil Service ; 
and he again tried to persuade his father to let him 
adopt music as a profession. The doctor, however, 
was inexorable. His Scottish nature was not very 
readily responsive ; he was somewhat autocratic 
and reserved, being much absorbed in his exacting 
practice ; and the boy was timid of him. In the result, 



EARLY LIFE 17 

after a good deal of uncertainty, he was entered as a 
pupil for chemical engineering at the City and Guilds 
Institute, in South Kensington. 

Here again the parallel with Schumann appears. 
Just as Schumann neglected his law studies for his 
pianoforte practice, so Bantock hating his task of 
filing down six-inch cubes to two-inch cubes, and such 
diversions spent his time at the South Kensington 
Museum over music-scores. Lectures were jilted for 
concerts ; he plunged into the ocean of music as into 
his native element, and became a devoted worshipper 
of Wagner and Liszt in those days the symbols of 
all that was daring and revolutionary in art. He had 
had no teaching at all, beyond his piano lessons, and 
knew none of the shoals and rocks of that ocean of 
music, but he must build his own little craft and go 
a-sailing on wider journeys. There are some songs 
of this period still remaining in MS. The one that 
appears to be the earliest is called Sweet Maid, and 
has mostly an " Alberti-bass," changing towards the 
end into repeated chords ; the harmonisation, too, 
seems to indicate a first attempt. Next comes a set 
called Four Songs, though there are actually five, 
dated December, 1888. When one remembers that 
he had never had a lesson in harmony in his life, one 
wonders more especially at the feeling for harmonisation. 
There are a setting of Goethe's Leise zieht durch mein 
Gemuth (in transl.), a Love Song, Love in May, In the 
Forest, and Heine's Du bist wie eine Blume (also in 
transl.). There is also a Grand Galop that shows a 
distinct idea of plan, having a regular episode, and a 
return with coda and cadenza. Another piano piece 
seems to suggest that he was acquainted with Bach's 
two-part Inventions. 



i8 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

At last the Principal of the Institute sent for him 
and told him he was doing no good, and that his bent 
was evidently for art. Bantock agreed, and begged 
him to see the doctor, and do what he could to persuade 
him of the true state of affairs. Prof. Armstrong 
accordingly wrote to Dr. Bantock, who called to see 
him. Very unwillingly he at last realised the position, 
and allowed Granville to leave the College and take 
some private harmony and counterpoint lessons of Dr. 
Gordon Saunders, at the Trinity College of Music, 
London. These, however, only lasted three months ; after 
which Bantock, finding his desires confirmed by this 
tentative measure, and feeling the necessity for a wider 
and fuller training, succeeded in persuading his parents 
to send him to the Royal Academy. 

During this time he was at work on a Requiem Mass, 
and a symphony, of which last I shall speak in the 
next chapter. The Requiem shows the influence of 
Rossini in the cast of the phrases. I was surprised to 
notice this, as the two writers seem absolutely alien. 
Bantock, however, explains that he went, about the 
time of writing it, to a performance of the Stabat Mater, 
and was much impressed. Another influence is apparent 
that of the Lohengrin Prelude. The work opens with 
a long arpeggio passage on a chord of C, first major and 
then minor, which rises to the extreme treble range, 
descends a little, and then floats away into the heavens. 
A similar passage, followed by an Amen, closes the work, 
evidently symbolising the entering of the soul into its 
rest. There is a distinct feeling for harmonic effect, 
and altogether the mass is a remarkable effort for one 
entirely untaught. The work was never scored. 

I will only mention further (i) a Polonaise for piano, 
which, for a self-taught youth, is certainly good. The 



EARLY LIFE 19 

polonaise rhythm is caught, and there is an intelligible 
plan. And (2) Two Meditations for pianoforte and violin. 
The first is rhythmically alive and full of verve. The 
second is more remarkable, in a way. It shows very 
clearly the influence of Wagner's Trdume, and the 
harmonic freedom of the piece is striking, in an un- 
taught tyro. 

It was about this time, or rather earlier, that I made 
Bantock's acquaintance ; and in the late July and 
early August of this year (1889), he and I went together 
to Bayreuth, where we saw Parsifal and Tristan. We 
were greatly delighted with Niirnberg, and especially 
the Lorenzkirche with its many memories. Returning, 
we came down the Rhine from Mainz to Koln. The 
whole trip was a memorable experience, and one which 
neither of us has forgotten. 

At last the first goal of Bantock's ambition was 
reached, and after the summer holidays, in September, 
1889, he entered the Royal Academy of Music. 



CHAPTER III 

ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC, 1889-93 

IN September, 1889, then, Bantock entered at the 
Royal Academy of Music as a student of composition, 
under Frederick Corder. He also studied, at various 
times, and in varying measures, the clarinet, violin, 
viola, organ, piano, and kettledrums, during his stay 
in the Institution ; and has since played also the horn 
and tuba, thus gaining experience that has been of 
service in his instrumentation. 

The first competition for the Macfarren Scholarship 
occurred at Christmas, 1889, just a term after his en- 
trance. He determined to compete, but thinking that 
Corder might consider him presumptuous, he kept his 
own counsel. He sent in two movements of a symphony 
in C minor, some Monologues for Milton's Satan, and 
a few songs all written without advice of any kind 
and was successful. The scholarship was awarded not 
so much for attainment as for promise, and provided 
three years' free tuition at the Institution. At the end 
of this time he was appointed sub-professor, an office 
which carries no salary, but a reduction of fees. 

Of the symphony, only the Scherzo can now be found. 
It is in 3/4 time, Presto, and is evidently influenced by 
Beethoven's scherzos. The mirth is a little heavy, and 
the instrumentation, as might be expected from one 
entirely without experience, very uncertain. More 

20 



ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC, 1889-93 21 

striking are Satan's Monologues, which must have 
weighed heavity in his favour, showing as they do distinct 
dramatic promise. There are three, taken from Paradise 
Lost, I, 242-63 ; I, 315-30 ; and IV, 70-93. All show 
the influence of Wagner, the opening of the first, in 
particular, that of Im Treibhaus, from the FiinfGedichte. 
To the last line of this 

Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven 

we shall have occasion to refer at a crisis in his own 
career. In the last two an almost identical figure is 
used, and these are perhaps the most interesting. The 
choice of such a subject at the outset of his career is 
typical of his attitude throughout, and foreshadows 
the rebellious utterances of Omar. Two slight settings 
of Heine, written early in 1890, show growing experience, 
but have nothing specially distinctive. 

Judging from a couple of his reports of 1889 and 1891, 
he must have been an ideal student. Perhaps such 
things seldom speak more truth than tombstones ; but 
Mr. Corder has confirmed their testimony, in conversa- 
tion with me, and spoken of him as even then the inde- 
fatigable worker that he has shown himself since. An 
indication of this restless energy is given in the fact 
that hardly had he entered when he was one of the 
moving spirits in the foundation of an Academy maga- 
zine, The Overture, the first number of which appeared 
in March, 1890, and which ran for four years under the 
editorship of Mr. Corder. 

Bantock was also one of the remodellers and most 
energetic members of The Excelsior Society, a union of 
students past and present. This met at the houses of 
various members ; but the lion's share of entertaining fell 
to Bantock, and the spacious drawing-room at Granville 



22 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

Place proved an excellent concert-room. Mrs. Bantock 
gave a warm welcome ; and the doctor, having some- 
thing of the statelier manners of the older school, added 
a touch of courtliness to the proceedings. Chamber- 
music and songs were given, besides, as a rule, compo- 
sitions by members, and from time to time lectures on 
Wagner and various burning questions by Corder and 
others. 

Bantock poured out a profusion of compositions 
during his student period. One of these a continuation 
of his Miltonic work was an overture called Satan in 
Hell, a typical student's subject. It was tried one 
afternoon at the orchestral practice. After some fearful 
cacophanous passage, in which the players had all got 
inextricably tangled up, Mackenzie, who was conducting, 
exclaimed in despair, " Where are we now ? " To which 
came the demure reply, " In hell, sir." 

But Milton soon proved stale. Bantock yearned for 
newer and greater things ; he was under the influence 
of the fact that Wagner had written his own poems, 
and determined not only to do the same, but to achieve 
distinction in pure literature as well. The opulence of 
his schemes is illustrated by the fact that, besides the 
grandiose plan of twenty-four symphonic poems on 
Southey's Kehama, he projected six Egyptian dramas, 
of which one Rameses II was written and published. 
He wrote also another play, outside this scheme Phyllis, 
Queen of Thrace. Shortly after this, however, he came 
to see that his true work lay in music, and wisely 
limited himself in area for the sake of the additional 
strength thereby gained. 

The musical works for which he wrote his own words 
were the operas Caedmar and The Pearl of Iran, and the 
Recitation Music, Thorvenda's Dream. This is an " early 



23 

work " in character as well as in period. Another piece 
of the same class is The Blessed Damozel ; but Bantock, 
having come to feel the unsatisfactory nature of this 
genre, wrote nothing more of the kind. 

Two more pieces on somewhat the same level may be 
mentioned before we come to the larger works. Both 
are for pianoforte, and both have mottoes prefixed, for 
" poetic basis " was Bantock's early flame, as well as 
his lifelong love. The first is a Reverie in E$, in a some- 
what facile vein of musing, but suitable for popular 
consumption. The other, a Barcarolle in F minor, 
with a motto from Browning, makes more demand 
upon the player, and has more character. Both pieces 
were published by Ashdown, the composer receiving 
nothing for them but a few copies an arrangement 
which, at the time, was very welcome to one yearning 
to see himself in print. 

Of the larger works of this period, we will speak first 
of the projected " Kehama " cycle of symphonic 
poems. There were to have been twenty-four of these, 
corresponding with the twenty-four divisions of the 
poem, but only fourteen were actually written, of 
which two were published. They are founded on 
Southey's Indian poem, The Curse of Kehama ; and 
thus we see Bantock, on the threshold of his career, 
showing that bent of mind for which he has since 
become celebrated, and turning instinctively to the 
East as a relief from the stiffening trammels of classical 
tradition. The first number, The Funeral, is now 
called Processional, and has been performed several 
times. It represents the funeral procession, by night, 
of the Rajah Kehama's son, whose corpse is borne 
onward in his palanquin beneath a crimson canopy, 
and surrounded by lavish Oriental pomp torches, 



24 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

Brahmins, maidens, soldiers, drums, gongs, and the 
myriad life of India. The striking rhythms and tone- 
colours have just that flavour of the bizarre which is 
necessary to visualise the scene. A flowing melody 
which forms the second subject, represents the two 
chief wives and a train of lesser ones, who are forced 
to perform suttee. Finally comes the lighting of the 
pyre ; and amid the blare of horns and trumpets, and 
the maddened cries of the crowd, the piece comes to an 
end. The character of the other Jaga-Naut is of 
the same order. It is highly pictorial, and shows the 
lofty car swaying as it ploughs its course onwards 
through the crowd of devotees who throw themselves 
in its way and are crushed, while a band of Yogis 
dance in honour of the god (5/4). This piece was per- 
formed by the Philharmonic Society, but it so shocked 
their sensibilities that they made a vow of " never 
again " as regarded Bantock. 

Another work which foreshadows the future is the 
picturesque ballet, Egypt, in three scenes, in which 
some Coptic phrases are used, and in which the scale 
with two augmented seconds appears. The instru- 
mentation is still uncertain, and the handling of the 
material simple ; but the piece is certainly one of the 
shadows cast before by coming events. 

Very different is the case with The Fire-Worshippers. 
The words are taken from Moore's Lalla Rookh ; and 
we have here a young man's romantic work written 
with technique adequate for its purpose. Of course, 
Bantock, even if he did it at all, would not carry out 
the work in the same way now ; but that is not to say 
that he w r ould really improve upon what he has done. 
As it stands it suits Moore's poem, with its somewhat 
facile sentiment and Byronic passion. The point of 



ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC, 1889-93 25 

view is changed. Youth has its own way of looking 
at and feeling things ; and that way is quite as true, 
and represents a reality, just as much as the views of 
maturity. Both are integral parts of man's nature 
as a whole a point on which Stevenson enlarges 
admirably in Virginibus Puerisque. The Fire-Wor- 
shippers deals with the loves of the daughter of a Mussul- 
man emir, and the chieftain of the more ancient race 
of fire-worshippers (Ghebirs) of Persia. The scene is 
laid in the emir's palace overlooking a romantic region 
on the Persian Gulf, and afterwards in the mountain- 
fastness of the Ghebirs, who are finally exterminated 
by the Mohammedans. Young romance and the vigour 
of youth suffuse the whole ; and the advance made 
since the two songs mentioned above as written early 
in 1890, is remarkable. The overture, a striking piece 
of work, was performed at the Crystal Palace under 
Manns. The work has been performed in its entirety 
recently, and would suit many a choral society which 
might hesitate before undertaking the later works. 

Caedmar, a one-act opera, is on the whole surer in 
musical technique i.e. it is woven in a more continuous 
web than its successor, The Pearl of Iran. The reason 
of this we shall see shortly. The work shows the in- 
fluence of Wagner throughout, more especially, perhaps, 
that of the Siegmund-Sieglinde portion of The Ring, 
and of the Forest-Murmurs ; but the whole conception, 
texture, and phraseology of the work reek of Wagner. 
This is not said as a reproach ; it is quite natural. 
Early Beethoven is Mozart diluted, and every one must 
learn from, and assimilate, the best that has gone before 
him. It is well that Bantock had thoroughly mastered 
his craft in this way ; he was now fledged, and ready 
to think out his own individual methods, develop his 



26 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

own individuality, and learn in the larger school of 
life. The drama, like that of The Pearl of Iran, is simple 
and somewhat naive. Caedmar, a wandering knight, 
comes into a forest-glade as the shadows of evening 
deepen, prays, goes to sleep, and the elves appear and 
dance around him. Hulda then enters, fleeing from 
her tyrannical husband, who has " desecrated the 
marriage bond." Caedmar awakes, and the two vow 
eternal fidelity. The husband, Andred, then appears, 
and he and Caedmar fight. Hulda, rushing between 
them to separate them, receives Andred's sword and 
falls ; Caedmar then slays Andred. A scene ensues 
between him and Hulda, who then dies ; and the opera 
closes with a vision of her spirit floating heavenwards. 
Bantock's mastery of his musical material is, however, 
remarkable. The scoring of the work was finished about 
September, 1892. Signer Lago was at that time under- 
taking his ill-starred London season, and Bantock sent 
him a copy of the vocal score. It took his fancy, and 
was produced at the Olympic, receiving three or four 
performances under the conductorship of the composer 
a wonderful send-off for the young artist. A little 
earlier in the year he had given an invitation concert 
at the Royal Academy of Music, where also Caedmar 
had been performed, though without orchestra or stage- 
action. 

The charges of Wagnerism levelled against him in 
the criticisms of Caedmar induced Bantock to design 
his next work on different lines, and to employ choruses, 
etc. The Pearl of Iran is a one-act opera, like its prede- 
cessor, and the scene is laid in the Ural Mountains. 
Lhara, a Persian maiden, is travelling under the pro- 
tection of her lover Ahmed, a Tartar prince. The 
convoy is attacked on her account, by Ourgen with 



ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC, 1889-93 27 

his Kirghiz, and Ahmed is slain, whereupon Lhara kills 
herself to avoid falling into Ourgen's hands. The piece 
is picturesquely laid out ; there are Eastern phrases 
to give local colour, dances of Circassians, slaves, women, 
Tartars (with barbaric rhythms), love-duets, and a 
Persian song with lute accompaniment which is worth 
publishing separately. The whole is handled with 
skill, musically ; but the difficulty of welding together 
this greater variety of material has caused that lack of 
the sense of unity, as compared with Caedmar, of which 
I have spoken. The personality of the composer is 
not yet mature ; and the work (like Caedmar} has not 
the advantage of Moore's verse. It, however, taken in 
conjunction with the other two, shows the writer to be 
well equipped for his work, so far as training could 
make him so. There was now only needed the growth 
of his own individuality. 

During his time at the Royal Academy of Music Bantock 
had several works performed at the official concerts, among 
them the overture to The Fire-Worshippers, Wulstan, a 
scena for baritone and orchestra, and the suite of 
ballet music written for the drama Rameses II. This is, 
of course, a small work, but is picturesque, and shows 
resource and an ear for local colour, if the expression 
may be allowed. The material was incorporated in the 
larger Egyptian ballet already mentioned. During 
the latter part of this period his mind began to be 
occupied with, among other things, the idea of those 
Songs of the East which did not become an actuality 
till later. He now felt that his work at the Academy 
was done, and in 1893 he left the Institution. 



CHAPTER IV 

DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 

IT is a commonplace that the course of the artist never 
runs smooth : the exceptions, at any rate, are so few 
as to be almost negligible. Bantock in this particular, 
if in no other, was orthodox ; for there now followed 
four years of struggle in which he was obliged to turn 
his hand to anything and everything, and in which his 
lavish instincts (in things material as well as artistic) 
were severely repressed, while his outward means were 
precarious, dwindling at times almost to a minus 
quantity. As the lives of artists go, however, he can- 
not be said to have had an unusual share of hardship ; 
for when these four years were over he at least got a 
permanent engagement which, though an uncongenial 
one in many ways, enabled him to do good work : and 
after three more years he entered upon an ever-widening 
course of influence and reputation. 

On leaving the Royal Academy of Music he found 
himself in a difficult position. He had no particular 
connection, musically. He could get no pupils for 
harmony or composition ; and he was not a pianist 
or violinist in the sense of the professional teacher. He 
played the organ on and off, and applied for some 
organists' posts ; but nothing definite resulted ; and 
he was glad to avail himself of an invitation on the 
part of the Trinity College of Music to correct some 

28 



DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 29 

harmony examination papers at so much a hundred. 
He also picked up some jobs in the way of scoring other 
people's compositions in other words playing ghost, 
a part which seems hardly suited to him. This, as every- 
one who has done anything of the sort knows, means 
practically supplying ideas to a considerable extent ; 
since orchestral workmanship cannot exist apart from 
a continual interplay of subsidiary ideas with the main 
conceptions of the piece. 

Amid all these anxieties, however, he kept his larger 
outlook. He went on with the scoring of The Pearl of 
Iran, and projected other big works among them an 
opera for which he bullied me into doing the words 
"in a hurry " as always. He began the music ; 
but, seeing no opening for opera, he gave it up. This 
view of opera he has not only maintained since, but has 
come to regard this art-form as an unsatisfactory 
hybrid, and to entertain for it a certain aversion. He, 
in fact, feels that the conventions it involves are too 
violently unnatural, and that the mind cannot really 
dwell upon and appreciate the drama and the music 
simultaneously : one or other must suffer. 

At this time I used to see him about once a week, 
when I went into town. The approach to his study at 
Granville Place was a long dark passage near the top 
of the house, and immediately beneath the sometime 
" cricket-pitch " : and I can still see Bantock's bulky 
figure filling up the doorway as he welcomes me in with 
a smile. The room was a tiny one, where you lived, as 
it were, in line-land. There was just enough space for 
a small pianette behind the door : his writing-desk was 
under the window : and cabinets of drawers were 
ranged along the right-hand wall leading to it. Here 
many a scheme was hatched, among others that of a 



30 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

journal which actually ran for some years, and obtained 
a succes d'estime if not material success. 

This was The New Quarterly Musical Review, which 
Bantock started on a capital of about 15, and which 
he managed and edited entirely on his own responsi- 
bility. Erskine Allon, since dead, Wallace, and I 
were associated in the scheme in a sense ; for we formed, 
with Bantock, the inner circle of the staff, and the last 
two edited during Bantock's absence in America. Of 
course no one was paid it was hoped that would follow : 
and it will strike all as remarkable that Bantock was 
able to infect so many good men with his own ideas 
and induce them to contribute, when I state that men 
like Dr. Seidl, of Weimar, Mackenzie, Streatfeild, New- 
man, Rogers, Shedlock, Corder, H. Davey, Dr. Steggall, 
Abdy Williams, and Graves, wrote from time to time ; 
while Legge, Fuller Maitland, and Gilbert Webbe were 
regular contributors. I myself wrote the opening 
sonnet and Introduction, and one or two larger papers, 
besides ordinary reviews. The only article bearing 
Bantock's own signature was one (a significant fact) 
on Confucianism and Music. The magazine struggled 
on for three years ; but there was not a sufficient public ; 
and Bantock's absences from home made the work of 
carrying it on very difficult ; so that ultimately, in 
February, 1896, the enterprise was given up. It was 
a spirited attempt. The review was of the highest 
class, taking the status, for music, that the standard 
reviews such as the Contemporary and Nineteenth Cen- 
tury took for ordinary literature. 

'Tis not in mortals to command success, 

says Addison's hero ; but certainly, like him, this 
venture did more, and deserved it. 



DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 31 

Before its relinquishment, however, as the reference 
to Bantock's absence in America will have suggested, 
he had secured some regular engagements. The first 
of these, a conductorship in a touring opera company, 
was obtained through a theatrical agent, and he went 
round the provinces for some weeks, under this contract, 
with the burlesque, Little Boy Blue. It was uncon- 
genial work ; the music was far from his ideal ; he could 
get little time for his own writing ; and the constant 
travelling and effervescence of theatrical life grated 
upon him. However, it was the only thing to be done, 
and he had to make the best of it. Some of his ex- 
periences in finding " pro " lodgings were amusing ; 
and it seems that he had a curious way of providing for 
his bodily sustenance. On arriving at a new town, and 
securing his pied-a-terre ,he would adjourn to the market, 
buy a huge cabbage, and present it to his landlady with 
instructions to serve it in instalments as long as it 
lasted. 

This contract led to others of the same type but a 
stage higher, inasmuch as it introduced him to the 
Gaiety Company. He got an appointment as conductor 
in one of George Edwardes's touring companies, and 
went through the provinces on a fresh round with two 
or three pieces such as The Gaiety Girl, Gentleman Joe, 
and In Town. 

One good thing, however, arose from all this. Ed- 
wardes determined to arrange a tour round the world 
with two or three pieces, including The Gaiety Girl, and 
Bantock was offered the post of conductor. The 
opportunity of seeing the world in this way was too 
good to be lost, in spite of the irksome nature of the 
occupation that Sjnade it possible ; and he accepted 
without hesitation. The pieces were played, during 



32 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

1894-5, in various towns of America and Australia ; 
and the experience of other lands, men, and manners 
made a great impression on Bantock's mind and 
broadened his outlook in many ways. He was es- 
pecially delighted with Colombo, Honolulu, and Samoa, 
where they touched, though they did not play. He 
visited Niagara and received the orthodox thrills. I 
have a letter describing his sensations ; but Niagara 
is now vieux jeu, and I refrain from quotations. 

He met with one or two adventures during this tour. 
Perhaps the most striking was at San Francisco. He 
used sometimes to go, after the performance, to China- 
town ; and on one occasion was returning late, when 
he was chased by some rowdies. He ran : they followed : 
revolver-shots ensued : he emerged into a main street, 
cannoned into a constable, and after explanations, 
he was only called a fool for being there so late alone. 

In the circumstances of travel his inborn love of 
collecting curiosities and of animals was bound to assert 
itself, and he arrived home with a wonderful assortment 
of beasts and other properties of various kinds. When 
in Melbourne he scared everyone out of the hotel lounge 
by appearing with what looked like one of their deadliest 
snakes wound round his arm. It was one he had bought 
in Sydney, where an almost identical species is non- 
poisonous. He brought back, too, like the traditional 
sailor, a parrot. There were also an opossum and an 
Australian bear : but all these early amours were 
destined to end in loss. His most beloved acquisi- 
tion was Nancy or, more exactly, Nan-tsze an ape 
which he bought in Sydney. Nancy used to walk the 
streets of Melbourne with him, holding his hand like a 
child. She would gambol in the tree-tops in the Botani- 
cal Gardens, but always returned at his whistle. Her 



DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 33 

Simian Highness, however, got him into some diffi- 
culties. One day she escaped from his room in the hotel 
and found her way into the pantry, where she enjoyed 
herself by throwing down various piles of crockery 
an amusement which resulted in a nice little bill for the 
conductor. I remember going up to his study just after 
his return, and being greeted by Nancy, who then fled 
to his shoulders. The young lady, however, was one day 
found swinging on the chandelier : the family did not 
approve of its new member, and Nancy retired to the 
Zoo. 

Shortly after his return from this tour Bantock was 
engaged, in succession to Henry J. Wood, to take 
Shamus O'Brien round the provinces. This tour in- 
cluded not only the regular English round, but a num- 
ber of Irish towns as well Belfast, Waterford, Limerick, 
Cork, and Dublin. The first night was a terrible ex- 
perience. A member of the band had been married 
during the day. All his comrades attended the wedding, 
and " passed the rosy," as Dick Swiveller says, so often 
that when they came to performance they were still in 
a hilarious condition ; and averse to taking life 
seriously played scales or anything they fancied, 
instead of the parts set down for them, with results that 
may be imagined ; while the management kept sending 
round to the front to know what they were doing. 

It was about this time, also, soon after returning from 
America, that Bantock met and became engaged to the 
lady who afterwards became his wife Miss Helen F. 
Schweitzer. She has written the words for many of his 
works, and has been of inestimable help to him in count- 
less ways, besides showing her own powers as a poetess 
in a little volume issued about the time of their engage- 
ment, and also in the more mature coUection of poems 



34 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

entitled A Woman's Love, published in 1911. One of 
the first results, musically, of this engagement was the 
realisation of Bantock's long-cherished scheme of a 
series of Songs of the East, which now took definite 
shape, Miss Schweitzer undertaking to provide the 
poems. 

With these songs we arrive at some of Bantock's 
really characteristic production. Naturally, in a collec- 
tion of thirty-six songs some will be less interesting than 
others ; but in all of the six albums there is fine and 
individual work ; and while there may have been 
earlier isolated pieces cast somewhat in this mould, 
there had been no previous attempt on anything like 
this scale to bring the mental outlook and feeling of 
the East into European music ; so that the publication 
is in its way an event. 

Taking first the Songs of Persia, we find No. 2, The 
Hymn of the Ghebirs (i.e. a Hymn to the Sun, by the 
ancient Fire-Worshippers), which arrests the attention 
by its unusual idiom. No. 3 is named after The Simurgh, 
the fabulous bird of wisdom and might, that dwells 
amid the whirling winds of the desert-mountain, and is 
probably the original of the mysterious roc of the 
Arabian Nights. It will be remembered that when 
Aladdin, by the prompting of the disguised magician, 
demanded to have a roc's egg suspended from the dome 
of his palace, the genie was almost ready to slay him 
for having insulted his " master." The answer has 
puzzled many generations of children : but the refer- 
ence seems to be to this mysterious genie-bird of wisdom 
and power. The song is full of the rush of monstrous 
wings and whirling winds ; while the central portion 
hints at the glamour of the bird's magical treasures and 
wisdom. Perhaps the songs which appeal most directly 



DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 35 

to the heart, however, are the two following ones. 
No. 4, The Harem, with its languorous atmosphere, its 
delicate arpeggios, and its passages constructed on an 
Eastern scale with two augmented seconds, is full of 
charm and conjures up the scene vividly before the 
mind. The song is a tragic one : the light of the harem 
is slain by a jealous rival : but the tragedy is not of the 
blood-and-thunder order, being suffused with tender 
beauty. The peculiar close at the end of the verse is 
especially characteristic. The next No. 5, Zal, has 
the same kind of languid charm, but without the tragic 
element. Here we have a story like that of Rapunzel. 
The maiden lets down her long torrent of hair from her 
turret, fastening it above, and the prince the nursling 
of the magical Simurgh, climbs up and kisses her this 
happy denouement being again portrayed by a character- 
istic Oriental passage with two augmented seconds. 

In the Songs of Egypt, No. I, Invocation to the Nile, 
No. 2, The Unutterable, and No. 3, Bridal Song, are all 
good. But the glory of this group is undoubtedly No. 5, 
The Lament of I sis (for the lost Osiris), with its deeply 
impressive pathos. One seems to feel here a foretaste of 
the poignancy of / loved thee, Atthis, in the Sappho Songs. 

The first of the Chinese set is a highly picturesque 
Song of the Bells, constructed on three " changes," the 
last being a modified version of the first. Nos. 2, For- 
saken, 3, Love Song, and 5, Lullaby, are pleasant, but 
not, perhaps, so charged with Oriental colour. Nos. 4, 
In the Palace, and 6, War Song, are mostly in unison, 
and characteristic, with a certain exotic bizarrerie. 

The Songs of Japan, though dainty and pretty, are 
hardly so convincing, being rather more Western in 
phrasing and harmonisation : but the dance in the 
Musume's Song (No. i), has the true ring. To me, per- 



36 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

sonally, the last, The Song of the Sword, is the most 
attractive. 

Of the Songs of India, the first, The Nautch Girl, is 
full of colour and character, as also is No. 3, By the 
Ganges, which has since been published separately as 
The Fire-Fly. No. 5, In the Village, too, seems to call 
up a vision of an Indian pastoral settlement with the 
pungent odours of the smoke rising into the morning air. 
As suits the subject it is simple, being constructed upon 
two phrases slightly varied. The Fakir's Song, too, with 
its unresting movements, symbolising the soul hurried 
along in the whirlpool of rebirth, is characteristic. The 
Prayer to Vishnu, and the Dirge, also show a very dis- 
tinct vein of Oriental imagination. 

The Songs of Arabia preserve on the whole, I think, 
the most uniform level of excellence. No. i, The Meeting, 
with its ceaseless ripple and flow, 

Where the water splashed and wandered, 

mingled with the love-atmosphere that enrays the maid 
and the Arab chieftain, must prove attractive at once 
to any hearer. No. 2, Lament, is full of idyllic beauty of 
an Oriental cast. No. 3, In the Desert, calls up the 
scene vividly. No. 4, The Nightingale's Song, with its 
warbling lilt and throbbing passion ; No. 5, a vigorous 
Chieftain's Battle-Song; and No. 6, The Return, with 
its eager triumph, are each in its own way fine. The 
last has been since issued by Breitkopf and Haertel as 
a duet ; and in this form, with its passionate responsive 
phrases, is even more captivating. 

These songs have all been scored, and many are now 
a good deal sung. On the whole they form a fine body 
of work, and have helped to inoculate the West with the 
life of the East. Sometimes one feels that the use of 



DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 37 

Western harmony seems to dim the vividness of the 
Oriental atmosphere : the songs were never intended, 
however, to be transcripts of Eastern music, but only 
to have a distinctive flavour in their treatment of 
Oriental scenes. 

On his return from the Shamus O'Brien tour, Ban- 
tock was again becalmed, so to speak, and could find 
no fresh employment. He was tired to death of theatri- 
cal life, the continual travelling, and the lack of time 
for serious work, and wanted to find quiet employment. 
He would have taken an engagement, however, had one 
offered : but none was forthcoming. He tried to get 
harmony teaching at the Royal Academy of Music : 
they did not want him. He tried the Guildhall School 
of Music : they did not want him. Few things are so 
galling as to be conscious of real powers, and yet to be 
unable to find means of earning even a living. Week 
after week slipped by until when six months had 
elapsed and he was still a " gentleman " in the sense of 
having no business in this world, and actually on his 
beam-ends his eye fell upon an advertisement stating 
that a manager was wanted for some Pleasure Gardens, 
etc. In despair, thinking that music would not provide 
him even a bare living, he answered it, in the hope that 
his experience in the theatrical world might help him 
through. He received no answer, however, and just 
then another engagement did at last turn up. This 
was to conduct various pieces, L' Enfant Prodigue among 
them, at the Royalty Theatre, London. So far, this was 
an improvement, as it gave him more quiet time for work. 

The chance advertisement, however, proved to be a 
turning-point in his career. For, after about six months, 
when he had forgotten all about it, he received a letter 
saying that his application had been considered : that 



3 8 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

although a manager had been appointed they wanted 
a Musical Director ; and would he be willing to under- 
take the duties of this position ? The letter came from 
Mr. de Ybarrondo, who afterwards proved a good friend 
to Bantock, and the offer referred to The Tower, New 
Brighton, near Liverpool. The enterprise was a new 
one, and the buildings were in course of erection. It 
appeared to Bantock in much the same light as the offer 
of the Bournemouth authorities appeared to Dan God- 
frey at about the same time. He hoped to do and for 
a time actually did something for real music under the 
conditions imposed. The authorities at New Brighton, 
however, proved less enlightened than those at Bourne- 
mouth ; and while the one organisation has gone on for 
some twenty years with growing reputation, the other 
had to be abandoned in the flush of its artistic success, 
and the orchestra reverted to its original status of an 
ordinary amusements band. As will have been gathered, 
then, from these remarks, he accepted the engagement, 
and, breaking away from his London work, went north. 
Before this, however, Bantock announced, for 
December I5th, 1896, a concert at Queen's Hall, at 
which, with characteristic generosity, he gave, besides 
his own compositions, works by five other young 
English composers, viz., Wallace, Erskine Allon, Hinton, 
Hawley, and Steggall. A note in the programme 
sounded the pathetic cry of the artist in all ages, unable 
not only to win acceptance, but even to obtain a hearing. 
The idea of a clique among the composers represented 
is disclaimed, and the note goes on : " For the moment 
any spirit of commercialism is set aside, and the pre- 
dominant desire has been to advance the cause of British 
music. When the National Picture Galleries of Europe 
and America compete with one another for paintings 



DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 39 

by British artists, there is no reason why the 
concert-rooms of this country should be empty when 
native music is performed ; and when that British 
composer whose coming we await, does arrive, it will 
be well for his fellow countrymen to be ready with the 
bread instead of waiting to place the traditional stone 
over his grave. Those whose privilege it is to go before, 
to form as it were the mere stepping-stones for the god 
who is to follow, have their little share in their life-time, 
even though they may be forgotten hereafter ; they 
will continue to work in hope as long as earnestness 
brings no disgrace, and enthusiasm casts no slur." 

It was in this spirit that the concert was given ; but 
the result was almost a foregone conclusion. The public 
did not hurry forward with the bread, much less with 
the butter. Queen's Hall was nearly empty, though 
the affair was an artistic success. I can see even now 
H. J. Wood, then comparatively little known, as he 
came eagerly to congratulate Bantock in the artist's 
room after it was over ; and it was here that I first met 
Miss Schweitzer. 

Bantock's own pieces were the overture to Eugene 
Aram, an opera upon which he was then at work, but 
of which he only wrote a small portion, the Songs of 
Arabia, and The Funeral,irom The Curse ofKehama cycle. 

The last two items we have already discussed. The 
Eugene Aram overture produced a very favourable 
impression, and is a fine piece of work. The opening 
(B minor 4/4) is full of agitated syncopations, referring 
to the stormy and passionate nature of the man. But 
Bantock took of him the view indicated in Shake- 
speare's lines : 

There is some soul of goodness in things evil, 
Could men observingly distil it out, 



40 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

and there is a good deal in the overture that is con- 
cerned with the better side of Aram's nature. Thus, 
before the actual crime is reached there are tender 
glimpses ; and the second subject itself, an expressive 
melody in D for violins and clarinet, with triplet 
accompaniment in violas and 'cellos, evidently refers 
to the pleadings of his higher instincts against the 
meditated crime. This better impulse is interrupted 
by the sinister murder-theme in the brass. That dies 
down, however, and we reach a moment of false peace 
(ten bars Molto lento) before the fury of the psychologi- 
cal struggle is let loose in the " working." The murder- 
theme becomes ever more insistent, and at length, in 
a big climax, the deed is done. The music then dies 
away to a pp, as the man awakes to the reality of his 
action. Now follows, in E, and in place of the " return," 
the third principal subject representing the love of 
Aram's sweetheart who refuses to the last moment 
to believe in his guilt. A further passionate working 
follows in which this third theme soars to a splendid 
exaltation, with full orchestra, in B, mingling with the 
murder-theme which appears amid wild rushes for the 
strings, the whole forming a fine finale which, as Wallace 
says in his programme notes : " Brings a strikingly 
dramatic and imaginative work to a close." 

Two other works written about this time call for some 
remark. The first is the suite for orchestra, Russian 
Scenes, which opens with a picturesque movement called 
At the Fair, the fair in question being the celebrated 
Nijni Novgorod market. The themes are racy, and the 
scoring full of life and colour. To say this last, which 
applies to the whole suite, is now becoming almost a 
platitude. In Bantock's hands the orchestra always 
sounds well. The skilful handling and interweaving of 



DIFFICULTIES, 1893-7 4* 

the various strands of orchestral colour blend into a 
harmonious and homogeneous whole of iridescent hues. 
In this movement, At the Fair, the alternate bars of 
2/4 and 3/4 about forty bars in have a striking effect : 
and still more is this the case with the five-bar rhythm 
in the middle section. The initial phrase is worked to 
more completeness on the return ; and the movement 
ends with a brilliant Presto. Altogether, the stir, bustle, 
and barbaric life of the fair are vividly suggested. 
No. 2 is a bright and piquant Mazurka. A Polka follows, 
full of vitality and verve. The Waltz, No. 3, is founded 
on the initial phrase of No. I. It has many good points, 
but to me personally is less interesting than the preced- 
ing movements, especially the first. Last comes a 
Cossack Dance which, with its arresting rhythm, again 
stimulates the interest and grips the mind. This 
rhythm consists of a succession of phrases made up of 
three bars of 3/4 followed by one of 2/4, which seems 
to represent two violent stamps in a barbaric dance, and 
which seizes the hearer and clinches the subject with 
forceful decision. Overlapping three-bar phrases follow 
in the second section : and this pictorial movement 
brings the suite to a stirring finish. The suite is a highly 
coloured and effective piece of work ; and would be a 
suitable piece for many orchestras whose resources are 
not unlimited. It presents no unreasonable difficulties, 
and the orchestra consists only of the usual strings and 
wood with two horns, tw T o cornets, three trombones, 
drums, bass-drum, and cymbals. 

The remark just passed on the Waltz will perhaps 
have prepared the reader's mind for the fact that the 
other work is less successful. Just as the first and last 
numbers of the Russian Scenes are better than the less 
distinctively foreign polka, mazurka, and waltz, so 



42 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

here. Bantock is at his best, usually, in subjects that 
have some exotic interest ; and the companion-work, 
English Country Scenes, seems to belong to an inferior 
branch of the family. The scenes are Pastorale (the 
central portion of which consists of a duet for a drunken 
fiddler and piper, who cannot keep together) : a Ro- 
mance ; an Intermezzo, In Fairyland ; a Benedictus, 
in Church ; and a Hornpipe. As regards this suite 
Bantock is the unnatural father of melodrama, and is 
almost inclined to disown his inconvenient offspring. 
At any rate the work is not up to the level he had other- 
wise attained by this time, especially in the quality of its 
imagination. 

The Queen's Hall concert was the culminating event 
in this painful four-years " episode in the life of an 
artist." The period was undoubtedly a very trying one 
while it lasted, but one cannot say that, in comparison 
with others, such as Schubert, for instance, Bantock 
was exceptionally unfortunate. The res angusta domi, 
at any rate, now ceased, and early in 1897 he left London 
and settled at New Brighton to take up his new duties. 



CHAPTER V 

NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 

// faut cultiver notre jardin, says Voltaire at the end of 
Candide ; and if the garden be a wilderness which needs 
endless patient toil before it can be made to blossom like 
the rose as was so often the case with the great monas- 
teries your born gardener feels a peculiar satisfaction, 
the joy of triumph in difficulties overcome, and of good 
work done for the world. Musically speaking, Bantock 
found New Brighton a wilderness ; and for a time he 
did make it blossom like the rose. The place was a 
pleasure resort, somewhat of the type of the Blackpool 
Winter Gardens, though on a smaller scale ; and the 
music actually provided at the time of his advent was 
an open-air military band. The buildings, however, 
were to be completed shortly, and there would then be 
an indoor ballroom orchestra to provide music for the 
dancers. Bantock's duties were to conduct these bands : 
such were the conditions into which he was now thrust. 
It would have been the end of many an ambitious 
career. I remember Edward German's walking up and 
down Hanover Square with me discussing the wisdom 
of accepting an offer to conduct a theatre band. I urged 
him to take it. Ultimately, after consultation with 
many friends, he decided to do so ; and it led to his 
getting in with Irving and doing the Henry VIII music, 
which gave him his real start. Bantock's case, however, 
was apparently far less hopeful. He had to conduct 

43 



44 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

waltzes, barn-dances, and such things, for five or six 
hours a day, Sundays included ; i.e. the military bands 
played, on Sundays, music which was not exactly dance- 
music, but which was on about the same level of intelli- 
gence. There was apparently no possibility of any- 
thing more or higher : and it was only Bantock's 
irrepressible energy and hopefulness that enabled 
him to achieve as much as he did. 

He began by fulfilling his duties punctiliously as 
military-band conductor, thus showing the manage- 
ment that he was thoroughly competent for his work. 
And then, with some caution, he raised the question 
of the indoor band, which might also, he suggested, be 
used for concerts of a somewhat different cast. By 
degrees, and more especially by the support and assist- 
ance of Mr. de Ybarrondo, whose official position on the 
directorate gave his opinions weight, these suggestions 
were acted upon. The band was formed ; gradually 
enlarged ; and in less than a year from the time of his 
arrival Bantock was conducting Sunday afternoon 
concerts at which music of the highest type was given. 
I turn to an old weekly programme for the week ending 
June 4th, 1898. There is dance-music every evening 
from 7.30 to 10 ; and there is also an afternoon pro- 
gramme from 2.30 to 5, that for Monday, May 3oth, 
being as follows : 

Coronation March . . " Henry VIII " . . German 

Waltz .. " Moonlight on the Rhine " Vollstedt 

Polka . . " Chin Chin Chinaman " Kiefert 

Waltz .. "Tresjoli" .. WaWeufel 

Selection . . " The Geisha " . . Jones 

Waltz .. "Blue Danube" .. Strauss 

Invitation a la Polka . . . . Thome 

Galop .. " Troika Race " .. Damare 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 45 

This is a typical programme. On Friday, June 3rd, 
a special concert is announced, the programme of which 
is as follows : 

Overture . . . . " Egmont " . . Beethoven 

Elegy for Strings . . . . Tchaikovsky 

Symphony in C . . " Jupiter " . . Mozart 

Siegfried Idyll . . . . . . Wagner 

Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 2 . . Liszt 

For the following afternoon, Saturday, June 4th, a 
concert of a similar but somewhat less severe type is 
announced. 

From these programmes a fair idea can be gathered 
of Bantock's occupations at this time. For the following 
Fridays, special items were announced, such as Dvorak's 
New World Symphony, Tchaikovsky's "Pathetic" Sym- 
phony, Rubinstein's "Ocean" Symphony ; and there was 
a Beethoven Symphony Cyclus, as well as a Grand 
Wagner Concert. The transformation is astonishing : 
it is like a conjuring trick : you put a penny into the 
hat, and there comes out a forest of the most lovely 
roses, full of scent, colour, and freshness. How Ban- 
tock managed to win his way so far as to get this result 
out of an ordinary ballroom band, in the face of an 
unsympathetic Committee and Chairman, is a marvel ; 
and, of course, it could not have been done at all without 
the support of the one man who really felt with him 
Mr. de Ybarrondo. 

But even this was not enough for his insatiable 
appetite. He conceived the idea of giving a series of 
concerts of the works of living composers, largely 
English, and where possible conducted by themselves. 
It seems incredible that the management of a small 



46 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

local amusement hall with a theatre band should ever 
have consented to such a proposal ; but the concerts 
took place : and the place became famous. The New 
Brighton Tower Concerts achieved a reputation in the 
musical world ; and the idea spread to Bournemouth, 
where Mr. Dan Godfrey, with a more amenable 
governing body, has been able to carry it on over a 
long series of years. Almost as I write, in fact, he is 
celebrating, amid a distinguished gathering, the coming 
of age of his Bournemouth concerts. At New Brighton 
this sudden efflorescence of music was like the work of 
magic a sort of Aladdin's Palace of Music that appeared 
in a night and vanished in a night. 

First came a Co wen Concert (May 28th, 1899) con- 
ducted by the composer, and followed by Dvorak, 
Rubinstein, and French concerts. On June 25th there 
was a Stanford Concert, conducted by the composer, 
which was succeeded by a Berlioz Concert. Then came 
a Parry Concert, an Elgar Concert, a Corder Concert, 
and a Wallace Concert, all conducted by the respective 
composers. A Tchaikovsky Concert, a British Concert, 
and a German Concert followed : then a Mathieu Con- 
cert, and a Mackenzie Concert, the composers conduct- 
ing : and the list was closed by a Liszt, a Belgian, and 
a Wagner Concert. Other men whose work Bantock 
brought to a hearing are Hinton, Hamish McCunn, 
Holbrooke, Bell, etc. These various composers stayed 
with Bantock, whose hospitable instincts would hear 
of no other arrangement ; and in many cases the friend- 
ship thus formed has lasted for many years and ripened 
into a closer intimacy. 

Another writer whose first visit to England was due 
to Bantock was Jean Sibelius, for whose work Ban- 
tock has a great admiration. At Bantock's invitation 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 47 

Sibelius came over to conduct his first symphony at 
Liverpool ; and the friendship thus begun has become 
closer with years. Sibelius dedicated his third symphony 
to Bantock ; and at the time of the production of the 
fourth, at the Birmingham Festival of 1912, he stayed 
with Bantock and renewed the intimacy of former days. 

As a not unnatural result of his position at New Brigh- 
ton, Bantock was invited to take the post of conductor 
of the Runcorn Philharmonic Society, a position which 
he filled for some time. He has held many such offices 
at different periods, and has done excellent work in 
these conditions. His pioneer views have, however, 
sometimes urged him forward faster than the members 
of such societies were willing to be dragged at his 
chariot-wheels, as it were ; and this has led in some 
cases to disaster. He, of course, owing to the reputa- 
tion earned by the New Brighton Concerts, formed 
many musical acquaintances in Manchester and Liver- 
pool, and has conducted from time to time in both 
cities. 

As a conductor he is especially characterised by readi- 
ness, resource, and rhythmical vitality, though he is not 
wanting in delicacy, or in the power of bringing out 
clearly all the points in the work under performance. 
He is especially averse to those who set themselves to 
produce new effects regardless of the original intentions 
of the composer. He is rather impatient, too, of the 
finicking, meticulous anxiety of some conductors, and 
prefers a more robust, simple, and virile style. He 
prefers to sit in an informal society and hear quartets 
tried through by good and understanding players, to 
going to formal concerts and hearing the over-refined 
renderings, which are only attained by endless rehearsals, 
with their consequent lack of vitality. He is fond of 



48 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

saying that the test of a great conductor is not so much 
what he can do with a symphonic poem after weeks of 
laborious rehearsal, as what he will do if, suddenly, on 
an emergency, set to conduct an unknown work at a 
day's notice. If he can give a real interpretation in 
conditions like these, and show insight and sympathetic 
understanding, he has given the best possible proof of 
his capacity. Bantock is also willing to take practical 
conditions into consideration, and not to be too in- 
sistent in making demands that mean financial disaster. 
On one occasion the Liverpool Philharmonic had an- 
nounced Heldenleben. When the date approached, 
however, the conductor was taken ill, and the Committee 
were in a serious quandary. They applied to Wood ; 
but he required so many rehearsals as to make it im- 
possible for monetary reasons to accept his proposals. 
They then asked Bantock if he would undertake the 
matter ; and on consideration of the circumstances he 
agreed to do so, the resulting performance being a 
great success both artistically and financially. 

The programme notes for these concerts at New 
Brighton, Liverpool, and the north generally, were 
written by Ernest Newman, who was at that time in a 
bank in Liverpool, and between whom and Bantock 
a sincere friendship was formed. A few years later he 
migrated to Birmingham at Bantock's invitation, and 
accepted a position on the staff of the Midland Institute 
School of Music, which he afterwards relinquished for 
purely critical work. 

On March gth, 1898, the marriage took place between 
Bantock and Miss Schweitzer ; and their home was 
formed at Liscard, close to the river, and a pleasant 
journey from Liverpool by steamboat. For the wedding 
Bantock wrote a special Wedding March, a good piece 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 49 

of work which, however, calls for no special remark. 
It was played by Dr. Steggall's son, Reginald. Although 
it involves a personal touch, I think my readers will 
pardon this, and be interested to learn that I sent a 
copy of Omar Khayyam's Rubdiydt as a wedding present 
a seed which bore fruit. Some years afterwards, 
when I had congratulated him on the production of 
his Omar (Part I), Bantock wrote to me : " Many 
thanks for your kind congratulations. It was your 
copy of Omar that I have used throughout, and I am 
most grateful to you for my first acquaintance with the 
glorious old sage. I might say that I have had the 
intention of setting the poem ever since your kind 
present reached us, but I have only been able to realise 
my wish at this present occasion. Therefore I hold you 
as sponsor or godfather to my child. Pray for his sins " 
(October 10/06). Bantock still possesses this copy, 
full of marks and notes as to his intentions for musical 
treatment : but amid the gorgeous array of fine copies 
that he now possesses copies in Persian, copies with 
pictures of all sorts, editions de luxe, and what not 
this humble little copy bound in vellum cuts a sorry 
figure and looks like a poor relation. 

The first child of this marriage was an orchestral 
work, the Helena Variations ; but four others, in the 
ordinary sense, have arrived in due course. The Helena 
Variations were produced by the Liverpool Orchestral 
Society at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. They 
show conclusively, I think, that his marriage had stirred 
Bantock to the depths of his nature. Many will prefer 
this to any other of his works. They are usually con- 
cerned with outside ideas, if one may put it so. Omar, 
it is true, deals with various illustrations of a philosophy 
which appeals very strongly to Bantock : but still 



50 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

such illustration is comparatively external work. The 
Helena Variations are more psychological, and go more 
into the inner recesses of man's nature, because into his 
own feelings in particular, at a time when those feelings 
were exceptionally and profoundly moved. The dedi- 
cation speaks of the variations as " thoughts and reflec- 
tions on some of your moods during a wearisome 
absence " ; and I do not think there is elsewhere in 
Bantock's writings so intimate a piece of work. 

They are hardly variations in the usual sense of the 
word. The first strain of twenty-four bars is followed 
by Variation I, it is true : but the variations do not 
generally follow out the whole phrase, being concerned 
mainly with fresh groupings and developments arising 
from the motto-phrase H (Bt), F, B (B^) Mrs. Ban- 
tock's initials. The work is full of resource, technically 
speaking, and shows great variety of treatment, though 
there is always a certain note of serious brooding which, 
as I have said, does not appear so clearly elsewhere, 
before or since. The actual notes H, F, B, do not 
always appear. As the music gets into other keys the 
phrase founded on the initials is accepted for the notes 
themselves ; and sometimes, of course, the connection 
is a little abstruse. But throughout the work the motto 
is never far off : one feels it as a gracious presence near 
one, though one cannot always hear the actual tones. 
One feels and hears 

. . . the touch of a vanished hand, 
And the sound of a voice that is still 

though in the present case fortunately the separation 
was only temporary. 

The motto is first whispered out by the violins alone : 
bassoons and horns join in : then the rest of the strings. 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 51 

Variation III is somewhat lighter in character, though 
the fact of absence seems to cast a certain seriousness 
even over thoughts of mirth. No. IV is remarkable in 
Bantock's work for showing an influence very unusual 
with him, that of Brahms. I do not suggest any actual 
reminiscence ; but there is, to my mind, a feeling of 
Brahms's serious moods here. No. V is lighter-hearted ; 
No. VI agitated, with the motto hinting its presence 
everywhere. No. VII is sad, with its serious horn-strains 
against the figure in the basses. At the beginning of 
VIII we get an anticipation of the Bantock of Omar. 
No. XI is sorrowful and delicately scored ; the imita- 
tional passage for tuba and trombones is a striking 
point. The variation ends with a melancholy phrase 
dying away in first violins alone, and leading into 
No. XII, the finale, which is triumphant and im- 
passioned, looking forward to the approaching reunion 
with joy and exultation. The work is scored for ordinary 
orchestra, and presents no great difficulties. 

About this time came Bantock's first appearance at 
a Festival. The work was an orchestral one Saul, 
a Symphonic Overture, and was produced at the Chester 
Festival of 1897. It is scored for large orchestra, and 
bears the motto : " And all the people went to Gilgal ; 
and they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal " 
(i Sam. xi. 15). The grave opening for brass, followed 
by the string tremolando with an agitated figure in 
the bass, while trumpets blare with ever-increasing 
vehemence all this seems to suggest the general idea 
of kingship and the increasing desire and expectation 
of the people. After this introduction comes the move- 
ment proper, Allegro con anima (C minor, 6/8), an 
agitated subject for strings, wood, and horns, which 
presents the tempestuous side of Saul's nature, and his 



52 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

jealous unrest. Some thirty bars in, a passage for horns 
and trumpets, followed by full orchestra, hints at the 
stronger side of his character and his masterful de- 
cision. Still later comes a touch of the dreamy and 
poetical moods, changing at times to a certain black 
melancholy, to which, we are told, he was liable. With 
the second subject (Andante, E|j, 2/4) we have the better 
influence of David, who, with his harp-playing, calms 
Saul's dark moods. Browning's portrayal of the 
scene is well known. David tells how he entered the 
tent and found the king erect, with arms stretched wide 
" so agonised Saul, drear and stark, blind and dumb : 

" Then I tuned my harp took off the lilies we twine round its 

chords 

Lest they snap 'neath the stress of the noontide, those sun- 
beams like swords : 

And I first played the tune all our sheep know as, one after one, 
So docile they come to the pen-door till folding be done." 

Various other tunes follow till at last Saul's dark mood 
melts away. Browning's poem was not in Bantock's 
mind when writing ; but it may help one to realise the 
gist of the music. After this quieter mood, the passion- 
ate agitation returns ; but a sweep of the harp-strings 
again lulls it, till it is finally subdued, and the strong 
self-control of the idea of kingship, as given at the 
opening, again appears, this time on the organ (Maes- 
toso, 2/2). Here follows a portion which occasioned 
some little difficulty at the time. In the development is 
a picturesque section (Allegretto, G minor, 3/4) depicting 
a procession of Israelites with the Ark. The chief part 
is an oboe solo on the Eastern scale with two aug- 
mented seconds : and, as is very natural in such a 
scene, a triangle is employed. This gave offence to the 
authorities as unsuitable to a cathedral; and after 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 53 

some controversy, the triangle part had to be omitted. 
At the return, Saul's feverish jealousy against David 
reappears, and becomes more and more violent. He 
is still capable of more reasonable moods, however, 
and the second subject (David's influence), when it 
occurs in the retrospect, is extended and more elevated 
in tone. So the struggle goes on between the better 
and worse sides of Saul's nature ; and the work ends 
(Grandioso) with kingly restraint and strength. 

Bantock, with his instinct for large designs, now 
planned (1897-8) and, amid all the whirl of his con- 
ducting duties, actually carried out, a vast work en- 
titled Christus, a Festival Symphony. It was a huge 
undertaking which was not completed till August, 
1901, after his migration to Birmingham. It is in ten 
parts, entitled respectively, Nazareth, The Wilderness, 
The Woman of Samaria, Jerusalem, The Mount of Olives, 
The Paschal Eve, Gethsemane, The Judgment, Calvary, 
Epilogue. The work is written for chorus, soloists, 
organ, and large orchestra ; and occupies 654 pages of 
score. In many places, however for instance, in the 
unaccompanied choruses there are two or three lines to 
a page ; so that if written throughout in full score it 
would be well over 700 pages. I do not propose to go 
into the work in detail. Bantock is not satisfied with 
it ; and it has never been performed as it stands, 
though two portions have been taken out, practically 
re-written, and produced at festivals, as will be duly 
recorded when the time comes. It will be more con- 
venient, however, to discuss the work as a whole here. 
The two parts referred to are Christ in the Wilderness, 
and Gethsemane. The first of these two opens with an 
orchestral prelude, which is itself ushered in by the two 
chief motifs of the work, Resolution and Faith. Follow- 



54 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

ing this prelude comes a recitative telling how Jesus 
withdrew himself into the wilderness. An orchestral 
symphony of 459 bars then deals with his meditations 
during this period ; and is succeeded by a Mystic Chorus, 
in eight parts unaccompanied, in which there is much 
fine and impressive work. A very attractive Air follows, 
with more than a touch of Oriental colouring, to the 
words, The wilderness and the solitary place shall be made 
glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice. No. 6, the 
Epilogue, Arise, Shine, is for eight-part chorus and 
orchestra, and is a broad and elevated piece of writing, 
founded on the Epilogue of Christus. The work is full 
of fine musicianly qualities, as will be expected by all 
who know the lofty standard Bantock sets before 
himself, and the high level he maintains. 

Much the same may be said of the other " Episode 
from the life of Christ " Gethsemane. The plan too 
is similar, though on a somewhat smaller scale. Here 
we have, first, a Prelude of about eighty bars. Then 
a recitative Then cometh Jesus to a place called Geth- 
semane, etc. No. 3 is a symphonic representation of His 
thoughts and feelings, one place being marked, The 
Agony. The cry for the removal of the cup is given in 
words, as also is the interlude, Why sleep ye ? Rise and 
fray. This is succeeded by the Prayer, which is broken 
into by the eight-part unaccompanied chorus, While 
yet he spake, lo Judas ! and the Betrayal Scene follows. 
The eight-part finale, Fear thou not, for I am with ihee, 
is broad in conception, and has, as a centre-piece, a 
daring reversion to old plain-song methods which is 
very striking. 

And yet, in spite of the high musicianly qualities 
of the work, one cannot but feel that Bantock is here 
not moving in his natural element. He has been de- 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 55 

fleeted from his true orbit. He is writing as an artist, 
produces good artistry, and contends that any subject 
can be, and should be, undertaken from that point of 
approach. It is an important issue, and one which is 
well worth some little discussion. 

It is true that an artist must work as an artist ; and 
unless he do this his work must fail ; for no amount of 
good intentions will make great art if the technique be 
faulty. Perhaps, however, that should be modified to 
faulty according to tJie standard of Us time ; for Fra 
Angelico's pictures, to take one instance only, are great 
art in spite of their technical limitations. The art of the 
artist, however, must not be too self-conscious : it 
must have become second nature before he is ready to 
deal with great themes and yet produce a feeling of 
sincerity. But, in addition to that, the subject he deals 
with must be an integral part of his own nature ; if he 
feel it to be to some extent alien, this is almost sure to 
make itself felt. The same is the case, too, in the 
representation of character. This can be achieved by 
the dramatic poet as a matter of artistry, in a sense : 
but he should not think of the matter so, at the time 
of creation. His technique should have become instinc- 
tive : he should think, consciously, only of the Idea. 
Besides that, it should be noted that the character 
represented must be an aspect of himself, i.e. one side of 
his own ampler nature. Hamlet, Romeo, Falstaff, 
Brutus, Cleopatra, Imogen, are all facets of the infi- 
nitely larger nature of Shakespeare. He is the myriad- 
minded man, the man of many aspects. It is true that 
a dramatist sometimes represents a hero whose character 
seems greater than his own : but he is potentially the 
larger nature, though his imagination may present a 
moral standard which he has not yet actually attained. 



56 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

The perfection he bodies forth has not yet passed into 
his own character through the action of will and deed, 
though it is there in reserve in his subliminal nature. 

This accounts for the unsatisfactory effect frequently 
produced by novelists and dramatists when they try 
to represent the great men of history. The character 
is not truly part of themselves : in many cases he is 
far larger and ampler than themselves : and they 
cannot, therefore, think with his brain, feel with his 
heart, and speak with his voice. So clearly has this 
come to be realised that the better novelists have given 
up the attempt to make the great characters of history 
speak and act. Tennyson's Arthur is a failure. Tenny- 
son was if I may be allowed an American slang phrase 
biting off more than he could chew. Think, too to 
take another instance of Plato, as represented in 
Lander's Imaginary Conversations. Landor was very 
far from being able to think with Plato's brain. 

A great deal, however, may be done by severe reserve 
and restraint. Bach, in dealing with Christ in the 
Matthew Passion, was dealing with the object of his 
sincerest and most heartfelt devotion a devotion that 
had become a passion ; for his work is full of the sort 
of devotion that we find in Thomas a Kempis. Yet 
Bach, with all his technical resource, limits himself 
sternly. He deals with Christ only in the simplest, 
almost archaic manner. When Christ speaks, it is in 
recitative, his words being surrounded by an aureole, as 
it were, in the strings, instead of the usual harpsichord 
accompaniment. And in the case of larger utterances, 
they are given to the chorus. There is no attempt to 
treat the character dramatically. The effect is rather 
that produced by the vast mosaic portraits in some 
cathedrals, e.g. that grand archaic figure in the apse 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 57 

of Monreale, that dominates the whole church. Those 
who are students of biblical literature will follow me 
with understanding, if not all with agreement, when 
I say that the same failure is apparent even in the 
Bible itself. John's Gospel is full of speeches put into 
the mouth of Christ, which do not, I think, and many 
critics think, ring true. They are usually founded upon 
some profound germinal phrase which appears to be one 
of the traditional logia which they amplify, and usually 
weaken. We find long speeches embodying the writer's 
platonising philosophy : we do not find the profound 
insight of some of the short sayings in the synoptics, 
where we seem to have authentic logia preserved. 

Well, if success be so difficult, it is hardly surprising 
that in the case before us one cannot feel that it has 
been altogether attained. To me, personally, the effect 
produced is rather that given by Kenan's amiable and 
pathetic figure of Jesus, than that of the exalted Per- 
sonality who in one way or another has actually 
affected the world's history though he is still so little 
understood. Some say that this was Paul's doing : but 
Paul was transformed by the Idea of Christ. As music, 
the two little works are fine and interesting all will 
admit so much ; and no doubt to many they will make 
their own appeal on the psychological side also. These 
are my own personal views, which I give for what they 
are worth : doubtless there will be differences of opinion 
on the subject ; and each hearer must form his own 
conclusions, which will be influenced largely by his views 
and feelings with regard to the Personality who forms 
the central idea at the heart of the works under con- 
sideration. With the oratorio as a whole, Bantock, as 
I have said, is dissatisfied, feeling that his technique 
has not been adequate to the subject. He has there- 



58 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

fore withheld it from publication, only using it as a basis 
for these more finished portions, whose production will 
be chronicled in the proper place. 

During part of the time when Christus was being 
written Bantock was engaged also on the first of his 
really large scores, embodying a symphonic poem on 
the subject of Southey's Thalaba the Destroyer. Its 
appeal to Bantock's mind will be easily understood 
when the nature of the poem is considered. It is a fan- 
tastic story, perhaps deserving the higher epithet 
imaginative ; though such scenes as those in the " Dom- 
daniel " or hell of the sorcerers, with their apparatus 
of teraphs, dead hands, warm skulls, etc., are hardly 
of the loftiest type of imagination. The Gardens of 
Irem, the fabulous Bird of Wisdom the Simorg and 
all kinds of miraculous events, play their parts. Thalaba 
is a youth whose father has been slain by the powers 
of evil, since they hoped to destroy in him the great 
enemy of their race. Thalaba himself is, however, in 
reality the destined one ; and the murder of his 
father only brings their own doom the nearer. He is 
thenceforth a being set apart : 

..." Remember, Destiny 

Hath marked thee from mankind." (Book I.) 

He is to avenge his father's death by extirpating the 
whole race of the sorcerers. It sounds rather crude, 
and like the pitiless creed of the vendetta among the 
Corsicans. And certainly it is dangerous doctrine. 
Personal and private vengeance is only too ready in all 
ages to masquerade as a holy zeal for the destruction 
of the foes of God. It is only just to add, therefore, 
that before the consummation is reached Thalaba at 
least thinks that this element of personal vengeance is 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 59 

conquered and eliminated : and the poet evidently 
intends us to understand that he was not self -deceived. 
Turning now to the musical treatment of the story, 
we may give the composer's intentions, as quoted by 
Mr. Newman in his programme notes at the time of the 
production of the work : " The composer has in view 
a form of musical expression in which the orchestra may 
be regarded as a canvas upon which various pictures 
illustrating certain characters and situations in a given 
poem are depicted according to the development of the 
plot. Prominent ideas and dramatic episodes are 
associated with the themes, and there is hardly a phrase 
or modulation without its special significance tending 
to the elucidation of the subject. . . . Thalaba is the 
prototype of the man who meets and combats adversity, 
and, crushing the serpent-brood of his own lower pas- 
sions, finally triumphs through self-annihilation. . . . 
The spiritual influences leading his soul to the heights of 
aspiration and noble endeavour are typified first by the 
spirit of his mother, and second, by the spirit of Oneiza, 
the Arabian maiden, under whose father's care his child- 
hood was spent in the desert solitude. That earthly love 
may not distract him from his allotted task, Oneiza dies 
upon their w r edding night, and her spirit is henceforth his 
guiding star. Here we have the ascetic ideal : the body 
must suffer and die that the soul may live. Chastened 
by his anguish, Thalaba goes forth, " straight on, with 
Destiny his guide," and through strange ordeals and 
temptations reaches the goal at last. But death alone 
can complete his work ; and, in the final and supreme 
surrender of his will to Heaven, death brings him 
victory." Such were the ideas under whose influence 
Bantock worked ; and he carries them out and em- 
bodies them with musicianly skill. 



6o GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

I have said that this was the first of the really large 
scores. Even this, however, is not on the scale of the 
score of Omar. The instruments employed are such 
as now constitute the ordinary festival orchestra. The 
opening (Mesto, lugubre) consists of an evil and menacing 
passage for brass, representing the sorcerers in their 
abode (or " Domdaniel ") under the Roots of the 
Ocean. Against this, however, as if to foreshadow at 
once the overcoming of evil, appears a figure in the 
basses, from which springs the second subject, the 
theme representing Oneiza, his beloved Arabian maiden 
and good genius, mentioned above. Following this 
comes a vigorous semi-quaver passage (Animate) 
representing Thalaba himself ; and immediately after, 
a theme in the horns (ff), marked with the motto 
quoted above : 

"... Remember, Destiny 
Hath marked thee from mankind." 

This may be conveniently called the Destiny theme, 
and is used a good deal during the course of the piece. 
Upon this follows a melody for violins (fourth string) 
representing one of the spiritual aspects of Thalaba's 
nature, and which also plays some part in the sequel. 
Then, after another reference to the more energetic 
will-element in him, we reach the end of the intro- 
ductory portion, and enter upon the main movement, 
at the Allegro con fuoco, with this energetic motif in 
the strings. It is not long before the " Destiny " theme 
is added ; and this becomes more and more insistent 
till we arrive at the second subject, Moderate sostenuto, 
a tender and somewhat melancholy melody on a scale 
with two augmented seconds. It is given mostly to 
wood-wind at first, but 'cellos and violas are soon 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 61 

interwoven, and it is gradually taken up by all the wood 
and strings. The theme is founded on the phrase 
mentioned above as appearing at the opening, and 
represents the Arab maid Oneiza, one of the strongest 
influences for good in Thalaba's life. All the material is 
now before us, and we need not enter into further detail : 
Bantock's intentions are sufficiently explained in his 
own words quoted above. The evil is finally overcome ; 
but there is not much triumph for Thalaba ; he is 
exhausted by the struggle, and dies victorious but grief- 
stricken. 

The work is forcible and musicianly. The way the 
large orchestral forces are handled is remarkable ; and 
though Bantock now feels that he has left it some way 
behind, for the time when it was written it was quite 
striking ; and it would still be an effective concert- 
piece. It was produced at the London Musical Festival, 
May, 1900, under Wood ; and has been performed at 
Antwerp (February, 1901) and at Liverpool (February, 
1902) under Bantock's own baton. 

The next work a Tone-Poem, The Witch of Atlas 
shows a distinct advance in one respect. The quality 
of its imagination is finer and subtler. The somewhat 
heavy German cast of thought is being sloughed away, 
and we get a more delicate and poetical atmosphere, 
more distinctively English, evidently inspired by the 
ethereal genius of Shelley, and reflecting the peculiar 
quality of his poem. The opening, Lento molto e tran- 
quillo, which has for its motto : 

A lady-witch there lived on Atlas mountain 
Within a cavern by a secret fountain ; 

is a fine ethereal conception. It would perhaps be mis- 
leading to say that the instrumentation is surer : and 



62 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

yet in a sense this is the fact. Instrumentation at its 
truest can really not be separated from the ideas it 
embodies, but is the one inevitable incarnation of those 
ideas : the idea and the form are one. And this is the 
case here. The cast of the ideas being finer, the instru- 
mentation is involved with them. Tremolando violins, 
with a touch of the harp, and a solo violin soaring above, 
answered after a few bars by the cor anglais, create a 
delicate and subtle vision, as it were. Other wood-wind 
gradually join in, then solo 'cello ; and the music 
gradually descends to the lower register of the strings 
till, at bar 32, we reach the second section : 

"Tis said she was first changed into a vapour, 
And then into a cloud, such clouds as flit 

Like splendour winged moths about a taper, 
Round the red west when the sun dies in it. 

Sustained chords for muted trombones, with harp 
arpeggios, and a fragment of the first subject (the Lady) 
for solo viola, answered by solo violin, open this section. 
It is carried on by elaborately divided strings, solo violin, 
solo viola, solo oboe and horn, and is full of delicate 
poetical suggestiveness. At bar 59 comes the third 
section : 

And old Silenus, shaking a green stick 
Of lilies, and the wood-gods in a crew 

Came blithe, as, in the olive-copses thick, 
Cicadae are, drunk with the noonday dew ; 

And Driope and Faunus followed quick, 

Teasing the god to sing them something new ; 

Till in the cave they found the lady lone, 

Sitting upon a seat of emerald stone. 

There is less of the Silenus element than some might 
expect from Bantock's later work : indeed he and his 
rout are only just hinted at in a quiet passage of semi- 
quaver repeated chords for wood-wind and trumpets, 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 63 

Pp. And it is a sure instinct that has led the composer 
to this restraint, as any enlarging on this idea would 
have thrown the picture out of focus. His imagination 
is more concerned with the olive-copses, the noonday 
dew, the beauty of the assembled gods, and of the lady 
in the magic cavern, upon her seat of emerald ; and this 
is expressed in a suave melody, an expansion of the 
first subject (the Lady), streaming out in the strings 
against tremolando wood-wind. 

The next section (bar 98) tells how the nymphs and 
shepherdesses came marvelling at the beauty of the 
Lady. There is a fresh figure of semi-quavers in the 
wood-wind, but the main subject is still the original 
phrase for the Lady, who is the central figure of the 
whole picture. At bar 137 we have a fresh subject of 
great beauty, still dwelling upon this central idea : 

For she was beautiful : her beauty made 

The bright world dim ; and everything beside 
Seemed like the fleeting image of a shade. 

Here we have a long-drawn melody for four horns, ac- 
companied by divided strings, with touches of the harp ; 
the melody being taken up later by violins in the upper 
register. This passes into the next section almost im- 
perceptibly ; in fact the two are practically interfused. 

The next portion, however, is more distinctive. It 
is marked Marziale con anima, and illustrates with much 
pomp and pageantry of sound the following stanza : 

And then she called out of the hollow turrets 

Of those high clouds, white, golden, and vermilion, 

The armies of her ministering spirits : 
In mighty legions, million after million. 

They came, each troop emblazoning its merits 
On meteor-flags ; and many a proud pavilion 

Of the intertexture of the atmosphere 

They pitched upon the plain of the calm mere. 



64 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

Following upon this, a long harp cadence leads to 
the last piece of fresh imagery, where the Lady gives 
to the most beautiful of her adorers a magic drink 
which fills them with a fuller, larger life. Here the 
melody used is a fresh presentment of the subject for 
horns which is mentioned above as occurring at bar 137, 
and which may almost stand as a motif of beauty itself. 
This leads to a resumption of the delicate opening ; and 
the whole dies away like a vision. 

The work was produced at the Worcester Festival of 
1902. It is of extreme beauty, and ought to be in con- 
tinual request. English orchestral works are singularly 
neglected : but here is one that would repay any 
conductor, and that is not beyond the powers of good 
orchestras such as are now not uncommon. It requires 
delicacy of playing, and imagination, certainly ; but 
the passages present no great difficulty. It is scored 
for ordinary large orchestra. 

Another piece belonging to this period is the Elegiac 
Poem for 'cello and orchestra. It is on an altogether 
smaller scale, being merely a piece d'occasion, and 
running only to some 112 bars ; but it is a fine piece 
of work, and very effective in performance. The score 
is small, having only two horns in addition to strings 
and wood ; but the most is made of the resources em- 
ployed, and the tone-colour is rich and full. The piece 
opens in D, Molto lento e sostenuto. A fresh phrase, 
Molto piu mosso, in B minor, follows, the violins giving 
out a new melody which is then taken up by the 'cello. 
After this comes an agitato passage in C# minor, in which, 
however, the accompaniments are kept down sufficiently 
to allow theTnot very powerful 'cello tone to come 
through. The mood then becomes~quieter again, and a 
fresh 'cello melody appears, Meno mosso, piu tranquillo, 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 65 

in E. So the changeful feelings succeed each other as 
in elegiacs generally, as different thoughts of the lost 
friend come to one's memory. A noticeable point occurs 
at the return to D, where the main subject is given out 
by 'cello, imitated by clarinet a tone higher, resumed by 
'cello a tone higher, and again imitated by oboe a tone 
higher still, the mind seeming to dwell with ever- 
increasing vehemence on the beloved memory. After 
a cadence for the solo instrument, a peaceful coda 
speaks of resignation in the sense of loss. The piece is 
effectively written for the instrument, and, along with 
the still finer Sapphic Poem, of which we shall speak 
later, forms a valuable addition to the 'cello repertoire. 
The score is published by Joseph Williams and Co. ; 
and an arrangement for 'cello and pianoforte has been 
issued by the same firm edited by Willy Lehmann, the 
'cellist, with whom Bantock formed a friendship a year 
or two later, at Birmingham. 

Thus went on Bantock's more intimate work, in ever- 
increasing volume and fineness of structure. His ex- 
ternal work, meanwhile, was in a less satisfactory con- 
dition. He was receiving recognition in more ways than 
one, and his old alma mater complimented him with the 
title F.R.A.M. But the divergence of views between 
him and the management at New Brighton gradually 
became more clearly defined. Mr. de Ybarrondo was 
obliged, for various reasons, to resign from the Board 
of Directors ; and the Chairman his influence removed 
became more and more hostile. He viewed The Tower, 
New Brighton, purely as a business affair : Bantock 
was trying to make it subserve his artistic aims. It is 
easy to see that the situation had become impossible, 
and Bantock began to look round for other employment. 
By this time his reputation, and that of his concerts, 
F 



66 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

were fully established ; and it was not long before he 
received offers from two sources. The Birmingham and 
Midland Institute had some years before added a music 
school to their educational organisation ; but this music 
school had never had an official Principal, though Mr. 
Stockley had occupied the post of conductor, and that 
of a sort of unofficial quasi-principal. It was now 
decided to have a regular Principal, and to organise the 
School of Music on a more complete and careful plan. 
Elgar had recently been a good deal associated with the 
musical life of Birmingham, largely owing to the pro- 
duction of some of his vocal works in that city. Thus 
it came about that, mainly through Elgar's influence, 
the position of Principal of the Midland Institute School 
of Music was now offered to Bantock. The other offer 
was that of a position on the staff of the Royal Academy 
of Music. Bantock took some time to think the matter 
over, as the choice was an important one ; but he finally 
decided that he would have opportunities wider and more 
varied in an organisation whose musical policy was as 
yet not very clearly defined, and whose position was still 
to be achieved, than he would as one among many, and 
with purely professional duties, in an already established 
Institution. He therefore concluded to accept the post 
at Birmingham ; and conveyed his decision to the 
Royal Academy of Music in the words of Milton already 
referred to : 

Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. 

Before he went to his new sphere of action, however, 
one more undertaking claimed his co-operation. A 
concert of British music had been organised to be given 
at Antwerp, and this he had undertaken to conduct. It 
took place in February, 1900. The programme included 



NEW BRIGHTON, 1897-1900 67 

some of his own works, among them Jaga-naut of the 
Kehama cycle, which won a warm reception, and was 
repeated about a year later at a Philharmonic Concert 
in March, 1901. 

Shortly afterwards Bantock took a final leave of New 
Brighton, receiving from his orchestra an address re- 
gretting his loss, and acknowledging the fine work he 
had done. As was inevitable, the band relapsed to their 
original status as an ordinary amusements band. Ban- 
tock, meanwhile, proceeded to Birmingham, settled in 
a house at King's Norton, and after the summer vacation, 
in September, 1900, entered upon his new responsi- 
bilities at the Midland Institute. 



CHAPTER VI 

BIRMINGHAM (PART l) MIDLAND INSTITUTE, IQOO, CON- 
DUCTING, ETC., SONGS, 'CELLO PIECES, GREEK PLAYS, 

CHORAL WORKS, OMAR, 1906-9 

THE Birmingham and Midland Institute was incor- 
porated by Act of Parliament in 1854, at the instance 
of the Municipality. The foundation-stone was laid by 
the Prince Consort, and the Institute has had a long 
series of distinguished Presidents, among them Charles 
Dickens, Huxley, Kingsley, Tyndall, Dean Stanley, 
Max Miiller, Froude, Russell Lowell, Seeley, Sullivan, 
and Freeman. The Institute is a sort of combination 
of club and educational establishment. Not that there 
are arrangements for dining ; but the weekly lectures 
for members only, the reading-rooms, Chess Club, and 
various societies, give a tinge of the club-element. 
The educational value of the Institute has been great. 
It has been a sort of forerunner to make straight the 
paths of the University : and, though the University 
has now appeared, has still its own distinctive work to 
do. Evening classes for such as cannot conform to 
university conditions have provided, and do provide, 
invaluable means of education, and some flavour of 
university life. For the numbers are large ; and social 
intercourse combines with the influence of various allied 
societies to give the students an emulation and an 
esprit de corps which private classes can hardly arouse. 
History, literature, mathematics, languages, commercial 

68 



BIRMINGHAM 69 

subjects, art, and science, were taught from the first. 
The Art Department set up for itself, later, as the 
Municipal School of Art. The Municipal Technical 
School is another child of the Institute. And the School 
of Music, which was inaugurated in a tentative way 
some years before Bantock's advent, is now known 
throughout England as the School for the Midlands. 
There are at present some 2250 students, of whom nearly 
1000 belong to the School of Music. 

When Bantock came to Birmingham in September, 
1900, as Principal of the School of Music, the duties of 
his office were not very clearly denned, since he was the 
first to fill this position, and he had to make his status 
for himself. The governing bodies consisted of Presi- 
dent, Vice-President, Council, Committees, and Secre- 
tary, which last office was held by Alfred Hayes, the 
poet, with whom Bantock formed a cordial intimacy. 
During the last year or two a reorganisation has taken 
place, and Mr. Hayes has been appointed Principal of 
the Industrial Side of the Institute. Other members 
of the organisation with whom Bantock formed ties of 
friendship were W. M. Gibbons, at present Registrar 
of Sheffield University, and H. M. Francis, now Secre- 
tary of the Institute. One of Bantock's first acts on 
taking up his office was to move for the appointment of 
Elgar as Visitor of the School of Music, a position which 
he accepted and still holds. 

A complete musical education can now be obtained 
at the School of Music. The collective classes for rudi- 
ments, ear-training, harmony, and counterpoint have 
proved of great service in raising the general musical 
average of the district. Bantock's influence, as might 
be expected, has been exercised steadily in the direction 
of fostering modern music ; and lectures on Strauss, 



70 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

Debussy, Sibelius, etc., have been given by Newman 
and others. The orchestra is under Bantock's personal 
direction, and the list of works performed since his 
coming is a fine one, many modern pieces being included. 
There have also been full performances of Gluck's 
Orfeo, Iphigenia in Aulis, and iphigenia in Tauris, as 
well as the greater part of Die Zauberflote, entirely by 
the students. During the last few years, too, Bantock 
has conducted a composition class which is free to any 
student who shows himself capable of profiting by it. 
Here they meet, on equal terms, university students to 
whom, also, the class is open ; and this intercourse is 
of benefit to both alike, and constitutes a link between 
the two institutions. Much promising work has resulted, 
a good deal even showing actual attainment, and all 
being, of course, of the modern type. 

This appointment led to Bantock's being invited to 
accept the post of Conductor to the Birmingham Ama- 
teur Orchestral Society, which went on for some time 
under his direction, but finally found the pace he set 
too great, and succumbed. He was also appointed 
conductor of the Worcester Philharmonic Society, in 
succession to Elgar. Here, too, history repeated itself. 
These societies all played the part of Mazeppa to Ban- 
tock's wild steed " A Tartar of the Ukraine breed," 
as Byron has it and found the speed a killing one. 
Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet was too great a strain on this 
society's powers of endurance, and they, too, gave up 
the ghost. The Liverpool Orchestral Society, as already 
described, gave Heldenleben in 1904. Bantock was then 
appointed conductor, and they proved to be of firmer 
mettle. They stuck to their guns, and fought a slowly 
losing battle for some years till they, too, finally went 
under. Another society whose conductorship Bantock 



BIRMINGHAM 71 

undertook was the Wolverhampton Festival Choral, 
here for the second time in succession to Wood. This 
society gave the first provincial performance (after 
the production at Birmingham) of The Dream of Geron- 
lius, under Bantock's direction. He found the duties 
too much of a tax, however, in addition to his other 
work, and resigned after three years. Shortly after 
his settlement at Birmingham a second concert of British 
music was organised at Antwerp (1901), and Bantock's 
services were again in demand as conductor. Some of 
his work was given on this occasion also, with great 
success. 

Such were the conditions in which Bantock's lot was 
now cast, and amid which his work was to be done. 
Looking at that work broadly, we may regard him as 
having reached, with this Birmingham period, his own 
maturity. The Birmingham sun is perhaps not the 
most genial to art : but it was here that his grain ripened 
and that he gathered in his harvest. A man's mature 
work reveals the structure of his mind in its larger 
aspects as well as in its more individual features : in 
discussing the work of this time, therefore, we will 
change our plan somewhat. This work separates itself 
readily into broadly defined masses ; and we shall get 
a more perspicuous view by considering these, each 
as a whole, and in relation to each other, than by the 
chronological method that has hitherto sufficed. 

The difficulty of gathering from his writings the views 
and mental outlook of a dramatic poet has frequently 
been enlarged upon : and certainly it is easy to go astray 
and follow false scents in this quest of the dramatist's 
central personality. And yet there are some broad 
principles which may guide us even here. Where 
authorities are altered, for instance, we may find 



72 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

a clue. Omissions, too, sometimes tell us much : silences 
speak eloquently. But, especially, where a particular 
type of subject, or a tendency towards some particular 
conclusion appears as a common trait throughout a 
considerable body of work, we may fairly suspect that 
we have found a hint as to the writer's mentality. But 
if this be so with the dramatist, much more is it the case 
with the lyrical poet or musician. Sometimes he, too, 
writes dramatically, it is true, as in the instance of 
Browning's Dramatic Lyrics: but normally he is uttering 
his own emotions passing moods, possibly, but still 
his own personal views and feelings. And if we find 
large masses of his work tinged with the same cast of 
thought, we may be pretty sure we are gaining an in- 
sight into the writer's mental outlook. Songs give a 
clue to the mental calibre of a composer in another way. 
The man who contentedly sets the trivialities which are 
sent round to us in sheaves by the writers of lyrics for 
the average popular song, unconsciously fulfils Dog- 
berry's aspiration and writes himself down an ass. 

I. Bantock's work, in the period to which we have 
now come, is most interesting in these respects. We 
find a predominant vein of thought. The mass of songs 
which we now proceed to discuss, the 'cello pieces, and 
the choral works, including Omar, show mostly the 
same broad tendency : and it is one which is character- 
istic of Bantock's mind. The philosophy of Hafiz is 
much the same as that of Omar Khayyam. Sappho, 
while not so conscious of philosophical views, has 
ideas of life which are based upon much the same 
foundation : and the case of the Browning songs, which 
seems at first sight to run counter to this view, in 
reality confirms it, as we shall see later. 

The first two sets of songs with which we have to deal 



BIRMINGHAM 73 

the Seraglio Songs and the Jester Songs do not 
throw any very striking new light upon our subject. 
The Songs of the Seraglio follow up the same vein that 
Bantock had already so successfully worked in the 
earlier Songs of the East. There are four numbers in the 
album, the poems being by Mrs. Bantock : and we 
have here, both in words and music, the intense eroticism 
suffused with an Eastern atmosphere and idiom, which 
we find later carried to an enormously higher power of 
beauty, range, and exaltation, in the Sappho Songs. 
No. i, The Odalisque, opens with a characteristic 
Eastern phrase on the scale with two augmented seconds. 
There is a middle section, rather less picturesque, and 
the first part is repeated. No. 2, A Persian Love-Song, 
is less like the earlier Eastern songs in idiom. There is 
less actual harmony : in its place, there are wavering 
threads of sound amid which the voice interweaves its 
exotic phrases on the same scale as in the last song. 
This and the Lament of the Bedouin Slave-Girl are the 
most striking songs in the book : they are both highly 
pictorial and vividly suggest the Oriental atmosphere 
and surroundings. The last, The Demon of Mazinderan, 
is less individual, though it is built upon a picturesque 
figure with a quintuplet and diminished third which is 
rather arresting. 

The Jester Songs are perhaps due to a wish on Ban- 
tock's part to enlarge his range and break loose from 
the Oriental manner, which he may have felt was in 
danger of becoming a mannerism. They are not in 
Bantock's own characteristic vein. They are light- 
hearted for the most part, though the jester is the 
pathetic figure who has become a tradition since the 
fool in King Lear, and who carries a sore heart under his 
motley. No. I, The Jester, is a cheery song with a 



74 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

taking tune, only changing to a sombre mirth when he 
speaks of creeping 

... to a darkened corner to die, 

While lightly the world goes laughing by, 

and ending with a laugh. No. 3, Will o' the Wisp, tells 
of Poor Will who fell in love with the moon's reflection 
in a forest pool, and pined and died when a cloud came 
and took her away. It, too, has an easily caught 
melody ; and the accompaniments, with the leaping 
and flickering of the ignis fatuus, are suggestive even 
in the piano version, and highly picturesque in the 
orchestral form. No. 4, Sub Rosa, begins, " Oh the life 
of a fool is free," and this also has a jolly rollicking tune. 
The accompaniment is simplicity itself, being merely 
a few chords suggesting a jongleur's touch upon the 
lute. It tells how a knight and a lady in love avoided 
each other's glance ; but their very caution told the 
tale to the fool. From a musical point of view, No. 5, 
Serenade, is the most interesting, with its 5/4 time and 
individual rhythm. The melody in this peculiar idiom 
is quite readily apprehended and taking, though one 
might perhaps expect otherwise. The last, Tra-la-la-lie, 
is a gay and jovial little song with a touch of the fool's 
hardships in the middle. Altogether, if the humorous, 
quasi-antique style is not the most characteristic manner 
either of Bantock or his wife, who wrote the words, the 
songs are pleasant trifles, musicianly of their kind, and 
with a sure appeal to many whom the profounder songs 
would leave untouched. 

From these to the Five Ghazals of Hafiz is an enormous 
stride that reminds one of the seven-league boots in 
the fairy-stories. Bantock was now in the thick of his 
Omar studies and his setting of the Rubdiydt. Omar 



BIRMINGHAM 75 

and Hafiz have much in common, and in them Bantock 
found thoroughly congenial spirits at whose contact 
he was himself kindled into flame. Omar died about 
1 1 22, Hafiz " the greatest of Persian lyrical poets " 
about a century and a half later. The ghazals are con- 
cerned with wine, flowers, damsels, etc., so that he has 
been called the Anacreon of Persia. This imagery 
scandalised the orthodox, though he, like Omar, is said 
to have belonged to the mystical sect of Sufis, and to 
have had an esoteric meaning hidden under these figures. 
Nearly all such poems have been explained in this way. 
The Song oj Songs has been said to be speaking in figura- 
tive language of the Church : and the Shakespeare son- 
nets to have been addressed to Poetry. Yet it seems 
clear that in passages like the following, more is meant 
than meets the ear : 

Foolish niggard heart ! life's flitted, and thou didst not pluck 

one rose 
From life's red bush ; what's remaining ? name and fame at 

life's dull close ? 
Yet, except from drunkards fuddled with God's glorious wine, 

none learns 
What was veiled : the bigot Zahud nothing of himself discerns. 

The drunkenness and the wine clearly refer to the 
exaltation of spirit in which poets see visions, and with- 
out which human life is a dull jog-trot. Nay, in the very 
Stabat Mater, have we not Cruce hdc inebriari? There 
is nevertheless an undoubted element, and a very strong 
one, of the Horatian philosophy ; and it is no wonder 
that Hafiz was looked sourly upon by " the bigot 
Zahud." There was evidently no love lost on the one 
side more than on the other. Hafiz clearly thought of 
Zahud much as Burns thought of Holy Willy. 

The version used by Bantock is Sir Edwin Arnold's ; 
and in these Ghazals we find the composer in one of his 



76 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

most characteristic aspects. The Eastern scales are less 
in evidence : these poems have appealed to him so 
strongly that that kind of surface pictorialism is swept 
aside, and we have instead a spontaneous and passion- 
ate utterance that carries one away. The striking and 
daring harmonic effects, the rushing passages, the whirl 
of excitement in the rhythms, leave one almost breath- 
less. One peculiarity in this kind is very noticeable 
here, and for the first time, I think, though it is often 
found in Bantock's later work. An instance occurs on 
page 17, at the words, Hear what the heart-Subduer in- 
tends, where we have a crescendo and accelerando passage 
of repeated chords in triplets on a ninth, with a rising 
middle part, the whole rushing at the end of the bar 
from triplets into the tumultuous hurry of semi- 
quavers. 

The collection opens with a short Prelude (" Hafiz 
improvises "), consisting mainly of harp-arpeggios. 
Triangle and tambourine give touches of Oriental life, 
and the whole makes a picturesque introduction. We 
then plunge into a torrent of passionate emotion with 
Ghazal i, Aid ya! send the Cup round ! The composer 
is very successful in emphasising the sense of the words, 
following and reflecting their various moods, keeping the 
rhetorical accents, and at the same time making a con- 
tinuous and coherent musical whole. This is by no 
means an easy task, his peculiar success in which is 
always acclaimed as Wolf's supreme merit. The second 
song, Glory of full-mooned Fairness, is even more success- 
ful, combining lyrical and dramatic feeling in a more per- 
fect blend. A charming phrase at the words, to the peace 
of thy place, is used later in such a way as to constitute 
it a sort of theme of the Belovdd ; and a shorter figure, 
growing from the phrase used in speaking of the love- 



BIRMINGHAM 77 

light in her eyes, is also used as a recurring motif. 
Passionate abandonment mingled with tender feeling 
make this a truly notable song. No. 3, Saki, dye the 
Cup's rim deeper, is slightly quieter in tone on the whole, 
though it, too, has its moments of passionate abandon- 
ment. The rhythmical figure, described above, of the 
triplet-chords hurrying into semi-quavers at the end 
of the bar, occurs twice with striking effect on refer- 
ence to the Beloved. There are, however, more medita- 
tive and quiet passages ; and the subject in the Allar- 
gando at the end is strikingly beautiful. This song will 
appeal to many people more than the others, with their 
greater stress of tumultuous passion. In No. 4, Sufi, 
hither gaze ! we have a curious coincidence. At the 
words 

Sufi, hither gaze, for brightly shines the mirror of the Cup 
Gaze into the ruby wine and see what thing it flingeth up 

the music bears a curious resemblance to the phrase in 
Omar associated with the motto, The Glories of this world 
pass. This song, too, is on the whole quiet in tone ; and 
there is a beautiful phrase, Lento Flebile, at the reference 
to the loss, by Adam, of the lovely lawns of Paradise. 
In No. 5, The New Moon's silver Sickle, Hafiz thinks of 
his soul's reaping-time w r ith awe, and cries to his Good 
Genius to awake ; then exclaims Woe's me ! and falls 
silent, while an impressive passage tells of his thoughts. 
The arpeggios that follow " while my glad spirit 
mounts," are perhaps a little too like the orthodox treat- 
ment of such a theme an unusual thing with Bantock. 
Even if it is meant ironically I doubt its success. This, 
however, is only a passing incident ; and the following 
Largamente, ma con spirito, " Sky, boast not thy starry 
pomp," is again admirable. A recurrence of the rhythmi- 



7 8 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

cal phrase twice referred to follows, and the song ends 
with a note of irony. These Ghazals are scored, but 
the score is not yet published. 

The last of these Hafiz songs is a separate one, " // 
that Angel of Shiraz," to Justin McCarthy's translation. 
It is perhaps in some ways the most mature of them all. 
The rather unfortunate phrase " to a lovely face what 
need is there of paint or powder ?" is given in a quasi- 
recitative, which is certainly the best way of treating it, 
though the phrase jars, anyhow, with the atmosphere of 
the song. There are other passages in this quasi- 
recitative, and it must be allowed that the procedure is 
right, and in consonance with the character of the words ; 
and yet the style of passage seems to arrest the torrent 
of poetical emotion. It is here that there occurs a refer- 
ence to the insoluble mystery of things, set to a remark- 
able passage marked mistico, to which I shall refer again 
shortly. The last lines : 

Thou hast rhymed thy ghazal, thou hast strung thy pearls ; 
Come, O Hafiz, and sing it sweetly, that Heaven may shed upon 
thy song the glory of the Pleiades 

are set to a beautiful lyrical melody that grows out of 
a preceding phrase, and worthily ends the song. Ban- 
tock himself likes this Ghazal best, and I can understand 
the preference. I am inclined myself, however, to give 
the precedence to No. 3 in the cycle, for its lyrical fer- 
vour and happy mingling of various styles of beauty. 
Altogether, the group forms a real addition to song- 
literature, and must surely, in no long time, become 
more widely known. 

Undoubtedly there is more than a tinge of scepticism 
in Hafiz a quality which is more prominent still in 
Omar Khayyam, whose arraignment of Providence, 



BIRMINGHAM 79 

nevertheless, is considerably intensified by Fitzgerald. 
Bantock, however, seizes upon this and underlines it 
heavily in his setting, as in the man' s forgiveness give and 
take, already quoted. It is the more remarkable at first 
sight, therefore, that he should have turned from Hafiz 
and Omar to set Browning, the poet who, of all others, 
is most characteristically, and even pugnaciously, opti- 
mistic in his views of the dealings of Providence with 
the world. The remark I made a little way back about 
the omissions of an artist here finds a vivid illustration. 
What Bantock seizes upon in Browning is not this side 
of him, but his full-blooded, bounding vigour, and 
exultation in this present life : 

Man I am, and man would be, love merest man and nothing 

more : 

Bid me seem no other ! Eagles boast of pinions let them soar : 
I may put forth angels' plumage once unmanned, but not before. 

Browning was so certain of himself on the religious side 
that he liked occasionally to dally with the other side 
as an adventure. Bantock, in common with Hafiz, Omar, 
and Sappho, takes the more typically artist's position. 
For it must be owned that between artists and the re- 
ligious world there is generally a feud. It is rare to find 
either a great artist or a great saint who can see the 
other side and harmonise the two views. Yet there is 
no necessary antagonism between art and religion, any 
more than between science and religion : they move on 
different planes of thought and life. Browning himself 
is sufficient to show that this is true ; and an even 
stronger instance is Dante, one of the greatest of artists 
as well as of seers. Similarly in the other case, Newton, 
Crookes, and Romanes are sufficient to prove the point. 
The public are often misled by such men as Huxley and 
Haeckel, and do not distinguish between their scientific 



8o GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

and their philosophic utterances. Science is ordered 
knowledge. When these men speak scientifically they 
speak with special authority : when they give us their 
views, and reason from scientific facts, they speak not 
as scientists but as philosophers, and are entitled to no 
special deference. Artists are exceptionally sensitive 
to the beauty of the visible world ; and it must be 
confessed that their defiance is largely the fault of the 
religious world. These deny with dogmatic intolerance 
what the artist knows to be true : and the artist, seeing 
them deny his gospel, refuses in his turn to believe their 
gospel. Burns's Holy Willy is the natural resentment of 
the artist at seeing his gospel flouted by a hypocritical 
ignoramus. Another typical case is the celebrated 
passage in Aucassin and NicoUte. It is not Browning's 
optimism, then, or his religious views, that attract 
Bantock, but his full-blooded energy, his joie de vivre, 
his emphatic counsel to make the most of the sphere 
in which you actually are. At the same time it is true 
that Bantock is sometimes seized by his own sub- 
conscious personality, as all real artists are, and shows 
that there is, below the surface, a feeling of this deeper 
meaning and reality of things, to which he responds 
though he would never put it into intellectualised form 
or acknowledge it in words. His intellect rejects it, 
or suspends judgment : his instinct at times tacitly 
accepts it. The instinctive genius is sometimes too 
strong for the intellectualised opinion of the man, as is 
common with artists and prophets. We find this even 
in Omar, as we shall see, and Bantock responds to it 
at once. We find it in Hafiz : 

For none in their wisdom have ever solved, or will ever solve, 
that mystery. 

(From // that Angel of Shiran.) 



BIRMINGHAM 81 

At these words Bantock gives us an extraordinary 
passage which he marks mistico, just as he is instantly 
moved to a similar expression at I sent my soul through 
the Invisible, in Omar, and marks one of the motifs in 
the same work, behind the veil. He cannot help an in- 
stinctive feeling that there is something in the Invisible, 
or behind the veil, though he would not acknowledge 
it in words, or only in the most guarded manner. The 
poet normally controls Pegasus : sometimes, however, 
Pegasus takes the bit between his teeth and carries him 
whither he would not : if he be a true Pegasus, higher 
than he would. 

When we turn, then, from the Hafiz to the Browning 
songs (Ferishtah's Fancies], we are sensible at once of a 
difference. There is not quite the fervid glow of the 
Hafiz Ghazals : the peculiar emotional intellectualism of 
Browning takes its place, and is well expressed in the 
music. Ferishtah was a Persian historian (circ. 1550- 
1612) whom Browning uses as a mouthpiece for his own 
philosophy. In a dozen apologues various teachings are 
set forth : to each is appended a lyric : and these 
lyrics Bantock has set, the whole being rounded off with 
an Epilogue. The first, The Eagle, utters Browning's 
preference for toil amid the ways of men, helping 
and strengthening, rather than for life in artistic, in- 
tellectual, or religious isolation, supported by the 
labour of others. He desires an honest life of struggle 
as a man among men, tasting the true human lot 
a sentiment to which Bantock responds instinctively. 
The song is a most attractive one, eminently sing- 
able, and tingling with eager life. No. 2, The Melon- 
seller, is simpler, but full of tender feeling: the kernel 
of it take apparent injustice, or any suffering, for 
love's sake : love overpays all. The motto, so to 



82 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

speak, of No. 3, Shah Abbas, lies in the last line but 
two : 

"Be love your light and trust your guide, with these explore 
my heart " ; 

and the music covers the sometimes crabbed verse of 
Browning with a robe of beauty. The next, The Family, 
has evidently appealed to Bantock with peculiar force. 
It is from this that the lines already quoted are taken : 

" Man I am, and man would be, love, merest man and nothing 
more," etc. 1 ; 

and this is in fact the central conception of the whole 
song-cycle. Amid the eager torrent of song there is a 
momentary slackening, and a beautiful phrase at the 
words, Now on earth to stand suffices, etc., which Ban- 
tock uses as a sort of motto, for he brings in the phrase 
again as a closing reflection, after the singer has finished. 
Altogether a noble song, and peculiarly characteristic 
both of poet and composer. The Sun, No. 5, does not 
give up its meaning very readily without a preliminary 
study of the poem that precedes the lyric. And in fact 
this is true of all this album. Let no singer undertake 
them, or any other of Bantock's work, who is not pre- 
pared to undergo some intellectual labour. The type of 
song that depends for its charm merely upon a suave 
melody and a beautiful voice must be sought elsewhere. 
The next, Mihrab Shah, is a specially striking effort, and 
deals with the function of pain and of our physical 
bodies. The lyric expresses it well, but this too, like 
all the rest, can only be properly grasped by a study 
of the whole poem, which the music illustrates and en- 
forces with much beauty and impressiveness. No. 8, 
Two Camels, is another to whose understanding a 
knowledge of what goes before the lyric is essential : 



BIRMINGHAM 83 

but, this being known, the song is fine and interesting. 
Another in which the composer has poured himself out 
in song is No. 10, Plot-culture, where the central idea 
of this group of songs is again forcibly expressed : 

Take Sense too let me love entire and whole 
Not with my Soul ! 

The Epilogue is a noble piece of work with its kindling 
cry 

Was it for mere fool's play, make-believe or mumming, 
So we battled it like men, not boy-like sulked or whined ? 

Each of us heard clang God's " Come ! " and each was coming : 
Soldiers all, to forward face not sneaks to lag behind. 

The sudden chill, too, amid the enthusiasm " What if 
all be error ? " is very touching, and reminds one of 
Bunyan's honest portrayal of the same doubt in his 
hero, almost at the end of his pilgrimage. Browning, 
however, concludes : 

4 What if all the halo irised round my head were, love, thine 
arms ? " 

In all this Bantock has found a thoroughly congenial 
spirit which has kindled him to a fine response. In 
some ways, indeed, these songs are the finest of all. 
There is none of the haunting pessimism of the others ; 
but, in its place, that heroic and eager determination to 
make the best of life as it is, and to see the best in it, which 
was so strong in Browning. It is to be deplored, though 
perhaps it is not strange, that we do not hear this cycle 
more frequently. It makes an enormous demand upon 
the singer, certainly ; but would repay a man with 
sufficient mental grip as well as artistic temperament 
a combination not often found. The songs are 
stimulating like mountain-air ; but audiences, too, 
would have to study the poems beforehand ; and_this 



84 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

is more than the average audience cares to do. The 
songs are scored for orchestra, but the full score is not 
yet published. 

Of the Sappho Songs it is difficult to speak tem- 
perately. The peculiar beauty of this phoenix among 
poetesses seems to have entered into the composer's 
heart. There are a Prelude, and nine fragments ; and 
we have the same fervid glow, the same daring har- 
monies and varied rhythms, as in the Hafiz Songs, but 
with less of the pessimistic tinge. The Prelude is opened 
by the harp, languidly in 5/4, with spread chords that 
look like two chords combined, but which are really, of 
course, high powers of single chords. These are answered 
first by 'cellos alone, and afterwards by clarinets and 
strings. The Prelude is full of passion, and fitly ushers 
in the songs that follow. The Hymn to Aphrodite has 
something of the beauty of a lovely girl before the altar- 
flame ascending from a rocky height overlooking the 
marvellous violet of the Mediterranean. No. 2, / loved 
fhee once, Atthis, long ago, is laden with the most poignant 
grief and passion. Nobody who has once heard this song, 
one would think, could possibly forget it : it goes home 
to the heart, and burns itself into the memory at once, 
by virtue of its beauty and sincerity. The opening phrase 
for muted trombones and harp, with cor anglais giving 
the sorrow-laden melody, sets at once the tone which 
swells to a flood of grief, passion, and beauty. One of 
the most striking numbers is No. 5, The Moon has set / 
and it is from this that some of the most poignant 
material of the Prelude is taken : 

I yearn and seek I know not what to do : 
And I flutter like a child after her mother : 
For love masters my limbs and shakes me 
Fatal creature, bitter-sweet ! 



BIRMINGHAM 85 

The whole song is a marvel of mournful and passionate 
beauty. Peer of the Gods he seemed, too, is a fine number. 
No. 7, In a Dream I spake, is different in character. 
Death is evil : the gods have so judged, is the theme ; and 
the music is of a brooding melancholy, sighing out the 
lyrical phrases with a certain balance and consciousness 
of beauty unlike the passionate abandonment of the 
other songs. The last two are the only happy songs 
in the cycle ; No. 8, Bridal Song, quite dithyrambic in 
its joy ; and No. 9, Muse of the Golden Throne, full of a 
sort of shining gladness. The opening refers to the 
opening of the Prelude ; and there are other touches 
here and there that relate it to what has preceded. 
Altogether it is a wonderful song-cycle impressive even 
in the pianoforte version, and doubly so with the orches- 
tral accompaniment. It is to be hoped they will soon 
find one of the younger school of singers to take them up 
and make them widely known. 

Of the separate songs, one of the finest is the Song 
of the Genie, with its forceful and pictorial energy : 

Master of Spirits ! Master of Clay ! 
Call me, O Strong One ! Swift I obey ! 

We almost seem to see the Genie of the Lamp appear 
in his terrors to Aladdin. The words are by Mrs. Ban- 
tock. 

Another song, of altogether lighter calibre, is As I 
ride, a setting of Browning's Through Metidja to Abd-el- 
Kadr. It is, of course, purely pictorial, and full of verve 
and buoyant life, a quality which the orchestral version 
greatly heightens. One thing we must remark, however ; 
\ve never rode a horse that galloped so. He would be 
an anatomical rarity that would deserve a place in a 
museum. However, to a generation of city-dwellers 



86 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

who mostly ride buses, this will not matter much, as the 
gait of a horse is unknown : and the song is a spirited 
piece of work. Other songs will be found in the list of 
works, in the Appendix. 

Before we leave this part of our subject, however, we 
must mention a considerable labour which was under- 
taken by Bantock for the Oliver Ditson Co. of Boston. 
This was the editing and arranging of three collections 
of songs which were published in separate albums. 
The first two were 100 Folk-Songs of all Nations and do 
Patriotic Songs of all Nations, to both of which Bantock 
prefixed historical and critical notes. The third, zoo 
Songs of England, is at present in the press. The whole 
forms a valuable collection of some of the best folk- 
songs of the world, in a handy form ; and is very oppor- 
tune in these days when intelligent interest is being 
awakened in the subject. 

II. Connected psychologically with the last great 
cycle of songs, is the Sapphic Poem for 'cello and orches- 
tra, which was composed for Willy Lehmann, the 'cellist. 
It is written for small orchestra, and is very effectively 
laid out for the solo instrument which is not overloaded 
with accompaniments, so that the tone comes through 
well. It is full of the erotic sentiment which we have 
found in the Sappho Songs, though not of the same 
intensity. The rhythmical scheme is somewhat peculiar, 
varying between 3/2 and 6/4 ; and almost the whole is 
woven upon the motto-phrase with which the Poem 
opens. It dies away at the close in languorous tender- 
ness ; and the whole, material and scoring alike, is full 
of warmth and colour. 

A third piece for this instrument is the Celtic 
Poem, written, also for Lehmann, in the May of 
1914. It is entirely different n character, having 



BIRMINGHAM 87 

nothing in common with the German idiom on which 
Bantock's style was originally formed. It shows the 
influence of his later acquaintance with Scottish music, 
and the chief subject is really a phrase from one of the 
Hebridean songs. The idea of the piece is as follows : 
" The Celtic heaven, Tir-nan-Og, THE LAND OF THE EVER 
YOUNG, lies somewhere to the west of the Hebrides, where 
the sun sets. And the Celtic soul ever waits on the shore of 
the great Sea for the coming of the White Barge which, 
year in year out, ferries the elect across the waves to the 
Isle where they would be. And that same Barge needs 
wind nor sail nor rudder to make her speed like a bird over 
the sea ; the wish of tJie Fate that guides her is her all and 
her in all." The delicate mystery and poetry of this 
subject is well illustrated by the music, which is full of 
the Celtic glamour. It is certainly one of Bantock's 
most individual efforts. The nearest approach that I 
know elsewhere to its peculiar quality is Sibelius's Swan 
of Tuonela, which, however, is charged with a deeper 
gloom. There, it is the land of the dead, here, of the 
ever young, as the title says ; and the idea is full of a 
serious gladness as of a luminous vision, rather than of 
terror. These two pieces form, with the Elegiac Poem 
discussed in the last chapter, an individual triad in the 
literature of the instrument. 

III. It is seldom in human affairs that one period 
is completely rounded off before the next begins ; there 
is usually some overlapping : and we now come to an 
instance of this. Before Omar was finished Bantock 
was asked to write music for a performance of the 
Hippolytus of Euripides, which was to be given under 
the auspices of the Classical Association. Murray's 
translation was used; and the work was performed in the 
Large Theatre of the Midland Institute, in October, 



88 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

1908, as well as for a week at the Gaiety Theatre, Man- 
chester. A little later on, Bantock was invited by the 
Bedford College, London, to write music for a perform- 
ance which they were contemplating, of Sophocles' 
Electra. This was given in Greek, at the Court Theatre, 
London, on i5th, i6th, and I7th July, 1909. A third 
work in this kind is the music to the Bacchae of Euripides 
(Murray's translation), which is at present unfinished. 

This appeal of the classics is an index of a loosening 
of the exclusive grip of Orientalism upon Bantock's 
mind. It has always been rather amusing to see him 
" discover " from time to time, people and subjects 
that everyone else admired, but that he had always 
violently disparaged. He now announced that Sophocles, 
Euripides, and the old Greek poets, were not old fogeys ; 
and slanged his friends, who had tried in vain to make 
him see their merits, for not admiring them. It is a 
form of self-defence against the chaff to which he was 
subjected the bellum in hostes inferre of our school- 
books. The classics now began to share his allegiance 
with the East ; and after Omar was completed he cer- 
tainly showed a better mental balance in this respect. 
Euripides, indeed, has come to be one of his paragons, 
the rationalist element in him (as expounded by Ver- 
rall) appealing strongly to his sympathies. 

The problem of Greek music is still unsolved : we do 
not know exactly what the procedure of the ancients 
was. Bantock was anxious to produce an impression as 
near as possible to the original, in modern conditions, 
and studied several books, including a translation of 
Aristoxenus. He thought he had arrived at a fair idea 
of the subject ; but since then another book has ap- 
peared which takes different views and throws fresh 
doubt on the matter. One can hardly give the whole 



BIRMINGHAM 89 

play entirely without harmony, as in ancient times ; but 
Bantock kept, at any rate, to Greek scales as far as they 
could be understood, and reduced the harmonic com- 
binations to the slenderest possible proportions. The 
orchestra he employed consisted, in the case of the 
Electra, of flutes, oboe, 'cello, double-bass, tambourine, 
cymbals, and two harps, yielding a tone-quality some- 
what remote from that of the ordinary modern orchestra. 
There is a Prelude (Dorian Mode) of twenty bars leading 
into the Parados. The scansion of the Greek verse he 
got from Jebb's edition ; and he adapted himself to 
these rhythms in such a way as to produce a striking 
and characteristic result, with much vraisemblance, 
though without pedantic antiquarian accuracy. The 
Stasima, etc., are sung mostly without accompaniment, 
except for a supporting flute or oboe, and with occasional 
touches of the harp at the pauses, the harmonic effects 
being reserved for the dances. The dialogue between 
Orestes and Electra, however, is treated as a lyric, with 
real accompaniments ; and the treatment of the Kom- 
mos at the death of Clytemnestra is good. There are 
striking instrumental passages, with harsh discords, of 
about a bar each, and the cries of Clytemnestra are 
spoken within, during the pauses. Altogether, the 
method is justified, I think, by its results, which give 
a certain air of remoteness without violating our modern 
musical sense. 

IV. We now approach the group of choral works 
written during the earlier half of this Birmingham 
Period, the first being The Time-Spirit. The poem is by 
Mrs. Bantock ; and in this conjoint work we have an 
expression of a characteristic element in their united life 
Up ! Quit you like men in that strife which is itself 
life ! The Time-Spirit is conceived as a mighty wind 



90 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

that sweeps through the forest of humanity, bending 
the great trees before it. The opening section is full 
(after a couple of striking 2-bar phrases for strings, 
brass, and wood) of rushing string-passages and throb- 
bing wind-harmonies on a C pedal, while the chorus cry 
out in the midst of the tumult. After a reference to the 
opening 2-bar phrase, which may be taken as sym- 
bolising the rending of the storm, there comes a change. 
There is now less of the lower register: we have repeated 
semi-quavers in the wind, and flashing string-passages, 
at the words, The flying clouds are its pennons, etc. 
Then, after another reference to the opening 2-bar 
motif, comes a complete contrast, Lento cantabile, at 
the words : 

Ah, ye, in the world's pleasant places ! 
Do ye not see the symbol ? 

Here we have broad lyrical phrases in imitation, for the 
chorus, with sostenuto strings, quaver triplets for wood, 
and sestuplet arpeggios for the harp. There is a pic- 
torial touch at the words, By your warm fires sitting and 
sleeping a languid passage on an eleventh, p, into 
which steals a breath of the Time- wind, pp, increasing 
quickly to a great ff, at : 

Hear you not, in ruthless anger 
Its mighty voice of warning ? 

and followed by a call to action which is given in alter- 
nate phrases by male and female chorus. Then comes 
a march-like passage for male voices : 

Hark, the spirits of mighty men of the bygone ages 
To your spirits calling and crying ! 

The female choir joins in with imitational phrases, 
urging them to follow fearlessly into the darkness. Then, 



BIRMINGHAM 91 

after another vigorous section, imitational for choir, and 
finely scored, we come to the conclusion, Tranquilla- 
mente, opening with choir alone, but with quiet accom- 
paniments after the first few bars, and urging the soul- 
guided wanderer not to fear the flail of the time-wind : 

Like wheat it shall winnow and clean thee : 
But never was good grain garnered 
That bent not 'neath rain and tempest 
As well as waved in the sunshine. 

It is a stirring work, fine in technique and in spirit, and 
well suited for competent choirs. The orchestral parts 
are not easy, and the orchestra is large : but it would 
repay trouble. It was produced at the Gloucester 
Festival, 1904. 

It will be seen that The Time-Spirit links itself on to 
other work of Bantock's of which we have already 
spoken. The next cantata that we have to discuss, 
Sea-Wanderers, which is also a product of the joint 
personality of husband and wife, is similarly akin to 
much of his previous work. This is the case more 
especially in two respects in its agnosticism, and in 
its energy in face of the unknown : 

For in haven we will never lie ; 
Fare on ever onward our cry. 

But these two ideas are swathed in a sense of the beauty 
and mystery of things, that are especially strong in this 
work. The poem is based upon the idea expressed in 
Longfellow's line : 

Ships that pass in the night, and hail each other in passing. 

Another thing that is dwelt upon is the pain of the 
isolation, the separateness, of each human soul. Man 
comes he knows not whence, yearns and strives his little 



92 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

space, and passes into the unknown : and the close is 
a faint hope : 

Friends, may we meet you, and greet you again ! 

followed by an orchestral passage from which emerges 
pp and lontano, the renewed motif : 

We are as ships upon the sea, 
Sailing into Eternity 

the voices (four only to a part) accompanied only by a 
single high E in the strings, ppp, and dying away to 
nothing while the E is prolonged till it, too, ceases, one 
hardly knows when. The work is called, not a cantata 
but a Poem for Chorus and Orchestra ; and there is some- 
thing here in a name. The piece is singularly homo- 
geneous in mood ; and there is little of the " laying 
out " of the ordinary cantata. The mysterious orches- 
tral opening, suggesting the supra-sensuous ocean from 
which all life springs, and the motif of melodic fifths 
representing the sea of our visible life, recur from time 
to time, helping to keep the impression of this primal 
mystery alive. The technique is good, the choral 
writing simple and mostly imitational, though there are 
harmonic passages also. One such is that (Lento sos- 
tenulo) where, unaccompanied except for an occasional 
touch of the harp and strings, the choir enters p after 
a / climax, with the words : 

Or to a region, maybe, beyond these. 

The work is quite within the powers of an ordinarily 
efficient choir. It was produced at the Leeds Festival 
of 1907, and has been performed more than once since, 
notably by the Welsh Choral Union, at Liverpool, under 
Harry Evans ; and by Rutland Boughton, a little 



BIRMINGHAM 93 

later (October, 1910) at the Birmingham Town Hall, 
where I heard it and was deeply impressed. 

The production of Sea-Wanderers (1907) brings us 
to the first performance of another work already dis- 
cussed in the last chapter Christ in the Wilderness, 
a remodelled portion of Christus. This also came to 
its first hearing this year, at the Gloucester Festival. 
At the ensuing Gloucester Festival (1910) the other 
revised portion of Christus Gethsemane was produced ; 
and both these works achieved a succes d'estime, if not 
the hearty welcome usually accorded to Bantock's 
really characteristic work. 

We have now reached what I think must always be 
regarded as Bantock's magnum opus that in which he 
is most completely himself and unlike all others Omar. 
Portions of the Rubdiydt had been set before ; but until 
Bantock undertook the work, the idea of setting the 
whole might appear almost fantastic. Primd facie, this 
stream of melancholy and pessimistic verse, always of 
a meditative cast, would not seem to lend itself to 
treatment as a whole. Bantock, however, began to 
turn the matter over in his mind soon after making 
acquaintance with the poem, and his solution of the 
constructional problem is ingenious and successful. He 
divides the work into three parts, each of which forms 
a unity in itself and yet takes its due place in the scheme 
when the work is performed in its entirety. And in 
addition to this he has invented three persons to whom 
certain portions of the work are assigned in accordance 
with their character. These are, The Poet (tenor) 
representing the central core of Omar himself ; the 
Philosopher (baritone) representing the more intellec- 
tual and sceptical side of the man ; and The Belove'd 
(contralto). In addition to these there are a few sub- 



94 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

ordinate parts for the conversation of the pots in Part 
III (Rubdiydt, 84-90) ; and there is of course the 
chorus ; and the general perspective and unity of effect 
which Bantock has succeeded in achieving by this 
allotment of parts is, as Mr. Newman said on the pro- 
duction of Part III, amazing : "He has the genuine 
architectonic mind the mind that spans at a leap a 
great structural scheme : the mind that, as Pater says, 
' foresees the end in the beginning, and never loses sight 
of it ' "' (Birmingham Daily Post, August loth, 1909). 
Structural design alone, however, will not save a work 
if the essential texture be poor : and it is only right to 
add that the imaginative quality of the music is on an 
equally high level. That this may not be thought merely 
the partiality of a friend, I quote further from the same 
source : "... there is little in the music of our own 
day to equal it for variety and intensity and sustained 
splendour of imagination. . . . One is almost crushed 
under the magnificence of some of the choral passages, 
with their bold sweep and their enormous weight of 
expression." The tendency towards surface-painting is 
perhaps over-strong ; but in many cases Bantock 
works, not from without inwards, but gets at the heart 
of his subject and portrays its very essence. 

The score is remarkable for its ingenuity in one par- 
ticular the division of the strings. There are two 
complete string orchestras, one on each side of the 
conductor ; and this makes possible with the utmost 
ease, a large range of effects which are otherwise diffi- 
cult to manage. One orchestra is frequently muted 
while the other is not ; and this of itself gives a wonder- 
ful variety of colour and contrast. Then, too, the 
elaborate subdivisions so frequent in modern work can 
be made instantly by these means, and of course 



BIRMINGHAM 95 

responsive effects are ready prepared. Besides strings, 
the score consists of three flutes, piccolo, three 
oboes, cor-anglais, three clarinets, bass-clarinet, three 
bassoons, double-bassoon, six horns, three trumpets, 
three trombones, bass-tuba, kettledrums, bass-drum, 
side-drum, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, gong, glocken- 
spiel, camel-bell, harps, and organ. 

It is impossible within the limits here at disposal to 
discuss so large a work in detail, and we must content 
ourselves with considering it in some of its larger aspects. 
And this matters the less since, to students, the means 
of detailed study are easily accessible. A year or two 
since I prepared a Table of the Principal Themes in the 
work, with names, and references to the chief places 
where they occur ; and this table can be had of the 
publishers for a trifle. Some of these motifs are striking 
in themselves the passage, for instance, at the top of 
page 3 of the vocal score (No. 2, B. and H.), The Vine, 
associated with the grave ; or the phrase which occurs 
on page 191 at the words, " When you and I behind the 
veil are past" (No. 9, B. and H.), given out later by muted 
horns. And by the help of these recognisable themes 
Bantock has built up a colossal body of coherent musi- 
cal thinking, grand in outline and fine in quality, such 
as we hardly find elsewhere in English music. 

Part I includes the first fifty-four quatrains. The 
Prelude represents early morning, the Muezzin's call to 
prayer, the early trumpet from the Sultan's palace, used 
later for the pomp and glory of this world, and El Kayf 
a dreamy, contemplative state well known ^uvthe East. 
Then comes the caU to awake, in a vigorous chorus. 
After a short orchestral interlude we come to stanzas 
II and III grouped together, and closing with the first 
great climax at the cry Open the door, which is followed 



96 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

by a regretful mood at the transience of things earthly 
You know how little time we have to stay (No. 3, B. and H.). 
When the chorus ceases, the motif of El Kayf (24, B. 
and H.) appears in the orchestra, and then the transience 
theme ; and then follows a section, stanzas 4, 5, and 6, 
given to the poet, a notable feature of which is the pass- 
age The nightingale cries to the rose (18, B. and H.). 

The next two stanzas (7 and 8) are given to chorus, 
and preach the Horatian doctrine carpe diem. The 
Beloved then carries on the thought of the transience 
of things (stanza 9) even conquerors like Jamshyd and 
Kaikobad pass : but the chorus break in impatiently 
in twelve parts, (10) " What have we to do with Kaiko- 
bad ! " After this mass of sound comes a charming 
contrast at the opening of the next section (11-15), the 
chief feature of which is the lovely duet between the 
Poet and the Beloved, A Book of Verses underneath the 
bough one set of strings being muted, the other not. 
The chorus break in upon this with the quatrain (13) 
containing one of Fitzgerald's most deplorable lines 
" Ah, take the cash and let the credit go," and an anticipa- 
tion of the music of stanza 17. I am inclined to think 
Bantock has here been misled by his penchant for pic- 
torialism. At " the rumble of a distant drum," he breaks 
away with an agitated passage in the strings and drums, 
which interferes, to my mind, with the general tone 
of this part of the work. 

The next portion begins at stanza 16, but quickly 
reaches the picturesque chorus (17), Think, in this bat- 
tered caravanserai, set to the motif called the glories of this 
world pass (8, B. and H.). The Poet and the Beloved 
now take up the tale again, still bewailing regretfully 
the transience of love and life, and the chorus chime in 
with the same burden (19-24). So far the meditations 



BIRMINGHAM 97 

on the text, vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas, have been 
carried on by the Poet and the Beloved, in a mood of 
poetic pessimism : now a slightly different, a bitterer 
and more ironical tone appears, with the intervention 
of the Philosopher. The Muezzin from the Tower of 
Darkness crying, Fools, your reward is neither here nor 
there ; the saints and sages whose mouths are stopped 
with dust ; the futility of the " obstinate questionings" 
about the nature of things ; and other similar images, 
are insisted upon with heart-broken emphasis, but with 
never-failing beauty of utterance (25-47). A notable 
point occurs in quatrain 43 : 

So when that angel of the darker drink 
At last shall find you by the river-brink, 
And, offering his cup, invite your soul 
Forth to your lips to quaff you shall not shrink. 

The words are sung by the Beloved, at first with trem- 
bling agitation, but the last four with bitter emphasis ; 
and the Master theme (26, B. and H.) is immediately 
thundered out by all the strings, wood and brass. The 
climax of this portion of the work is not a great chorus, 
but a wonderfully beautiful and intensely mournful duet 
for the Poet and the Beloved When you and, I behind 
the veil are past one of the loveliest themes in the 
work, the one perhaps that remains in the memory as 
most typical of the whole, and worked out with beautiful 
elaboration and impressiveness. 

Now comes one of the most striking episodes in the 
whole work the figure of Life as a blind Caravan (10-12, 
B. and H.), stumbling through the Desert, no one 
knows whence or whither. To have heard it seems an 
unforgettable experience. The composer, who some- 
times gives us surface-painting from the outside, seems 
here to have penetrated to the heart of the idea, and 



98 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

calls up the image with magical vividness, so that one 
seems actually to see the arid waste of sand beneath a 
burning sun and sky, the bleached bones of former 
travellers, and the camels lurching blindly on as the 
phantom caravan passes from nowhere to nowhere. It is 
a bitterly pessimistic image, but a miracle of art. The 
scene is conjured up by ninety-eight bars of orchestra, the 
chorus humming part of the time ; and these last then 
break in with quatrain 48. The Philosopher next pro- 
ceeds with his musings (49-53). And here we find one 
of the cases in which Omar, Fitzgerald, and Bantock 
alike are mastered by their sub-conscious selves. In 
the midst of this blankly sceptical meditation comes the 
thought that perhaps after all The Master (50) is nearer 
to us than we know ; and the motif so-called is given 
out gravely and impressively by brass and wood. 
Part I closes with a great climax in the form of a chorus 
in eight parts to quatrain 54 : 

Waste not your hour, nor in the vain pursuit 
Of this and that endeavour and dispute ; 

Better be jocund with the fruitful grape 
Than sadden after none, or bitter, fruit. 

Here we have again the bitter philosophy of this melan- 
choly school of thought ; but Bantock characteristically 
gives it a twist that the text does not really suggest. 
His Western vigour is too much for his theory, and he 
closes the whole by giving out with insistent emphasis the 
words, Waste not your hour, in such a way as to suggest, 
not the actual context, but the passage in Ecclesiastes, 
which he has set later, " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to 
do, do it with thy might : for there is no work, nor device, 
nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest." 
Part II includes quatrains 55-81. It opens with an 
Interlude representing the revels of which the Philo- 



BIRMINGHAM 99 

sopher speaks in his opening song (55-58). He still 
preaches the grape as the sovereign remedy for all ills, 
and the chorus chime in at stanza 59 with the same senti- 
ment. This last utterance is a fine piece of picturesque 
writing in sixteen parts, portraying the " two-and- 
seventy jarring sects " with their religious arguments. 
A strikingly vigorous picture follows (quatrain 60), the 
chorus being now reduced to six parts, of " The mighty 
Mahmoud, Allah-breathing Lord," scattering the black 
horde of fears and sorrows that infest the soul before him 
with whirlwind sword. An orchestral interlude follows 
in which there is a complex interweaving of ideas by 
means of several representative motifs. An analysis, 
with music-type, is given in Newman's programme 
notes (B. and H.). After this the Philosopher resumes 
his meditations (61-62). One small point may be men- 
tioned as a matter of curiosity. When he speaks of 
being " lured with hope of some diviner drink," the 
figure in the orchestra is the inverse movement of that 
for the " black horde of doubts and fears " just men- 
tioned. Quatrains 63-65 are chorus, still preaching with 
great variety of resource on the same theme " Not one 
returns to tell us of the road." 

At stanza 66 the Poet lifts the idea on to a higher 
and subtler plane. The mysterious motif (29, B. and 
H.) called The Invisible, speaking of 

That undiscovered country from whose bourne 
No traveller returns, 

is whispered out by muted strings, and the Poet begins 
" I sent my soul through the Invisible." This is fol- 
lowed by forty-five bars of orchestra, representing the 
groping of his soul in the darkness. The chorus take 
up his last words, and go on without break into the next 



ioo GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

quatrain (67) a persistent figure, based upon The In- 
visible theme, keeping up an iteration suggestive of 
mysterious destiny. 

Now comes one of the most striking portions of this 
Part II (68-70), preparing for, and leading up to, the 
defiant climax at the close. We have had Isaiah's 
image of the Potter, and this is to receive fuller treat- 
ment yet. At present one or two bitterly fatalistic 
figures give the composer a great opportunity of which 
he makes the most. Life is conceived, first as shadow- 
shapes thrown by the lantern of the Master of the 
Show : then we are will-less, helpless pawns in His 
chess game : then the ball from His hand comes striking 
at random. But even here the sub-conscious spirit 
already mentioned forces itself up : 

He knows about it all HE knows HE knows. 

Very picturesque is the treatment of this portion. The 
vivid representation of the shadow-dance (13, B. & H.), 
and of the ball flying about (14, B. and H.), once heard, 
are almost unforgettable ; as also is the meditative 
solemnity of the line just quoted, which is followed by 
the Master-theme (26, B. and H.). In stanza 71 the 
Beloved carries on the same idea ; and the pictorial 
treatment of the writing of Fate's finger is again very 
vivid (15, B. and H.). In stanza 72 the Poet joins in, 
and the two together cry in passionate impotence against 
the nature of things IT the inverted bowl under 
which we crawl and die. The Philosopher joins in ; and 
all these fatalistic figures lead up to the great defiant 
outburst of all, chorus included, at the end (80-81 

O Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin 
Beset the road I was to wander in, 

. . . Man's forgiveness give and take. 



BIRMINGHAM 101 

This last is not in Omar, but is added or concentrated 
from various scattered hints by Fitzgerald. Ban- 
tock seizes upon it and thunders out the passionate cry 
with full orchestra and chorus on a chord of Dfr, the 
trumpets blaring out a C in defiant protest. A number 
of motifs are here combined, which are analysed with 
music-type in Newman's notes. It is not merely a 
matter of curiosity, but is intended to suggest the 
various ideas for which the motifs stand. 

Part III is in some ways the finest. It seems a sort 
of quintessence of the whole, so that having heard that, 
you have heard all ; except that one would not wish 
to miss such things as The Caravan or The Shadow- 
dance. After the Prelude, stanzas 82-90 are occupied 
with a humorous but ironical scene between the pots 
an extension of Isaiah's figure in which the old fatalism 
is again paramount. 

After a short orchestral interlude, the Philosopher 
cries out again for the Grape, and oblivion (91-95). 
And after that, we come to the beginning of the real 
climax of the whole work a climax reached, not by 
piling Pelion upon Ossa in the matter of sound-masses, 
but in the subtle, essential quality of music. A deeply 
touching theme (Regret, 16, B. and H.) perhaps the 
most touching of all is given out by the orchestra, a 
theme which appears for the first time in the Introduc- 
tion to this Part. The Poet and the Beloved then, to 
these deeply pathetic strains, sing the lamentation 
(96-99) of love and beauty in the grip of inexorable 
death and nothingness ; the beautiful theme (18, 
B. and H.) appearing at the reference to the nightingale 
singing in the branches. Like passionate children, they 
wish to shatter the universe to bits, in the self-confidence 
of children that they could re-make it better themselves. 



102 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

It is a generous, though a foolish, thought ; and the 
music, with some of the other themes woven upon the 
main warp of the Regret motif, is loveliness itself. This 
leads into the final section for the three soloists and 
chorus (100-101) in which the transience of all things 
is again dwelt upon with heart-breaking poignancy. 

The moon will rise and wane, but we ! The chorus 

sigh out their last words pp, and the orchestra con- 
tinues for a few bars, the Regret theme being the most 
prominent, though others are again interwoven, of which 
an account is given as before, in Newman's notes. Just 
before the end the lovely strains of No. 9 (B. and H.) : 

When you and I behind the veil are past 

are heard on muted horns, and the whole ends with the 
most intense pathos, ppp. 

If a work of genius, as distinguished from one of talent, 
be written in a state analogous to that of clairvoyance, 
so that the writer's deeper self does things which his 
ordinary self could never do, then this is emphatically 
a work of genius. Its impressiveness and beauty are at 
times quite indescribable : and its pathos is intensified 
by those views of life hovering for an instant in the jaws 
of oblivion with which all thinking men are familiar. 
The question has been sometimes raised whether Omar 
really gains by being underlined in this way, and having 
its images and thoughts enlarged and emphasised as by 
a magnify ing-glass. Is it not more impressive when 
spoken by the " still small voice of the printed page " ? 
In some ways it is. Many subtleties seem to suffer : 
many passing thoughts, which have their own truth 
taken as fugitive images and speculations, seem to lose 
their fineness and to be distorted into untruth when 
subjected to this magnifying process. The beauty of 



BIRMINGHAM 103 

the verbal music, too, is of course largely lost. The 
question, however, is, after all, an unfair cavilling. The 
quiet page remains for whoso may prefer it. We have 
here something different which appeals to large num- 
bers who would never read the poem otherwise : and 
to such, verbal beauty does not appeal, though they 
are sensitive to the musical beauty with which Bantock 
overlays the poem. The treatment is broad, sincere, 
and full of impressiveness ; and on the whole abun- 
dantly justifies itself. 

Part I was produced at the Birmingham Festival of 
1906 ; Part II at the Cardiff Festival of 1907 ; and 
Part III at the Birmingham Festival of 1909. The three 
parts have been performed together on two or three 
occasions among others by Arthur Fagge at Queen's 
Hall ; and many performances of single parts have been 
given, notably one in February, 1912, at Vienna, whither 
Bantock went for the occasion, and where he met with 
a great reception. 



CHAPTER VII 

BIRMINGHAM (PART II) UNIVERSITY WORK, BIRMINGHAM 
PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY, COMPETITION FESTIVAL 
WORK, ADJUDICATING, ETC. UNACCOMPANIED 
CHORAL MUSIC, PART-SONGS, ATALANTA, VANITY 
OF VANITIES. INSTRUMENTAL WORK STRING 

ORCHESTRAS, DANTE &* BEATRICE, FIFINE, ETC., THE 
GREAT GOD PAN 

IN the year 1904 the Richard Peyton Chair of Music 
was founded at the University of Birmingham. Its 
first occupant was Sir Edward Elgar ; and he delivered 
an address which caused some little stir at the time. 
He found, however, that the duties it involved were too 
much of a tax upon him in addition to his artistic work ; 
and in 1908 he resigned. The Chair was then offered 
to Bantock, who accepted it in November, 1908, thus 
for the second time succeeding Elgar in an artistic 
appointment. This addition to his duties (for he re- 
tained his position at the Midland Institute School of 
Music) was a heavy one, and caused considerable in- 
roads upon the time available for composition : and the 
energy with which he has fulfilled these multifarious 
duties increased still further, as we shall see shortly, 
by outside calls of a serious nature is remarkable. 
One of the operative reasons for his acceptance was 
the hope that he might be of service in bringing a 
breath of life from the actual world into university 
musical teaching, which has sometimes shown a ten- 

104 




(iKANVH.I.E I'.AXTOCK 
ABOUT THK YEAK 1904 
riu'le. hy y. Knsstll & Soiu 



BIRMINGHAM 105 

dency to subside into academicism. In accordance 
with this idea he drew up his plan for the lectures, 
classes, and degree work a plan which is broad in out- 
look, and covers the whole field, but which is calculated, 
on the whole, to foster a living modern spirit. He 
desires to equip his students for, and fix their thoughts 
upon, the future ; though he recognises that they must 
know and understand the past. The Elizabethan 
madrigal writers are well represented in his scheme, and 
Bantock became an enthusiastic admirer of Byrd, as 
well as of Bull, whose pioneer nature appealed strongly 
to his sympathies. In addition to the orthodox list of 
composers we find in the requirements for the Birming- 
ham degree a knowledge of such men as Strauss, Debussy, 
Rimsky-Korsakov, Elgar, and Sibelius, whose work is 
subjected to searching analysis in his lectures ; and 
the typical Mus.Doc. style of composition in their 
degree exercises counts rather against than for candi- 
dates, those who indulge in the luxury of such things 
as canons and fugues doing so at the imminent risk of 
being ploughed. It is imperative, according to Univer- 
sity regulations, that a professor should have a recognised 
scholastic status ; and Bantock therefore accepted the 
honorary degree of M.A., in order to comply with this 
condition. His classes have been very successful and 
have turned out some promising graduates. 

I spoke just now of other outside work which made 
serious calls upon Bantock's time, and this we will now 
proceed to consider. The musical world of Birmingham 
had for many years been divided into two or three camps, 
and each of these to some extent neutralised the others, 
so that the interests of the city at large suffered. In 
these circumstances it was at last felt that a rapproche- 
ment was necessary, and the two chief parties agreed to 



io6 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

combine. This union was aided by Bantock's influ- 
ence, and the Birmingham Philharmonic Society was 
formed, and included representatives from all quarters 
of Birmingham musical life, the Secretary being Mr. G. J. 
Bowker. In the first season, 1910-11, eight concerts 
were given under various distinguished conductors, 
Wood, Safonoff, and Beecham being among the num- 
ber. There was a Wagner night and a Beethoven night ; 
and the programmes were eclectic, including Mozart, 
Schubert, Elgar, von Hoist, Dukas, Brahms, Cesar 
Franck, Moussorgsky, etc. Beecham's night was a 
memorable one, the programme comprising Heldenleben, 
and the Finale from Electra, of Strauss ; Debussy's 
L'Apres-Midi d'un Faune; and Delius's Paris. For the 
second season Beecham was engaged on terms which were 
very generous on his part. Among the works given were 
Dr. Ethel Smyth's Overture to the Wreckers, Rimsky- 
Korsakov's Antar, Strauss's Til Eulenspiegel, Salome's 
Dance, and the Final Scene from Salome ; Wagner's 
Good Friday Music and Ride of the Valkyries ; Schu- 
bert's Unfinished Symphony ; Delius's Romeo and Juliet 
Entr'acte ; and Elgar's Second Symphony / besides other 
works of similar character. The following year was the 
time for the Triennial Festival ; and to avoid clashing 
it was decided to omit part of the season and to give 
four concerts only, two before Christmas and two after. 
Balling, Beecham, Safonoff, and Ronald were the con- 
ductors, and the programmes were of the same character 
as in previous years. The Society, though very successful 
in an artistic sense, did not receive sufficient support 
from the public ; and the result was a considerable 
call upon the guarantors each season. This lack of 
enthusiasm gradually tired out the energies of the 
organisers, who had to work very hard for little apparent 



BIRMINGHAM 107 

result ; and in the fourth year the Society was given 
up. Bantock had throughout been an energetic member 
of the Committee and the work had involved a serious 
addition to his labours. 

Another organisation with which Bantock became 
connected, and which he was largely instrumental in 
founding, was the Birmingham and Midland Musical 
Competition Festival, whose first meetings were held 
in May, 1912. This also was fortunate in getting Mr. 
Bowker as Hon. Secretary, an office in which his partner, 
Mr. Stevens, became his colleague ; and to their inde- 
fatigable labours the success of the organisation is largely 
due. It immediately established a record in the num- 
ber of entries ; its artistic standard was correspondingly 
high ; and this Midland Festival has, in its three years 
of existence, taken a foremost, if not the foremost, rank. 
Bantock had for some years been connected with the 
movement outside Birmingham as adjudicator in various 
towns of England, Wales, and Scotland. He had formed 
close friendships with Dr. McNaught, Harry Evans 
(whose recent loss was a great blow to him), 
Walford Davies, and other men engaged in the same 
work ; and when the time seemed ripe for focusing 
the musical work of the Midlands in this way they all 
co-operated with a will, the result being a striking 
success in every way. The educational value of the 
movement is very great ; and Bantock has been in 
sympathy with it from the first. It appealed to his 
democratic instincts, for one thing. It was a movement 
by the people for the people, and was free from the 
tinge of snobbery which sometimes makes itself felt 
in society concerts. Miners, artisans, work-girls, 
teachers, school-children, society ladies, students, and 
university men all classes, in fact, mingled in friendly 



io8 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

emulation and on equal terms ; and the beauty of 
music and poetry was brought into the homes and 
hearts of the humblest, to brighten and inspire their 
lives. Besides all this, Bantock had seen how these 
contests had improved the technique of choral singing 
a point to which we shall return in a moment. In the 
first year, Dr. McNaught, Harry Evans, and Dr. Terry 
were among the adjudicators, and the entries were close 
upon 7000. In the second year, Walford Davies and 
Dan Godfrey took part as judges, and the entries 
approached 8000. In the third year (1914) the number 
was 7900 all three being records and the standard 
has steadily risen. Throughout, Bantock has been an 
active member of the organisation, which has made 
heavy calls upon his time and attention. All who 
know will agree that his share in the success of the 
festivals is no inconsiderable one. 

The improved technique in choral singing, of which I 
spoke a moment ago as arising from this movement, has 
exercised an important influence upon Bantock's 
artistic development as well as upon his external life. 
The original impulse came from outside when Miss 
Wakefield inaugurated her choral contests in the Lake 
District. But it could not have gone on long as a mere 
matter of technique among choirs. The old style of 
music that of the ordinary part-song, or the Handel 
or Mendelssohn chorus was too limited, and offered 
no field for further attainment : and if the work of the 
choirs had not reacted on composers, and their fresh 
work again on choirs, no real artistic gain would have 
resulted. Technique would have become an end in 
itself ; and mere virtuosity spells decadence. And 
in fact even as things are we have sometimes to deplore 
virulent attacks of " Festivalitis." Composers, how- 



BIRMINGHAM 109 

ever, were not slow in seeing their opportunity : few 
at first, it is true, but others soon followed. Among the 
pioneers in this matter were Elgar and Bantock ; and 
this development of unaccompanied choral music has 
become one of the most remarkable artistic phenomena 
of our time. A subtlety, delicacy, and force have been 
achieved which differentiate this music strongly from 
all that has gone before. No one who has heard Elgar's 
Reveille can very well forget the thrill that he experienced 
a peculiar sensation that can be produced only by the 
means here employed, the combination of striking words, 
male voices with their peculiar tone-quality, and essen- 
tial musical clairvoyance. Such work was impossible 
to the older writers : the necessary choral conditions 
and choral technique did not exist : and in fact it is 
significant that this music has arisen in England which 
has always been the home of choral music. Bantock 
was so smitten with this new enthusiasm that he went 
about proclaiming orchestral music to be no good, that 
it was played out, and that we must all henceforth write 
unaccompanied part-songs only immediately upon 
which we find him engaged upon such trifles as Dante 
and Beatrice and Fifine ; this being another instance of 
the way in which his subliminal consciousness snapped 
its fingers at his surface opinions. 

I. The part-songs which he wrote under this stimulus 
are a study in themselves. We will take the pieces for 
male choir first. Among the earliest were Three Cavalier 
Tunes, settings of Browning's lyrics of the same name. 
These, and especially the second and third, Give a Rouse, 
and Boot and Saddle, are spirited pieces of work. The 
War-Song from Blake, too, with its insistent cry, Pre- 
pare, prepare, prepare ! (for death) is fine. The arrange- 
ments of Scottish songs, such as The Laird o' Cockpen, 



no GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

and The Piper o' Dundee, are picturesque and happy, a 
particularly striking specimen being The Pibroch of 
Donuil Dhu. To have heard the Glasgow Orpheus Choir 
sing this piece with all their native gusto is a memorable 
experience. A glance at the list of part-songs at the 
end of the book will show the reader that to discuss 
them in detail is impossible : I can only select a few of 
the most striking examples. Allied to the pieces last- 
mentioned is a setting of Burns's Address to the De'il, 
though this is of course not folk-song arranged, but 
original. Personally I think this is one of those poems 
that are best left in their first form, and not enlarged 
as in a magic-lantern ; but the part-song is a clever 
piece of work and full of vivid touches. The satire of 
the hymn-tunes at the words : " And let poor damned 
bodies be " and, " Great is thy power and great thy 
fame " ; the lurid passage at, " Wha in yon cavern 
grim and sootie " ; the eerie drone at the reference to 
ghosts on the moors ; the imitation of the Walkurenritt 
at the witches' revels ; the suave passage at the reference 
to Eden ; and the humour throughout all these com- 
bine to make a highly coloured piece. But sarcasm and 
satire are weapons of the boomerang order ; and the 
use of the last line of " Scots wha hae " at the end, to 
the words, " even for your sake," suggests that Scotland 
is the very devil, and that Bannockburn was an infernal 
business. Another fine specimen, and a complete con- 
trast to the last, is a setting of Shirley's " The Glories of 
our Blood and State." It is grave and elevated in style, 
and is a really impressive piece. 

One of Bantock's most remarkable efforts in this line 
is Lucifer in Starlight (six parts). Meredith's sonnet 
would not, at first sight, seem to lend itself very readily 
to musical treatment ; but Bantock's instinct has served 



BIRMINGHAM in 

him well, and the portion where Satan gazes at the stars 
and sees them wheeling rank on rank " The army of 
unalterable law " is profoundly impressive. Dr. 
McNaught spoke of it at a recent Competition Festival 
as follows : " How anyone could set these words to 
music, and how anyone could realise them, is most 
marvellous. It is one of the most remarkable pieces Ban- 
tock has ever composed. ... It is a great piece because 
it is a big conception." 

Of The Lost Leader it is not necessary to say much. 
It has been heard so often at festivals, superbly sung by 
the best choirs, such as the Manchester Orpheus, Nelson 
Arion, and Stourbridge Institute, that many words 
now would be foolish. I shall not quickly forget the 
thrilling performances of these three choirs at the 
Midland Competition Festival of 1912. The style is 
rather harmonic, the melodic parts being mostly on 
a background of harmonic masses, not on quickly 
changing and only half-suggested harmonic effects. 
Sometimes one feels this rather strongly in Bantock's 
work : and in fact it is sometimes charged against 
him as a fault : but it seems to be due to his recogni- 
tion of one of the limiting conditions of unaccompanied 
choral writing. We are often told that choirs can now 
do anything, and are all sometimes tempted in conse- 
quence to write as freely as for instruments. The 
limitation of the voice, however, remains. The singer 
has to imagine the note before he can find it : he cannot 
get it mechanically as a player can, and if the harmonic 
structure be too elusive choirs cannot imagine their 
notes, and uncertainty of performance is the result. 
Bantock's realisation of this fact seems to be the reason 
why Vanity of Vanities produces so much more certain 
an effect in performance than Atalanta. 



112 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

This seems to be the drawback in the case of Kubla 
Khan, which, as absolute music, is one of the finest and 
subtlest specimens. That kind of harmonic subtlety, 
however beautiful and suitable to the words, is not 
suitable to choral work. Bantock has here approached 
the extreme limits of practicability ; and the con- 
sequence is that there has never been a good 
performance, though the work is a delight to read 
full of poetry and suggestiveness, and wonderfully suc- 
cessful in realising the atmosphere of Coleridge's 
dream-poem. 

II. The pieces for female choir are altogether slighter. 
It is evident that this medium, with its paler colouring 
and smaller range of effects, does not appeal to Bantock 
very strongly. His instinct is for the stronger flavours 
and colouring of full-blooded male life. There are 
settings of three poems by Blake all effective of 
which I think To the Muses is the most interesting. A 
fourth, Young Love, the words again by Blake, has piano 
accompaniment, and is a pleasant little piece. There 
are three specimens to words by Mrs. Bantock. The 
first is Soul-Star, unaccompanied, a soprano melody with 
mezzos and contraltos winding about in thirds and 
sixths. It is a small part-song (or trio) but excellent 
in its kind. The next, Love-Song, is more elaborate. 
It is in three parts with accompaniments for harp, solo 
violin, and solo 'cello or, in their place, piano. This, 
too, is well written and of course well scored, and would 
prove very effective in performance. The third, The 
Happy Isle, is perhaps the finest of the female choir 
pieces. It is in seven parts, divided into two groups, 
the first consisting of sopranos, mezzos, and contraltos, 
and the other of first and second sopranos and first and 
second contraltos. The tropical luxuriance of the 



BIRMINGHAM 113 

southern isle, seen through the glorifying medium of love 
and longing, has touched the composer's imagination 
to good purpose. I said that this is perhaps the best 
of this group, but a setting of Shelley Elfin Music, 
three parts, accompanied runs it close and is a very 
charming and delicate piece of work. There are also 
a set of arrangements of three English airs for female 
vocal trio, unaccompanied ; and a set of six Scottish 
airs, unaccompanied. Bantock has done a good deal 
of such work and is always happy in his handling of this 
kind of material. 

III. There are ten songs for children to words by 
Mrs. Bantock, two to words by Blake, and a set of three 
unpublished. The China Mandarin is a characteristic 
little piece with a touch of bizarrerie suggestive of the 
nodding figures on our mantelpieces. The Japanese 
Dwarf -tree is pretty, but less distinctive. Night-time 
when the birds are asleep and the bats come out, when 
the owlets cry and the elves dance before Oberon and 
Titania is a charming little song, as also is Once upon 
a Time. Another pretty one is Elfin-town : 

Now who will go to Elfin-town, 
Now who will go with me ? 

Child-voices is a charming piece of music ; but better, 
I think, are The wild brown Bee, and Robin, sweet Robin, 
which seem to reflect Bantock 's real love of birds and 
animals. Riding to Fairy-land is very happy, and is 
perhaps the most childlike of all. It seems to me, how- 
ever, that in these songs the honours rest with Mrs. 
Bantock. There is more of the essential spirit of child- 
hood in her share of the work : one is always wanting 
to quote the verses. She has a close instinctive sympathy 
with children, and has forgotten neither their ways and 



H4 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

thoughts nor her own childhood ; and the charm of her 
poems is here a very strong element in our pleasure. 
Of the two Blake songs, one The Fly is very pretty 
and suitable. The other The Birds is more. It would 
suit a couple of older singers with pure young voices ; 
and rises to a real rapture, so as to call up the delight of 
the bird-chorus at sunset (I will not say sunrise, for it is 
doubtful if Bantock ever heard that). His love for ani- 
mals of all kinds has here found voice in a real ecstasy 
of bird-song. 

IV. Among the part-songs for mixed choirs we find 
a striking group of Scottish pieces which show Bantock's 
later preoccupation with the Celtic spirit. Apart from 
arrangements of Scottish airs, such as Scotland yet, and 
Scots who, hae, there are two or three Gaelic and Hebri- 
dean folk-songs which are really remarkable for their 
atmospheric and psychological truth. Some impression 
of their quality may be gained by referring to the 
quotation given in speaking of the Celtic Poem for 'cello. 
Bantock has Scottish blood in his veins, and here the 
racial spirit seems to speak. A Raasay Lament, and 
Cradle-song, are both arresting : but The Death-Croon, 
and The Seal-Woman's Croon, are specially interesting 
technically as well as spiritually, inasmuch as we have 
here a treatment of a solo voice which I have desired 
for some time. Instead of the piano with its percussive 
tone, the background is given by chorus singing without 
words, the first song being for contralto with five-part 
accompaniment, and the second for contralto with 
eight-part chorus. Mrs. Kennedy-Fraser's piano accom- 
paniments for the Hebridean Songs are wonderfully 
suggestive, but the subtlety of this treatment is beyond 
all comparison. 

The Irish songs cannot compete with the Scottish, 



BIRMINGHAM 115 

though The Leprehaun, Emer's Lament for Cuchulain, 
and The Song of Finnuola, are good in their several 
ways. 

There are also some good arrangements of English 
songs, and a Finnish Rune-song ; but we will pass on 
to the original English work. There are seven settings 
of poems by his friend, Mr. Hayes, the two best, I think, 
being Awake, awake ! with its breezy freshness, and 
Nocturne, in which the allusion to the nightingale seems 
as usual to have made a special appeal to Bantock. 
His sympathy for Bohemians of all classes, and his aver- 
sion for " Holy Willies," misled him somewhat, I think, 
when it prompted him to set that brilliant scallawag 
Villon's Ballade. The music is a clever piece of work, 
and contains many touches, such as that of the corpses 
swinging in the wind, of a gruesome and realistic vivid- 
ness ; but it does not appear to me suitable for setting, 
and the hymn-tune seems to lack sincerity, though 
Villon probably intended the prayer to be sincere, at 
the time. The Pageant of Human Nature is a setting of 
a short cycle of poems by Sir Thomas More. The 
manner is somewhat that of Everyman, and the choral 
suite is very suitably dedicated to Walford Davies. 
It is not a subject, however, that suits Bantock's type 
of mind, and the work is certainly not in his happiest 
vein. The workmanship is good, and the style is right, 
but the essential spirit has proved elusive. It is a plea- 
sure to turn from this to a really magnificent piece of 
work. Blake often seems to touch a responsive chord 
in Bantock, and The Tyger, one of Blake's most 
striking pieces, has given Bantock one of his most 
arresting conceptions. Those who have heard a good 
choir sing this piece (eight parts) with real dramatic 
force must have felt the music overwhelming in places, 



n6 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

and fully worthy of the poem and what can one say 

more ? 

Tyger, tyger, burning bright 

In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 

Could frame thy fearful symmetry ? 

The tyger seems clothed in the haunting terror of an 
opium- vision in verse and music alike. There is a setting 
of Wordsworth's sonnet, The World is too much with us, 
to which I shall have occasion to refer again : and there 
are four settings of Shelley who always seems to stir 
Bantock, and whom we have seen really kindle him 
with The Witch of Atlas. It is not surprising therefore 
that two out of the four call for remark. Spirit of Night 
(eight parts) is in the harmonic style of which I have 
spoken. It is full of happy effects, antiphonal and 
other ; and it has evidently formed a preparation, if 
not a preparatory study, for Atalanta. The other, On 
Himalay, is simpler, and owes its importance entirely 
to its own intrinsic charm. If The Tyger is terrific, this 
is equally striking in its way. It has a wonderfully 
subtle magic : one seems actually to see the sunny 
slopes of the Himalayas stretching away into infinite 
distance, with the happy shepherd-boy singing and 
feeding his flocks. It is a remarkable piece of clairvoy- 
ance, full of loveliness, and comparable for sureness of 
insight with the Caravan in Omar. 

The climax in this type of work is reached in Atalanta 
in Calydon and Vanity of Vanities. The first is a setting 
for unaccompanied choir of the choral odes in Swin- 
burne's drama, and is most interesting both in the matter 
of technique and as a daring experiment. An un- 
accompanied work that takes forty or fifty minutes to 
perform needs great variety of treatment ; and Ban- 



BIRMINGHAM 117 

tock's scheme is ingenious. The first ode is given to 
male choir ; the second to full choir ; the third to 
female choir ; and the fourth to full choir. In No. I 
the choir is divided into four groups four parts, three 
parts, three parts, and four parts fourteen parts in all. 
By this arrangement it becomes possible (and still more 
is this the case in the full-choir portions) to pick out 
single parts by doubling, to pile up masses of sound, 
and to get responsive effects and different tone-colours, 
just as in orchestral writing. And in this respect the 
title " choral-symphony " is apt, though it is misleading 
otherwise, since it suggests a particular architectural 
plan. The opening is breezy : 

When the hounds of Spring are on Winter's traces : 

but we soon come to a place that appeals to Bantock 
more at the reference to " the brown nightingale," and 
he responds instantly. There is remarkable variety and 
much pictorial effect, not least of which occurs at " the 
fawn that flies," at the close. 

No. 2 is still more elaborate, and has, of course, a 
wider range of tone-colour. The choir is divided into 
five groups three parts, female choir ; three parts, male 
choir ; four parts, female choir ; four parts, male choir ; 
and six parts, mixed choir ; or twenty parts in all. It 
is very striking both musically and poetically. The 
variety of effect obtained is very great, and the way 
these complicated forces are handled is masterly. 

Before the beginning of years 

There came to the making of man 
Time, with a gift of tears, 

Grief, with a glass that ran : 
Pleasure, with pain for leaven, 

Summer, with flowers that fell, 
Remembrance, fallen from heaven, 

And madness, risen from hell. 



n8 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

The essential quality of the musical conception, the 
antiphonal effects, and the changing colours are remark- 
able. One might go on noticing special points all through, 
for the interest never flags. The close : 

He weaves, and is clothed with derision ; 

Sows, and he shall not reap ; 
His life is a watch or a vision 

Between a sleep and a sleep 

is touched, as are all the odes in fact, with the philo- 
sophy we have already found in Omar ; and Bantock 
is at once aroused, so that the irony is driven home. 
The end is a peaceful fading away. 

No. 3, for female choir, is less than half the length 
of the others, but forms a good contrast " We have 
seen thee, O Love ; thou art fair." But the terror is 
always near. Two figures accompany Love, and 

. . . Fate is the name of her, 
And his name is Death. 

This chorus is in twelve parts, four groups of three each, 
and is full of brightness and happy sunshine until this 
grave close is reached. 

In No. 4 the choir is divided as in No. 2. It is a 
wonderful piece of work, and is full of that passionate 
protest against the very nature of things which is 
characteristic of Swinburne as of Omar. God covers 
us with hate and makes us transitory and slight : He 
has fed one rose with the dust of many men : He is 
against us, He strong, we feeble : therefore 

All we are against Thee, O God most High ! 

which is thundered out defiantly in responsive masses of 
sound, all uniting for the phrase, God most high. The 
musical treatment throughout is very fine and impres- 



BIRMINGHAM 119 

sive, and the work as a whole is a remarkable artistic 
achievement. It was produced by the Halle Society, 
at Manchester, in January, 1912. 

The same spirit is apparent in the companion work, 
Vanity of Vanities, but the technique is in some ways 
different. The writing is more harmonic, the divisions 
of the choir less elaborate, and the result is a gain in 
certainty and in actual effect in performance, though 
for quiet reading Atalanta is perhaps the finer of the 
two. The work is in twelve parts, and opens with a 
motto-phrase to the words of the pessimistic refrain, 
" Vanity of vanities all is vanity." This refrain and 
motto-phrase frequently recur during the work, which 
is the outpouring of a heart overburdened with satiety 
and disillusion. The treatment is broad, a fine instance 
in the first section being the passage : 

One generation passeth away, 
And another generation cometh, 
But the earth endureth for ever 

where the broken passages of the flying generations 
contrast well with the massive grandeur at the last line. 
Other pictorial passages are, The wind whirleth about 
continually, and All the rivers run into the sea. A very 
characteristic passage occurs at the Animando, to the 
words, " There is no remembrance." The section closes 
with a reference to the motto-phrase, and fades away 
into a melancholy dreaming. 

Section 2 is very striking. After the words, / said in 
my heart I will prove thee with mirth and enjoy pleasure, 
an Eastern dance is sung with closed lips, and suggests 
the men-singers, the w r omen-singers, and the harem of 
an Eastern court. The languor of satiety succeeds at 

I made me great works, 
I builded me houses. 



120 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

A gayer dance, but still with the underlying melancholy 
of the East, follows a passage of major thirds on a 
whole-tone scale, above an augmented fourth drone 
but is broken by the exclamation, " And behold all was 
vanity and vexation of spirit," to the motto-phrase. 
Then, after a broad and impressive passage at And there 
was no profit under the sun, the music dies away with 
a reference to the dance. 

The third section, " Then I saw that wisdom exceedeth 
folly," is powerful, and has a recurring cadence on a 
chord of F minor that is rather striking. A great horror 
and revulsion of feeling are thundered out at " Therefore 
I hated life," with a strong discord and the sopranos and 
mezzos on the top B and A ; and the section closes pp 
with " this also is vanity." 

The fourth part, 

To everything there is a season : 
A time to be born 
And a time to die, etc., 

is cast in antiphonal phrases and cadences. It is a 
simple but striking conception. It is a little risky, 
however, and might easily fail of its effect in unskilful 
hands. Under Harry Evans, at the production, the 
choir had all the necessary flexibility and rubato, and 
the result was good. 

Section 5, " / returned and saw that the race is not to 
the swift," contains one of the most poetically imagined 
passages in the work at the words, " As he came forth of 
his mother's womb naked shall he return," etc. 

The sixth part opens with a more cheery tone " Eat 
thy bread with joy." But the old melancholy soon re- 
turns, for the gaiety hovers but for a moment above the 
abyss of nothingness. Bantock's vigorous Western 
nature again asserts itself however, and there follows 



BIRMINGHAM 121 

a very impressive and quite personal and characteristic 
passage at the words referred to more than once already, 
" Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do," etc. A happier 
and also characteristic vein appears at, " Truly the light 
is sweet," but the old obsession recurs ; and the passage 
in fifths at, " Yet let him remember the days of darkness," 
leads to the motto-phrase, All is vanity, at the close. 

The last section opens exultantly with " Rejoice, 
young man in thy youth " ; but the refrain of Vanity 
soon returns. A striking passage follows : 

Remember now thy Creator, 
In the days of thy youth. 

And then comes the marvellous passage, too long to 
quote (Eccles. xii. 1-8), which refers to the silver cord 
being broken, etc. It would be too much to expect that 
anything should be added to the extraordinary magic 
of this passage, but at least one feels no shock : and this 
leads to an enlargement of the motto-phrase, Vanity of 
vanities, which brings the whole to an impressive con- 
clusion. The work was produced at Liverpool, by the 
Welsh Choral Union, under Harry Evans, on February 
I4th, 1914. 

The last choral work of which we have to speak is of 
the simplest possible kind. In the autumn of 1913 Mr. 
Keir Hardie asked Bantock if he would write a song for 
the Coming of Age Conference of the I.L.P. The idea 
appealed to Bantock's democratic feelings ; and the 
result was a Labour Song which bids fair to become a 
sort of Marseillaise of Democracy. The words are taken 
from Mrs. Bantock's Song of Liberty, and are really fine 
and stirring. The song is an easily caught melody with 
a swinging rhythm allied to that of Ca ira. A Festival 
March, or Labour March, was written to precede, and 



122 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

lead up to, the song, and was given by massed brass 
bands. This, too, is largely built upon the figure allied 
to that of Ca ira, and has a fine rousing effect. The 
march and song were performed at the Labour Con- 
ference at Bradford, in April, 1914, and aroused great 
enthusiasm. 

Coming now to the purely instrumental work, we find 
first a piece that is akin to the editions of Elizabethan 
authors already mentioned the Old English Suite. 
This consists of five pieces arranged for small orchestra, 
without antiquarian accuracy, and forms a very effec- 
tive concert suite. The pieces are, the Fantasia, by 
Orlando Gibbons, from Parthenia ; Dowland's Lac- 
rimae ; Bull's The King's Hunt ; Quodling's Delight, 
by Giles Farnaby, the scoring of which is specially 
striking, only oboe, two clarinets, and bassoon being 
employed ; and Sellenger's Round, by Byrd, which 
makes a brilliant and jolly finish. 

Allied to this are the piano albums of pieces of the 
same period. Bantock has a fellow-feeling for Bull 
who was of a pioneer nature ; and his editing of his 
work was done con amove. Byrd, too, is one of his later 
enthusiasms ; and for Farnaby he took quite a fancy. 
The whole preoccupation with these Elizabethan writers 
formed a distinct phase in his own mental expansion. 

We come next to two works for string orchestra 
In the Far West and Scenes from the Scottish Highlands. 
The first is a picturesque and racy piece woven upon 
nigger-tunes and folk-songs. The basis of the first 
movement is a figure with an augmented second, allied 
to a scrap of nigger-song. No. 2 is a beautiful and ex- 
pressive presentation of 'Way down Swannee Ribber. 
No. 3 consists of a scherzo and trio. And No. 4 is a 
symphonic working of Yankee-doodle with its pendant, 



BIRMINGHAM 123 

Johnny get your Gun, in regular form, save that at the 
return the subject is modified and a beautiful reference 
to No. 2 is introduced. The part-writing is full of re- 
source and variety, and the Serenade makes an effective 
concert-piece. It was produced at the Hereford Festi- 
val, October, 1912. 

Scenes from the Scottish Highlands contains five 
movements a Strathspey on the air, The Braes o' Tully- 
met ; a Dirge on the tune, The Isle oj Mull ; a Quickstep 
(Inverness Gathering] ; Gaelic Melody (Baloo, baloo) ; 
and a Reel (The De'il among the Tailors). The pieces 
are full of colour and life. Baloo, baloo is specially at- 
tractive ; but all are charged with the Gaelic spirit, and 
the final reel makes one's feet itch. The work is emi- 
nently suitable for the string bands which are now 
springing up so widely. It was produced at Sheffield 
in November, 1913, under Bantock's direction. 

Another fruit of Bantock's later enthusiasm for all 
things Scottish is the Scottish Rhapsody, for full orchestra, 
which is not yet published. A good deal of it was written 
during various visits to Scotland in 1913. It is a spirited 
and racy piece that smacks of the heather and the peat- 
smoke ; and the clash of discrepant harmonies at times, 
when the various tunes are going against each other, 
adds a piquant touch of the barbarism of the natural 
man. It is written for ordinary orchestra ; and we have 
first Tullochgorum ; then The Birks of Aberfeldy ; then 
Wi' a hundred Pipers, an' a', an' a', which will make 
those who have felt the magic of " Caledonia stern and 
wild " feel as if on springs, while they see the vision of 
the pipers, with their peculiar swinging gait, marching 
gaily along a mountain glen. The slow movement is 
represented by a Gaelic tune, Mairi Bhoideach, which has 
all the latent tenderness of the Gael. A clarinet cadenza 



124 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

then ushers in the sound of " the pipes " with The Reel 
o' Tulloch, and the fun grows fast and furious. This 
tune is then combined with Cuttymari and, Treladle, the 
speed and the excitement increasing, till Scots wha 
hae is thundered out ff, in a maddening coda. The 
piece would stir the blood of even the average polite 
audience : to those who have worn the kilt among 
the heather of the highland lochs and glens it is like 
champagne. 

Our grouping of the Scottish works has led to the 
temporary omission of an earlier orchestral piece 
Lalla Rookh which was finished at Northfield in 
August, 1903. It belongs to Bantock's more youthful, 
oriental phase that of The Fire-Worshippers in spirit 
and conception, though it is more mature in technique. 
It may be remembered that Moore's scheme is as follows : 
Lalla Rookh, the daughter of Aurungzebe (1658-1707), 
and the Prince of Bucharia, are betrothed by their 
respective fathers, upon which the bridal procession 
sets out for Cashmir, where it is to be met by the lover 
and the nuptials performed. The way is beguiled by 
the poetical tales of a young minstrel, Feramorz, who 
joins the train, his stories being The Veiled Prophet, 
Paradise and the Peri, The Fire-Worshippers, and The 
Light of the Harem. Lalla Rookh's heart is touched by 
the handsome poet, and she is accordingly uneasy at 
her approaching marriage. To her great joy, however, 
she recognises in the young king the minstrel of the 
journey, who has taken this way of wooing her unknown. 
Bantock's composition is perhaps the climax of his 
work in this vein of orientalism. Eastern scales and 
sumptuous colouring are freely used, and the usual 
festival orchestra is employed, with three of each wind 
timbre : an unusual point, however, is that the violins, 



BIRMINGHAM 125 

for a considerable part of the time, are in unison. The 
work opens with an expressive phrase for strings, which 
stands for Lalla Rookh herself ; and this is enlarged 
upon in various tender phrases of much beauty. The 
second section represents the bridal caravan, and has 
some very charming imitative phrases for wind against 
an inverted A pedal for violins and violas. Next, the 
caravan halts, and we hear the languorous Lalla Rookh 
theme ; after which the minstrel-lover, Feramorz, 
appears with a characteristic oriental figure. A beauti- 
ful horn-phrase tells of the nascent feeling of the two 
lovers, and then comes the first tale. These tales are 
not iDustrated, but merely symbolised by cadenzas for 
flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, which foreshadow the 
similar and greater clarinet cadenza in Fifine. As inter- 
ludes, separating the cadenzas, the tender horn-phrase 
just mentioned is used. Following upon this comes a 
picturesque oriental dance ; then the growing excite- 
ment as the end of the journey approaches ; and finally 
the climax when Lalla Rookh, in an agony of joy, 
recognises the minstrel in the throned king with an 
ecstatic cry. The piece is a very effective one of its 
kind, though not on the intellectual level of the works 
which followed. 

Of the Suite of five Dramatic Dances I have little 
space to speak. They are picturesque, but not in 
Bantock's more mature manner. Nos. la and ib are 
for Cleopatra ; No. 2 for Sappho ; and Nos. 3a and 3b 
for a harem-favourite. They were produced at the 
York Festival of 1910. 

On the Overture to a Greek Tragedy, similarly, con- 
siderations of space forbid me to enlarge. The work 
is really written for Sophocles's (Edipus at Colonos, but 
it is modern music, not written in the style of the music 



126 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

to the Greek plays already discussed. The striking 5/4 
subject at the opening, with its response in the horns, 
leads to a figure in the basses which forms one of the 
chief features of the development and the working of 
the Fate element throughout is very finely suggested. 
The second subject is a beautiful passage for four horns 
with solo violin, representing Antigone ; and the ele- 
vated close refers to (Edipus's mysterious disappearance 
and subsequent apotheosis. The work was produced 
at the Worcester Festival, September, 1911, Bantock 
conducting. 

Of the other orchestral works, we take first The 
Pierrot of a Minute, a fantastic piece founded upon 
Ernest Dowson's poem. It will be remembered that 
the Pierrot falls asleep in the Pare du Petit Trianon, be- 
side a statue of Cupid. He dreams that he is visited by 
a Moon-maiden with whom he falls rapturously in love. 
She warns him of the fatal sweetness of the kisses of the 
moon ; but he persists in his passion which she then 
allows. At last dawn approaches and she must leave 
him. So the poem ends ; but Bantock continues the 
piece to his awaking from the long dream which like 
that in the Arabian tale has really lasted but a minute. 
The strings are divided throughout into ten parts, and 
at the opening the violins enter one after another with 
tambourine and crisp harp-notes. The gambolling 
pizzicato figure that follows at the Allegro Vivo stands 
especially for the Pierrot, whose love is kept well in 
character throughout, there being always an element of 
the fantastic the gambolling scherzando even in the 
passionate portions. At bar 160 the strings are muted 
as he falls asleep ; and his figure, given to the horn, tells 
of his amorous state. The Moon-maiden appears, coy 
and capricious. Muted strings, as at the opening, but 



BIRMINGHAM 127 

with an added viola solo, describe her coquetry with him. 
She then grows more tender, and the passionate mood 
becomes more enthralling, till it reaches its climax in 
a beautiful section, Molto lento cantabile (bars 423-506), 
the fantastic element, however, being never lost sight 
of. During the last portion she has left him (to the music 
of the opening) , and his awaking is now touched upon in 
a brief codetta. The piece is delicate in imagination, 
workmanship, and scoring, and very effective in per- 
formance ; but it needs a well equipped and capable 
orchestra, or its daintiness is lost. It was produced 
at the Worcester Festival, September, 1908, and has had 
many performances since ; among them three in 
America, and one each at Paris, Nancy, Cologne, Mos- 
cow, St. Petersburg, and Shanghai. 

In the case of Dante and Beatrice there is no attempt 
to illustrate a story. The work is a psychological study, 
rather, dealing with the influence of an uplifting ideal 
in the life of a man. Broadly speaking, the opening 
stands for Dante himself and his condition before his 
marvellous love for Beatrice shone forth in all its splen- 
dour. Into the middle of this agitated music, however, 
there enters forcefully (on 'cellos, trombones, bassoons, 
and cor anglais, ff), as the overpowering love really 
struck Dante, a theme which, later, is enrayed in loveli- 
ness, and which represents Beatrice. Dante's theme 
does not remain unchanged, but undergoes several 
modifications, and appears, now in an agitated, now in 
a poetical and exalted mood, this last more particularly 
at bar 92 and onwards. It is worked up to a climax at 
bars 110-120, after which there comes a silence, and the 
beautiful Beatrice theme, heralded by a harp passage, is 
given by solo violin, accompanied by violins at first, 
but, after one bar, alone, in a lovely cadenza. This treat- 



128 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

ment is then thrice repeated. The effect is most happy, 
and stands out in the memory after a single hearing. 
The working of these two themes is carried on with great 
resource and beauty through various moods of tender- 
ness, passion, and exaltation, till, after a great climax, 
Dante hears of Beatrice's death. Her theme now ap- 
pears with poignant grief (Lentamente) in the basses, the 
upper parts being added one after another. Dante's 
desolation, and his thoughts of her in the idealised state 
as almost divine, are then expressed in the last portion 
beginning Sostenuto cantabile, with great elevation and 
beauty ; and the interweaving of themes is carried on 
with much skill, but is always subservient to the poetic 
intention. At the very end, Molto lento, the two themes 
are united, and bring the piece to a noble and elevated 
close. The work is scored for festival orchestra, and 
was produced at the London Musical Festival at Queen's 
Hall, May, 1911. 

The sub-title of Fifine at the Fair A Defence of In- 
constancy is only Bantock's fun. He is not a specially 
giddy, fickle, or inconstant butterfly ; but he has a 
passion for a striking phrase, even though it be a flash 
one. Fifine is vigorous, full-blooded, and before all 
things human. The subject has seemed to some an im- 
possible one for music ; and, of course, the intellectual 
finessing of Browning's poem is so. Bantock simply 
takes the broad human situation and treats that. Neither 
poem nor music is " a defence of inconstancy," but 
merely a defence of those normal intellectual and 
spiritual relations which men and women alike need with 
their peers the same sort of freedom of intercourse as 
the friendship between Carlyle and Lady Ashburton, 
which so offended Mrs. Carlyle. In the case before us 
Don Juan goes wrong, and suffers accordingly : but 



BIRMINGHAM 129 

the shutting off of healthy outside influences turns the 
married state into a stagnant pool. 

The Prologue is for strings only (twenty-one parts), 
and shows the Ocean of Life with the butterfly hovering 
above it, and the man swimming in it : and here Ban- 
tock diverges from Browning in making the butterfly 
the type, not of the soul, but of Fifine, and that womanly 
element which is found in her and in all women. The 
soul of the man reaches up towards the beautiful crea- 
ture with yearning. Yearning merges into questioning. 
Out of the mood of inquiry grows a further mood of 
aspiration, the theme of which is afterwards associated 
with Elvire. This prologue is a most effective piece of 
writing, with its hints of human passion, yearning and 
aspiration. Then, with a crash, follows the bustle and 
tawdry glitter of the fair, amid which a modification of 
The Carnival of Venice is thundered out by the strings 
and brass against a flaring shake of the wood-wind. 
Then we hear a man thwacking the big drum outside 
one of the booths, to call the people together ; an old 
fiddler scrapes away (in the first position only), and after 
a few bars a boy joins in with the penny whistle. The 
hubbub returns ; and the poet even in the midst of all 
the gaiety is impressed with a sense of the essential 
tragedy of things. At last Fifine comes on (just before 
the Allegretto grazioso e capriccioso) with her seductive 
charm and fascination. She dances and captivates the 
poet, her witchery reaching its fullest expression in a 
long and beautiful cadenza for clarinet alone, after 
which Elvire's larger and nobler presence appears 
(strings, horns, and clarinets, Molto lento sostenulo). 
The struggle of desire, the strife in the man's soul between 
these two ideals of womanhood, is well shown, and is the 
subject of the rest of the work. Sometimes Elvire's 



130 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

influence grows, sometimes Fifine's ; and the mere- 
tricious charms of the Fair (or the ordinary world) often 
captivate the man's senses. Finally he is unfaithful 
to Elvire, who leaves him. The Epilogue opens at Lento 
con malinconia, and shows the man's lonely musings : 

When, in a moment, just a knock, call, cry, 

and the two are united again, while the memory of 
Fifine and the fair fade together. The reunion is brought 
about, in Browning, by death ; and he ends : " Love 
is all, and death is nought." To Bantock this is alien, 
and in his view the wife simply returns to the man bring- 
ing forgiveness. Each view has its merits : and Bantock's 
work as a whole is remarkably fine perhaps the most 
effective piece of purely orchestral English music. 

We have now arrived at the climax of this second 
portion of the Birmingham period. The Great God Pan 
weaves together the two strands of choral and orchestral 
development which we have been tracing into a single 
web. The work raises some interesting questions. 
It embodies a sort of artistic neo-paganism which is a 
real expression of Bantock's later personality. The 
conception as a whole is his, though the fine execution 
of it on the literary side is due to Mrs. Bantock. The 
style, musically, is different in many ways from that 
of Omar. Contemporary veins of thought, and especially 
those of the French and the Russian Schools, have influ- 
enced Bantock's mind, and we see evidences of the fact 
here. It is sometimes said that to be up to date is to be 
quickly out of date : but in this case there is no effort 
to be up to date. Those who know Bantock know how 
his mind has been working in sympathy with these 
developments : and if his work showed no traces of this 
enthusiasm it would not truly express him. His admira- 



BIRMINGHAM 131 

tion for Strauss is a continuation of his earlier German 
proclivities. It is these other types of thought which 
are more especially characteristic of his later years : 
and of these we find evidences everywhere in this work 
in the harmonic scheme, the strange discords, the elusive 
tonality, and in the atmospheric treatment generally. 

The work is in two parts, Pan in Arcady, which was 
to have been produced at Sheffield on November I2th, 
(1914)* ; and The Festival of Pan, which is at present in- 
complete. The sub-title, A Choral Ballet, indicates the 
fusion of the two elements of which I have spoken. The 
orchestral ballet occupies some fifty or sixty pages of 
piano score, and the whole is quite suitable for per- 
formance on the stage. The first part is fanciful 
and idyllic ; the second part contains, towards the 
close, ideas that are graver and more philosophical. 
Pan is not, as some have thought, an embodiment 
of nature as a whole is not connected with TO Trav, 
the all, nor does he really express a vast philosophy 
of the sum of things. The word is connected with the 
root Trot in Trareo/xcu, to feed ; and he is really a 
shepherd's god a god of flocks and herds and forests, 
and the wilder aspects of rural nature. But Bantock 
chooses to use him, as some of the later classical poets 
used him, for an expression of the neo-paganism with 
which he identifies himself, both in its Arcadian aspects 
(Part I), and in its larger views of life (Part II). 

The work opens with an Invocation to Pan in the 
shape of an unaccompanied Choral Prelude for double 
choir (twelve parts). This is full of vivid pictorial 
touches, such as the passage at The sweet waters are 
wetting ; and the technical workmanship is obviously 

* The production had to be postponed owing to the war ; and 
no fresh date has yet been fixed. 



132 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

that of the same hand that wrought Atalanta. Pan is 
invoked as God of forests, god of liberty ; and the central 
portion, a tenfold cry of Pan, with discordant semi- 
tones and augmented fourths, followed by the words, 
God of the unfettered mind, is very striking. The follow- 
ing section, come, piping loud and wild, is highly pic- 
turesque, as also is the analogous passage : 

The sweet singer, the light dancer, the wild piper clear and 

shrill- 
where the choral technique is very free and suggestive 
of the idea. The Prelude ends with a great shout, 
Pan, great Pan, all hail ! in massive harmonies by the 
combined choirs. 

The scene of Part I is supposed to be a woodland 
glade with mountains beyond ; and the characters are 
Pan (bass), a shepherd (tenor), Echo (soprano), and the 
Moon (contralto), with choruses of nymphs, dryads, 
fauns, satyrs, maenads, earth-spirits, and hunters. These 
represent that purely natural sylvan life, and that 
mythical golden age, which poets have imagined 
always in the past. And there are seasons when one 
does long for a return to the youth of the world, as one 
looks back with longing, sometimes, upon one's own 
youth. We see such a moment of heart-hunger in 
Wordsworth's sonnet, The world is too much with us 
which, as we have noted, Bantock has set in the ex- 
clamation at the end : 

. . . Great God ! I'd rather be 

A pagan, suckled in a creed outworn, 

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, 
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ; 

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea, 
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. 

These lines have evidently appealed to Bantock, and 
might stand for a motto for this work even to the 



BIRMINGHAM 133 

creed outworn, in which Wordsworth indicates that such 
return is for ever impossible. Bantock, too, knows that 
the bar is inexorable : that the flaming sword forbids 
the return to the past, save in the universal present of 
mind and thought. 

The arrangement of the orchestra is less elaborate 
than in Omar. The strings are divided into two each : 
the wind consists of the usual festival brass and wood : 
and there are percussion, harp, and celesta. 

The orchestra opens with 122 bars of prelude, with which 
the chorus of nymphs and dryads who are sporting in the 
forests and pools, mingle two short bursts of song (four- 
teen bars and three bars) in their naive delight, merely to 
the exclamation, Eia ! This prelude is very attractive. 
A chorus of hunters (six parts) now crosses the scene : 

O awake ! O awake ! Dian's wings are unfurled, 
Maiden swift. Maiden sweet as the rose of the world ! 

The music is for male chorus with hunting-horns, and is 
mostly tonic and dominant, the voices moving in pro- 
gressions of fifths, and the effect being picturesquely 
bucolic. Pan now enters laughing, the figure 

Twy-horned, goat-footed, wild with shaggy hair, 

of the ancient statues. The nymphs and dryads fly in 
dismay and hide in the thickets. He, however, espies 
them, and after a few moments they are reassured : 
he chases them : they, laughing, elude him, and at last 
slip away, leaving him alone. The music of his song has 
that touch of bizarrerie which suits the uncouth savagery 
of his nature in its present aspect. He exults in his 
primal energy and force : 

Hearken, O world ! 
To thy heart I blow : 
And I twist it, and take it 
In strong hands, and break it. 



134 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

Yet, though powerful, he has not really this supreme 
control : he is torn by passion and woe, and rushes off 
with wild laughter. Mist and darkness overspread 
the scene in sympathetic accord ; and there is an orches- 
tral interlude of fifty-eight bars during the latter part 
of which the light returns and the nymphs and dryads 
re-enter. We now have a chorus (six parts) for 
these wood-sprites and water-sprites non-human, elfish 
nature largely in progressions of fifths, and with 
accompaniments which, while at times freakish, have 
yet, at times, a certain suavity. Between the strophe 
and antistrophe Pan is heard piping without. They 
resume their song, with which Pan's piping presently 
mingles ; and when they have finished there follows the 
episode of Pan and Echo, of whom he is enamoured, but 
who eludes him. 

A great rock slowly glows with an internal light, and, 
becoming transparent, shows Echo in its heart. She 
sings an attractive song of an elemental tinge, though 
not without a touch of the passion that the gods of 
Hellas are represented as feeling. A line or two from 
stanza 3 will give the general tone : 

Old Pan is sighing : 

His soul is sad, 
Through the reed-pipes crying 

For joy he had. 

The light fades ; Echo becomes invisible ; Pan re- 
enters, playing the syrinx; and asks the nymphs and 
dryads in melancholy strains whither Echo is flown. 
The music, both of his playing and of his singing, reveals 
here a certain melancholy tenderness which is hidden 
beneath his rough exterior. He then fancies he sees 
an apparition of Echo, and in great excitement springs 
after it. Hereupon follows a conceit that was a favourite 



BIRMINGHAM 135 

in literature about the time of Herrick and Herbert 
(circ. 1620), and which is used here with happy effect. 
Pan keeps calling upon Echo ; and the nymphs and 
dryads, now invisible, echo the last words of each line, 
the ethereal delicacy of the female choir contrasting 
finely with Pan's rough bass. Pan now exclaims, in 
wrath at losing Echo, " Away with dreams, away with 
shadows ! " and goes on in beautiful cantilena : 

I will seek the light divine, 

And attain the splendour : 

Fold beauty to the soul. 

Clasp the whole world's completeness, 

And, filled with hope's immortal ecstasy, 

Drain to the full the cup of love's desire. 

Come, sing of joy ! 

upon which, in uncouth phrases, he summons his fauns 
and satyrs. It appears that Pan is not a Platonist, not 
a god in the sense of being, but is in process of becoming, 
as men are. The fauns and satyrs appear with grotesque 
cries. There is some further dialogue between them and 
Pan, in which he urges them to wild revelry, and then 
the dances begin. First comes the Revelry of Pan and the 
Fauns (i), with wild, streaming phrases in the music 
which, curiously enough, is full of imitations. The 
Dance of Pan and the Satyrs follows (2) with great leaps 
in the music, where the gambolling earth-creatures 
frolic in wild excitement. In the music of the third 
dance, the Revelry of Fauns and Satyrs (3), there are 
references to that of the first. The fun becomes faster 
and more furious, then slackens, dies down, and the 
touching episode of The wounded Faun (4) begins, still 
in dumb show. He has been hit by hunters, and drags 
himself in slowly and painfully, while the rest leave their 
dancing and crowd around him. The music here becomes 
halting and expressive. He makes light of the matter 



136 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

and tries to join in the dance, which becomes wilder ; 
but his strength fails and he sinks to the ground. A 
tender passage follows as his thoughts dwell upon all the 
beauty and joy of the earth-life which is being torn from 
him. He takes a pipe and blows a few notes : tries to 
rise : sinks back exhausted : and is borne out, to sorrow- 
ful strains which die away pp. Then follows the last 
of the dances, and the close of the orgy. A band of 
maenads (5) rush in with wild hair and garments, waving 
their thyrsi ; and fauns, satyrs, and maenads whirl 
together in the very delirium of transport. The music 
is a frantic torrent of riot in 6/8 time, constructed 
entirely on a whole-tone scale ; and rises to a frenzied 
climax, after which the dancers gradually vanish into 
the woods and leave Pan alone. 

He sinks down exhausted, and a pleasant contrast after 
all the delirium is afforded by the simple pastoral strains of 
a shepherd's song as he crosses with his flock, going to fold. 

We now reach the final scene. The Moon rises in 
serene splendour, singing. Very beautiful is the passage : 

Let me descend, and bare 
Amid your roses, 
To Night my breast ; 

and very characteristic the chorus of earth-spirits (6-12 
parts, without words) in response. She descends and 
finds Pan sleeping, and is horrified by his monstrous 
form, which the music illustrates with uncouth passages 
and harmonies. Pan awakes, and she, in terror, tries to 
fly. Pan urges his passion : she resists : then, at length, 
breaks away, and rises heavenward. A point in the 
music, noticeable for its pictorial suggestiveness, occurs 
at the lines : 

I am held in the net of the wild one's hair : 
I fly to heaven can he follow me there ? 



BIRMINGHAM 137 

Pan now summons the rain- and dew-spirits, changes 
himself into a cloud, and envelops the Moon. This 
also is vividly portrayed by the orchestra, an extra- 
ordinary chord being held for twenty-four bars by 
bass-instruments, while wood-wind, harps, and celesta 
have sestuplet-passages of semiquavers. This embrace 
of the Moon the radiance by Pan in the form of a 
cloud, is the attainment of his desire and the culmination 
of Part I. The Moon's shrinking terror is changed into 
rapture ; the earth-creatures fauns, satyrs, dryads, 
and nymphs join in with sympathetic gladness (twelve- 
part chorus and two soli) ; this last portion being full 
of passion, tenderness, and beauty. 

In Part II, The Festival of Pan, which is as yet only in 
the rough, Bantock develops his conception to its ulti- 
mate issue. The scene is at Rome in the time of Elagaba- 
lus (A.D. 218-222) in a portico of the imperial palace. 
The emperor is giving a banquet in Pan's honour ; and 
bands of revellers and dancers pass and repass. In an 
alcove is a statue of the Youthful Pan (a beautiful piece 
of work now in the British Museum) . The chief characters 
are a Syrian damsel (soprano), a lute-player (mezzo), 
Elagabalus (tenor), Gregory, a monk (baritone), and the 
Youthful Pan (tenor) ; and the chorus consists of 
bacchanalians, soldiers, monks, dancers, buffoons, and 
female slaves. 

The work opens with a prelude which leads into one 
of those saturnalia for which the Court of Elagabalus 
was notorious. The chorus utter frenzied cries of lo 
Pan ! Evoe, Evoe ! and the whole is worked up to a 
wild pitch of bacchanalian frenzy. A song for the lute- 
player follows ; and then a seductive chorus for female 
voices only, interspersed with fragments of song for the 
Syrian damsel, on whom the emperor's desires are at 



138 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

present centred. It will be remembered that Elagabalus 
perhaps the most degraded of the Roman emperors 
had been high priest of the Sun in Syria, and brought 
all the debauchery of the East to Rome. This Syrian 
element gives Bantock an opportunity for the use of 
that Oriental colouring to which, as we have seen, he 
has always been so partial. Elagabalus himself speaks 
next ; then comes a dance of Circassian slaves ; then 
the emperor resumes, and orders the Buffoons' dance, 
which accordingly follows. This leads into a renewal 
of the opening orgy. And now comes a tremendous 
contrast, and the sharp antithesis of two ideas of life ; 
for amid all this riot, the sound of a distant procession 
of monks is heard chanting the Miserere. The chant 
grows louder ; and at last Gregory, the monk, bursts 
in with the prophetic fervour of a St. John the Baptist 
and fiercely denounces the lasciviousness of the imperial 
Court. At the climax of his invective Bantock makes 
use of the mediaeval legend which says that at the birth 
of Christ a mighty voice was heard re-echoing over land 
and sea with the cry, Great Pan is dead. So here Gregory, 
adopting the words, cries, Great Pan is dead, and strikes 
the image so that it totters, falls, and is shattered, 
amid the consternation of the revellers a consternation 
which is increased by a mysterious darkness which 
swiftly envelops all. In this darkness a curtain is drawn 
over the alcove, and behind it is seen a red light which 
slowly increases to an intense radiance. The curtain 
then falls ; and in place of the statue is seen the living 
figure of the Youthful Pan, who then proceeds to speak. 
His Monologue is a protest against the monastic view 
of life, and an exposition of that of the calmer seeker 
after beauty and truth. He protests against the wor- 
ship of a God of Pain, and denounces as slaves those who 



BIRMINGHAM 139 

lie prostrate before altars where death is crowned king, 
to whom is offered the oblation of sighs for songs. He 
then proceeds to exhortation : "Go forth and meet the 
eye of heaven. Solitude shall weigh thee : silence win- 
now thee within. Lift the bright cup of life to thy 
thirsting lips, brimming with the draught mingled of joy 
and pain. Then, like to gods, filled with that draught 
divine, scorn the low valleys : climb ever, to where, on 
the heights of truth, dwells Liberty. I, Pan, am the 
embodied mystery of the world. Hearken, O men ! 
Attune your ears to me. Lo ! I am Pan ! " And upon 
this a choral paean brings the work to a close. 

It will be seen that this scheme provides some highly 
picturesque scenes and tremendous contrasts. It will 
also be noted that this Pan has travelled a long way from 
the Pan of Pan in Arcady. Although he denounces a 
religion of pain, he accepts pain as part of the draught 
of life and liberty which he himself offers. It is unfortu- 
nate that the situation suggests his defence of the ways 
of Elagabalus and his like, which his speech implicitly 
condemns. The revellers are not at all representative 
of the noblest paganism, such as that of Plato, or Marcus 
Aurelius, or Epictetus : neither are the monks truly 
representative of the spirit of Christ. These two, there- 
fore, may be considered as cancelling out : and this 
leaves us with Pan as the exponent of Bantock's present 
view of life a view which is very interesting, and one 
with which we can all agree to a large extent. The 
work should prove highly effective ; and we look for- 
ward to its production with keen anticipation. 



CHAPTER VIII 

PERSONAL MATTERS AND TRAITS 

UNLESS I have altogether failed hitherto in my present- 
ment of Bantock, the reader will have received by this 
time a very fair impression of the man and his work. 
A few more details, however, may be welcome, and 
may serve to deepen the lines and make the portrait 
stand out more clearly in the mind. 

On coming to Birmingham the family lived first at 
Strathfield, King's Norton, about five miles from town. 
Here Bantock performed a characteristic action. Josef 
Holbrooke was at this time quite a young man, and in 
family difficulties. Bantock invited him to live with 
him for a time, and gave him a room in which he could 
write at leisure. Holbrooke was even then very uncon- 
ventional, and Mrs. Bantock had some amusing diplo- 
matic fencing-matches with him to get him to wear a 
collar when going to some important concert. Bantock 
himself, like many of us, rebels against the insatiable 
demands of etiquette, and avoids a black coat and, 
a fortiori, evening-dress like the plague. The only 
dress he really does fancy himself in is Oriental such 
as that of an Arab sheikh, in which he appeared at a 
fancy-dress ball, and in the newspapers (by photo) next 
day. It is recorded of Morris that, once, being on a 
Board of Directors, he kept a top-hat to attend the 
meetings, as a sacrifice to Mrs. Grundy : and that, on 

140 



PERSONAL MATTERS AND TRAITS 141 

resigning, he went straight home, got out the hat, and 
solemnly sat upon it. Bantock's instincts are much the 
same ; and for some time he went about in a suit of 
golden-brown velveteens of a texture that called forth 
the remark in the papers that he was the first man who 
ever attended a University Faculty Meeting in corduroys. 
After King's Norton, the next home was at The 
Jungle (note the Orientalism), Northfield, only a mile 
or two away. This was a tiny old-fashioned house close 
upon the churchyard, but with a charming garden. The 
churchyard, however, got upon Mrs. Bantock's nerves, 
and a move was soon made to Moseley, closer in to town, 
where there was a pleasant garden and a house that now 
began to overflow with books. When the lease ran out 
in 1907 and they were looking about for new quarters, 
they were lucky enough to see a fine old manor house 
called Broad Meadow, near King's Norton. It had been 
an old farmhouse, and the place is mentioned in Dooms- 
day. It stands on a part of the old British trackway, 
called the Rycknield Street, which, further on towards 
Alcester, becomes very lovely. There was a fine walled 
garden, an orchard, and some shrubberies with beauti- 
ful old trees and a rookery. Here the home was kept 
for six years, and this is the most loved of all the homes. 
A photo of the house is given. The country southwards 
is pure and unadulterated, and was a delight to Mrs. 
Bantock ; while the children grew and throve in the 
country air and life. Here, latterly, I hermitised near 
them in a small cottage on the estate, which Bantock in- 
sisted on calling The Kennel, or The Pig-stye. In March, 
1913, for considerations of professional work and the 
children's education, it was found necessary to come closer 
to town again, and the present house at Edgbaston was 
taken. The children of whom I have spoken are Julian 



142 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

(1898), named after the Roman emperor usually called 
The Apostate. It is an unjust label ; for, considering 
the character of the so-called Christianity in which he 
was brought up, it was to his honour that he rejected 
it. The name, however, aroused Bantock's sympathy, 
which he thus expressed. Raymond arrived in 1900 ; 
the third, also a boy, Hamilton, in 1904. His advent 
occurred during Bantock's Japanese craze, and he was 
consequently dubbed Kintoki, which is now with much 
labour being dropped. Fourth and last came a girl 
(1905), of whose names, Hermione Myrrha Shereen, the 
last is specially due to her father's enthusiasm for all 
things Persian. 

The Japanese craze which I have just mentioned 
lasted a long time and was a virulent attack. The house 
was filled with Japanese prints, and Broad Meadow 
became a sort of Oriental museum. Shrines, gods, 
prints, drums, carvings, and curios were everywhere ; 
and some horrible crapulous Japanese ghosts leered at 
you as you left the study so that you were glad to escape. 
One room, however, was reserved for another and 
different hobby Napoleon. All Mrs. Bantock's Gains- 
boroughs and modern pictures were ignominiously 
turned out, and the room filled with portraits and relics 
of le petit caporal, of whose career Bantock has quite a 
library. It is a marvel that he ever consented to live 
in a house called Strathfield, a name so closely allied to 
Strathfieldsaye, the place of Nap's bete noire, " ce Vilain- 
ton." 

I have spoken of Bantock's way of " discovering " 
perfectly well-known men, and slanging his friends who 
admired them temperately, for not caring for them. 
An amusing instance occurred recently. He saw some 
pigs by Morland, and was quite captivated by them. 



PERSONAL MATTERS AND TRAITS 143 

He began to study Morland : bought books upon him. 
The disease increased, and his temperature rose to 
212 degrees. He is at present a melancholy martyr to 
Morlanditis, and buys pictures which a year ago he would 
have thrown into the dustbin. This capacity for new 
enthusiasms stands him in good stead, however, and keeps 
him always singularly alive. Byrd, Bull, and Farnaby 
inoculated him with mild doses of their respective 
viruses, and corresponding attacks followed. At another 
time it was geology that absorbed him ; he got up the 
subject with remarkable rapidity, and visited many 
interesting deposits with his friend Mr. Hayes. 

He is of a generous, lovable nature, very free from 
artistic jealousy, and wonderfully ready to hold out a 
helping hand to others. There is a sort of tropical pro- 
fusion in his nature. Just as he plans out Kehama in 
twenty-four symphonic poems, and sketches six Egyp- 
tian dramas, so, on going to a new place, he buys, not 
half a dozen picture post-cards, but fifty to start with. 
Many people like to have a tortoise in the garden, but 
he sees some on a barrow and arrives home with ten. 
They become a regular nuisance and have to have a 
garden frame devoted entirely to them. He must have 
living things round him, and delights to see them all 
enjoying themselves eating. He insists on feeding the 
fowls, pigeons, geese, etc., though he knows that over- 
feeding will stop the egg-supply : he must at all costs 
have them all round him, gobbling away. At Moseley, he 
had two Great Dane pups which grew quite unmanage- 
able and had to be got rid of. At Broad Meadow there 
was a tank in one of the conservatories in which he 
decided to have goldfish. He spent 2 or 3 on fish, 
and stocked the place with rocks and weeds ; but as the 
tank had a dark bottom no fish were ever seen, and he 



144 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

might as well have thrown the money into the 
gutter. At Edgbaston there were four dogs in an 
ordinary suburban house, and the garden had to be all 
latticed and gated to keep them moderately within 
bounds. 

With books the case is the same. He buys reck- 
lessly, and has to clear out periodically for want of room. 
He is often fortunate, however. He buys mostly good 
editions, and when he sells often gets good prices, in 
some instances actually making a profit. His taste in 
literature, as in music, is all for the moderns. Just as 
pioneers feel a certain impatience at, and intolerance of, 
the well-known and trodden ways of life, and yearn to be 
out in the open, so Bantock is apt to be intolerant of even 
good writers till they are far enough off, or sufficiently 
forgotten, to be almost in need of re-discovery. I once 
said to him : " You care for no music written earlier 
than the day before yesterday." He retorted : "I care 
for none written earlier than the day after to-morrow." 
The cases, therefore, run parallel. In music, Strauss, 
Sibelius, etc. ; in literature, Shaw, Conrad, Loti, etc. 
Artistic rationalism, and revolt against the established, is 
almost a formula for him. Akin to this phase of his mind 
is his love of books of travel ; and we have made many 
pleasant fireside excursions together, among them one 
with Sven Hedin through Tibet and Central Asia to 
Peking. The Time-Machine, too, has worked its miracle 
for us, and we have watched the slow procession of the 
centuries unroll themselves, in Gibbon's pages, before 
us. Another book which we have read together, 
and one interesting him more particularly on account 
of his devotion to Napoleon, is Tolstoy's War and 
Peace. 

He has a fine sense of orchestral colour and balance, 



PERSONAL MATTERS AND TRAITS 145 

and a sure knowledge of effect ; and he once remarked 
to me that Omar is a sort of amber colour. Many of us 
have a feeling for this sort of correspondence between 
colour and sound. Brahms, for instance, and especially 
in the case of the Gesang der Parzen, seems a sort of 
fateful grey : and Wagner's prevailing tone is often red. 
But it is interesting to learn a writer's impression of his 
own work in this respect. In all kinds of work he craves 
strong flavours and largeness of scale. Jane Austen 
spells tedium to him. Thackeray and Dickens are an 
abomination : he is weary to bear them. Morris's 
Earthly Paradise contains only one tolerable poem 
Gudrun. And yet he is like Morris in many ways, with 
a similar stormy, yet affectionate nature. In bodily 
appearance, too, there are frequent resemblances between 
the two ; while Morris's pathetic remark : " Oh, how 
I long to keep the world from narrowing me, and to 
look at things bigly and kindly," might almost have 
been uttered by Bantock, except that he would never 
have uttered it, but would have turned off the mood 
with a remark humorously insulting to some one. 

Jahn tells us of Mozart that in conversation he would 
often seem to be absent, and to be carrying on a deeper 
train of thought. This, as is often the case with creative 
artists, is frequently true of Bantock, especially when he 
has any big work on hand. At such times one may get 
answers which he will afterwards be quite unconscious 
of having given. His favourite recreation is chess. One 
night he was playing late with a friend, and had occa- 
sion to go upstairs for a book. While finding it he forgot 
all about the game, and went to bed ; and his friend 
waited downstairs in growing bewilderment, tilTat last, 
finding everything silent, he was obliged to let himself 
out at i a.m. and go home. 



146 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

Bantock has many such traits some at times a 
little exasperating ; but they are only skin-deep. His 
is essentially an affectionate, generous, and large nature ; 
and, taking him for all in all, he is a real artist of 
great attainments, a picturesque personality, and a true 
friend. 



LIST OF WORKS 

IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE DISCUSSED 

(Those marked t are not published.) 

fFive Heine Songs 

f Grand Galop for Piano 

f Allegro in G minor for Piano 

fSong, Sweet Maid 

f Polonaise for Piano 

|Two Meditations for Violin and 

Piano 
f Scherzo and Trio from Symphony 

in C 
f Requiem Mass in C for Voices and 

Piano 

fTwo Heine Songs 
f Three Monologues of Satan, from 

Paradise Lost 
Thorvenda's Dream. Recitation 

Music 
fThe Blessed Damozel. Recitation 

Music 

Piano Album (Rhapsody, Medita- 
tion, Fantasie) 
Set of Twelve Piano Pieces 
Melody in E|? for Piano 
Two Albums for Piano (Silhouettes, 

and Miniatures) 
Two Piano Pieces (Reverie in Eft, 

Barcarolle in F minor) 
The Curse of Kehama, for Or- 
chestra (two parts, Processional, 
and Jaga-Naut) 
f Ballet, " ^EGYPT " (Orchestra) 



Forsyth & Co. 

London Music Pub- 
lishing Co. 
Forsyth & Co. 
Jos. Williams 

Bosworth 
Ashdown 

Breitkopf & Haertel 



148 



GRANVILLE BANTOCK 



The Fire- Worshippers (Cantata for 

Choir and Orchestra) 
The Pearl of Iran (Opera) 
Caedmar (Opera) 

Ballet-Music to " Rameses II " 
fOverture to " Eugene Aram " 

Songs of the East (six Albums of 
six Songs each : India, China, 
Japan, Persia, Egypt, Arabia) 

Russian Scenes, for Orchestra 

English ,, ,, 

Helena Variations, for Orchestra 

Saul (Tone-Poem for Orchestra) 
fChristus (Oratorio for Chorus and 
Orchestra) 

Thalaba the Destroyer (Tone-Poem 
for Orchestra) 

The Witch of Atlas (Tone-Poem for 
Orchestra) 

Elegiac Poem for 'Cello and Or- 
chestra 



Novello 

Breitkopf & Haertel 
London Music Pub- 
lishing Co. 
Breitkopf & Haertel 



Breitkopf & Haertel 
Bosworth 

Breitkopf & Haertel 



Novello" 
Jos. Williams 



SONGS 

Songs of the Seraglio (four) 
Six Jester Songs 
Ghazals of Hafiz (five) 
If that Angel of Shiraz 
Ferishtah's Fancies (thirteen) 
Sappho Songs (nine) (full score and 

parts also) 
Song of the Genie 
As I ride (Browning's Through 

Metidja to Abd-el-Kadr) 
Two Songs (Eastern Love-Song and 

Winter) 
Three Blake Songs (In a Myrtle 

Shade, The Wild Flower's Song, 

and Love's Secret) 
A Lover's Kiss 



Oliver Ditson 
Breitkopf & Haertel 

Oliver Ditson 
Breitkopf & Haertel 



Boosey 



Novello 



LIST OF WORKS 149 

Two Chinese Songs (The Moo-Lee 

Flower, and Mistress Wang) Breitkopf & Haertel 

fSword and Blossom Poems (six) 

100 Folk Songs of all Nations Oliver Ditson Co. 

60 National and Patriotic Songs ,, 

100 Songs of England 

'CELLO PIECES 

Sapphic Poem for 'Cello and Or- 
chestra (Piano score and full 
score) Novello 

fCeltic Poem for 'Cello and Orchestra 

GREEK PLAYS 

|The Hippolytus of Euripides (Murray) 
The Electro, of Sophocles (Greek and 

English) Breitkopf & Haertel 

fThe Bacchce of Euripides (Murray) 

CHORAL WORK 

jMass in B[? for Male Choir 
The Time Spirit, for Chorus and 

Orchestra Breitkopf & Haertel 

The Sea- Wanderers, for Chorus and 

Orchestra 

Christ in the Wilderness 

Gethsemane ,, 

Omar Khayyam, for Chorus and 

Orchestra (Parts I, II, III) 

PART-SONGS FOR MALE VOICES 

Three Cavalier Tunes : 

(1) Marching Along (Browning) Novello 

(2) Give a Rouse ,, ,, 

(3) Boot and Saddle 
Two Part-Songs : 

(i) Hymn to the Sun (Bailey & 

(a) There was a Fairy (Ferguson 



GRANVILLE BANTOCK 



War Song (Blake) /Breitkopf 

The Inch-Cape Rock \& Haertel 

The Piper o' Dundee Novello 

The Pibroch of Donuil Dhu 

The Laird o' Cockpen ,, 

Festival Song, for the Na- 
tional Union of Teachers (Anderton) /Breitkopf 

The Lost Leader (Browning) \& Haertel 

The Glories of our Blood and 

State (Shirley) Novello 

Lucifer in Star-light (Meredith) 

My Luve's like a red red Rose (Burns) Curwen 

Two Odes from Sophocles' 
CEdipus in Colonos : 

(1) Stranger, thou art standing now /Breitkopf 

(2) Now a brighter Boast than all l& Haertel 
Zeus, Lord of Heaven ! (^Eschylus) 
Wilt thou be my dearie ? (Burns) Curwen 
Bonnie wee Thing ,, 

Down among the dead Men 

Kubla Khan (Coleridge) 

The Charge of the Light 

Brigade (Tennyson) 

Rune-Song (Finnish) 

Hunting Song (Collier) 

Address to the De'il (Burns) 

(1) The King's Messenger \ 

(2) The Pear-Tree 

(3) Through Easter Gates from 

(4) Good King Wu The Shih King 
t(s) The City of Chow (Chinese) 

f(6) Princely Visitors 
f(7) The Lady of the Lagoon- 
Ballade (Villon) Novello 



PART-SONGS (OR TRIOS) FOR FEMALE VOICES 

Three Blake Poems : 

(1) To Morning Curwen 

(2) To the Evening Star 

(3) To the Muses 



LIST OF WORKS 151 

The Happy Isle (H. F. Bantock) Curwen 

Soul Star 

Cradle-Song (Mo Chubrachan, Gaelic) ,', 

Elfin Music (Shelley) Breitkopf & Haertel 

Love Song (H. F. Bantock) Novello 

Young Love (Blake) 



ENGLISH AIRS, UNACCOMPANIED 

(1) Under the Greenwood Tree (Shakespeare) Curwen 

(2) Where the Bee sucks ,, 

(3) A-hunting we will go 

SCOTTISH AIRS, UNACCOMPANIED 

(1) Flowers of the Forest Joseph Williams 

(2) Ye Banks an' Braes ,, ,, 

(3) Highland Laddie 

(4) The Campbells are Coming ,. 

(5) Auld Robin Gray 

(6) Bonnie Dundee 

TWO-PART SONGS FOR CHILDREN (ACCOMPANIED) 

(1) Once upon a Time (H. F. Bantock) Curwen 

(2) Song of the Japanese 

Dwarf-tree 

(3) The China Mandarin 

(4) Night-time 

(5) The Fairies are dancing 

(6) The wild brown Bee 

(1) Robin, sweet Robin 

(2) Riding to Fairy-land Novello 

(3) Elfin-town 

(4) Child-voices 

(5) The Birds (Blake) 

(6) The Fly 

Bringing in the Hay (unison) - 

The Owl (duet) I Published in America 

The lost Land (trio) J 



152 



GRANVILLE BANTOCK 



PART-SONGS FOR MIXED VOICES (ORIGINAL) 



The silken Thread 
Awake, awake (4 parts) 
Evening has lost her Throne 

(4 parts) 
Oh, what a lovely Magic 

(4 parts) 

Nocturne (6 parts) 
Out of the Darkness (8 parts) 
In the silent West (8 parts) 
The Moon has risen 
The Tyger 
On Himalay 
Wake the Serpent not 
Spirit of Night 
One with Eyes the fairest 
Music, when soft Voices die 
Spring Enchantment 
Coronach 
They that go down to the Sea 

in Ships 
The World is too much 

with us 

My Luve's like a red red Rose 
Be of good Cheer 

(Old English) 

O Mistress mine 
Full Fathom five 
Willow Willow 
Sumer is icumen in 
The three Ravens 
Ah, the Sighs that come fro' 
my Heart 

(Scottish) 

Scotland yet 

O saw ye bonnie Lesley ? 

Ca' the Yowes 

Scots wha hae 



(Hood) Bayley & Ferguson 
(Hayes) Novello 



(Blake) 
(Shelley) 



( Breitkopf 
{& Haertel 
Novello 



,, Curwen 

(H. F. Bantock) Novello 
(Scott) Curwen 

(Ps. 107) 



(Wordsworth) 

(Burns) 

(Omar) 



(Shakespeare) 
(Traditional) 



Novello 
Curwen 
Breitkopf 
& Haertel 



(Riddell) 
(Burns) 



Curwen 



LIST OF WORKS 153 

The Death-Croon Curwen 

The Seal-woman's Croon ,, 
A Raasay Lament 

Lullaby, O can ye sew Cushions Novello 

March of the Cameron Men 

Dumbarton's Drums Curwen 

Ettrick Banks ,, 
Annie Laurie 



(Irish) 

The Leprehaun 

Arranmore 

The Song of Finnuola 

Emer's Lament for Cuchulain 

The Wearing of the Green 

The Cruiskeen Lawn 



(Joyce) Novello 

(Moore) Breitkopf & Haertel 

Novello 
(H. F. Bantock) 

Breitkopf & Haertel 
(H. F. Bantock) Novello 



Atalanta in Calydon (un-\ 
accompanied) / 

Vanity of Vanities 
God save the King, for 

Chorus and Orchestra 
Rule Britannia, for Chorus 

and Orchestra 
Song of Liberty, Festival 
March and Chorus, with 
Brass Band 
Chorus 
Brass Band 
Piano solo 
Organ 



(Swinburne) 
(Ecclesiastes) 



(H. F. Bantock) 
R. 



CHURCH Music 

Anthem : God in the great 

Assembly stands (Ps. cxxxii.) (Milton) 
Hymns (in the New Hymnal) : 

(1) Bone Fide (5) Julian 

(2) Concord (6) Mecca 

(3) Hamilton (7) Moseley 

(4) Ispahan (8) Northfield 



/ Breitkopf 
\& Haertel 
Curwen 
Breitkopf 
& Haertel 



Curwen 

Smith & Co. 

Novello 



Willcocks 
Novello 



154 GRANVILLE BANTOCK 

(9) Raymond (12) Temple 

(10) St. Wulstan (13) Greater Britain 

(i i) Strathfield 
Twelve Anthems (edited) : Curwen 

(1) I will exalt Thee (Tye) 

(2) I call and cry (Tallys) 

(3) Call to Remembrance (Farrant) 

(4) Sing joyfully (Byrd) 

(5) O Lord my God (Bull) 

(6) Hosanna to the Son of David (Gibbons) 

(7) Hear my Prayer (Batten) 

(8) My God, my God (Blow) 

(9) I will arise (Creyghton) 
(10) Out of the Deep (Aldrich) 
(n) O Lord God of Hosts (Purcell) 
(12) Put me not to Rebuke (Croft) 

Anthem (edited) : Bow Thine 

Ear (Byrd) Curwen 

Madrigals (edited) : 

I thought that Love had 

been a Boy 

The Nightingale 

INSTRUMENTAL WORKS 

Albums of selected Pieces for 

Piano : (i) Bull. (2) Farnaby. 

(3) Byrd. (4) Three Dances (Byrd) Novello 

Old English Suite for Orchestra Novello 

f Lalla Rookh 
Dramatic Dances for Orchestra : 

(la) Snake-dance (ib) Cymbal-dance Novello 
(2) Sapphic-dance (3a) Veil-dance ,, 

(3b) Dagger-dance 

Overture to a Greek Tragedy (for 

Orchestra) Leuckart 

In the far West (for String Orchestra) Breitkopf & Haerte 1 
Scenes from the Scottish Highlands 

(for String Orchestra) 



LIST OF WORKS 155 

fScottish Rhapsody (for Orchestra) 
Orchestral arrangement of 

Bach's Choral Variations, 

" Wachet auf" Breitkopf & Haertel 

The Pierrot of a Minute (for Orchestra) 

Dante and Beatrice ,, ,, ,, 

Fifine at the Fair ,, ,, Novello 

The Great God Pan (for Chorus 

and Orchestra) : 

Part I. Pan in Arcady 

Part II. The Festival of Pan 



WORKS BY THE AUTHOR OF 
THIS VOLUME 



Baldur (Lyrical Drama) 

The Song of Alfred (Epic) 

Music 

The Song of the Morning Star 

(Choral Ode for Female Choir) 
Three Shakespeare Songs (Tenor) 
You Spotted Snakes C (Part-songs ] 
Tell me where is-j for Female 

Fancy bred I Choir). J 

Fear no more the Heat o' the Sun 

(Part-song for mixed Choir) 
Adagio Cantabile (Violin and Piano) 
Album-leaf (Violin and Piano) 
The Lord is my Shepherd (Boys' 

Voices) 

Twelve Children's Songs 
Ode to Autumn (Keats) (Part-song 

for Mixed Choir) 

The Cheshire Man (Keats) (Folk-song) 
Flower-de-Luce (Part-song for mixed 

Choir) 
The Song of the Down-Trodden 

(Part-song for Mixed Choir) 
" Spring-Idyll " (for Small Orchestra) 



Fisher Unwin 
Constable & Co. 



Forsyth & Co. 



Charles & Dible 
Joseph Williams , Ltd . 



Breitkopf & Haertel 

Stainer & Bell 
Score and parts of the 
Author 



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