Composer, organist, teacher, writer and broadcaster, Herbert Howells (1892-1983) is a major figure in English music. His three choral masterpieces, Hymnus Paradisi, the Stabat Mater and Missa Sabrinensis, are classics, while his ecclesiastical music - quite possiblly sung daily in Britain - is the greatest contribution to Anglican Church music of the twentieth century.
Born in humble circumstances in rural Gloucestershire, Howells held posts at Salisbury Cathedral, the Royal College of Music, St John’s Cambridge and St Paul’s Girls School. He was taught by Brewer, Stanford and Parry; a fellow student of Gurney and Bliss; a friend of the poet de la Mare and of composers such as Vaughan Williams and Finzi. Behind the outstanding compositions and a career in the ’establishment’ lay a life-threatening disease, the death of Howell’s nine year old son, and a forty-year period of mourning. There also lay personal insecurities: vanity, social climbing, an all-consuming attraction to women. Paul Spicer views these flaws with the same honesty and integrity he applies to his assessment of Howells’ music.
Visit the author's website at www.paulspicer.com
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