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Sir Arthur Bliss in a Nutshell

 

 

 

A Brief Biography

 

1891

Born in Hawthornden, Queen’s Ride, Barnes, London on 2nd August

1905

Enters Rugby School

1909

First performance of the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano

1910

Goes up to Pembroke College, Cambridge

1913

Enters Royal College of Music, London

1914

Enlists in the 13th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers

1919

Demobilised from the army, Bliss resumes study at the Royal College of Music

1920

Joins the teaching staff at the Royal College of Music

1921

Becomes the conductor of the Portsmouth Philharmonic Society

1922

First performance of ‘A Colour Symphony’

1923

Leaves the United Kingdom for California

1926

Composes Introduction and Allegro for Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

1930

Composes Morning Heroes

1935

Composes the film music for ‘Things to Come’

1937

Composes the ballet ‘Checkmate’

1938

Composes the Piano Concerto in Bb

1942-44

Director of Music at the BBC

1950

Receives Knighthood

1953

Appointed Master of the Queen’s Musick

1975

Died in London on 27th March 1975

 

 

 

Five Key Works

A Colour Symphony (1922)

Morning Heroes (1930)

Checkmate - a Ballet (1937)

Piano Concerto in Bb (1938)

Introduction and Allegro (1926)

 

Key Biography

As I Remember - Arthur Bliss, London, Faber, 1970; Revised, Thames Publishing, 1985

Bliss on Music - Selected Writings of Arthur Bliss 1920 -1975 OUP 1991

 

Two Key CDs

If you can only listen to two CDs of music by Sir Arthur Bliss:-

The British Music Collection - Sir Arthur Bliss Decca 470 186-2

Includes Cello Concerto, Introduction and Allegro, and Meditations on a Theme of John Blow. Fanfares and music from film 'Things to Come.'

 

 

Colour Symphony Chandos CHAN 8503

Ulster Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley

Includes Checkmate Ballet Suite.

 

And last but not least, if you have only time for one work -

A Colour Symphony on the Chandos disc mentioned above. This is a great performance and serves as an excellent introduction to the music of Sir Arthur Bliss.

 

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