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Ferguson Howard (1908-1999)

Biography of Ferguson Howard:

Howard Ferguson has for most of this century enjoyed a formidable reputation as both a pianist and musicologist studying piano with Harold Samuel and conducting with Sir Malcolm Sargent at London's Royal College of Music. As a composer, he was first brought to public attention in 1932 by a performance in the Wigmore Hall of his first Violin Sonata. He went on to consolidate his compositional fortunes with a series of commissions from the Three Choirs Festival including, the Dream of the Rood for Chorus and Orchestra, a work of great inspiration and beauty, sadly neglected today. He withdrew from serious composition in the 1940s to concentrate on scholarship and musicology, the fruits of which are a considerable number of Anthologies of Early Keyboard Music, produced at a time when most of this music had lain dormant for centuries. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music from 1948-1963. His modest output of works is notable for its diatonic basis, its lyrical warmth and a strength of construction based on classical models. His music may be deemed conservative and indeed romantic but there is no doubting the heartfelt conviction and a clarity of expression in all his works. At times, the influence of his peers might be discerned - the abundant chromaticism of Bax or the rhythmic quirks of Walton? The 2nd Violin Sonata was written in 1948, consisting of three movements. A recitative-like introduction precedes in Allegro, often harmonically reminiscent of Brahms, A central tranquillo section recalls the spirit of the opening music with its transparent scoring and lyrical warmth. A ternary from slow movement builds to an impressive central climax and a somewhat aggressive and angular Allegro Vivo concludes a work of dark intensity.

CD's with Ferguson Howard
English Romanticism - Music by Ferguson, Goosens & Ireland

ArtNr. GMCD 7120

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