And yet, if we look back 60 years to the many competitive festivals and choral society events that were a vital part of British music-making, his part-songs and choral works were part of the backbone of the repertoire. Such thoughts prompted the research for this article. Edgar Leslie Bainton was born in London on 14th February ; his father was a Congregational minister who later moved with his family to Coventry. His abilities in music and at the piano were noticed early; he made his first public appearance as solo pianist at 9 years of age, and at 16 he won an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music to study piano with Franklin Taylor and theory with Walford Davies. In he gained the Wilson Scholarship to study composition with Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, and thus became one of the rising generation of British composers destined to contribute extensively to the English Musical Renaissance.
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Bainton later moved with his family to Coventry and he showed early signs of musical ability playing the piano; he was nine years old when he made his first public appearance as solo pianist. In he received a scholarship to study composition with Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.
Bainton kept a notebook listing nearly all his compositions, the first entry being his first known surviving work, Prelude and Fugue in B minor for piano, written in He became involved in the local musical scene, composing, playing and conducting and in , he married a former student, Ethel Eales, with whom he had two daughters.
He became the Principal of the Conservatory in , and acquired property for its expansion. The family lived at Stocksfield , near Hexham. Bainton would take long country walks, frequently accompanied by Wilfred Gibson , who introduced Bainton into the literary circle surrounding Gordon Bottomley.
He developed friendships with poet Elliott Dodds and cathedral organist William Ellis. Prisoner of war and freedom Edit In the summer of Bainton visited Germany to attend the Bayreuth Festival , but was arrested after war broke out. As a male enemy alien of military age he was sent to the civilian detention camp at Ruhleben , near Berlin, where he remained for the next four years.
Bainton was put in charge of all the music at the camp and became acquainted with Ernest MacMillan , Edward Clark and Arthur Benjamin , among other later successful musicians. He maintained many of these friendships throughout his career. In March his health deteriorated and he was sent to The Hague to recuperate. Following the Armistice , he became the first Englishman to conduct the Concertgebouw Orchestra , in two concerts of British music before returning to England.
His choral works became features of the Three Choirs Festivals. Touring Australia and Canada from April to January , he took a break from composing, and from August to December he visited India , giving a piano recital for the Indian Broadcasting Company. The poet and musician Rabindranath Tagore made him a guest in Calcutta and introduced him to Indian music.
Australia Edit The New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music was impressed by his display of skills in , and offered him the directorship in the summer of Accordingly, in Bainton and his family started a new life in Australia.
Bainton conducted the choral and orchestral classes at the Conservatorium, and founded the Opera School. At the Conservatorium he taught Australian composers including Miriam Hyde.
Expatriate Australian composer Vincent Plush b. It was later renamed the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Australia then had a mandatory retirement age of 65, but Bainton continued to conduct temporarily with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra , and gave lecture tours in Canada. In , a heart attack severely affected his health, and on 8 December he died at Point Piper in Sydney.
His wife had predeceased him by only a few months. Previously his work was almost completely neglected in the record or broadcast medium.
And I saw a new heaven
Bainton later moved with his family to Coventry and he showed early signs of musical ability playing the piano; he was nine years old when he made his first public appearance as solo pianist. In he received a scholarship to study composition with Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. Bainton kept a notebook listing nearly all his compositions, the first entry being his first known surviving work, Prelude and Fugue in B minor for piano, written in He became involved in the local musical scene, composing, playing and conducting and in , he married a former student, Ethel Eales, with whom he had two daughters.
Edgar Bainton: And I Saw A New Heaven