Ivor Gurney and Sir Herbert Brewer: A misunderstood relationship?

Carpenter, Simon (2019) Ivor Gurney and Sir Herbert Brewer: A misunderstood relationship? The Ivor Gurney Society Journal, 24. pp. 10-22. ISSN 2633-0059

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Abstract

Between 1906 and 1911, Ivor Gurney was an articled pupil of Sir Herbert Brewer, the Organist of Gloucester Cathedral, having just completed a successful career as one of Brewer’s cathedral choristers. During his time as a chorister he had regularly been given solos, including most notably as a last minute stand in soloist in a major concert during the 1904 Three Choirs Festival, and he had also been appointed the choir’s ‘first chorister’ in 1905. He was therefore already a gifted musician and it was no surprise that Brewer agreed to take him on as a pupil. At this time in 1906, Brewer — himself a former Gloucester chorister and articled pupil of one of his Gloucester predecessors, C. H. Lloyd — had been the cathedral organist for nearly ten years, and would stay in post until his death in 1928. My recent research for a University of Gloucestershire MA examined his place in British music history, his educational philosophy, and the effect he had on the careers of his teenage articled pupils (of which he generally had a few at any one time). It was initially prompted by a sense that he had been given a ‘raw deal’ by the biographers of his more well-known articled pupils, including Gurney, who tend to disparage or play down his role. His other notable pupils included Herbert Howells and Ivor Novello. Writing of Gurney, Michael Hurd (1978) was particularly hard on Brewer and treats the musical life of Gloucester Cathedral rather disparagingly. Hurd reports that Brewer ‘does not appear to have been enthusiastic, (as a teacher of Gurney) but duly instructed his wayward pupil in the mysteries of harmony and counterpoint, piano and organ.’ One of my main sources was Brewer’s own extensive published memoirs, but, useful as they are, they do not include anything on Gurney or his relationship with him.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ivor Gurney; Music; War Poetry; Sir Herbert Brewer; Gloucestershire
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR500 Poetry
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Kate Greenaway
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2019 12:32
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2019 12:45
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/7522

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