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Michael Hurd: Choral Music Volume 1



His early education took place at Crypt Grammar School in Gloucester. National Service with the Intelligence Corps involved a posting to Vienna, where he developed a burgeoning passion for opera. He studied at Pembroke College, Oxford (1950-53) with Sir Thomas Armstrong and Dr Bernard Rose and became President of the University Music Society. In addition, he took composition lessons from Lennox Berkeley, whose Gallic sensibility may be said to have influenced Hurd’s own musical language.

Hurd’s love of literature and the human voice illuminated a natural talent for wordsetting. Hence his catalogue is dominated by choral and vocal works, including operas, ‘pop’ cantatas, songs and anthems. He was especially noted for his many scores for children and amateurs, and his care to ensure that the material he wrote was within the reach of non-professional singers and accompanists accords with his conviction that composers should adopt a practical approach to their craft.

These ‘rhythmic and harmonies subtleties’ are readily discernible in Hurd’s choral works. The sacred and secular examples presented here range from brief anthems to substantial settings of his favourite poetry. They are all indicative of a desire to engage singers and listeners instantly and a natural aptitude for enhancing the text. Paul Conway


Michael Hurd: Choral Music Volume 1