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CHARLES WOOD  

(1866 - 1926)

Charles Wood was a central figure in the reawakening of English music. His relatively small output belies his influence. As professor at Cambridge he passed on his traditional craftsmanship to some significant figures of the new century among them Tippett and Vaughan Williams.

Wood made a particular contribution to Anglican church music, with liturgical settings that remain part of cathedral choral repertoire. These compositions include some twenty settings of the evensong canticles, the Magnificat and the Nunc dimittis, more than thirty anthems, two settings of the Te Deum and Benedictus, and four of the Communion Service. O Thou the central orb is without a doubt a classic of the genre which defines in many people's minds the Anglican 'cathedral sound'. While some of these may be the most familiar elements of Wood’s work, his compositions also include six string quartets, a piano concerto, solo songs and arrangements of Irish folk-songs, and a number of cantatas, settings of texts taken from Shelley, Herrick, Swinburne, Milton, Whitman, Scott and Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. For the stage he wrote two chamber operas drawing on Dickens, A Scene from Pickwick, the unfortunate contretemps between Mr Winkle and Mr and Mrs Potts from Pickwick Papers, and The Family Party, based on the fourth chapter of Martin Chuzzlewit.

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