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George Dyson (1883–1964)

George DysonSir George Dyson was a master of the English choral tradition, and his Morning Service, Evening Service and Te Deum display the same accomplishments for which his larger works such as St Paul’s Voyage to Melita are renowned. A Yorkshireman of humble origins, he rose to become a distinguished public-school teacher, administrator, and in 1937, Director of the Royal College of Music, where he himself had studied composition with Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. To the craft and wisdom learnt from his teacher he added a gift for fresh, vocally conceived tunes, whether in miniatures such as the Melody and Intermezzo for cello and piano or A Choral Symphony, recently rediscovered and recorded to great acclaim. His study of contemporary compositional techniques, The New Music (Oxford, 1924), was influential for a generation – the work of a conservative spirit who nonetheless could regard his subject with impartiality. That kind of honesty reflects his achievement as a whole, which is why Dyson’s art, in the integrity of its invention and utterance, continues to grow in reputation.

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