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Notable anniversaries in 2024: Stanford & Holst

It is customary to look ahead to composer anniversaries that fall in the next twelve months, and two dates in particular are highlighted in our diary – Friday 29 March and Saturday 21 September.

The former marks the centenary of the death of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, who not only deserves recognition for his outstanding contribution to the sacred and secular choral repertoire but also, in his role as a teacher, for nurturing the talented generation of composers that included Bridge, Butterworth, Coleridge-Taylor, Gurney, Howells and Vaughan Williams. Stainer & Bell became the main publisher of Stanford’s music from the end of the first decade of the 20th century through to the end of his life, a period that saw the issue of The Blue Bird, the Songs of the Fleet, and fully orchestrated Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis settings in C and G.

We are delighted to offer two new collections: a new edition of Stanford’s beautiful Op.127 partsongs, set to poems by Mary Coleridge, that restores over half of the songs to the catalogue after a long absence, and the first publication of a recent discovery, Nine Irish Folksongs (also SATB unaccompanied), edited by Jeremy Dibble. For more information on these entertaining pieces that will delight choirs and audiences alike, please click here.

Our second memorable date is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Holst, himself a pupil of Stanford. We invite any choral societies looking to celebrate his life and music to consider not only his masterful Hymn of Jesus, but also the neglected 1913 epic The Cloud Messenger, a ‘ravishing outpouring of late romanticism (that) gets a new lease of life in Joseph Fort’s lean but faithful chamber version’ (The Guardian). To view a compete perusal score and for hire details, please see, and to watch a short video with a lovely extract from the Delphian recording (Choir of King’s College London, conductor Joseph Fort) please click here.


– Angus Smith, S&B Choral Ambassador

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