Herbert Sumsion was born in Gloucester in 1899, was a chorister in that city, and became an articled pupil of Sir Herbert Brewer, the Cathedral Organist. He later studied at the Royal College of Music before proceeding to organ and teaching posts in or near London. After a short period in America (1926–1928) as Professor of Harmony at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, he accepted the appointment of Organist and Master of the Choristers at Gloucester Cathedral on the sudden death of Brewer. He was able to take up his duties just in time to conduct the 1928 Three Choirs Festival, immediately justifying the confidence placed in him by the high standard of his direction and musicianship.
Sumsion was honoured with the Lambeth Doctorate of Music in 1947 and awarded the CBE in 1961. He retired from the post at Gloucester Cathedral in 1967 and continued to be active with teaching and composition until shortly before his death in 1995. He had a special sympathy for the works of the English composers stemming from Vaughan Williams and Elgar, and was responsible for bringing works of younger composers to the attention of the British public.Two great English choral works of this century - Herbert Howells’s Hymnus Paradisi and Gerald Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality - received their premieres at the 1950 Gloucester Festival. These two composers were particularly close friends of Sumsion. It would follow then that Sumsion’s own compositions are in this same mould, yet there is a very distinct style that endears his music to singers and listeners alike. Church music has benefitted tremendously from his work, for his compositions in this medium have been prolific and wide-ranging. Many of his choral works are published by The Royal School of Church Music.
For further titles by Herbert Sumsion published by the RSCM, visit the website: https://www.rscmshop.com/rscm-composers/sumsion.html
Daniel Cook is Master of the Choristers and Organist of Durham Cathedral and is recognised internationally as a liturgical and concert organist of the highest order. In addition he is Artistic Director of Mousai, Curator of JAM on the Marsh, Musical Director of Durham University Choral Society, and maintains a busy schedule of recitals, concerts and recordings, both as performer and producer, as well as being in demand as a conductor, teacher and singer. He has recorded all the pieces in this book on the Priory label
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