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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » H » Hurd, Michael



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Michael Hurd (12/19/1928 - 8/08/2006)

Michael Hurd was born in Gloucester in 1928. After studying music both at Oxford (where he composed incidental music for Neville Coghill’s 1952 Hamlet) and privately with Lennox Berkeley, he taught composition at the Royal Marines School of Music from 1953 to 1959. He then settled in Hampshire, spending the rest of his working life composing, writing, conducting and talking about music. As well as the lastingly popular works for children on this recording, his compositional output was centred on choral and vocal pieces, with a marked enthusiasm for and skill at setting verse. The Missa Brevis (1966), Five Spiritual Songs (1995) and Night Songs of Edward Thomas (1990) are fine examples. Geoffrey Bush, in the New Grove entry of 2001, praised Hurd as a traditionalist, remarking on his lyrical invention, sensitivity to words and understanding of the voice. In his own words, Hurd described his music as accessible and, in the conventional sense, very tuneful. He continued, “I have written a great deal for adventurous amateurs and for children. And I enjoy this, as I believe that a composer’s primary duty is to be useful to the community he finds himself in.” He also noted that performers should be stretched on occasion, but never broken.

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