The Young Genius
Donald Macleod explains how Ivor Gurney discoved his passion for music.
Gurney discovers his passion for music
It's a story that begins full of possibility and hope; Gurney was one of the brightest musical lights of his generation. He imagined himself as Schubert's heir; a fresh, young genius whose music and poetry would revolutionise British society. Donald Macleod discovers how that early promise came to fruition and then unravelled, as Gurney struggled with the horrors of World War One and serious mental illness. Gurney expert, Dr Kate Kennedy, joins Donald to uncover the man behind the tragedy and explore the art he produced in the face of enormous adversity. Much of Gurney's output is still rarely performed, and several works have been specially recorded for these programmes.
Ivor Gurney grew up in the shadow of Gloucester Cathedral and, at the age of nine, he became a chorister there. Gurney would go on to compose a number of choral works, although none have ever been recorded until now. 'The Trumpet' has its broadcast premiere in today's programme. After Gurney's voice had broken, he took up the organ. He had lessons at the cathedral, where his fellow students included Herbert Howells, and Ivor Novello. Soon, Gurney's talents landed him an opportunity to study at the Royal College of Music. Just before he left, he composed a Coronation March, also specially recorded for this programme by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
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