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The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney by Michael Hurd


The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney by Michael Hurd

First published in 1978 The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney is a moving and extraordinary account of a tragic genius penned by the composer Michael Hurd. Born in Gloucester in 1890 Ivor Gurney began writing songs and poems in his teens, taking his inspiration from the Severn Valley countryside where he grew up. Sent to the Western Front during the First World War Gurney experienced desolation and horror that made a profound impression on him. He ended his days in an asylum, but at his death in 1937 he was beginning to be acknowledged as one of England's finest composers. Still, it took several more decades for his work as a war poet to be fully appreciated. 'Hurd compresses into a taut, sympathetic outline the initial optimism and later torment of Gurney's ill-starred life... distinguished by its crisp use of poetic extracts.' PN Review

About the Author

Michael Hurd was born in Gloucester in 1928 and read music at Pembroke College, Oxford. A pupil of Sir Thomas Armstrong and Dr Bernard Rose, he also studied composition with Sir Lennox Berkeley. He was Professor of Theory at the Royal Marines School of Music from 1953 to 1960 before working as a freelance composer and author. He is principally known for his choral music, which included large-scale works for chorus and orchestra, as well as his eighteen published books, including biographies of Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Mendelssohn. He died in 2006.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th May 2008


Michael Hurd

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Faber & Faber


256 pages


Biography: general



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