Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Fred Barlow: An Unknown Composer

I found this in an old copy of The Chesterian. I publish the article as it stands, but I do wonder what ever happened to him and his music. I do know that in 1926 he became a Quaker.

Fred Barlow, an Anglo-French composer, was born on 2 October 1881. He did not begin to devote himself to composition until the comparatively advanced age of about a score of years, the career chosen by him being that of an engineer. It was not until he had reached the age of 36 that he came to the decision of devoting himself entirely to the art of music, which had hitherto been obliged to content itself with a secondary place, being somewhat dominated by the composer’s profession.

Fred Barlow at first worked at composition in an auto-didactic manner, availing himself merely of such advice as he happened to pickup here and there; but on having come to live in Paris, some ten years ago, he began very seriously to study composition and counterpoint under the guidance of Jean Huré, to whom he is indebted for the best part of his musical education.

Several of the works by Fred Barlow, which naturally enough betray a good deal of French influence, but which nevertheless possess some distinctly personal features, have been performed in France and elsewhere on the Continent with considerable success. Two of the most important and enterprising among the Musical Societies in Paris, the Société Musicale Indépendante and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in particular, have repeatedly made a feature of Fred Barlow’s works in their programmes.

The following are the most important works by Fred Barlow so far:-
Sonata for violin and piano (1909-1910)
Sonata for cello and piano (1911-1912)
Pater Noster for tenor solo, mixed chorus and organ (1913)
Ave Maria for voice and organ (1914-1915)
Five Chinese Poems for voice and piano (or orchestra)
Five Small Motets for female voices

There is a deal of incidental and other stage music, songs and other small works.

Fred Barlow died on 3 January 1951.

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