Anthony Milner  -  English Composer

Born in Bristol in 1925, Anthony Milner studied at Douai School, Woolhampton, Berkshire, and then won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music - piano with H Fryer, theory with R O Morris and composition with Matyas Seiber. He then taught music theory and history at Morley College, London until 1962.

Milner has been on the staff of the Royal College since 1961. In 1964 he visited the USA for a lecture tour which was repeated often in later years. He was composer in residence with Loyola University, New Orleans. In summer 1976 he gave a post-graduate course in 20th century music at the University of Western Ontario.

From 1954-65 he was director of the London Cantata Ensemble, and gave the first broadcast performances in the UK of many Buxtehude cantatas. He frequently conducted performances of his own music.

Selected works:

Chamber Symphony
Festival Te Deum (soli, choir and orchestra)
Harrowing of Hell
Roman Spring (soli, choir and orchestra)
Salutatio Angelica, Op 1
Song of Akhenaton (soli, choir and orchestra)
St Francis (soli, choir and orchestra)
String Quartet
Symphony No 1, 1965-71, first performed 17 Jan. 1973 by BBCSO/John Pritchard. No programme.
Symphony No 2 (soli, choir and orchestra)
Variations for Orchestra Op 14 (1957-8, 25 mins, variations on Es Ist Ein Ros ensprungen). First performed at the Cheltenham Festival by the Hallé Orchestra/Barbirolli.
Wind Quintet
The Water and the Fire (oratorio, 1961)

Various songs



Hyperion LP A66158 (1985). BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend. Variations for orchestra Op 14 and the Symphony No 1. (The LP cover based on a visual illusion in washed out purple with gold letters)

Some of Milner's songs are recorded on the British Music Society song competition cassettes.

... become closer with each stretto, until in the final bar, the orchestra gives a triple diminution of the subject. With the words "In Christ Jesus our Lord", the basic chords of the work achieve resolution. [...] The Alleluia is sung by a boys' choir at the beginning of a new section: "Rejoice in the Lord Always. Again I say, Rejoice. The Lord is near. Be still and know that he is God." At the words "be still" the six note chords of the first movement return. This section also brings back the main melody of the work, now set to the text "And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thus the basic theme is identified with the Divine peace. But if peace is truly peace, it has to be shared, and so the final section uses a prayer of St. Francis: "Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace", sung first by the soloist and repeated by the choir. During this section the Dante quotation, "In His will is our peace", is sung by the soloist in Italian, to the second half of the ground bass theme of the second movement.

The movement ends with a combination of several themes - notably the Alleluia and the Dante theme - culminating in the main theme for the full orchestra.

Anthony Milner, speaking on BBC Radio 3 about the culmination of his 2nd symphony.

The music of Anthony Milner is published by Novello and Co.

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