Nine Shakespearean Songs by Roger Quilter Arranged for Voice & Guitar
Roger Quilter, (born November 1, 1877, died September 21, 1953) was a breed of composer that has rarely existed after the first decades of the twentieth century: he was overwhelmingly concerned with the art song. His preoccupation with the genre spanned more than fifty years, resulting in roughly 140 songs in total.
He went abroad to study composition with Ivann Knorr in Frankfurt at the Hoch Conservatory. Fellow students there, at different times, included Percy Grainger, Balfour Gardiner, Norman O’Neill and Cyril Scott. Grainger, in particular, became a lifelong friend of Quilter’s.
Quilter valued graceful elegance and a love of words, both qualities that are evident in his songs and his idiomatic phrasing for the voice. The imagery in his work constantly reflects his boyhood countryside of southern England. In general he showed a rather refined literary taste in poetry chosen for his songs, with an inherent nationalist British identification. Quilter’s fluid and distinctive musical style, though occasionally dramatic, is most often infused with a natural, creamy English charm, though he did not compose quickly, and labored over every detail. Most agree that his best work was created rather young in his life, before his mid-forties. Very few composers working in English have matched his achievement of a large body of beloved, relevant, literate repertoire.