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Percy Sherwood
1866 - 1939
P. Sherwood
Percy Sherwood (23/05/1866 - 06/1939) was an Anglo-German composer and pianist born in Dresden. His father, John Sherwood, was an English university lecturer in Dresden, and his mother, Auguste Koch, was a German singer. Sherwood studied piano and composition at the Dresden Conservatory (1885–8) with Felix Draeseke and Theodor Kirchner, and in 1889 he was awarded the Mendelssohn Prize for a Requiem for solo voices and orchestra. He was appointed a teacher at the Dresden Conservatory in 1893, and professor in 1911. He made a name for himself as a pianist, composer and lecturer/teacher in Germany; he specialized in the piano sonatas of Beethoven, all thirty-two of which he could play by heart. The Villa Sherwood in Dresden was apparently a centre of musical life and hospitality. He and his wife moved to Hampstead, London where they found themselves at the outbreak of war in 1914 (whether by accident or design is unclear). After World War I, Sherwood continued to compose and seems to have earned a living by giving private lessons in piano, harmony, and counterpoint, advertising himself as visiting Oxford and Cambridge weekly. Sherwood’s compositions include five symphonies (two of which are lost) and several concerti, including two each for piano and cello, one for violin (dedicated to Marie Hall), and a double concerto for violin and cello. He also wrote a considerable amount of chamber music. In general his music belongs to the German tradition of his time; his Third Symphony gives evidence of a first-class, professional composer, using the harmonic vocabulary of the period with its Wagnerian overtones, but also showing a certain reserve. A collection of about 40 autograph manuscripts by Sherwood (also copyist’s full scores of his Requiem and Piano Quintet) was deposited in the Bodleian Library, Oxford in 1978, allowing a reassessment of his work.
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Source:Robert Chase, Dies Irae: A Guide to Requiem Music, Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2003