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Classical Composers A-Z: Edward German

Peter Wintersgill summarises the life of Edward German, who, among other compositions, wrote incidental music for plays.

17th February, 1862, in Whitchurch, Salop

Studied the violin at the Royal Academy of Music. Wrote songs and orchestral works. Played the violin in theatre orchestras. Formed his own band and arranged music for it. Became Musical Director of the Globe Theatre in 1888.

Adult Life
He wrote incidental music for plays, e.g. Henry VIII (1892), Richard III (1889) and English Nell (1900). Finished Sullivan’s The Emerald Isle (1900). Later really made his name with operettas Merrie England (1902) and Tom Jones (1907).
Works for orchestra included Welsh Rhapsody (1904) and two symphonies, which were all popular. He also wrote songs like Glorious Devon (1904) and setting of Kipling’s Just So Stories (1903).
He was knighted in 1928.
He died on 11th November, 1936, in London, aged 74.


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