Humphrey Searle

born on 26/8/1915 in Oxford, South East England, United Kingdom

died on 12/5/1982

Humphrey Searle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Humphrey Searle (26 August 1915 - 12 May 1982) was a British composer.


He was born in Oxford where he was a classics scholar before studying somewhat hesitantly with John Ireland at the Royal College of Music in London, after which he went to Vienna on a six month scholarship to become a private pupil of Anton Webern, which became decisive in his composition career.

Searle was one of the foremost pioneers of serial music in the United Kingdom, and used his role as a producer at the BBC from 1946 to 1948 to promote it. He was General Secretary of the International Society for Contemporary Music from 1947 to 1949.

Works of note include a Poem for 22 Strings (1950), premiered at Darmstadt, a Gogol opera, The Diary of a Madman (1958, awarded the first prize at UNESCOs International Rostrum of Composers in 1960), and five symphonies (the first of which was commercially recorded by Sir Adrian Boult).

Searle wrote the monographs Twentieth Century Counterpoint and The Music of Franz Liszt. He also developed the most authoritative catalogue of Liszt's works, which are frequently identified using Searle's numbering system.

Searle also composed scores for film and television, including incidental music for the 1963 feature The Haunting and a lost 1965 Doctor Who serial. He died in London. Among his notable pupils were composers Hugh Davidson, Brian Elias, Michael Finnissy, Geoffrey King, and Graham Newcater.



  • The Diary of a Madman (1958)
  • The Photo of the Colonel (196364)
  • Hamlet (196468)


  • Noctambules (1956)
  • The Great Peacock (195758)
  • Dualities (1963)


Piano concertos

  • Piano Concerto No.1 (1944)
  • Piano Concerto No.2 (1955)


  • Suite No. 1 for Strings (1942)
  • Suite No. 2 (1943)
  • Night Music (1943)
  • Poem for 22 Strings (1950)
  • Concertante for Piano, Strings and Percussion (1954)
  • Scherzi (1964)
  • Hamlet Suite (1968)
  • Sinfonietta (196869)
  • Zodiac Variations (1970)
  • Labyrinth (1971)
  • Tamesis (1979)

Chorus and instruments

  • Gold Coast Customs (194749) for speakers, male chorus and orchestra
  • The River-run (Joyce) (1951) for speakers and orchestra
  • The Shadow of Cain (1952) for speakers, male chorus and orchestra
  • Jerusalem (1970) for speakers, tenor, chorus and orchestra
  • My Beloved Spake (1976) for chorus and organ
  • Dr Faustus (1977) for solo woman, chorus and orchestra

Voice and orchestra

  • 3 Songs of Jocelyn Brooke (1954) for high voice and ensemble
  • Oxus (1967) for tenor and orchestra
  • Contemplations (1975) for mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • Kubla Khan (1973) for tenor and orchestra

Unaccompanied chorus

  • The Canticle of the Rose (Sitwell, 1965)
  • Rhyme Rude to My Pride (1974) for male chorus

Chamber music

  • Bassoon Quintet (1945)
  • Intermezzo for 11 Instruments (1946)
  • Quartet for Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin and Viola (1948)
  • Passacaglietta in nomine Arnold Schoenberg (1949) for string quartet
  • Gondoliera (1950) for celesta and piano
  • The Owl and the Pussy-Cat (1951) for speaker, flute, cello and guitar
  • Two Practical Cats for speaker, flute/piccolo, cello and guitar
  • Suite for Clarinet and Piano (1956)
  • Three Movements for String Quartet (1959)
  • Cello Fantasia (1972)
  • Five (1974) for guitar
  • Il Penseroso e L'Allegro (1975) for cello and piano

Song cycle

  • Les fleurs du mal (1972) for tenor, horn and piano


  • Counting the Beats (1963) for high voice and piano


  • Sonata (1951)
  • Suite (1955)
  • Prelude on a Theme by Rawsthorne (1965)

See also

  • List of compositions by Franz Liszt, sorted by Searle number
  • List of paraphrases and arrangements by Franz Liszt, sorted by Searle number


  • Howard, Leslie; Short, Michael; Searle, Humphrey; Winklhofer, Sharon (2004). Ferenc Liszt (1811-1886) : list of works : comprehensively expanded from the catalogue of Humphrey Searle as revised by Sharon Winklhofer = elenco delle opere : ampliamento del catalogo di Humphrey Searle nella revisione di Sharon Winklkofer, Milano : Rugginenti Editore. ISBN 887665433X.
  • Searle, Humphrey (1954). The Music of Liszt, London: Williams & Norgate.
  • Searle, Humphrey (1954). Twentieth Century Counterpoint, London: Williams & Norgate.

External links

This page was last modified 22.05.2012 00:32:33

This article uses material from the article Humphrey Searle from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.