Ian Venables
Ian Venables
I am delighted to have been asked to become the President of the Arthur Bliss Society. I became acquainted with his music as a young man and was privileged to have been at the recording sessions of Charles Groves’s landmark recording of Morning Heroes in 1974. His wonderful music has been my constant companion since that time and became even more meaningful when, in 1996, I met and became friends with his wife Trudy. Her encouragement in my own creative life as a composer was invaluable and her enthusiasm for her husband’s music touched all those who knew her. Arthur Bliss’s role as one of England’s foremost composers is now assured, and it is an honour to be part of a Society which will continue to carry his legacy into the future.
Ian Venables was born in 1955 and educated at Liverpool Collegiate Grammar School. He studied music with Professor Richard Arnell at Trinity College of Music, London and later with John Joubert, Andrew Downes and John Mayer at the Birmingham Conservatoire. His compositions encompass many genres, and he has added significantly to the canon of English art song. Described as “…a song composer as fine as Finzi and Gurney…” (BBC Music Magazine) and “…one of the finest song composers of his generation…” (BMS Newsletter), he has written over 60 works in this genre, which includes seven song-cycles, Venetian Songs - Love’s Voice Op.22 (1995); Invite to Eternity Op.31 (1997) for tenor and string quartet; Songs of Eternity and Sorrow Op.36 (2004) for tenor, string quartet and piano; On the Wings of Love Op.38 (2006) for tenor, clarinet and piano; The Pine Boughs Past Music Op.39 (2009) for baritone and piano; Remember This Op.40 (2011) a Cantata  for soprano, tenor, string quartet, and piano (recently orchestrated) and The Song of The Severn Op.43 (2013) for baritone, string quartet and piano. His many chamber works include a Piano Quintet Op.27 (1995) - described by Roderic Dunnett in the Independent as ‘…lending a new late 20th Century dimension to the English pastoral…’, a String Quartet Op.32 (1998) and more recently a Canzonetta Op.44 for clarinet and string quartet (2013). He has also written works for choir - Awake, awake, the world is young Op.34 - organ - Rhapsody Op.25 (1996), brass and solo piano. He is an acknowledged expert on the 19th century poet and literary critic John Addington Symonds, and apart from having set five of his poems for voice and piano, he has contributed a significant essay to the book John Addington Symonds - Culture and the Demon Desire (Macmillan Press Ltd, 2000). His continuing work on the music of Ivor Gurney has led to orchestrations of two of his songs (2003) - counterparts to the two that were orchestrated by Herbert Howells - and newly edited versions of Gurney’s War Elegy  (1919) and A Gloucestershire Rhapsody (1921), with Dr Philip Lancaster. He is a Vice- President of the Gloucester Music Society. His music is published by Novello and Co Ltd and has been recorded on the Regent, Somm, Signum and Naxos labels.
Go to YouTube to see and hear Ian's work performed
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