Books by Michael Hurd

Listed by date of publication

Immortal Hour:
The Life and Period of Rutland Boughton

Routledge & Kegan Paul
London 1962

184 pp

nb This volume was updated as
Rutland Boughton and the Glastonbury Festivals in 1993 (see

Immortal Hour

Dust-jacket note:

This is a period piece - of the Glastonbury Festival and the music of the man who ruled it.

" The world was at his feet, " wrote one of his friends, " yet he turned away. " Rutland Boughton was a strange mixture - idealist and dreamer, practical man of the theatre, and atheist who championed the communism of Christianity, a puritan who loved life, an artist who loathed the London social round and delighted it with his opera The Immortal Hour.

This is the fascinating story of a man who staked everything to create a national opera, who fought against the prejudices of his time and who knew the heights of success and the bitter depths of failure and who, in spite of everything, retained to the last his essential nobility and integrity.

With the help of letters from Bernard Shaw, Elgar, Vaughan Williams and many other prominent artists, and backed by an intimate personal knowledge of the composer, Michael Hurd traces the turbulent career of one of England's most remarkable composers and his relationship to an extraordinary age.

"Mr Hurd outshines most biographers, for he holds the reader at all stages during his unvarnished tale of an artist who did not achieve the first rank ... after reading the book straight through, one recognises that such admirable biography is the most impressive administration of history without tears."

"A.H.", Music and Letters, Vol 43 No 3 July 1962

Young Person's Guide to Concerts

Routledge & Kegan Paul
London 1962

131 pp

Young Person's Guide to Concerts

" Sets out to answer some of the many questions that may occur to the person, young or old, who is beginning to take a serious interest in concert-going. It is written in a way that may appeal to concert-goers of any age and is free from technical jargon.

" The handful of musical illustrations, all well-known tunes, can be picked out with one finger on the piano. It is not, however, a book which avoids problems or ducks behind conventional attitudes. Altogether it should prove invaluable to those happy people who are just beginning to discover the delights of music."

Publisher's flyleaf notes.

"Mr Hurd provides the apprentice concert-goer with a very pithy background to the concert world, which will engage his intelligence quite considerably. Inevitably orchestral instruments are discussed, but the author ranges over unexpected topics like the daily routine life of an orchestral player, the hazards besetting the critic, and that new toy, the language of music."

Times Educational Supplement

Chapter Headings

The Orchestra
Orchestral Instruments
The Conductor
The Orchestral Player
The Concert Hall
The Composer
The Critic
The Language of Music
Musical Form i
Musical Form ii
An Outline of Musical History i
An Outline of Musical History ii
Enjoying the Concert

Young Person's Guide to Opera

Routledge & Kegan Paul
London 1963

119 pp

Young Person's Guide to Opera

"This little book is an admirable guide to opera, its nature in Part I and its history in Part II, not only for a young person but for his elders and even connoisseurs. Considerable insight has been employed in setting forth a complex and often misunderstood subject with clarity and concision."

Times Literary Supplement

Part I : The Ingredients of Opera

The Conventions of Opera
The Opera Singer
The Composer
The Opera House
Preparing the Opera

Part II : An Outline of Operatic History

Opera in the 17th Century
Handel and the 18th Century
Gluck and Mozart
Opera in the 19th Century
Wagner and Verdi
Strauss and Puccini
English Opera

Young Person's Guide to English Music

Routledge & Kegan Paul
London 1965

152 pp

Young Person's Guide to English Music

"For David [Hughes] and Mai [Zetterling]"

The Background
Dunstable to Fayrfax
Taverner, Tallis and the Reformation
Byrd and the Elizabethans
Music under the Commonwealth
Restoration Music
Henry Purcell
Arne, Boyce and Handel
Dibdin, Shield and Storace
Music in Victorian England
Sullivan, Stanford and Parry
Delius, Holst and Vaughan Williams
Contemporaries of Vaughan Williams
Walton to Britten
Composers Today

Sailors' Songs and Shanties

Oxford University Press
London 1965 / 1972

ISBN 0 19 314913 3

58 pp

Sailors' Songs and Shanties

in "The Young Reader's Guides to Music" series, illustrations by John Miller

"An entertaining and informal discussion of the use and types of sea shanties with tunes and words from fifteen songs."

Library Journal

"A brief, informal account of the folk songs of the sea discusses the origin of sea shanties and gives the words and music for different types of shanties and other songs popular with sailing men. This book will be especially useful in school libraries as it includes interesting bits of information about old sailing ships and life at sea as well as serviceable material for music classes."

The Booklist


The Singing Sailor
The Sailing Ship
The Shantyman
Halliard Shanties
Capstan Shanties
Pumping Shanties
The Dead Horse
Music Below Decks
The Jolly Jack Tar
Bosun's Calls and Bugles


Sevenoaks 1966
(revised 1978 & 1984)

ISBN 0 85360 087 2

23 pp


Novello Short Biographies:General Editor Michael Hurd

" Thank you for sending me your little book. It strikes me that in its modest way it is accurate and sympathetic (two rather rare qualities !) and I send you my warm thanks for having paid me the compliment of writing it. "

Benjamin Britten to the author, 4 May 1966.

Soldiers' Songs and Marches

Oxford University Press
London 1966 / 1973

ISBN 0 19 314914 1

Henry Z Walk Inc
New York 1966

Library of Congress No 66 13949

54 pp

Soldiers' Songs and Marches

in "The Young Reader's Guides to Music" series

Illustrations by John Miller

'The Soldier's Musick'
Trumpet, Fife and Drum
Drummer Boy and Drum Major
The First Military Bands
The Jingling Johnnie
Bigger Bands and Better
The Military Band at Work
The Bagpipe
Salutes and Ceremonies
Soldier Songs
Marching Songs and Marches

Outline History of European Music

Sevenoaks 1968

132 pp

Outline History of European Music

Illustrations by John Miller.

Author's Preface

In writing this book I have tried to take a panoramic view of musical history, such as may provide the serious student and music-lover with a sound framework upon which to base further, more detailed researches. It is not, and was never intended to be, an all-embracing account that will answer every question. Indeed, I very much doubt if any single volume by any one man should ever aspire to that end.

I have not, for example, included biographical sketches of important composers, nor indulged in analytical accounts of their music. There is literature enough, and to spare, to deal with such mattersóas I have indicated in the bibliographical appendix. Instead, I have tried to answer the following questions:

What was society like in each period, and what did it expect of its musicians ?
What were the main ingredients of music in each period, and what forms did that music take?
Which were the most influential countries, and who were the most important composers?

If answers to these questions have been provided, and set down in a readable fashion, then I shall consider my purpose to have been fulfilled. It follows, however, that the examination student, and the curious music-lover, will need to know more than this book sets out to provide. And to this end I have included suggestions for further reading, a possible course of listening, and a series of 'projects' designed to prompt more detailed lines of investigation. These are placed at the end of the book, so as not to break the flow of the narrative.


Part One : The Middle Ages 1000-1400

The beginnings of polyphony
Church music in the 13th century
Secular music 12th & 13th centuries
The ars nova of the 14th century

Part Two : The Renaissance 1400-1600

Church music in the 15th century
15th century secular music
16th century polyphony
Secular music in the 16th century

Part Three : Baroque 1600-1750

The new monodic style
Church music in the 17th century
The rise of instrumental music

Part Four : Classical 1750-1827

The 18th century and the sonata
The symphony and the concerto
Opera in the 18th century

Part Five : Romanticism 1827-1900

The romantic movement
Symphonic music in the 19th century
Smaller forms of the 19th century
19th century opera

Part Six : Modern 1900 onwards

The problems of 20th century music
Experiments in tonality
Changing styles in the 20th century
The music of the 20th century
Recent experiments
The composer today

[As of Oct 2011, on the reading list for University of Plymouth BA (Hons) Music.]

The Composer

Oxford University Press
London 1968

78 pp

The Composer

" An introductory book which gives a vivid account of the composer's life - what sort of person he is, how he sets about his work, and how (if he is lucky) it is printed, published and performed. A portrait of the most important person in music, whose character and special needs are too often taken for granted. "


The Composer
The Composer's Mind
The Composer at Work
The Composer's Workshop
Preliminaries to Composing
The Student Composer
The Sources of Income
The Music Publisher
Printing the Music
The First Performance

By their nature, the sections on sources of income, publishing and printing have been long overtaken by the march of progress. Nonetheless, this volume still has a value in terms of its insight - from the inside, as it were.

Selected phrases and thoughts may be found here.


Faber and Faber
London 1969

ISBN 0 571 08577 6

Thomas Y Crowell Company
New York 1969

Library of Congress Cat No ?

66 pp


"This new book is a sympathetically perceptive study of both man and musician, a study that contrives to place Elgar's slowly maturing yet entirely original genius in the larger context of English musical history ..."

The Times Literary Supplement.

"...shows the man, not the establishment monument that Elgar became and the elements in the music which give it worth far beyond the 'Pomp and Circumstance' qualities for which it is most commonly known."

The Boston Globe

Vaughan Williams

Faber and Faber
London 1970

ISBN 0 571 08414 1

Thomas Y Crowell Company
New York 1970

Library of Congress Cat No 70-86905

75 pp

Vaughan Williams

"In this attractively written introduction to his life Michael Hurd describes Vaughan Williams' growth from the early days of 'Linden Lea' and the hymn tune 'Down Ampney' to the world figure of the prophetic 4th and 6th symphonies.

The many music examples are set out in such a way that they can be enjoyed by pianists of modest ability. This book should stimulate fresh interest in an original and independent composer who, along with his great friend Gustav Holst, succeeded in giving English music a new direction and impetus."

Publisher's flyleaf note.

"Hurd's enthusiasm for the composer gives the writing a genuine warmth and liveliness. He places the composer's achievement in perspective by giving a vivid and comprehensive view of English music at the turn of the century and of the unpropitious musical climate Vaughan Williams had to contend with."

Times Literary Supplement


Faber and Faber
London 1970

ISBN 0 571 08640 3

87 pp


"In this perceptive introduction to the composer's life and works, it is the imaginative and lively aspects of Mendelssohn's genius which emerge, although Michael Hurd is by no means blind to the occasional sentimentality, a fault which Mendelssohn shared with the age. The many music examples, the drawings and plates, recreate the life of a remarkable composer."

Publisher's flyleaf note.

"Told in an attractive and readable fashion, helped at regular points by apt illustration.

Mr Hurd's assessment of the music will satisfy the authorities and give an excellent ideas to the junior musician of the equivocal reputation of the romantic composer who was so classical in his outlook."

Maurice J E Brown, The Musical Times.

Invitation to the Part Song 1

Stainer & Bell
London 1973

ISBN 0 85249 165 4


Invitation to the Part Song 1

Co-edited with Geoffrey Bush.

"Rounds and Catches".
30 rounds and catches for equal voices from 18th- and 19th-century England.

The strength of this series (see below) lies in the balanced mixture of scholarship, musical archaeology and practicality. Each of the volumes carries, in addition to a varied and pleasurable selection of music to be shared, introductory notes, explanations and biographical information.

Basing their work wherever possible on the earliest printed sources, the editors have provided both a valuable reference for students of the genre and a resource for choral of all abilities and experience.


ARNE, Thomas
Interrupted assignation (3-part)
Playhouse hubbub (4-part)

Mr Speaker (3-part)
On a dram of liquor (4-part)
Strephon and Chloe (3-part)

BATES, William
Comical fellow (3-part)

Hapless lover (4-part)
I loved thee beautiful and kind (3-part)

Ah! how Sophie (3-part)
Historians (3-part)

COOKE, Thomas
Let's have a catch (4-part)

Poor Jane (3-part)

Arrival at Bath (3-part)
Laughing catch (3-part)

HAYES, William
Repentance (3-part)
Sophocles' tomb (3-part)

HORSLEY, William
Pastoral (4-part)
Sweet are the blushes (3-part)

Kiss and tell (3-part)

PAXTON, Stephen
Holy matrimony (3-part)

SMITH, John Stafford
Elegy (4-part)

STEVENS, Richard
Stock-jobbers (5-part)

WEBBE, Samuel
Arabella Young (4-part)
Between two fires (3-part)
Celia's charms (4-part)
Come dearest love (3-part)
My favourite swain (3-part)
Now we are met (3-part)
Riot, The (5-part)
Stay, Daphne, stay (3-part)

Invitation to the Part Song 2

Stainer & Bell
London 1974

ISBN 0 85249 288 X


Invitation to the Part Song 2

12 easy glee-type settings by 18th- and 19th-century composers working in London. SATB

Co-edited with Geoffrey Bush.


Amidst the myrtles

BEALE, William
To a kiss

Dirge for a faithful lover

BENNETT, W. Sterndale
Come live with me

COOKE, Benjamin
Epitaph on a Dormouse

HAYES, William
Melting airs

HORSLEY, William
Hear my ChloŽ

MACFARREN, Walter Lovers' parting

PAXTON, Stephen
How sweet, how fresh

Hail smiling morn

Long day closes

WEBBE, Samuel
As the moments roll

The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney

Oxford University Press (hard cover)
Oxford 1978

ISBN 0 19 211752 1

Faber and Faber (paperback)
London 2008

ISBN 9780571242016

230 pp



"Anyone who admires Gurney either as a poet or as a composer has good reason to be grateful to Hurd for what must have been a long and difficult task. And those who don't yet admire Gurney - and they must be far more numerous - could have even more reason for gratitude, for this book may direct them to his works."

Samuel Hynes, Times Literary Supplement


Sevenoaks 1978

Cat No 11 0175 07

23 pp


Novello Short Biographies:General Editor Michael Hurd

Invitation to the Part Song 3

Stainer & Bell
London 1978

ISBN 0 85249 491 2


Invitation to the Part Song 3

"Shakespeare Settings". SATB & SSATB

Co-edited with Geoffrey Bush.


Come thou monarch of the vine (4-part)

COOKE, Benjamin
Hark! Hark! the lark (4-part)

Over hill, over dale (4-part)

Fear no more (4-part)

STEVENS, Richard
Crabbed age and youth (4-part)
It was a lover and his lass (5-part)

WEBBE, Samuel (Junior)
Who is Sylvia? (4-part)

Oxford Junior Companion to Music

Oxford University Press
Oxford 1979

ISBN 0 19 314302 X

353 pp

Oxford Junior Companion to Music

"I have tried to approach the writing of this new edition in something of the spirit that informed Percy Scholes' original, and have sought to present objective, useful information in a way that is personable, readable and entertaining. Probably here and there, as in his writings, the wry touch of mild prejudice and the excitement of special enthusiasms have crept in to colour the factual recital. If so, I cannot truly say that I am sorry."

Michael Hurd's foreword.

Ivor Gurney : A Fifth Volume of Ten Songs

Oxford University Press
Oxford 1979

ISBN 0 19 3454017

awaiting illustration TITLE=

Edited by MH.

" In his preface to the fourth volume, Dr Howard Ferguson described the collection as a final one. His assessment was correct and a further volume of ten new songs would not have been easy. But a volume of the five that OUP already publish and five new ones is another matter. The new songs were written between 1911 and 1919. (Editor's note)

Given Hurd's enthusiasm for the life and times of Admiral Nelson it is no surprise to note that one of the songs added is The Night of Trafalgar, to words by Hardy.

The only copy of this volume so far traced by the editor of this site is in the Gloucestershire County Archives. The pursuit continues ...

The Orchestra

London 1981

ISBN 1 8515 21097

Facts on File Inc (Quarto Books)
New York 1980

ISBN 0 87196 469 4

Library of Congress No 80 20005

224 pp

The Orchestra

"A comprehensive, richly illustrated guide to the modern symphony orchestra - its history, music and performance."

Flyleaf note.

Vincent Novello and Company

Granada Publishing Ltd
London 1981

ISBN 0 246 11733 8

163 pp

Vincent Novello and Company

"Michael Hurd's lively account of the firm and the personalities involved in it - including the great Henry Littleton - coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder, the energetic and loveable Vincent Novello (1781-1861)."

Flyleaf note.

Vocal Lines

London 1983

Quarterly magazine

No 1 Spring 1983

"A forum for choral singers" edited by MH.

Contains articles on the Huddersfield Choral Society and Novello's Handel series, presumably by the editor.

To date [Dec 2011] it is not known whether there was a No 2 of this publication.

Composing, Performing and Recording

London 1983

part of "Andre Previn's Guide to Music".

Invitation to the Part Song 4

Stainer & Bell
London 1986

ISBN 0 85249 642 7


Invitation to the Part Song 4

"Glees and Madrigals". SATB

Co-edited with Geoffrey Bush.


HORSLEY, William
When in the silent midnight grove

Here in cool grot

Shoot false love, I care not
Sweet as a flower in May

Come bounteous May

Joy and sorrow alternate

Music, all powerful

Invitation to the Part Song 5

Stainer & Bell
London 1990

ISBN 0 85249 656 7


Invitation to the Part Song 5

"Four Madrigals and Glee". SSATB

Co-edited with Geoffrey Bush.


Why weeps, alas ! my lady-love

Blest pair of sirens

Sweete floweres ! ye were too faire

WESLEY, Samuel
O sing unto mie Roundelaie


Volume 6 in this series is edited by Thurston Dart and Nigel Fortune
13 of the finest settings taken from John Dowland: Ayres for Four Voices, originally transcribed as Volume 6 of Musica Britannica by Edmund Fellowes.

Rutland Boughton and the Glastonbury Festivals

Oxford University Press
Oxford 1993

ISBN 0 19 816316 9

415 pp

Rutland Boughton and the Glastonbury Festivals

"Michael Hurd has radically revised and significantly expanded his 1962 biography of Boughton. With the help of Boughton's autobiographical writings and letters from his friends and colleagues, including a hilarious series from George Bernard Shaw, he charts the career of the most significant and innovative British opera composer of his day. Catalogues of Boughton's compositions, together with complete cast lists of the Glastonbury Festivals, 62 music examples, and numerous photographs, complete this definitive account of an extraordinary man and his music.

Flyleaf note.

Invitation to the Part Song 7

Stainer & Bell
London 1996

ISBN 0 85249 833 0


Invitation to the Part Song 7

"Glees and Madrigals" in three and four parts.

Co-edited with Geoffrey Bush.


PAXTON, William
Breathe soft, ye winds (TBarB)

When gay Bacchus (ATB)

Prithee, foolish boy (ATB)

PRING, Jacob Cubitt
How bright were the blushes of morn (ATB)

Adieu ye streams (ATBarB)

WEBBE, Samuel
Oh gentle Love (ATBarB)

Queen of the silver bow (ATBarB)

HORSLEY, William
Nymphs of the forest (ATBarB)

BEALE, William
Come let us join the roundelay (ATBarB)

Letters of Gerald Finzi and Howard Ferguson

Edited by Howard Ferguson and Michael Hurd

Boydell Press
Woodbridge, Suffolk 2001
ISBN 978-0-85115-823-5

Rochester NY 2001
ISBN 0 851 15823 4


Finzi and Ferguson

The letters that passed on an almost daily basis between the composers Howard Ferguson and Gerald Finzi provide not only a fascinating commentary on the British musical scene of the period 1926-1956, but also what amounts to a unique dual-biography of two remarkable though very different personalities.


"Vigorous and humorous, these letters can be strongly recommended."


"One of the delights is the peephole it gives onto the musical scene in (and out of) London during the period... Invaluable...will be read not only as a reference and source book, but also for its own intrinsic pleasure. It gives far more insight into the personalities of its two protagonists than either Banfield's biography of Finzi or Ferguson's tight-lipped memoir."


"Valuable collection... illuminates the character of two remarkable British composers. A fascinating aspect of this volume is the evidence it provides of the richness and variety of English musical life between the wars...challeng(ing) conventional assumptions concerning the supposed insularity of the British musical establishment during this period."


"Engrossing reading."