Alfred Gaul

Mixed chorus
Female chorus
Religious music
Sacred cantatas
Sacred oratorios
Sacred choruses
Secular cantatas
by popularity
Around the Winter FireIsrael in the Wilderness, Op.43Jesus Christ is Risen TodayJoan of ArcLet the people praise Thee, o GodRuth, Op.34Sing, O HeavensThe Holy City, Op.36The Months, Op.38The Ten Virgins, Op.42The Union Jack
Alfred Robert Gaul (30 April 1837 — 13 September 1913) was an English composer, conductor, teacher and organist.
Gaul was born in Norwich, where he studied under Zechariah Buck. By the age of nine he was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral, and at the age of seventeen he was appointed as the organist of the parish church at Fakenham. In 1859 he moved to Birmingham, where at the age of twenty two he was appointed organist at St. John's Church, Ladywood. In 1863 he took the Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Cambridge. He was Master of Music at St Augustine's Church, Edgbaston from 1868, the first Birmingham church to have a surpliced choir.
In 1877 Gaul started teaching the first classes in the theory of music, harmony and counterpoint at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, marking the first step towards providing a fully rounded musical instruction at the institution that would eventually become the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, later becoming Professor of Orchestration and Composition at the school. In 1887 he succeeded William Cole Stockley as conductor of the Walsall Philharmonic Society. He taught singing and harmony at the King Edward VI High School for Girls and the Blind Asylum.
Gaul wrote a large quantity of choral music in a simple melodious style influenced by Spohr and Mendelssohn. His cantatas were widely performed on the music festival circuit, with the best known The Holy City – premiered at the Birmingham Music Festival in 1882 – being the most popular of its era. At the time of Gaul's death in 1913 it was the most performed work of English choral music in history, and by 1914 over 162,000 copies of its vocal score had been sold. The Holy City and his earlier cantata Ruth (1881) were also popular in the United States.
Surveying Gaul's music in 1947, as it had been reported in the pages of The Musical Times, Percy Scholes noted that
In 1914, following the composer's death, his Executors published an announcement in The Musical Times to the effect that they were
In the event, the work was orchestrated by Julius Harrison. Scholes reported the enormous number of vocal scores of Gaul's choral works which were sold by Novello and concluded that
Gaul married Charlotte Cory and they had six children.
Novello, Ewer & Co., London, published vocal scores of Around the Winter Fire, The Bard of Avon, The Elfin Hill, The Hare and the Tortoise, The Holy City, Israel in the Wilderness, Joan of Arc, The Legend of the Wood, The Passion Service, The Prince of Peace, Ruth, A Song of Life, The Ten Virgins, Toilers of the Deep and Una together with orchestral parts for The Union Jack and piano arrangements of the Gavotte and Musette from Suite No.1.
Autograph scores of Around the Winter Fire, Dance of the Elves, Dance of the Reapers, The Holy City, Israel in the Wilderness, Joan of Arc, The Passion Service, Praise ye the Lord, Ruth, A Song of Life, The Ten Virgins, Una, The Union Jack and Yule-tide are held by the Library of the Royal College of Music (Add. Mss 5086).