Roger Quilter

Folk music
Incidental music
by popularity


3 English Dances, Op.113 Pastoral Songs, Op.223 Pieces, Op.163 Shakespeare Songs, Op.63 Songs of William Blake, Op.203 Songs, Op.153 Songs, Op.33 Studies, Op.44 Child Songs, Op.54 Songs of Sorrow, Op.104 Songs, Op.144 Songs, Op.25 English Love Lyrics, Op.245 Shakespeare Songs, Op.236 Songs, Op.187 Elizabethan Lyrics, Op.12


A Children's Overture, Op.17Arnold Book of Old Songs


Country Pieces, Op.27


Fairy Lullaby




Old English Popular Songs


Suite from 'As You Like It', Op.21


The AnswerTo Julia, Op.8


Where the Rainbow Ends
Roger Cuthbert Quilter (1 November 1877 – 21 September 1953) was an English composer, known particularly for his art songs.
Quilter was born in Hove, Sussex; a commemorative blue plaque is on the house at 4 Brunswick Square. He was a younger son of Sir William Quilter, 1st Baronet, a wealthy noted landowner, politician and art collector.
Roger Quilter was educated first in the preparatory school at Farnborough. He then moved to Eton College and later became a fellow-student of Percy Grainger, Cyril Scott and H. Balfour Gardiner at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, where he studied for almost five years under the guidance of the German professor of composition Iwan Knorr. Quilter belonged to the Frankfurt Group, a circle of composers who studied at the Hoch Conservatory in the late 1890s.
His reputation in England rests largely on his songs and on his light music for orchestra, such as his Children's Overture, with its interwoven nursery rhyme tunes, and a suite of music for the play Where the Rainbow Ends. He is noted as an influence on several English composers, including Peter Warlock.
Quilter enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with the tenor Gervase Elwes until the latter's death in 1921. In November 1936, Quilter's opera Julia was presented at Covent Garden by the British Music Drama Opera Company under the direction of Vladimir Rosing. It ran for only seven performances. Heavily revised, it was later published as Love at the Inn.
As a homosexual, he found it difficult to cope with some of the pressures which he felt were imposed upon him, and eventually deteriorated into mental illness after the loss of his nephew Arnold Guy Vivian during the Second World War.
He died at his home on 21 September 1953, in St John's Wood, London, a few months after celebrations to mark his 75th birthday, and was buried in the family vault at St Mary's Church, Bawdsey, Suffolk.
Roger Quilter's output of songs, more than one hundred in total, added to the canon of English art song that is still sung today. According to Valerie Langfield, his style "was indisputably English" despite his German training, and once matured around 1905, did not develop further. Shakespeare, Herrick, and Shelley were his favoured poets. Among the most popular are "Love's Philosophy", "Fair House of Joy", "Come Away Death", "Go, Lovely Rose", "Weep You No More", "By the Sea", and his setting of "O Mistress Mine". Quilter's setting of verses from the Tennyson poem "Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal" is one of his earliest songs but is nonetheless characteristic of the later, mature style.
Of his seventeen Shakespeare settings, the Three Shakespeare Songs of 1905 are perhaps the most successful: commenting on 'O Mistress Mine' Peter Warlock said the song is "one of the very few things that very simply send me into ecstasies every time I play it". While a collection rather than a true song cycle, Seven Elizabethan Lyrics is "probably the best single volume of songs the composer ever produced", according to Michael Pilkington, and includes the still regularly performed "Fair House of Joy" as its final song. But perhaps his most widely known work is Non Nobis, Domine (1934). This was written for the Pageant Of Parliament at the Royal Albert Hall July 1934, to a text by Rudyard Kipling, and has become the school song or school hymn of countless girls' schools all over the English-speaking world. He also published the Arnold Book of Old Songs, a collection of 16 folk and traditional songs from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to new accompaniments, dedicated to his nephew Arnold Guy Vivian.