Frederick Corder

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Frederick Corder, ca. 1913

Frederick Corder (26 January 1852 – 21 August 1932) was an English composer and music teacher.[1]


Corder was born in Hackney, the son of Micah Corder and his wife Charlotte Hill. He was educated at Blackheath Proprietary School [2] and started music lessons, particularly piano, early. Later he studied with Henry Gadsby. After that he studied harmony with Claude Couldery.

Frederick Corder continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with George Alexander Macfarren (harmony and composition), William Cusins (piano) and William Watson (violin). In 1875, he earned a Mendelssohn Scholarship, which enabled him to study for four years abroad. He spent the first three in the Cologne Conservatory in Cologne, where he studied composition with Ferdinand Hiller and piano with Isidor Seiss. He spent his last year in Milan, without formal instruction. He did however meet Arrigo Boito and Giuseppe Verdi. Upon his return to England, in 1879, he became conductor at the Brighton Aquarium. In August 1884, for a single month, he filled in for William Robinson as a musical director for the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, touring Patience and Iolanthe.[3] Several of his operatic works were performed by the touring company of Alice Barth in the early 1880s.[4][5]

Corder became professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London,[6] becoming the Academy's curator in 1889. His students included notable British composers like Granville Bantock, Arnold Bax, York Bowen, Alan Bush, Eric Coates, Benjamin Dale, Harry Farjeon, Joseph Holbrooke and Montague Phillips, as well as his own son, Paul Corder. With others, Frederick Corder co-founded the Society of British Composers in 1905 and served as its first chairman.[7] While at the Academy, Corder was living at 13, Albion Road (now Harben Road) in Hampstead, where he often held gatherings of fellow musicians and students, including Bax.[8]

He developed an early fascination with Richard Wagner and produced with his wife the first accepted English translations of The Ring and other works by Wagner. Liszt was also an important influence, and Corder produced one of the first English language studies of Liszt.[9] His own compositions included songs, operas and cantatas.[10][11] Corder's Prospero overture is available in full score and can be heard on CD.[12][13] Corder married Henrietta Walford, the daughter of Henry Walford on 25 September 1876. They had a daughter, Dorothea Charlotte (known as Dolly), born on 30 June 1878 (died in her nineties), and a son, Paul Walford, born on 14 December 1879 (died on 7 August 1942). Corder's sister, Rosa Corder, was a friend of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and painted his portrait.[2]

Compositions (selective list)[edit]

Principal source (including opus numbers): "Frederick Corder" (The Musical Times 54 (849), November 1913, pp. 713–716) [14]


  • 1876 – Evening on the Sea-Shore, idyll, Op.1 (fp. St James's Hall, London, 25 November 1886)
  • 1876–79 – In the Black Forest, suite, Op.2 (fp. Crystal Palace, London, 20 March 1880, second movement fp. as The Brooklet, rondo scherzoso, St James's Hall, London, 17 December 1878)
  • 1882 – Ossian, concert overture, Op.8 (fp. Philharmonic Society, London, 9 March 1882)
  • 1882 – Nocturne, Op.9 (fp. Brighton Festival, 1882)
  • 1885 – Prospero, concert overture, Op.14 (fp. Crystal Palace, London, 24 October 1885)
  • 1886 – The Tempest, orchestral scenes, Op.15
  • 1887 – Roumanian Suite, Op.18 (fp. Philharmonic Society, London, 19 May 1887)
  • 1892 – Nordisa, overture (fp. Crystal Palace, London, 17 December 1892)
  • 1897 – Pippa Passes, orchestral scena drammatica, Op.24 (fp. Philharmonic Society, London, 28 April 1898)
  • 1908 – Elegy for Twenty-four Violins and Organ In memoriam Victor Harris, Op.28 [15]
  • Tragic Overture (fp. Bournemouth, January 1902)
  • Scene d'Amour (fp. Bournemouth, January 1902)

Choral and vocal[edit]

  • 1879 – The Triumph of Spring, masque (fp. Crystal Palace, London, 8 February 1879)
  • 1881 – The Cyclops, cantata, Op.6
  • 1883 – Dreamland, symphonic ode for chorus and orchestra, Op.10
  • 1886 – The Bridal of Triermain, cantata, Op.16 (fp. Wolverhampton Festival, 17 September 1886)
  • 1888 – The Minstrel's Curse, ballad for reciter and orchestra, Op.19 (fp. Crystal Palace, London, 10 March 1888)
  • 1889 – The Sword of Argantyr, cantata, Op.20 (fp. Leeds Festival, 9 October 1889[16])
  • 1893 – Margaret: The Blind Girl of Castel-Cuillé, cantata for female voices with piano accompaniment, Op.21
  • 1895 – True Thomas, musical recitation, Op.23
  • 1902 – The Witch's Song, musical recitation, Op.27
  • 1912 – Sing unto God, motet in fifty parts for female voices, organ, harps, trumpets and drums, Op.29 (fp. Royal Academy of Music, London, 22 June 1912)
  • 1922 – A Wreath of a Hundred Roses [The R.A.M. Masque], Section 4: Quodlibet (fp. Royal Academy of Music, London, 17 July 1922)


  • 1877–78 – Mort d'Arthur, grand opera, Op.3 (fp. Brighton, 1879)
  • 1880 – Philomel, operatic satire, Op.4
  • 1880 – A Storm in a Teacup, operetta, Op.5 (fp. Aquarium, Brighton, 18 February 1882)
  • 1883 – The Nabob's Pickle, operetta, Op.12 (fp. Aquarium, Great Yarmouth, 9 July 1883)
  • 1885 – The Noble Savage, operetta, Op.13 (fp. Brighton, 3 October 1885)
  • 1887 – Nordisa, romantic opera, Op.17 (fp. Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, 26 January 1887)

Incidental music[edit]

  • 1898 – The Termagant, overture and incidental music, Op.25 (fp. Her Majesty's Theatre, London, 1 September 1898)
  • 1899 – The Black Tulip, overture and incidental music, Op.26 (fp. Haymarket Theatre, London, 21 October 1899)


Selected writings:

  • Corder, Frederick The Orchestra and how to write for it, 1895. ISBN 978-1-104-50078-8
  • Corder, Frederick Modern Composition, 1909. ISBN 1-140-35011-0
  • Corder, Frederick A History of the Royal Academy of Music from 1822–1922, 1922.
  • Corder, Frederick Ferencz (François) Liszt, 1925. ISBN 0-404-12888-2

See also[edit]

See: List of music students by teacher: C to F#Frederick Corder.


  1. ^ "Corder, Frederick". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 385.
  2. ^ a b Visitation of England
  3. ^ Rollins and Witts, p. 54
  4. ^ Shun-Liang Chao and John Michael (eds), Romantic Legacies: Transnational and Transdisciplinary Contexts, Routledge (2019)
  5. ^ Michael Musgrave, The Musical Life of the Crystal Palace, Cambridge University Press (1995), p. 178
  6. ^ For a portrait and discussion of Corder's role and teaching style at the RAM, see: Lewis Foreman (1983, rev 2007). Bax: A Composer and his Times, chapter 2, pp 10–19. Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1-84383-209-6.
  7. ^ Foreman, Lewis (2007). Bax: a composer and his times.
  8. ^ Foreman, Lewis. London: A Musical Gazetteer (2005) p 224
  9. ^ Corder, Frederick. Ferencz (Francois) Liszt. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1925
  10. ^ Priory, Hugh (1991). Victorian Concert Overtures (PDF) (CD). Hyperion records. CDH55088. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  11. ^ “Frederick Corder.” The Musical Times, vol. 54, no. 849, 1913, pp. 713–716
  12. ^ IMSLP, complete score
  13. ^ Hyperion CDH55088
  14. ^ Although this source assigns the cantata The Sword of Argantyr as Op.22, it was published as Op.20 in 1889.
  15. ^ IMSLP, score and realization
  16. ^ "The Leeds Festival". The Athenæum. J. Francis. 3233: 494–495. 12 October 1889.


  • Rollins, Cyril; R. John Witts (1962). The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas: A Record of Productions, 1875–1961. London: Michael Joseph. OCLC 504581419.

External links[edit]