William Hurlstone

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William (Yeates) Hurlstone (7 January 1876 – 30 May 1906) was an English composer who studied piano and composition at the Royal College of Music, after gaining a scholarship. His piano professors were Algernon Ashton and Edward Dannreuther.[1] His composition teacher, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, considered Hurlstone, among the many brilliant students whom he taught, to have been the most talented.[2] In 1906, Hurlstone returned to the college as Professor of Counterpoint, but died later that year of bronchial asthma. He is buried in Croydon Cemetery with members of his family, though the monumental cross that surmounted the grave has been destroyed.[dubious ] The monumental cross that is in situ over William's grave was designed as a broken cross to signify that William had died before reaching his peak.(T. Hurlstone)[citation needed]

Musical works[edit]

The greater part of Hurlstone's body of work consists of works for chamber ensembles. Although they are of consistently high quality, none achieved any great fame. Among the better known are

  • Phantasie for String Quartet in A minor (published early 1905),[3] which won first prize in the inaugural Cobbett Chamber Music Competition,
  • Piano Quartet in E minor, Op. 43,
  • Piano Trio in G major, dating from 1905,
  • Trio in G minor for clarinet, bassoon and piano, and
  • Four Characteristic Pieces for clarinet and piano (Ballade, Croon Song, Intermezzo and Scherzo).

Additionally, he composed four instrumental sonatas for:

  • piano solo (in F minor),[4]
  • violin and piano,
  • cello and piano, and
  • bassoon and piano.

There is also a Quintet in G minor for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano.

His orchestral works include

  • Variations on a Swedish Air,
  • Variations on a Hungarian Air,
  • Variations on an Original Theme,
  • Magic Mirror Suite (based on the fairy tale of Snow White), and
  • a Piano Concerto in D major.

Hurlstone was considered by Stanford to have been prone to being of the great composers of the early 20th century. Stanford considered him the most talented of his pupils, above Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst.

Editions of his music[edit]

  • Four Characteristic Pieces (B clarinet and piano) Emerson Edition (Ref: E97)
  • Quintet in G minor (flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano; ed. Jonathan Kershaw 1998) Emerson Edition (Ref: E324)
  • Scherzo (clarinet, bassoon and piano; missing movement from Trio in G minor; ed. Richard Moore) Emerson Edition (Ref: E404)
  • Trio in G major (violin, cello and piano; published by Edition Silvertrust in 2008, Catalogue No. ES 2008-90)
  • Trio in G minor (clarinet, bassoon, and piano; new complete edition 2006) Emerson Edition (Ref: E488) -- This replaces the original Edition E62 (1982) which was found to contain many inaccuracies.[5]
  • Sonata in F (bassoon and piano) Emerson Edition (Ref: E75)


  • Hurlstone: Chamber Works (Dutton Vocalion) CDLX7128 (2003)
  • William Hurlstone: Orchestral Works (Lyrita) SRCD208 (orig. 1993 - reissued 2006)
    • features variation sets on an Original Theme and a Hungarian Air, as well as the Magic Mirror Suite
  • William Hurlstone: Piano Concerto, Variations on a Swedish Air, Piano Quartet, Piano Trio (Lyrita) SRCD2286 (orig. 1979, 1984 - reissued 2007)
  • (The) English Romantics - Works for Clarinet, Bassoon & Piano (Clarinet Classics) CC0023 (1998)
    • features Trio for clarinet, bassoon and piano (1998 edition NOT the 2006 edition) and the Four Characteristic Pieces
  • Goossens, Hurlstone and Turnbull: Violin Sonatas (Somm Recordings) SOMMCD031 (2003)
  • Romantic Cello (Dutton Vocalion) CDLX7102 (1999)
    • features Sonata for cello and piano.
  • Dale and Hurlstone: Piano Sonatas (Somm Recordings) SOMMCD097 (2010)
  • William Hurlstone: Complete Piano Music (Toccata Classics) TOCC0289 (2015)
  • Romantic Piano Trios (Divine Art) DDA 25102 (2013)
    • features Piano Trio in G Major


External links[edit]