English composer of classical music
Rubbra left school at fourteen and worked briefly as an errand boy and then a railway clerk. He came to lessons with Cyril Scott, later he was taught by Gustav Holst and Reginald Owen Morris at the Royal College of Music. During his Army service in World War II he founded a Piano Trio, and this "Rubbra-Gruenberg-Pleth Trio" continued for some years after the war. He worked as a lecturer at Oxford University from 1947-1968. Brought up Congregationalist, he was attracted by gnosticism but received Catholic faith in 1948, although he also was influenced by Hindu and Buddhist teachings. His last years were tarnished by a stroke.
A strongly spiritual man, fascinated by Eastern religious thought, and an ardent Catholic besides, Rubbra wrote much fine choral and vocal music to texts of mystical significance of one sort or another. The soothing, meditative qualities of the harp, and its ability to
suggest the figurations and sonorities of instruments of the east made it a natural choice for the composer to use in many different contexts, and this fine collection brings them all together, from his transcription of a traditional Japanese melody to his complete songs with harp, all of which are quite exquisite. A revealing glimpse of the great English symphonist as calligraphic miniaturist in music.