Peter Racine Fricker
Peter Racine Fricker
He held a post as professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in London, and in 1952 he became director of music at Morley College, succeeding Michael Tippett. His wind quintet (1947) attracted widespread attention, and his first string quartet (1947) and symphony (1949) were also well-received. Four more symphonies (1951, 1960, 1966, 1976) followed, which are among his most appreciated works. Other works include Paseo for guitar (1969), Sinfonia in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (1977), two violin concertos (1950, 1954), choral and chamber works (including the 1956 Cello and Piano Sonata, recorded twenty years later for L'Oiseau Lyre by Julian Lloyd Webber and John McCabe) and works for piano and organ. Stylistically his music was significantly different from the mainstream English school of the middle 20th century; instead of following in the lyrical, folk-song influenced tradition of Holst, Vaughan Williams and others, he wrote music which was chromatic, contrapuntal, and acerbic—more akin to Schoenberg and Bartók than to his English contemporaries.
Unlike Schoenberg, however, he never abandoned tonality altogether, preferring to work in a dissonant idiom which retained a tonal basis—a position considered to be conservative in the musical milieu of the 1950s and 1960s. Fricker became visiting professor of music at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1964. Six years later, he emigrated to the United States, and took a permanent position at the school; he became chairman of the Music Department in 1970, and was appointed "faculty research lecturer" in 1979, the highest academic honor which the university bestows on its faculty. From 1984 to 1986 he was president of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music and Literature in England. He was a descendant of the French playwright Racine. Read more on Last.fm.
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