One of the group of English composers - Elgar, Parry, Stanford, Holbrooke and Havergal Brian were among the others - active in the first half of this century who continued working within the boundaries of traditional harmony long after the musical establishment began looking towards the new direction given by the Second Viennese School.
Bantock studied with Frederick Corder at the Royal Academy of Music and became active in organising public performances of his own and his colleague’s works. He was, in fact, unusually generous in this respect, always speaking with admiration of his peers and taking opportunities to conduct their works when he could. He championed Sibelius, conducting his Symphony No. 1 in 1905, and the two developed a long-standing admiration and friendship.
He produced a number of monumental works for chorus and orchestra, among them the setting of Fitzgerald’s complete translation of Omar Khayyam and the sensuous setting of The Song of Songs. His symphonies and other orchestral music have been rediscovered in recent years thanks to Hyperion’s excellent series with the conductor Vernon Handley, a series which has been warmly received by the public. His exotic interests, ranging from Persia and the Orient to the Hebrides, are all represented to a greater or lesser extent in his compositions.