Frederic Cliffe

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Frederic Cliffe (born May 2, 1857 in Bradford , Yorkshire , † November 19, 1931 in London ) was an English composer .

Cliffe worked as a piano teacher at the Royal College of Music since 1884 . John Ireland and Arthur Benjamin were among his students .

In addition to some songs and smaller instrumental pieces, he wrote a total of only six large-format compositions: two symphonies , a symphonic poem , a violin concerto and two vocal works with orchestra. Cliffe was considered one of the greatest hopes in English music in his younger years; the premiere of his first symphony (April 20, 1889 in London) sparked applause. Cliffe fell silent as a composer around 1910; his compatriot Edward Elgar caused a sensation around this time with his work Enigma Variations . Cliffe's works were already forgotten during his lifetime. Recently they have been rediscovered and re-performed.


  • Symphony No. 1 in C minor, 1889
  • Cloud and Sunshine, symphonic poem, 1890
  • Symphony No. 2 in E minor, 1892
  • Violin Concerto, 1896
  • The Triumph of Alcestis, scene for alto and orchestra, 1902
  • Ode to the North-East Wind, ballad for choir and orchestra, 1906


The world premiere of his Symphony No. 1 in C minor took place in Malmö in 2003: The Malmö Opera Orchestra under Christopher Fifield recorded the work as well as Cloud and Sunshine ; the Swedish classic label "Sterling" released them.

The violin concerto was released in 2011 by Hyperion Records (The Romantic Violin Concerto Vol. 10, BBC National Orchestra of Wales).

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