Bush, Alan Dudley


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Bush, Alan Dudley

 

Born Dec. 22, 1900, in Dulwich. British composer, conductor, pianist, writer on music, and public figure. Member of the Communist Party of Great Britain since 1935.

Bush is a worker’s son. From 1918 to 1922 he studied in London at the Royal Academy of Music, where he taught composition from 1925 to 1954. He completed his own study of composition with J. Ireland (1922-27) and piano with A. Schnabel (1924-29). He has been an active figure in the proletarian musical movement. From 1929 to 1940 he was a leader of the London Labor Choral Union, and he was a founder (1936) and the first chairman of the Workers’ Music Association, of which he has been president since 1941. Bush’s creative work is permeated with civic motifs; the principal themes of his works are the struggle of simple people for their rights, workers’ solidarity, and the struggle for peace (for example, the operas Wat Tyler, composed in 1950, dealing with a 14th-century peasant uprising—produced in the German Democratic Republic [GDR] in 1953; Men of Blackmoor, composed in 1955, concerning the revolutionary struggle of British miners at the beginning of the 19th century—produced in the GDR in 1956; The Sugar Reapers, 1962—produced in the GDR in 1966; the choral works entitled Song of the Hunger Marchers, Song of Labor, and Hymn Against the People’s Enemies; and works for orchestra, such as Defender of the Peace, 1951).

Bush has composed an operetta, a ballet, a cantata, symphonic works (including A Fantasy on Soviet Themes, 1945), chamber works, and songs for the masses. In his creative art he has moved from the use of abstractly formalistic forms (such as his Dialectic quartet, 1929) to a simple and democratic musical idiom. His choral works and songs for the masses are marked by a combination of folk song intonations with Soviet mass songs and German revolutionary songs in the style of H. Eisler. As a conductor and pianist, Bush has propagandized Soviet music. He has visited the USSR several times (first in 1938).

WORKS

Music in the Soviet Union. London, 1943.
Strict Counterpoint in Palestrina Style. London, 1948.
In Russian translation:
“Chto vyrazhaet muzyka?” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1965, no. 1. (Brief translation.)

REFERENCES

Shneerson, G. “Nash drug Alan Bush.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1965, no. 11.
Tribute to Alan Bush: On His Fiftieth Birthday. London, 1950.
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