Howells developed a musical language that is unlike anyone else’s. It includes long melodic lines, intricate counterpoint, rich dissonances and unique cadential progressions.
Pathos Howells may have been the ‘golden boy’ of his musical generation and Stanford’s (pictured above) favourite, but his life was clouded by uncertainty and tragedy. The ambiguous reception of certain works and the loss of his son were reflected in his music. His ability to express pathos and deep emotion in his music is incredibly powerful.
Connection with a musical past
Vaughan Williams described Howells as ‘the reincarnation of a lesser Tudor luminary’ so strong was his connection to the music of composers of that period. Examples of this are everywhere to be seen in Howells’s output, and perhaps most obviously in the suites Howells’ Clavichord and Lambert’s Clavichord. Spirituality and Sensuality Howells was the greatest composer of music for the Anglican Church of the 20th century. Part of his allure is his ability to tread the line between spirituality and sensuality. The latter induces a sense of ecstasy which connects with our inner beings. It is at its best in the reverberant spaces of a great building.