(b Lewisham, London, 7 July 1885; d Epéhy Roussoy, France, 18 Sept 1918). English composer and organist. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School and in 1905 was awarded an open scholarship at the RCM, where he became friendly with Bridge (who dedicated his Piano Sonata to Farrar’s memory), studied composition with Stanford and the organ with Parratt; he won the Arthur Sullivan Prize in 1906 and the Grove Scholarship in 1907. After six months as organist of the English church at Dresden (1909) he returned to England; he was organist of St Hilda, South Shields, from 1910 and of Christ Church, Harrogate, from 1912. It was in Harrogate that he taught Finzi during the war; later he joined the army and was killed in action. His music shows many of the characteristic traits of the English pre-war era: folksong enthusiasm in English Pastoral Impressions, muscular setting of Whitman in Out of Doors, and intimate lyrical feeling, occasionally foreshadowing Finzi, in the exquisite Margaritae sorori.
Orch: Rhapsody no.1 ‘The Open Road’, op.9, after W. Whitman, perf. 1909; Rhapsody no.2 ‘Lavengro’, op.15, after G. Borrow, perf. 1913 [lost]; The Forsaken Merman, sym. poem, op.20, after M. Arnold, perf. 1914; Variations on an Old British Sea Song, op.25, pf, orch, perf. 1915; English Pastoral Impressions, op.26 (1921); Prelude on the Angelus, op.27, str; 3 Spiritual Studies, op.33, str (1925); Heroic Elegy, op.36, perf. 1918
Chbr: Sonata, A, op.1, vn, pf [lost]; Celtic Suite, op.11, after F. Macloed, vn, pf (1920); Celtic Impressions, str qt: The Dominion of Dreams, op.31; In the Shadow of the Hills, op.32
S.Banfield: Gerald Finzi: an English Composer (London, 1997), 14–21
(b Melrose, MA, 28 Feb 1882; d Ridgefield, CT, 11 March 1967). American soprano. She studied in Boston, New York and Paris; soon after her début at the Königliches Opernhaus, Berlin (Faust, 15 October 1901), she became a pupil of Lilli Lehmann, to whose Donna Anna she was later to sing Zerlina at Salzburg. After five years in Berlin, Farrar joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where she first appeared as Gounod’s Juliet in 1906, and quickly became one of the leading stars of the company. She remained at the Metropolitan until 1922, when she made her farewell as Leoncavallo’s Zazà on 22 April. With her personal beauty, clear tone and shapely phrasing she excelled in such lyrical parts as Zerlina and Cherubino, Manon and Mignon, as well as in several Puccini roles, among them the heroine in the 1918 première of Suor Angelica. She was also the first Goose Girl in Humperdinck’s Königskinder (1910), and the first Louise in Charpentier’s unsuccessful sequel, Julien (1914). Farrar’s seductive and strongly personal timbre is well captured on a long series of Victor records, which have been successfully transferred to CD. They offer, among other worthwhile performances, a substantial souvenir of her Butterfly and her Carmen, two of her most popular roles.
G.Farrar: The Story of an American Singer (New York, 1916, 2/1938 as Such Sweet Compulsion, 3/1970 with discography)
W.R.Moran: ‘Geraldine Farrar’, Record Collector, xiii (1960–61), 194–240 [with discography], 279–80; xiv (1961–2), 172–4; xx (1971–2), 163–4
E.Nash: Always First Class: the Career of Geraldine Farrar (Washington DC, 1982)