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Alfred R. Gaul

Alfred Robert Gaul (30 April 1837 — 13 September 1913) was an English composer, conductor and organist.

Gaul was born in Norwich, where he studied under Zechariah Buck. By the age of nine he was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral, and at the age of seventeen he was appointed as the organist of the parish church at Fakenham. In 1859 he moved to Birmingham, where at the age of twenty two he was appointed organist at St. John's Church, Ladywood. In 1863 he took the Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Cambridge. He was Master of Music at St Augustine's Church, Edgbaston from 1868, the first Birmingham church to have a surpliced choir.

In 1877 Gaul started teaching the first classes in the theory of music, harmony and counterpoint at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, marking the first step towards providing a fully rounded musical instruction at the institution that would eventually become the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He would later be appointed as professor of orchestration and composition at the school. He taught singing and harmony at the King Edward VI High School for Girls.

Gaul wrote a large quantity of choral music in a simple melodious style influenced by Spohr and Mendelssohn. His cantatas were widely performed on the music festival circuit, with the best known The Holy City – premiered at the Birmingham Music Festival in 1882 – being the most popular of its era. At the time of Gaul's death in 1913 it was the most performed work of English choral music in history, and by 1914 over 162,000 copies of its vocal score had been sold. The Holy City and his earlier cantata Ruth (1881) were also popular in the United States.

His compositions include:

"Around the Winter Fire";
The Holy City, Op.36;
Israel in the Wilderness, Op.43;
"Jesus Christ is Risen Today";
Joan of Arc;
"Let the people praise Thee, O God";
The Months, Op.38;
Ruth, Op.34
"Sing, O Heavens";
The Ten Virgins, Op.42;
"The Union Jack".

Alfred married Charlotte Cory. They had six children.

Birth and Death Data: Born April 30th, 1837 (Norwich), Died September 13th, 1913

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1912 - 1922

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-12189 12-in. 6/26/1912 List! The cherubic host Victor Light Opera Company Vocal chorus and soloists, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-13458 12-in. 6/19/1913 My soul is athirst for God Reed Miller Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-15786 12-in. 3/12/1915 Eye hath not seen Elsie Baker Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 48544 12-in. 1/20/1916 List, the cherubic host Columbia Ladies Quartet ; Frank Croxton Male vocal solo and female vocal quartet, with orchestra composer  
Edison 4909 10-in. 7/26/1916 List! The cherubic host Thomas Chalmers Male vocal solo and female vocal ensemble, with orchestra composer  
Edison 8473 10-in. 5/31/1922 These are they Anna Case Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Gaul, Alfred R.," accessed June 25, 2021,

Gaul, Alfred R.. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 25, 2021, from

"Gaul, Alfred R.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 25 June 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



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