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Wood, Anthony [self-styled Anthony à Wood]

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Wood, Anthony [self-styled Anthony à Wood]

(b Oxford, 17 Dec 1632; d Oxford, 29 Nov 1695). English antiquary and amateur musician. He was the son of Thomas Wood, a landed proprietor, and was educated at New College School, Oxford, Lord William’s School, Thame, and Merton College, Oxford, where he graduated BA in 1652 and MA in 1655. Music was his delight from his earliest years. He began as a viol player but in 1651 taught himself to play the violin, which he tuned in 4ths until he had regular lessons from a teacher in 1653. From 1656 he took part regularly in the chamber music meetings held in Oxford and entertained visiting violinists, including Thomas Baltzar. After the Restoration the professional musicians returned to London and within two or three years the regular meetings for chamber music came to an end. From that time Wood seems to have abandoned music. He became a recluse and devoted himself to collecting materials for a history of Oxford. In 1692 he was accused of libelling the 1st Earl of Clarendon in his Athenae oxonienses (London, 1691–2, rev. and enlarged 3/1813–20/R by P. Bliss) and was expelled from the university in 1693. He is buried in Merton College chapel. His other publications include Historia et antiquitates Universitatis oxoniensis (Oxford, 1674), reissued in English in 1792 and 1796. He also compiled manuscript notes on the lives of musicians, mostly English (GB-Ob).


A. Clark, ed.: The Life and Times of Anthony Wood (Oxford, 1891–5)

H.W. Shaw: ‘Extracts from Anthony à Wood’s “Notes on the Lives of Musicians”, hitherto Unpublished’, ML, xv (1934), 157–62

M.C. Boyd: Elizabethan Music and Musical Criticism (Philadelphia, 1940, 2/1962/R), 318ff

P.J. Willetts: ‘Music from the Circle of Anthony Wood at Oxford’, British Museum Quarterly, xxiv (1961), 71

J.D. Shute: Anthony à Wood and his Manuscript Wood D19(4) at the Bodleian Library, Oxford (diss., International Institute of Advanced Studies, Clayton, MO, 1979)


Wood, Arthur (Henry)

(b Heckmondwike, 24 Jan 1875; d London, 18 Jan 1953). English composer, conductor and flautist. He gained early experience playing the flute in orchestras in Harrogate, then at Bournemouth under Dan Godfrey. He subsequently conducted at various London theatres (among them the Adelphi, Terry's, Daly's and Drury Lane), for over 30 years. He toured the USA with Messager's Véronique and recorded excerpts from the Savoy operas. He also composed musicals of his own, but these have survived less well than the splendidly scored orchestral works produced for Boosey & Hawkes, both original pieces and arrangements, for whom he was a staff composer.

His compositions include suites and separate movements, many betraying his northern origins and evoking the outdoors, also a concertino for his one-time instrument, the flute. His most durable piece is ‘Barwick Green’ from the suite My Native Heath, inspired by his home county of Yorkshire and used as the signature tune to the long-running BBC radio programme ‘The Archers’. This apart, only Three Dale Dances is heard nowadays in an arrangement for brass band, an ensemble for which Wood also composed. His work is discussed in P.L. Scowcroft: British Light Music: a Personal Gallery of Twentieth-Century Composers (Thames, 1997).


(selective list)


dates those of first performance; musical comedies, unless otherwise stated

Oh, Caesar! (musical farce, 2, M. Pemberton, A. Ross, A.M. Thompson), Edinburgh, Royal Lyceum, 23 Dec 1916, collab. N.D. Ayer

Petticoat Fair (4 scenes, R. Courtneidge and G. Hartley-Milburn), Newcastle, Hippodrome, 23 Dec 1918

Fancy Fair (Courtneidge), Newcastle, Hippodrome, 14 April 1919

Too Many Girls (Courtneidge, Hartley-Milburn, J. Hulbert, H. Simpson), Liverpool, Hippodrome, 22 Dec 1919

The Sheik of Shepherd's Bush (musical farcical comedy, H. Lowther, A. Shirley), London, Brixton Theatre, 24 Nov 1924

Yvonne (3, P. Greenbank), London, Daly's, 22 May 1926, collab. J. Gilbert and V. Duke


Concertino, A, fl, orch (1948)

Orch suites: 3 Old Dances, 1902; 3 Dale Dances (1917); 3 Mask Dances [from F. Lehár: Die blaue Mazur] (1927); Widow Malone, 1937; Barnsley Fair, Yorkshire rhapsody; Ballerina Suite; My Native Heath; 3 More Dale Dances; Yorkshire Moors

Brass band: marches incl. All Clear; Royal Progress; transcrs. of own orch. works

Many arrs. for military band, incl. works by Berlin, Elgar, Ellis, German, Lehár, Millöcker, Rubens, Smetana, Stolz, among others

Many orch movts, incl. Coquetterie (1913); Shipley Glen, ov (1937); Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, orch poem (1938); Fiddlers Three (1940); Lancashire Clog Dance; Fairy Dreams; Greensleeves

Transcrs. of own works for pf


Many songs, incl. The Voice of the Drum (C. Reach) (1903); The Property Man, the Stage Hand's Lament (H.E. Melvin) (1911); My Greeting to You (H.E. Clarke) (1912); Shoulder to Shoulder, patriotic song (Sir J. Lyons) (1914); Since it Must be Good-bye (A. Anderson) (1918); A Man of Property (A. Melford) (1919)

Musical monologues, incl. The Man with the Single Hair (R. Ganthony) (1902); More than One Objection (C. Cameron) (1920)


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