Robert Ernest Bryson was born in 1867 on the 30th March in Milton, Glasgow.
He was a composer who wrote symphonies, his first in 1908, and a 1926 opera The Leper’s Flute, with words by Ian Colvin, among various other works. Harvard Library has the vocal score of this Opera. He frequently set poems by Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats and Robert Browning to music, and was also known for organ works.
Yet today he is primarily remembered due to a spat he had with Elgar in 1924. More here.
Elgar was invited to be the President of the Rodewald chamber music society, an organisation founded in memory of businessman Alfred Rodewald, who also founded the Liverpool Orchestral Society.
Elgar however declined the offer stating he preferred Orchestral works to Chamber works: “Chamber music, in this case, is inadequate and it is a reproach to the musical taste of Liverpool that the orchestral concerts should have been allowed to disappear.”
Spurned, the Society then turned to Bryson who accepted their offer.
Bryson returned Elgar’s letter and noted: “I return Sir Edward Elgar’s letter and do not understand why he should have seen fit to combine stupidity and impertinence in his reply to the society.”
He died in 1942, 20th April in Gloucester.