Ernest Newman (30 November 1868 – 7 July 1959) was an English music critic and musicologist. Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes him as "the most celebrated British music critic in the first half of the 20th century." His style of criticism, aiming at intellectual objectivity in contrast to the more subjective approach of other critics, such as Neville Cardus, was reflected in his books on Richard Wagner, Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss and others. He was music critic of The Sunday Times from 1920 until his death nearly forty years later.
Newman was born William Roberts in Everton, a district of Liverpool, the only child of Seth Roberts, a Welsh tailor, and his second wife Harriet, née Spark, both of whom had children by their first marriages. He was educated at St Saviour's School, Everton, Liverpool College and University College, Liverpool, graduating in 1886, where he studied English literature, philosophy and art. He had no formal musical education but taught himself to play the piano "after a fashion", could read music as easily as books, studied vocal music, composition, harmony and counterpoint, and introduced himself to a wide range of music through reading scores. The young Roberts was intended to pursue a career in the Indian Civil Service, but his health broke down, and he was medically advised not to contemplate residence in India. He became a clerk in the Bank of Liverpool from 1889 to 1903. In his spare time he acquired complete or partial competence in nine foreign languages, wrote for a number of journals on music, literature, religion and philosophical subjects, and published his first two books, Gluck and the Opera, in 1895 and A Study of Wagner, in 1899...
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