Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's prodigious musical talent was evident while he was still a student at the Royal College of Music and his first major commission sprung from the recommendation of Edward Elgar, who regarded him as "the most talented composer in Britain". Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, based on the poem by Henry Longfellow, was something of a smash hit and was performed 200 times in England within 6 years of being premiered in 1898. Coleridge-Taylor completed two sequel cantatas and an overture over the next two years, and he even named his first child Hiawatha. Novello published the score in advance of the premiere and, although seriously ill, Sir Arthur Sullivan wrote "My boy, I'm coming to hear your music tonight even if I have to be carried".
John lreland was also a student of Charles Villiers Stanford at the RCM, and his anthem *Greater Love *is one of the classics in choral literature. Written in 1912 for choir and organ, the text is assembled from various parts of the Bible including the Song of Solomon, St John's Gospel and various Epistles of St Peter and St Paul. The heart of the anthem is "Love is strong as death; greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13), which gave this work great poignancy after the start of WW1.