Part of the British Musical Renaissance. He was known for composing light music and theatre scores and was influenced by Indian music. Two of his most successful works were "Three Mantras" from 1919 to 1930 and "Essays in the Modes" from 1920 to 1927.
He was largely self-taught after taking an apprenticeship at a theater in England. He anticipated such trends as the use of quarter-tones, Messiaen, and Minimalism.
His piece "World Requiem" was performed at Royal Albert Hall in 1923.
His father was a bassonist with the Hallé Orchestra. He married librarian Dora Woodcock in 1902.
His best-known theatrical score was for the first production of "Saint Joan" by George Bernard Shaw.