Author Topic: Foulds's Fields  (Read 8379 times)

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snyprrr

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Foulds's Fields
« on: March 12, 2009, 07:21:49 AM »
i've heard both sides of the mystical coin on this composer.  interested in hearing his 10 str. qrts., but for some reason i keep thinking of Dane Rudhyar??? and Langaard??? (yea, two other composers i haven't aquainted yet).

anyone?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 05:30:04 PM by snyprrr »

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: JOHN FOULDS
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 06:06:19 PM »
I shall try to get back to you on Foulds tomorrow ;D

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2009, 05:35:47 PM »
Right!

First of all...you will not be able to hear all ten of Foulds' string quartets since only four survive intact. In fact, a considerable amount of the music this extremely interesting composer wrote has either been lost or is incomplete.

The Wikipedia article on Foulds is detailed and informative-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Foulds

The article obviously relies on the two books written by Malcolm MacDonald-the Havergal Brian expert. Malcolm has long championed the music of Foulds and I am familiar with the first of the two books 'John Foulds: His Life in Music"(1975) which includes a detailed catalogue of compositions.

While he was Principal Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Sakari Oramo made two cds for Warner of Foulds compositions-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Sept04/Foulds.htm

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/May06/Foulds_Dynamic_256462999-2.htm

There is also a Lyrita cd-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Feb04/Foulds_Mantras.htm

In November 2007 in London Leon Botstein conducted a performance of the once famous 'World Requiem' and Chandos released a double cd of the performance-
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/Feb08/Foulds_World_chsa5058.htm
I know that Jeffrey(vandermolen) attended the performance and was impressed by the work, as were (some) of the newspaper critics. I must confess that I am more impressed by some of the other works-for example, the 'Dynamic Triptych' for piano and orchestra or the extraordinary Three Mantras(which can both be found on the Warner cds above).

Btw...are your referring in your post to Rued Langgaard? I suppose that there are some similarities in that both men were musical outsiders but Foulds was a good deal less eccentric than the Dane ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2009, 02:07:04 AM »
I did indeed hear Fould's 'World Requiem' live - a terrific occasion in the Albert Hall in London. I wrote a review on the UK Amazon site (the top one in the link below)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Foulds-World-Requiem-Jeanne-Mich%C3%A8le-Charbonnet/dp/B000ZBPPXQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1237024880&sr=8-3

I agree, however, with Colin, that it would be best not to start exploring Foulds with this work. I'd recommend the terrific 'Dynamic Tryptich', 'Three Mantras' or 'April, England' and the orchestral work 'Hellas' on Lyrita - these are all great works in my view and he IS certainly a composer worth exploring.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 07:01:04 AM »
Have just listened to all 90 minutes of Foulds's 'A World Requiem' - if you let yourself go with its haunting proto-minimalist indian-type spiritualism (Foulds died prematurely in India of cholera in 1939) it is one of the great musical experiences. For me there is an extra resonance as I was at the concert which Chandos recorded.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2011, 07:59:44 PM »
A shame this amazing composer only has one page. Anyway allow me to stir the pot some...

John Foulds is one of the quintessential eccentrics who abound in the history of music in early twentieth century England, a prolific composer of so-called "light" music, on which most of his reputation today regrettably rests.

The son of a bassoonist in the Hallé Orchestra, he began piano lessons at age four and was composing by age seven. At ten, he switched to the cello (having made his way there via significant expertise with the oboe) and ran away from home at age 13 to make his living playing cello in local orchestras and seaside bands before joining the Hallé in 1900. A well-traveled man in his early manhood, Foulds met a wide variety of European composers who would influence his music, including Bartók, Mahler, Delius, Strauss, and Busoni. Mostly self-taught as a composer, he first came to public attention when Henry Wood premiered his orchestral piece Epithalamium at a 1906 Promenade Concert. At that time, he left the Hallé to concentrate full time on composing. Between 1914 and 1926, he lived mainly in London, supporting himself through theater work and conducting. Interestingly, he gave a number of concerts for the British forces during World War I. It was in this period that much of his lighter music was written, although the hugely popular Keltic Suite was actually composed somewhat earlier, in 1911. He also composed heavily for the theater, writing the incidental music for the first production of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan in 1924.

Foulds moved to Paris in 1927 with his second wife, violinist and theosophist Maud McCarthy, who had an abiding interest in Eastern music. This led to a lifelong interest in aspects of Ancient Greek and Indian music. In Paris, he wrote the Dynamic Triptych (essentially a piano concerto including innovative use of microtones), the Twelve Essays in the Modes for Piano (making use of Greek Dorian modes), and the apocalyptic Three Mantras. Returning to London in 1930, he continued his composition of "serious" music, including Hellas, April-England, and the Quartetto Intimo (String Quartet No. 9). He also published a fascinating, thoughtful, and revealing (and at the time widely read) survey entitled Music Today in 1934.

In 1935 he arrived in India, via a few side trips to Sicily and other exotic destinations, taking up his position with All-India Radio two years later. Based initially in Delhi, he threw himself into an in-depth study of Indian folk music and formed an experimental Indo-European orchestra, combining Western and native instruments. At the time of his death from cholera in Calcutta in 1939, he was working on a Symphony of East and West, intended to showcase the results of his studies in this area. Regrettably, the work is now lost, along with much of his huge output.

Once described as England's answer to Charles Ives, Foulds' place in musical history is difficult to precisely place. He certainly seems to have been the first English composer to write using quarter-tones. An early string quartet in 1896 (now lost) and the cello sonata both incorporate microtonality -- some time before Bartók experimented with them in his own string quartets -- as does his concert opera The Vision of Dante. His monumental World Requiem, written for a huge orchestra and chorus of some 1,200, enjoyed annual performances on Armistice Day from 1923 to 1926. Although he started his composing career as a fairly typical English late-Romantic, his experiments with exoticism, especially the combining of Indian and European tonalities, should place him in an important historical position, but since so little of this music has survived, there is little left on which to judge him.

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Offline Albion

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2011, 11:34:31 PM »
Besides the excellent Chandos, Warner and Lyrita discs mentioned above, if you want to increase your appreciation of this many-faceted composer, I would also strongly recommend two outstanding releases from Dutton Epoch -


CDLX 7252



Keltic Overture op.28 (1930)
Keltic Suite op.29 (1911)
Sicilian Aubade (1927)
Isles of Greece op.48 no.2 (‘Impressions of time and place’ no.2) (1927)
Holiday Sketches op.16 (1908)
An Arabian Night (1936-37)
Suite Fantastique op.72 (from the music to a French Pierrot play) (1924)


BBC Concert Orchestra
Ronald Corp (conductor)


CDLX 7260



Music-Pictures Group VI op.81: Gaelic Melodies (1924)
The Florida Spiritual op.71 no.1 (1925)
La Belle Pierrette: Intermezzo Impromptu (1922)
Darby and Joan op.42 no.1: An Old English Idyll (1916)
Music-Pictures Group IV op.55: Suite for String Orchestra (1916-17)
Strophes from an Antique Song (1927 orch. 1934)
Indian Suite (1932-35)
Henry VIII Suite op.87: music to Shakespeare’s play (1925 arr. 1926)
Suite Française op.22 (1910)


BBC Concert Orchestra
Ronald Corp (conductor)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2011, 11:40:13 PM »
Besides the excellent Chandos, Warner and Lyrita discs mentioned above, if you want to increase your appreciation of this many-faceted composer, I would also strongly recommend two outstanding releases from Dutton Epoch -


CDLX 7252



Keltic Overture op.28 (1930)
Keltic Suite op.29 (1911)
Sicilian Aubade (1927)
Isles of Greece op.48 no.2 (‘Impressions of time and place’ no.2) (1927)
Holiday Sketches op.16 (1908)
An Arabian Night (1936-37)
Suite Fantastique op.72 (from the music to a French Pierrot play) (1924)


BBC Concert Orchestra
Ronald Corp (conductor)


CDLX 7260



Music-Pictures Group VI op.81: Gaelic Melodies (1924)
The Florida Spiritual op.71 no.1 (1925)
La Belle Pierrette: Intermezzo Impromptu (1922)
Darby and Joan op.42 no.1: An Old English Idyll (1916)
Music-Pictures Group IV op.55: Suite for String Orchestra (1916-17)
Strophes from an Antique Song (1927 orch. 1934)
Indian Suite (1932-35)
Henry VIII Suite op.87: music to Shakespeare’s play (1925 arr. 1926)
Suite Française op.22 (1910)


BBC Concert Orchestra
Ronald Corp (conductor)

There is some good chamber music too - he is an excellent composer.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Darwin

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2012, 01:02:16 AM »
The Three Mantras are wonderful, as is "April, England" in both its piano and orchestral guises - how such music can have been forgotten for so long I just cannot understand.

The early symphonic poem Mirage contains (at 3:34 in the Oramo recording, and again at about 19:25) a chord progression so astonishingly arresting that I often have to rewind and play it again before I can believe that yes, I really did hear what I thought I heard... the concert-goers of 1910 must have been even more gobsmacked than me.

The two works which I would urge all who are taken by Foulds' more serious music to hear are the late (rather clumsily-titled) Pasquinades Symphoniques numbers 1 and 2.

Number 1, "Classical" is on the Leopold Hager Forlane CD set "The English Musical Renaissance", which I expect will be hard to find, but also appears to be freely available as a download (I don't really do downloads myself, not to date, at least). Do not expect neo-classical pastiche. This music is "classical" in the sense that Bruckner is classical, and as thrilling as that implies.

Number 2, "Romantic"  is on the Barry Wordsworth Lyrita CD. It is a beautiful pastoral-but-passionate slow movement, more obviously linked to Foulds' other works and to those of his English contemporaries than number 1, but still very individual and powerful in this excellent performance. For me it has the feel of a sultry, languid summer afternoon.

There was to have been a third Pasquinade Symphonique to complete the set: the "Modernist", of which Malcom MacDonald says "...with its pealing ostinato of bells and horns... [it] suggests an attitude reflecting geometrical or even Cubist ideas in art - as does its overall form. Although the manuscript, sadly, breaks off abruptly in the middle of a page, there are sketches for part of a continuation and a note to the effect that the movement is to be an exact palindrome".

Sounds like an ideal project for Anthony Payne, doesn't it?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2012, 02:49:34 AM »
I was lucky enough to hear 'A World Requiem' in London a while back - first performance in 80+ years. A wonderful experiene in the Albert Hall (the performance was issued on Chandos).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

kyjo

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 04:58:43 PM »
This talented and original composer only has one page to his thread. For shame! Hopefully I can generate more interest in this remarkable figure....

Foulds' early works, such as the Cello Concerto (recorded by Dutton), are in a late-romantic style drawing on Brahms and Dvorak. His style took a turn around 1910 with works such as Mirage (Music-Poem no. 5) for orchestra, which are firmly in the R. Strauss/Scriabin/Rimsky/Ravel camp in their luscious orchestration and harmonies. Continuing to develop and personalize his style, Foulds wrote eclectic and imaginative music that made him an "outsider" in the British music scene at the time. Most of his music (except his light music) is worlds away from Elgarian Victorianisms or the pastoralism of VW and many other contemporaries of his.

His music often reflects his interest in Eastern cultures and their music. At times, his music takes on a “wild”, “everything but the kitchen sink” type of approach that overwhelms the listener in its vast “jungle” of sound. That’s not to say his music lacks cohesion, but form and structure were not primary concerns of Foulds.

Foulds produced a number of stunning works. My favorite piece of his is the Dynamic Triptych for piano and orchestra. Music doesn’t get much more exciting than this, folks. You get everything here, from Scriabinian lushness and mystery to Bartokian ferocity to Gershwinian jazzy rhythms and harmonies. There's not a dud in his output, really. There’s the masterful, probing Quartetto intimo for string quartet, the thrilling  Three Mantras for orchestra, the beautifully otherworldly Lyra Celtica for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, the visionary A World Requiem, the delightfully tuneful Keltic Suite, the extraordinarily forward-looking Cello Sonata, the list goes on......

Unfortunately, Foulds lost a couple works. Most significant amongst these is his Symphony of East and West. I'm sincerely hoping this piece, especially, will show up in a dusty attic or a dilapidated shed somewhere, someday.....

Foulds has been very fortunate in regard to his representation on disc. Warner, Dutton, Lyrita, Chandos and Pearl have all greatly contributed to Foulds’ cause. I have placed all of the main recordings of Foulds’ music below in an order that I believe that should be followed by newcomers to Foulds. In other words, the most essential recording comes first, the least essential one comes last:

                              

If anyone needs any more help with recommendations, don't be afraid to ask! :)

Also, take a look at Malcolm MacDonald's illuminating notes on Foulds in this pre-concert talk: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Mar04/Foulds_Macdonald.htm

What do others think of Foulds' extraordinary music?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 05:06:34 PM by kyjo »

kishnevi

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 05:10:07 PM »
The only Foulds I have is the World Requiem. 

 What works are on that CD with Hope and Bickley?  (For that matter, on what label are the first two CDs? If there's a logo on the covers, I can't find it.)

kyjo

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 05:15:25 PM »
The only Foulds I have is the World Requiem. 

 What works are on that CD with Hope and Bickley?  (For that matter, on what label are the first two CDs? If there's a logo on the covers, I can't find it.)

The first two CDs are on the Warner Classics label. The one with Hope and Bickley features Three Mantras, Mirage, Lyra Celtica (with Bickley as the mezzo soloist) and Apotheosis for violin and orchestra.

You should definitely explore more Foulds besides the World Requiem, Jeffrey! I can confidently recommend the two Warner discs and the Pearl disc with the string quartets as the first recordings of his music you should purchase before moving on to the others if you like what you hear. :)

snyprrr

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 05:28:26 PM »
I started this?? ???

kishnevi

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Re: John Foulds
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 05:45:25 PM »
I started this?? ???

Sometimes your ideas are actually good ones.

Kyjo: thanks for the extra info.

Offline lescamil

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Re: Foulds's Fields
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 09:14:25 PM »
Throw in another vote of confidence for the Dynamic Triptych, which is the Foulds work I find myself coming back to. Everything from the high energy of the first movement, the quarter tones of the second movement, and the rhythmic vitality of the third movement sticks in my mind. Peter Donohoe's recording cannot be bettered. I heard Ashley Wass perform it at the BBC Proms a couple years back and he also did a fine job with it. I hope more pianists take up the work soon, or I might have to myself!
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Foulds's Fields
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2013, 01:05:49 AM »
A composer of astonishing originality. I really like 'Hellas' and 'April' on one of the excellent Lyrita discs. Probably Foulds has suffered neglect as he lived outside Britain and died comparatively young. Much the same could be said of Stanley Bate or Richard Arnell, although Arnell lived to a ripe old age.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Foulds's Fields
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2013, 10:55:05 AM »
I've had those two Warner discs on my wishlist for ages now. I got the Requiem and the Dutton symphonic discs first. I am sucker for Dutton - love to support that label when I can. I have enjoyed all of them, so perhaps you've put him back on my radar.
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kyjo

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Re: Foulds's Fields
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 12:20:48 PM »
I've had those two Warner discs on my wishlist for ages now. I got the Requiem and the Dutton symphonic discs first. I am sucker for Dutton - love to support that label when I can. I have enjoyed all of them, so perhaps you've put him back on my radar.

Glad I could renew your interest in Foulds' music. :) Run, don't walk, to go purchase those two Warner discs! Some truly thrilling music your ears await!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Foulds's Fields
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2015, 12:01:39 PM »
I just discovered 'The Song of Ram Dass' by John Foulds on one of the Warner discs. A beautiful work of only three minutes combining Foulds's characteristic 'Anglo-Indian' soundworld, which I find very poignant and appealing. It reminded me a bit of Holst's 'Beni Mora':

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6LZFLMnRlBA
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).