Author Topic: Sir Arthur Bliss  (Read 39024 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #240 on: July 29, 2019, 09:37:51 PM »
Yes check out the "Journey to the Stars" because it has a very different ending to any suite I've heard or the film itself. Probably the most epic.  Also my favorite version of "pestilence" because the horns rise to the very high B natural which is handed off to the trumpets in other recordings I've heard.  Much prefer the intensity here.
I certainly will do. Thanks
I have a recording of A London Symphony by Vaughan Williams conducted by Mitropolous (1945) in which he brings back the chimes of Big Ben at the very end of the work. That is not in any of the versions of the original score and gave me quite a jolt when I first heard it. Goodness knows what the composer would have thought about it!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 09:40:58 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #241 on: August 01, 2019, 11:32:27 AM »
Yes check out the "Journey to the Stars" because it has a very different ending to any suite I've heard or the film itself. Probably the most epic.  Also my favorite version of "pestilence" because the horns rise to the very high B natural which is handed off to the trumpets in other recordings I've heard.  Much prefer the intensity here.
Well, I listened to the John Mauceri recording of 'Things to Come' this evening and you are quite right Karim - it does include a reference to 'Machines' from 10:55 although the track listing doesn't mention it at all. I really enjoyed the version with the Big Ben chimes, choral contributions and added sound effects. Thanks very much for reminding me of this interesting and varied disc. So, 'Machines', therefore, only features in the recordings by Bliss himself, Gamba, Malcolm Arnold (not released on disc as far as I'm aware) and Mauceri.
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Offline relm1

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #242 on: August 01, 2019, 03:17:48 PM »
Well, I listened to the John Mauceri recording of 'Things to Come' this evening and you are quite right Karim - it does include a reference to 'Machines' from 10:55 although the track listing doesn't mention it at all. I really enjoyed the version with the Big Ben chimes, choral contributions and added sound effects. Thanks very much for reminding me of this interesting and varied disc. So, 'Machines', therefore, only features in the recordings by Bliss himself, Gamba, Malcolm Arnold (not released on disc as far as I'm aware) and Mauceri.

So my point is each version of the suite I hear has added interesting material so we need a reconstruction of all the music.  Everything I've heard from these various suites has been very good.  I have no idea where the Mauceri ending came from, that's not in the film but is a very thrilling ending with blasting orchestra, chorus, and triumphant fanfares.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #243 on: August 01, 2019, 10:15:25 PM »
So my point is each version of the suite I hear has added interesting material so we need a reconstruction of all the music.  Everything I've heard from these various suites has been very good.  I have no idea where the Mauceri ending came from, that's not in the film but is a very thrilling ending with blasting orchestra, chorus, and triumphant fanfares.
That's absolutely right. Christopher Palmer did a lot of great work on reconstructing music from films (Do you know Alwyn's 'Odd Man Out' - a truly symphonic rearrangement I think?) I still think that Bliss's own suite from 'Things to Come' is my favourite although I'm sure that I'll be playing the Mauceri CD often, not least because of the other interesting music on the CD and because, unlike Christopher Palmer' he does include the brief but ominous 'Machines'. Mauceri clearly adds some of his own material but that is not a problem for me. Bliss has been done no favours by the suggestion (repeated in the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs etc) that the most memorable thing he wrote was the March from Things to Come. I don't even think that it's the best part of the Suite and believe that he wrote much more memorable material throughout his career.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline relm1

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #244 on: August 02, 2019, 04:56:44 AM »
That's absolutely right. Christopher Palmer did a lot of great work on reconstructing music from films (Do you know Alwyn's 'Odd Man Out' - a truly symphonic rearrangement I think?) I still think that Bliss's own suite from 'Things to Come' is my favourite although I'm sure that I'll be playing the Mauceri CD often, not least because of the other interesting music on the CD and because, unlike Christopher Palmer' he does include the brief but ominous 'Machines'. Mauceri clearly adds some of his own material but that is not a problem for me. Bliss has been done no favours by the suggestion (repeated in the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs etc) that the most memorable thing he wrote was the March from Things to Come. I don't even think that it's the best part of the Suite and believe that he wrote much more memorable material throughout his career.

Yes totally agree that the march isn't the most interesting.  I definitely prefer the dramatic/epic moments more.  I haven't heard Alwyn's 'Odd Man Out' but have added it to my listening list.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #245 on: August 02, 2019, 05:19:17 AM »
Yes totally agree that the march isn't the most interesting.  I definitely prefer the dramatic/epic moments more.  I haven't heard Alwyn's 'Odd Man Out' but have added it to my listening list.
Oh, you have to hear that - here is the Prelude if you'd like to sample it. In a way it reminds me of 'The Procession to Calvary' from Rozsa's score for 'Ben Hur':
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EwXCsS85OXY
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 05:20:54 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline relm1

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #246 on: August 02, 2019, 03:56:17 PM »
Oh, you have to hear that - here is the Prelude if you'd like to sample it. In a way it reminds me of 'The Procession to Calvary' from Rozsa's score for 'Ben Hur':
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EwXCsS85OXY

That was epic!  Should Christopher Palmer get his own thread here?  Would you consider him an arranger only or a distinct voice?

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #247 on: August 02, 2019, 04:15:23 PM »
What would be an epic and memorable work other than the A Colour Symphony that you could recommend? I'm not myself a big fan of him, but I've enjoyed some other works e.g. Cello concerto, the mildly gargantuan Piano Concerto in B flat and Morning Heroes, though with no much more memories for now.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #248 on: August 02, 2019, 07:28:10 PM »
What would be an epic and memorable work other than the A Colour Symphony that you could recommend? I'm not myself a big fan of him, but I've enjoyed some other works e.g. Cello concerto, the mildly gargantuan Piano Concerto in B flat and Morning Heroes, though with no much more memories for now.

Overall, he's not one of my favorite British composers either - his music doesn't have much of a distinctive "personality" IMO, though it's still well-written and enjoyable. I'd definitely recommend his moving and uplifting (and, at some points, darkly disturbing) Meditations on a Theme of John Blow. The pastoral Oboe Quintet is very nice as well. I recently came to know and enjoy his epic, sometimes gawky (in a good way), and other times sweepingly romantic Piano Concerto. Peter Donohoe's recording on Naxos is excellent.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 07:32:03 PM by kyjo »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #249 on: August 02, 2019, 11:54:10 PM »
That was epic!  Should Christopher Palmer get his own thread here?  Would you consider him an arranger only or a distinct voice?
Delighted you liked it. No Alwyn collection is complete without it!
Christopher Palmer, who died much too young, was a multi-talented arranger and musicologist. I think he composed as well. Without him many great film scores would not be known. His 'Henry V' reconstruction (Walton) is one of his finest achievements I think.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #250 on: August 02, 2019, 11:58:29 PM »
What would be an epic and memorable work other than the A Colour Symphony that you could recommend? I'm not myself a big fan of him, but I've enjoyed some other works e.g. Cello concerto, the mildly gargantuan Piano Concerto in B flat and Morning Heroes, though with no much more memories for now.
The interesting thing about Bliss is that he is not one of my favourite composers either but I find myself often returning to his music! Memorable moments for me would include, off the top of my head, the 'Dance of Summer' from Adam Zero, the climax of the first movement of the Piano Concerto and the 'return of the cannon fire' and final section 'Dawn on the Somme' from Morning Heroes. Also I consider both the Miracle in the Gorbals and the eloquent Oboe Quintet to be memorable throughout and agree with Kyle's choices as well. Also, 'Hymn to Apollo' and 'Melee Fantasque' as well as 'Checkmate'.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2019, 12:00:48 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #251 on: August 03, 2019, 11:19:30 AM »
Kyle and Jeffrey, thank you for the kind suggestions. I'm surely listening to some of the works you mentioned later. Bliss is a bit of a blind spot for me.