Author Topic: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)  (Read 29293 times)

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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2008, 08:14:47 AM »
Good choice!

Now I know for certain.  0:)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2008, 08:03:57 AM »
Nice to see this thread revived. I have the greatest admiration for Rubbra and have thought of him as the true heir of Vaughan Williams. I think that VW thought much the same. Colin writes eloquently of Rubbra's appeal and I entirely agree.

My own favourite Rubbra recording is Barbirolli's of Symphony No 5. This was also my introduction to Rubbra on an old EMI LP, where it was coupled with Vaughan Williams's Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus and the Oboe Concerto; a great disc, which I borrowed from the High St Kensington Music Library in the 1970s. Oddly enough as I was driving into work today I was thinking that I must listen to some more Rubbra. My other favourites are Symphony No 7 conducted by Boult on Lyrita (my other Rubbra LP discovery), Symphony No 8 and, of course Symphony No 4. I like No 1 too but haven't really got my head round the choral No 9 yet.

As Colin says, there is something deeply spiritual about Rubbra's music, which is very conducive to quiet introspection (not that I get much chance for that  :-[) and it grows on you with repeated listening. I'd also recommend the haunting work 'Resurgam' (on Lyrita with symphonies 3 and 4), a beautiful, haunting, short work.

A new biography of Rubbra has recently appeared. I believe that his son, Benedict Rubbra is quite well known as a painter.

As to my favourite composers; Miaskovsky (obviously), Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold, Langgaard, Brian, Honegger, Tubin, Holmboe, Rubbra, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Copland, Diamond and Bloch come to mind.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 08:11:57 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2008, 08:29:10 AM »
Thanks, Jeffrey.

('Quiet introspection', there's a luxury item for you!)
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2008, 10:27:21 AM »
I don't think anyone's mentioned Rubbra's chamber music yet...so I will put in a plug for the 2nd String Quartet, a marvelous old-fashioned sounding 4tet with a wonderful slow mvt. (Cavatina).

I have it played by the Dante Quartet, coupled with the 4th Quartet...that one doesn't grab me as much, though...anyone else heard these?
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2008, 02:41:43 PM »
I don't think anyone's mentioned Rubbra's chamber music yet...so I will put in a plug for the 2nd String Quartet, a marvelous old-fashioned sounding 4tet with a wonderful slow mvt. (Cavatina).

I have it played by the Dante Quartet, coupled with the 4th Quartet...that one doesn't grab me as much, though...anyone else heard these?

Yes, thank you for this. I have a number of CDs of the chamber music, mainly on Dutton; all of a very high quality. There is a lovely ASV disc "The Chamber Music and Songs with Harp" with Danielle Perrett playing harp. I was a friend of hers at Teacher Training College in Exeter and remember the complexities of having to help transport her harp for a concert! The CD is wonderful music for late night listening. A Hymn to the Virgin is especially beautiful.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 02:47:02 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #45 on: September 10, 2008, 05:03:17 PM »
Partly to demonstrate that I am not totally obsessed with the symphony as a musical form but mainly because I truly believe that these are short masterpieces can I recommend three discs from Chandos, EMI and Naxos containing examples of Rubbra's shorter choral works.

The Chandos contains his marvellous Suite 'Inscape' for mixed choir, strings and harp and the beautiful Advent Cantata 'Natum Maria Virgine'. The Naxos has the moving 'Missa in honorem Sancti Dominici' written in 1949 in response to Rubbra's own conversion to Roman Catholicism.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 05:06:39 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #46 on: September 10, 2008, 05:04:49 PM »
and-

Offline The new erato

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #47 on: September 11, 2008, 08:38:16 AM »
The Dutton discs of string quartets are heartily recommended by me also. In case nobody has mentioned it, the Soliloquy for cello and orchestra (on an Lyrita disc) is very fine as well.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #48 on: September 11, 2008, 09:40:03 AM »
The Dutton discs of string quartets are heartily recommended by me also. In case nobody has mentioned it, the Soliloquy for cello and orchestra (on an Lyrita disc) is very fine as well.

I agree about the Soliloquy. I actually have three versions-the Lyrita with Rohan de Saram and the late Vernon Handley(coupled with Symphonies Nos. 6 and 8), a version by Raphael Wallfisch and Handley again(coupled with other cello pieces on a White Line CD) and Raphael Somner's performance on an old BBC Classics CD(coupled with Handley's magnificent 4th Symphony and the Piano Concerto played by Malcolm Binns with the LSO). Any of these three would represent the piece well.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2008, 02:16:15 PM »
Harry I recommend this disc, all of these pieces were originally recorded and released with the symphonies, but not included on the symphonies box set, the sinfonia concertante has some nice piano work:



Just been listening to this; a great disc. I did not realise how good Rubbra's 'Sinfonia concertante' was.
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2008, 02:22:38 PM »
Just been listening to this; a great disc. I did not realise how good Rubbra's 'Sinfonia concertante' was.

Do you know the Piano Concerto, Jeffrey? A quite magical piece in my estimation.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2008, 02:50:17 PM »
Do you know the Piano Concerto, Jeffrey? A quite magical piece in my estimation.

Sure that I owned it once but seem to have lost it in the chaos of my ever growing CD collection. Have just ordered it cheaply on Amazon (Sargent/Matthews); a fine work. Reminds me (oddly) of Klaus Egge's Piano Concerto No 2 (Naxos). Do you know that Colin?
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #52 on: September 21, 2008, 04:12:58 PM »
Good heavens! A comparison of Edmund Rubbra and Klaus Egge?

Yes, I have Egge's Piano Concerto No.2-but on an Aurora CD coupled with the Symphony No.1 "Lagnadstonar".

Will report back once I have refreshed my memory of the Egge!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #53 on: September 22, 2008, 06:06:34 AM »
Not sure that I can go along with you very far on this one, Jeffrey :( Yes, there are a few moments in the Egge when I can hear some echoes of Rubbra but Egge's idiom is more advanced(though by no means difficult!) and I would not personally put his concerto in the same class as that by Rubbra.

Egge's 1st Symphony on the other hand is a more rewarding work and plumbs deeper waters. It is rather sad to read in the CD notes that Egge "was a dominant personality in the musical life of Norway and internationally acknowledged to be one of the foremost Scandinavian composers of his generation". That does not seem to be reflected in the attention he has received since his death in 1979.
BIS has given us a complete Saeverud symphonic cycle and is engaged on a similar exercise for Fartein Valen(whose music is too dry for my sympathies!). Geirr Tveit and, even, Eivind Groven have received exposure but there has been little Egge beyond the two old Aurora discs with the 1st. 2nd and 4th symphonies.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #54 on: September 23, 2008, 12:01:58 PM »
Thanks Colin. Something about the atmosphere of the opening of the Egge reminded me of the Rubbra..don't know what really...maybe because they both feature the piano  ;D
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #55 on: October 08, 2008, 07:49:58 AM »
Have been listening to Symphony No 7 (LPO Boult, Lyrita). What a great work; it gets better and better, culminating in a deeply moving 15 minute finale. At the moment this is the Rubbra symphony I play most often. I think that nos 4,5,7 and 8 are the best in the cycle, although they are all worth investigating. The Boult No 7 with the Barbirolli and Schoenzeler No 5 are my favourite Rubbra discs.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 07:53:11 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline jowcol

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #56 on: October 08, 2008, 08:21:44 AM »
I guess I'll need to check out the 7th. 

I currently have 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11 on Chandos. 

4 is hands down my favorite.  The opening is totally engrossing-- more of a set of evolving variations than a classic sonata form and I'm grateful for that.  ALso, there are a couple stretches in the the last movement that are nothing less than enthralling. 

2, of this group has been my second favorite.  The last couple are shorter and more angular, and I just haven't gotten them yet. 

I thought I'd like 1-- supposedly his angriest symphony, which is why I got it.  But I don't think it worked for me as much as I'd like.  I'm not sure if that mold really fit him.  The 4th almost approaches, to my ears, the cumulative impact of classical indian music where a very simple start grows into something that pulls you in deep.  THat first movement in particular.

I'll need to try the 7th for sure. 
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2008, 08:32:23 AM »

4 is hands down my favorite.  The opening is totally engrossing-- more of a set of evolving variations than a classic sonata form and I'm grateful for that. 

Yes, it's wonderful. This is where I feel the Elizabethan-early music influence quite strongly - it's almost like something by Byrd or Dowland.

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2, of this group has been my second favorite. 

Yay, another fan of the 2nd  :) I love that powerful opening mvt. (like compressed Bruckner) and the intense polyphonic scherzo that follows.

Quote
I thought I'd like 1-- supposedly his angriest symphony, which is why I got it.  But I don't think it worked for me as much as I'd like. 

I had a similar reaction. It was impressive on first listen, but gradually I cooled on it. I think he had a better grip on the anger in the 2nd.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #58 on: October 08, 2008, 08:51:30 AM »
I guess I'll need to check out the 7th. 

I currently have 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11 on Chandos. 

4 is hands down my favorite.  The opening is totally engrossing-- more of a set of evolving variations than a classic sonata form and I'm grateful for that.  ALso, there are a couple stretches in the the last movement that are nothing less than enthralling. 

2, of this group has been my second favorite.  The last couple are shorter and more angular, and I just haven't gotten them yet. 

I thought I'd like 1-- supposedly his angriest symphony, which is why I got it.  But I don't think it worked for me as much as I'd like.  I'm not sure if that mold really fit him.  The 4th almost approaches, to my ears, the cumulative impact of classical indian music where a very simple start grows into something that pulls you in deep.  THat first movement in particular.

I'll need to try the 7th for sure. 

You must try No 5 as well; perhaps the most immediately enjoyable of all the Rubbra symphonies, but also a work of great depth. Lovely scherzo, deeply felt slow movement and inspiriting finale.
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
« Reply #59 on: October 16, 2008, 06:44:04 AM »
I am overjoyed to learn that there are others who share my love for Rubbra's music :) :)

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments on the opening movement of Symphony No.4 and the glorious finale of No.7 :)

Rubbra himself regarded his 9th symphony('Sinfonia Sacra') as his magnum opus but perhaps its deeply religious nature puts some people off?

I wonder how long it will be before Naxos embarks on a cycle to go with their Stanford, VW, Bax, Alwyn, Arnold symphonic series? And if they do will they entrust it to David Lloyd-Jones, who appears to have become their 'house conductor', as Bryden Thomson was and Richard Hickox is for Chandos? Lloyd-Jones grows in my estimation all the time! His Bax and Alwyn cycles demonstrate that though he may not be the equal of, say, Vernon Handley in British music he can be relied upon to produce a thoroughly musical and impressive interpretation.

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