Author Topic: British Composers by decade.  (Read 6757 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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British Composers by decade.
« on: July 29, 2011, 05:24:54 AM »
I thought that I would arrange some British composers by the decade in which they were born to see if any sort of pattern emerged of changing fashion in relation to the recording of their music.

1870-79: Ralph Vaughan Williams(1872)  Gustav Holst(1874) Cyril Rootham(1875) Havergal Brian(1876) Rutland Boughton(1878) John Ireland(1879) Cyril Scott(1879)

                               VW, Holst, Ireland and Scott have fared very well in recent years; Chandos has released a Scott cycle. The three Boughton symphonies have been recorded.
                               HB appears to be coming in from the cold!

1880-89: Edgar Bainton(1880) Sir Arnold Bax(1883) York Bowen(1884) C. Armstrong Gibbs(1889)

                               Bax has certainly done very well on disc over the last two decades. Chandos has recorded quite a lot of Bainton. York Bowen is very much flavour of the last
                               two years!

1890-99: Sir Arthur Bliss(1891) Herbert Howells(1892) Gordon Jacob(1895) Patrick Hadley(1899)

                              Each has been reasonably well served by record companies, although most of the choral music written by Bliss remains unrecorded. Chandos has done a lot of
                              Howells. Both Jacobs symphonies are on disc, some of his (huge number of) concerti, most of Hadley's major choral compositions.

1900-09: Alan Bush(1900) Edmund Rubbra(1901) Sir William Walton(1902) Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903) William Alwyn(1905) Alan Rawsthorne(1905) Sir Michael Tippett(1905)
                         Arnold Cooke(1906) Benjamin Frankel(1906) William Wordsworth(1908) Robin Orr(1909)

                         Golden decade for British music! Rubbra, Walton, Rawsthorne, Tippett have all done very well on disc. Naxos and Dutton seem determined to record absolutely
                         everything that Alwyn ever composed! Chandos released a somewhat attenuated Berkeley series(which did include all four symphonies). CPO, to its immense
                         credit, recorded a complete cycle of the Frankel symphonies. Alan Bush(whose reputation was hugely damaged by his political sympathies) is beginning to be
                         recognised: Dutton will shortly be releasing his 4th symphony and Nos. 1 and 2 are already available on a Classico disc.

                         The two composers most deserving of re-discovery are Cooke and Wordsworth. Only Two of Cooke's six symphonies and only two of Wordsworth's eight are on
                         disc.

1910-19: Robert Still(1910) Stanley Bate(1911) Daniel Jones(1912) Benjamin Britten(1913) George Lloyd(1913) Humphrey Searle(1915) Bernard Stevens(1916)
                          Richard Arnell(1917) John Gardner(1917)

                         Britten, of course, has been well covered. Courtesy of Albany and Dutton , so has the music of George Lloyd and of Richard Arnell respectively! Again, CPO must
                         have taken quite a gamble-as with Frankel- in recording all five Searle symphonies but there is a lot, lot more Searle unrecorded and apparently forgotten.
                        Stanley Bate is being discovered by Dutton. Five symphonies by Daniel Jones are on disc but eight more have never been recorded.

1920-29:   Peter Racine Fricker(1920) Geoffrey Bush(1920) Sir Malcolm Arnold(1921) Robert Simpson(1921) Iain Hamilton(1922)  Arthur Butterworth(1923)
                           Anthony Milner(1925) Alun Hoddinott(1929) Kenneth Leighton(1929)

                           Much more patchy now. Most Malcolm Arnold is on disc. Simpson did very well as a result of Hyperion's advocacy. Dutton has released some Butterworth(the
                           composer is still very much alive!)Chandos has a mini-series of Leighton ongoing(I hope!). There is quite a lot of Hoddinott on disc-but a huge number of works
                           still to go, including six of his ten symphonies.
                           Fricker and Hamilton have been almost completely ignored!

1930-39: (selective list) William Mathias(1934) Sir Peter Maxwell Davies(1934) Nicholas Maw(1935) Sir Richard Rodney Bennett(1936) John McCabe(1939)

                          Again very patchy! Collins recorded a lot of Maxwell Davies but when the company went to the wall that all stopped. There are at least two unrecorded McCabe
                          symphonies and a very large number of concerti. Bennett appears largely forgotten in this country.

A number of record companies stand out for their dedication to the cause of promoting British music. Albany(George Lloyd), Chandos, CPO(Frankel and Searle), Dutton(Arnell, Bate and others), Hyperion(Simpson), Naxos. There seems to have been a fashion for recording relatively 'conservative' British music, romantic, tonal, call it what you will. So we have had a lot of Cyril Scott, Edgar Bainton, York Bowen, George Lloyd, Richard Arnell, Malcolm Arnold and now Stanley Bate.
Slightly more 'difficult' music has more difficulty in getting onto disc with the exceptions of Frankel and Simpson.

The real stand-outs for me are Cooke and Wordsworth-neither by any standards a problem for any lovers of Hindemith, Sibelius or RVW-Jones, Fricker and Hamilton, whose idiom is a bit more taxing and the serialist Humphrey Searle.

                               

Offline Lethevich

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2011, 06:31:01 AM »
Leighton occupies an interesting position - like Britten his work seems to act as a stylistic bridge between the earlier waves and the Maxwell Davis generation. He has also been done reasonably well by the recording industry. There has been no sudden burst of recordings like Bax or Simpson, but there are various discs of choral music, a valuable 3 disc set of his piano music on Delphian, and a recent Wallfisch disc of his music for cello with piano in addition to the Chandos series, making assessing his output a lot easier than it used to be.

Mathias' neglect I suppose can be explained when looking at the composers surrounding him. Charges of regressiveness may be true, but I would like to see more recorded as he has a lovely, vibrant style.
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Offline Albion

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2011, 06:54:16 AM »
An excellent overview, with most figures covered, although I would add:

1870-79: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875); William Hurlstone (1876); Joseph Holbrooke (1878); Frank Bridge (1879)

Outside of the Hiawatha trilogy, Coleridge-Taylor has not been too well served, although there are several recordings of his fine Violin Concerto (1912), whilst the Ballade in A minor (1898) and the Symphonic Variations on an African Air (1906) received excellent performances under Grant Llewellyn on Argo/ Decca. The Classico recording of his student Symphony (1896) has just been reissued at bargain price, but it would be great to have more of his colourful scores, especially A Tale of Old Japan (1911).

Hurlstone has done very well out of Lyrita with most of his orchestral music spread over three very fine discs: he was particularly expert at Variation form, with three impressive sets represented. I am always struck by the poignant fact that he was born in the same year as Havergal Brian but died at the age of 30 in 1906, whereas Brian's lifetime overlapped with mine.

Holbrooke is gradually coming out of the shadows, with fine discs apiece from Dutton and CPO. More is scheduled from the latter (Violin Concerto The Grasshopper, the Auld Lang Syne Variations and Symphony No.3 Ships). This is very welcome - even better would be first-class recordings of Queen Mab (1904) and the 'Illuminated Symphony' Apollo and the Seaman (1908).

Chandos came up trumps with their six-volume Bridge series under Richard Hickox, even to the extent that the last two volumes had a certain barrel-scraping quality at times. Otherwise, there are several fine recordings from Lyrita covering the major orchestral works.

1880-89: John Foulds (1880); George Dyson (1884)

John Foulds has become better represented in the catalogue only in past few years, with the 2007 Chandos release of A World Requiem perhaps the most prominent (and controversial) example. Elsewhere two fabulous discs from Warner under the baton of Sakari Oramo have recently been joined by two exemplary volumes from Dutton containing a wide variety of Foulds' orchestral music. Urgently needed is a recording of the very fine Cello Concerto.

Dyson has fared well at the hands of Chandos, with several major choral works (The Canterbury Pilgrims, Nebuchadnezzar and Quo Vadis) leading the pack, alongside several fine discs of his orchestral music. Vernon Handley's recording of the masterly St Paul's Voyage to Melita (on Somm) was slightly let down by the chorus, but it still remains a valuable account of this highly impressive score.

1890-99: Ernest John Moeran (1894)

Moeran's music has been quite well served, especially by Chandos with a significant number of his major works now available in budget price compilations.

1900-09: Gerald Finzi (1901); Constant Lambert (1905); Grace Williams (1906)

Finzi has done pretty well with several companies, including Lyrita, Chandos and Naxos, with most major works recorded at least once.

Constant Lambert, although not wildly prolific, has struggled to find much recognition beyond The Rio Grande and, possibly, Horoscope - but there are several fine works particularly on Hyperion - Tiresias and Summer's Last Will and Testament spring most readily to mind.

Although not perhaps a major voice, I would certainly put in a word for Welsh composer Grace Williams whose style is quite distinctive. Two discs from Lyrita and one from Chandos are pretty much all there are at the moment, although recent radio broadcasts of her Symphony No.1, the Violin Concerto and the Sinfonia Concertante can be accessed. What is really needed is a committed performance of the large-scale Missa Cambrensis (1971).
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 07:11:08 AM by Albion »
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2011, 07:53:54 AM »
THANKS, Albion!!!

I guessed that there would be omissions :-[ But how on earth can I have come to miss Holbrooke, Bridge, Foulds, Dyson, Moeran and Finzi??
(Too obsessed with symphonies, I reckon..though that doesn't explain Holbrooke).

Anyway you have more than compensated for these serious omissions by your comments on each :)

Totally agree with what you say too, cilgwyn, about Holbrooke, Bate and, in particular, Daniel Jones. I find Jones a most rewarding composer and your phrase "sombre, imposing, unflashy' is absolutely spot-on. Just my cup of tea, in fact :D I had hoped that the late Richard Hickox might do a cycle with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales but, sadly, that can't happen now. Doubt if Thierry Fischer would be interested ::)

(Oh...cilgwyn's post seems to have been removed!......but he did make some very good and pertinent points about these composers ;D)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 07:57:27 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline springrite

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2011, 08:07:19 AM »
(Oh...cilgwyn's post seems to have been removed!......but he did make some very good and pertinent points about these composers ;D)

That will teach you about not using the QUOTE option!
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Offline Albion

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2011, 08:19:17 AM »
Well.I removed my initial reply. Partly because I think the whole point of Dundonnell's post is ACTUALLY about the possibility that composers from particular decades are favoured by recording labels & listeners at the espense of those from others,NOT who has been left in or left out!

Undoubtedly (with one or two exceptions), British composers writing in a predominantly tonal 'romantic' idiom have found favour consistently in terms of continued support and 'rediscovery' - perhaps York Bowen (again, a composer who somewhat divides opinion, but whose music I greatly value) is the most obvious recent example.

Clearly there is to an extent the sense that recording companies are largely following the analogy of "bums on seats" when it comes to CD/ download sales and, in the current economic climate, it is difficult to criticise this approach (without being willing to personally sponsor or contribute to the recording of other, more avant-garde composers). Of course, record companies have a history of overlooking potential "winners" and it is up to enthusiasts to keep them up to speed!

 ;)
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline Grazioso

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2011, 08:34:11 AM »
Mathias' neglect I suppose can be explained when looking at the composers surrounding him. Charges of regressiveness may be true, but I would like to see more recorded as he has a lovely, vibrant style.

I think Mathias's relative neglect can only be explained by sheer foolishness :( Thank goodness Nimbus and a few others thought it worth sharing some of his music with the world.

Re: Frankel, CPO indeed did us a service by issuing a complete series of the symphonies--and symphonies are ultimately all that matters  :D--but it would be nice if they'd bring their other recordings of his works back into print. It looks like there's really very little of his work available atm.

Btw, I wonder to what extent the deaths of Maestros Hickox and Handley in 2008 have set back the advocacy of British music on record.
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Offline some guy

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2011, 02:29:41 PM »
Btw, I wonder to what extent the deaths of Maestros Hickox and Handley in 2008 have set back the advocacy of British music on record.
I would think it would have quite an effect on British music by people who a) were born no later than 1939 and b) who write for choral and/or orchestral forces.

The other people, not so much.

Chris Cutler and ReR are still very much alive. As are Jon Abbey and Erstwhile.

Besides, music is an international phenomenon. Keith Rowe (born 1940, just by the way) works with Japanese artists all the time. And French. And probably many more that I'm not aware of. But those people work with live electronics, so the death of a prominent orchestral conductor or two is not likely to affect how they work or how often they're recorded.


Offline cassandra

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2011, 01:15:32 AM »
What? No members of the female persuasion no the list? For me, three come to mind instantly, Ethyl Smyth, Elisabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy. Of the trio, one I cannot abide, but all three have been shamefully underrepresented in concert performance, recordings and broadcasts since their deaths. I shan't now go off at a tangent and rant about Radio 3, even though it is in my nature to do so!

Offline Albion

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2011, 02:50:11 AM »
To extend the survey backwards chronologically - I'm afraid that this is in the nature of a ramble through the music and recordings of several composers who may perhaps be no more than names to some listeners (it also partly serves as a rather optimistic wish-list):

1790-99: Cipriani Potter (1792)

Considering that Potter was the first major British symphonist (and one of considerable quality), his current absence from the catalogue is a glaring omission. The Symphonies in E flat (1828) and G minor (1832) were recorded over twenty years ago on the now-defunct Unicorn-Kanchana label, and a much more recent recording of the Symphony in F (1826) on Classico has similarly succumbed to the deletion axe. An integral cycle of the nine extant symphonies is long overdue, and perhaps the three piano concertos would be worth exploring.

1800-09: Michael William Balfe (1808)

From Balfe's copious operatic output little has been set down on disc to even a reasonably high standard. The honourable exceptions are Falstaff (1838) from RTE and The Maid of Artois (1836) from Campion Cameo (Victorian Opera Northwest). The Argo/ Decca recording of The Bohemian Girl (1843) was not wholly successful, and despite the popularity of this opera there are several others which are more deserving of revival, especially The Siege of Rochelle (1835), The Rose of Castile (1857) and Satanella (1858).

1810-19: William Vincent Wallace (1812); Edward Loder (1813); George Alexander Macfarren (1813); William Sterndale Bennett (1816)

Wallace and Loder were, like Balfe, primarily composers for the stage. A recent recording of Lurline (1860) from Naxos (Victorian Opera Northwest), whilst not fully to professional standard, gives a very fair assessment of Wallace's strong melodic appeal, whilst Maritana (1845) was recorded by Marco Polo a couple of decades ago in a rather lacklustre account from Ireland. It would be interesting to hear The Amber Witch (1861) and Love's Triumph (1862). Two operas by Loder stand out as worth reviving, The Night Dancers (1834) and Raymond and Agnes (1855).

A brief foray into the symphonies (numbers 4 and 7) of Macfarren from CPO with the Queensland Philharmonic did not achieve very significant, or enjoyable results. Perhaps the performers and the recording quality were (unusually for CPO) to blame, but it was all very worthy and decidedly dull listening. Far more promising are Macfarren's operas - later this year Victorian Opera Northwest are due to release the premiere recording of Robin Hood (1860) and hopefully this will encourage interest in at least two other large-scale scores, She Stoops to Conquer and Helvellyn (both 1864). Although hampered by complete blindness from the early 1860s, Macfarren's output continued undiminished with the help of an amanuensis painstakingly writing down his dictation - the results (at least as far as these operas are concerned) are remarkably tuneful and colourfully scored.

William Sterndale Bennett has been well-served on disc, especially by Lyrita - excellent recordings of Piano Concertos 1, 2, 3 and 5 were recently joined by one containing the late Symphony (1862) and several attractive overtures. Hyperion luckily filled the gap by including the Piano Concerto No.4 in the Romantic Piano Concerto series. Marco Polo effectively covered the main piano works in three volumes and there is little else that really demands attention, except the symphonic Fantasy-Overture Paradise and the Peri (1862) and Piano Concerto No.6 (whose autograph score is jealously guarded by it's owner and, unfortunately, currently inaccessible).

1840-49: Arthur Sullivan (1842); Alexander Mackenzie (1847); Hubert Parry (1848)

Sullivan needs no introduction, but several major scores still lack the attention they deserve. The Golden Legend (1886) and Ivanhoe (1891) have, at long last, been made available by Hyperion and Chandos respectively - The Martyr of Antioch (1880) is still the major choral omission, but Chandos and the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society have committed to a complete studio recording of the Romantic Music Drama The Beauty Stone (1898) probably due for 2013.

Hyperion, briefly, flew the flag for Mackenzie with fine performance of the Scottish Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto and several other attractively cosmopolitan scores. Perhaps the cause will be taken up by Chandos (Sir Andrew Davis has expressed an interest in exploring the Scottish Romantics). Perhaps it would be expecting too much for consideration to be given to his epic oratorio (and strongest work) The Rose of Sharon (1884) - but there's no harm in asking.

Parry did very well out of Chandos, with all the symphonies and a raft of other orchestral works set down by Matthias Bamert. Regrettably the exploration of the choral scores came to a somewhat premature end, leaving us without works such as Prometheus Unbound (1880), the Magnificat (1897) and The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1905), all of which would greatly expand our knowledge of this often-misrepresented composer. Luckily, Lyrita gave us a splendid account of one of Parry's finest scores, Ode on the Nativity (1912).

1850-59: Charles Villiers Stanford (1852); Frederic Cowen (1852); Edward Elgar (1857); Frederic Cliffe (1857); Ethel Smyth (1858)

Stanford's instrumental, chamber and orchestral output has been fairly well explored by several companies but major choral recordings are still pretty thin on the ground and operas non-existent. This is a pity, as Phaudrig Crohoore (1896), the Te Deum (1898) and (amonst the operas) Much Ado About Nothing (1901) and The Travelling Companion (1916) should be better known.

Frederic Cowen's imminent (volume 54) inclusion in the Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto series, via an 1897 Concertstuck written for Paderewski, is very welcome indeed. Two decades ago Marco Polo set down the 3rd Symphony (1880), Butterfly's Ball Overture (1901) and the Indian Rhapsody (1903) in truly appalling sound with a sub-standard orchestra - a recording which did more harm than good. Then, luckily, a release from Classico of the 6th Symphony (1897) put things back on track. Hopefully, more of Cowen's music will find it's way to disc - generally not profound stuff this, but attractively scored and melodically appealing. Two choral scores which stand out quite noticeably from his generally genteel, well-groomed, emotionally-non-committal output are Ode to the Passions (1898) and The Veil (1910), both unexpectedly strong in their language - it would be good to give them an airing. Luckily the full scores for these survive (unlike several other interesting Cowen scores, including his four operas).

Elgar needs no special pleading, and pretty much everything he ever penned has been recorded at one time or another.

By including the Violin Concerto (1897) in their Romantic Violin Concerto series, Hyperion did Frederic Cliffe a great service. Although his output very limited to half-a dozen major works, what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. Symphony No.2 (1892) is the major omission in the catalogue, but the very impressive Symphony No.1 (1889) was recorded in a rather cavernous acoustic by Sterling.

Ethel Smyth is a figure whose eccentricities and larger-than-life persona have largely obscured the high quality of her compositions. Only The Wreckers (1906) amongst her operas has been recorded complete (on the defunct Conifer label), but attention should be given to several others especially the comedy The Boatswain's Mate (1916). The Dvorakian Mass in D (1893) has had a couple of recordings, but nothing has been heard of a strong choral score from the other end of her career, The Prison (1930). Chandos gave us a single excellent orchestral disc under Odaline de la Martinez several years ago, but nothing since.

1860-69: William Wallace (1860); Edward German (1862); Frederick Delius (1862); Arthur Somervell (1863); Granville Bantock (1868); John Blackwood McEwen (1868); Henry Walford Davies (1869)

With four Symphonic Poems, a Creation Symphony, and a couple of other orchestral scores on Hyperion, William Wallace is fairly well represented.

Likewise, Edward German's orchestral output has been pretty well covered first by Marco Polo and then latterly by Dutton (on two outstanding discs conducted by John Wilson). The Naxos release of the comic opera Tom Jones (1907) was very welcome indeed, splendidly performed and very well recorded.

Delius is well-established on disc, not so much now in the concert hall and a recent Chandos recording under Sir Andrew Davis has been extremely well-received.

Somervell's fine Violin Concerto was another Hyperion winner and the same intrepid company are due to release Somervell's Normandy Variations (1913) and the Highland Piano Concerto (1921) - the only major missing link is the Thalassa Symphony (1912).

Hyperion and Vernon Handley worked wonders on Bantock's wider reputation through a fantastic orchestral series during the 1990s. The (more or less complete) Chandos recording of Omar Khayyam (1906-09) turned out to be a splendid achievement - there is still some mileage to be had in other choral scores, especially Sea-Wanderers (1907) and The Great God Pan (1915) together with the Celtic folk-infused opera The Seal-Woman (1924).

McEwen's orchestral music was fairly well covered in a three-disc mini-series from Chandos under Alasdair Mitchell which also, rather unexpectedly, included the hour-long choral setting Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity. Chamber music has fitfully appeared from Chandos, but it seems as though this has dried up now.

Finally coming to Walford Davies, the Dutton recording of Everyman (1904) was a very welcome oasis in the desert. None of his larger orchestral scores have found their way into the recording studio yet, including a mature Symphony (1911), a Festal Overture (1910) and a couple of suites including a solo piano. Several choral works also look very promising on paper, especially Song of St Francis (1912) - certainly, judging from the vocal scores, a number of Davies' cantatas would probably impress greatly in performance.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 03:05:47 AM by Albion »
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2011, 04:33:06 AM »
Superb job, Albion :)

So glad that my original (lengthy) post did actually lead to someone taking up the challenge to add to and improve on what I was attempting ;D

Pleased too to acknowledge the names of Grace Williams and Elizabeth Maconchy, missing from my original listings.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2011, 05:29:55 AM »
I think that I should also have included Egon Wellesz in my original list. Wellesz was a Hungarian born in Vienna in 1885(does that make him an Austrian?) but fled to Great Britain in 1938. All nine of his symphonies were composed in Britain.

As with Benjamin Frankel and Humphrey Searle it was CPO who put the Wellesz symphonies onto disc. All three composers were serialists of a sort (Wellesz in his later works in particular) which makes one wonder if a company like CPO would be interested in composers like Fricker or Hamilton. They are currently engaged in exploring Dutch orchestral music-very different composers: Joseph Rontgen, Jan van Gilse and (praise be!) Henk Badings.

Offline Lethevich

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2011, 12:53:39 AM »
They are currently engaged in exploring Dutch orchestral music-very different composers: Joseph Rontgen, Jan van Gilse and (praise be!) Henk Badings.

I really hope that this series continues despite the damning of faint praise that the composer's music tends to garner...

Wellesz is great stuff, although I feel that more than most, this composer's style was little affected by the country he later found himself living in.
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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2011, 04:42:46 AM »
I notice Albion's list includes the name Stanford,a name I usually associate with snore juice! He obviously has his place in British musical history,as a tutor,and he certainly was one of the pioneers of a home grown symphonic tradition. Yet,his music does nothing for me. Indeed,while it's obviously all very well crafted & Stanford obviously has an ear for orchestral colour,it lacks any memorable thematic material & after a few moments I find myself becoming increasingly bored and my finger sneaking towards the off button.
Yet,I must admit to being a little suprised by excerpts from his opera 'The Travelling Companion',which were broadcast a few years ago by the BBC. I was expecting something slow and as dry as dust,but this seemed to spring from the world of light opera,or even operetta itself. Not a masterpiece,of course & perhaps the BBC only chose the best bits,but a bit of a suprise all the same.

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2011, 04:43:49 AM »
I think that I should also have included Egon Wellesz in my original list. Wellesz was a Hungarian born in Vienna in 1885(does that make him an Austrian?) but fled to Great Britain in 1938. All nine of his symphonies were composed in Britain.



If Wellesz can be included then I'd certainly include him! Even though I have only two discs of his music, they are wonderful stuff and I wouldn't hesitate, finances permitting, to get anything I see by him.
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2011, 10:31:59 AM »
I really hope that this series continues despite the damning of faint praise that the composer's music tends to garner...

Wellesz is great stuff, although I feel that more than most, this composer's style was little affected by the country he later found himself living in.

I understand that Wellesz was not particularly impressed by most British music of his time(or indeed earlier). As you say, he appears to have been almost completely immune to any influences from it.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2011, 10:44:42 AM »
I notice Albion's list includes the name Stanford,a name I usually associate with snore juice! He obviously has his place in British musical history,as a tutor,and he certainly was one of the pioneers of a home grown symphonic tradition. Yet,his music does nothing for me. Indeed,while it's obviously all very well crafted & Stanford obviously has an ear for orchestral colour,it lacks any memorable thematic material & after a few moments I find myself becoming increasingly bored and my finger sneaking towards the off button.
Yet,I must admit to being a little suprised by excerpts from his opera 'The Travelling Companion',which were broadcast a few years ago by the BBC. I was expecting something slow and as dry as dust,but this seemed to spring from the world of light opera,or even operetta itself. Not a masterpiece,of course & perhaps the BBC only chose the best bits,but a bit of a suprise all the same.
With Stanford, I would suggest starting with the six Irish Rhapsodies if there is still any interest. If you don't like Wetz or Stanford, it leads me to believe you just might not like later romantacism.
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cilgwyn

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2011, 11:18:41 AM »
Erm,no thank you. I love late/ romantic music, I just don't think Stanford or Wetz are much cop!
No offence,but I don't HAVE to like them,do I?
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 11:24:53 AM by cilgwyn »

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2011, 11:26:25 AM »
Erm,no thank you.  I just don't think Stanford or Wetz are much cop!
No offence,but I don't HAVE to like them,do I?
No, but the Irish Rhapsodies are genearlly livelier and could be a way in if there was interest (they are well posted by others here too if you search older posts). I don't mind the dislike (we all have music we don't like or like less), I just disagree with some of the descriptions.
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Offline some guy

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Re: British Composers by decade.
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 11:50:55 AM »
To extend the survey backwards chronologically....
Well, we certainly wouldn't want to extend it forwards chronologically, would we? (Mommy, that bad man is talking about modern music, again. Make him stop, Mommy!! Eugh!!)

Heigh ho.

Add Cornelius Cardew to the 1930-39 decade.

1940-49: Keith Rowe, Eddie Prevost, Frank Corcoran, Trevor Wishart, Chris Cutler, Tim Hodgkinson

1950-59: Christopher Hobbs, Jonty Harrison

1960-69: Grainne Mulvey, Adrian Moore

1970-79: Natasha Barrett

1980-89: Diana Salazar (c. 1980), Adam Stansbie (c. 1980)

There are, of course, many more. But even this list took me too long to compile (I have real work, too!). Even though these are all people I know, I didn't know any of their dates--I still don't know Diana or Adam's dates. I'm only guessing they're both in their early thirties.

So anyway, pending "Mommy" yelling at me, this is my contribution to a "British Composers by decade" thread.