Author Topic: English Pastoralism  (Read 20381 times)

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Offline calyptorhynchus

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English Pastoralism
« on: January 30, 2013, 02:43:18 AM »
I was thinking of starting this thread to gather together a list of compositions in the English pastoral idiom. My definition of this would be: "orchestral, concerto or chamber works where the material is largely English folksong, or material based on English folk-idiom, and the music doesn't show much influence of eg late-Romantic or chromatic harmonies, or C20 'modern' harmonies and compositional practices".

My list is surprisingly short. Of course all these composers wrote more pieces than this, these are simply those which I judge to be in this, all right, rather constricted idiom. Even amogst these pieces there are those which depart a little (or a lot) from my definition. Also Moeran is Anglo-Irish and Miriam Hyde and Grainger Australian!

Butterworth: The Banks of Green Willow; Shropshire Lad Rhapsody; Two Elegies

Delius: Brigg Fair

Finzi: Severn Rhapsody

Grainger: Green Bushes; My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone; Shepherd’s Hey

Holst: Fantasia on Hampshire Folksongs; Somerset Rhapsody; Two Songs without Words; Brook Green Suite

Howells: Phantasy String Quartet; Rhapsodic Clarinet Quintet; String Quartet No.3 (‘In Gloucestershire’); Piano Quartet; Pastoral Rhapsody

Hyde, Miriam: Piano Concertos 1& 2; Village Fair

Moeran: Lonely Waters; String Quartets 1 & 2; String Trio; Sonata for Two Violins; Phantasy Oboe Quartet; In the Mountain Country; Rhapsodies Nos 1 & 2 for Orchestra

Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsodies 1 & 2; In the Fen Country; The Lark Ascending; A Pastoral Symphony; Symphony No.5; The Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus; The Running Set; String Quartet No.1; Phantasy String Quintet


Any further additions or discussion welcome....

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 02:54:44 AM »
Well, if the criterion is, based on English folksong, meseems you must include the RVW Folk Song Suite and the Holst Suites for Military Band.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 02:58:48 AM »
I was thinking of starting this thread to gather together a list of compositions in the English pastoral idiom. My definition of this would be: "orchestral, concerto or chamber works where the material is largely English folksong, or material based on English folk-idiom, and the music doesn't show much influence of eg late-Romantic or chromatic harmonies, or C20 'modern' harmonies and compositional practices".

My list is surprisingly short. Of course all these composers wrote more pieces than this, these are simply those which I judge to be in this, all right, rather constricted idiom. Even amogst these pieces there are those which depart a little (or a lot) from my definition. Also Moeran is Anglo-Irish and Miriam Hyde and Grainger Australian!

Butterworth: The Banks of Green Willow; Shropshire Lad Rhapsody; Two Elegies

Delius: Brigg Fair

Finzi: Severn Rhapsody

Grainger: Green Bushes; My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone; Shepherd’s Hey

Holst: Fantasia on Hampshire Folksongs; Somerset Rhapsody; Two Songs without Words; Brook Green Suite

Howells: Phantasy String Quartet; Rhapsodic Clarinet Quintet; String Quartet No.3 (‘In Gloucestershire’); Piano Quartet; Pastoral Rhapsody

Hyde, Miriam: Piano Concertos 1& 2; Village Fair

Moeran: Lonely Waters; String Quartets 1 & 2; String Trio; Sonata for Two Violins; Phantasy Oboe Quartet; In the Mountain Country; Rhapsodies Nos 1 & 2 for Orchestra

Vaughan Williams: Norfolk Rhapsodies 1 & 2; In the Fen Country; The Lark Ascending; A Pastoral Symphony; Symphony No.5; The Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus; The Running Set; String Quartet No.1; Phantasy String Quintet


Any further additions or discussion welcome....
What about the Vaughan Williams English Folksong Suite or Holst Miltary Suites? I'd think you could add much more Grainger too. I'll have to think about this though, because I am not entirely clear what you mean by the last part of the definition (after 'e.g.'), but don't really have time to think about this now.

EDIT: Karl got those in before me, but seems we thinking of the same thing...
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Offline Opus106

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 03:25:37 AM »
Regards,
Navneeth

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 06:00:12 AM »
I'm fairly happy with OP's list.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 06:03:28 AM »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Opus106

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 06:12:12 AM »
Thanks for the reminder, Nav. Cheers! : )

Thanks to calyptorhynchus as well; he's given me enough to explore for a few days.
Regards,
Navneeth

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 07:15:45 AM »
Peter Warlock:

The Curlew
Six English Tunes
Capriol Suite
Serenade for Strings


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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 01:50:31 PM »
Thanks for the comments eveyone. Of course I missed the VW and Holst works for brass band.

What was interesting in compiling the list was how almost every composer on the list composed an awful lot more music in a more C20 style besdies these works (Butterworth died in the Trenches young, but he too would have probably not have stayed in the pure folk style).

Even composers like Finzi who are supposed to be the quintessence of English pastoral don't write in this style very often (The Severn Rhapsody is an early work, showing influence of Butterworth's a Shropshire Lad and VW's Pastoral Symphony; his works such as the Introit for Violin and Orchestra, or Prelude for Strings, are very English, but not folky).

Miriam Hyde, BTW, was an Austrialian composer, I only know the works listed here (on budget price CD in the Eloquence label) and a double CD of her chamber music. Mostly she seems to lean towards Debussey and Ravel as influences, but on balance the Piano Concertos and Village Fair are more English.

There are of course several works by Britten and Richard Rodney Bennett alluding to this style (like Britten's A Time There Was: Suite on English Folksongs). But these are retrospectives on this style, not really in it (cf Britten's title in the past tense). After WW2 no-one seems to have written in it seriously.

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 01:58:00 PM »
Yeah, Warlock, I don't know all those peices listed, but the Capriole Suite is based on Renaissance dance music, like Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances, and other works of his are more chromatic rather than modal.

Obviously these composers, and these works, aren't exactly well-known, I wonder though, whether there were equivalent movements in Scotland and Wales and Ireland (composers in these schools would be even less well-known). Bax's string quartets have Irish jigs as finales, but the rest of these works are more late-Romantic in idiom. Also curious that there wasn't a composer from the north of England writing Rhapsodies on Northumberland Folksongs or whatever.

:-)

Offline ElliotViola

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 03:43:29 PM »
Holst: St Paul's Suite

The bane of amateur string orchestras nationwide...  :D The last movement is based on two english folk songs- the Dargason and 'Greensleeves' (which is sort of a folk song)...
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 04:39:33 PM »
Thanks for the comments eveyone. Of course I missed the VW and Holst works for brass band.

Careful, buddy: you're talking to a woodwind-player here....
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 04:40:55 PM »
Holst: St Paul's Suite

The bane of amateur string orchestras nationwide...  :D The last movement is based on two english folk songs- the Dargason and 'Greensleeves' (which is sort of a folk song)...

Hm, did he recycle the notion from the Military Band Suite, or vice versa?
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Lisztianwagner

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2013, 05:57:52 AM »
Holst's The Golden Goose and A Moorside Suite too.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2013, 06:19:21 AM »
English Pastoral Impressions and Heroic Elegy are very good (the latter more war related):

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Offline ElliotViola

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 11:36:24 AM »
Hm, did he recycle the notion from the Military Band Suite, or vice versa?
The Military Band suites were written in 1909, and the second one in 1911, premiered in 1920. The St Paul's suite was written in 1911 and not published until 1922 because it was revised. Possibly because the Band suite was a success, so he thought 'hmm...' xD

So yes Karl, apparently he did recycle it from the Military Band Suite. Case solved!
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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2013, 02:46:53 PM »
When I made up this list I surprised how short it was. Now I have to say I should subtract Miriam Hyde's works. I listened to the disk of the piano concertos and Village Fair again, and although there are plenty of English sounding tunes in the PCs, they are definitely not modal and have plenty of influences from Ravel and Rachmaninov &c. (Very good works, just not really in the category I was trying to shoehorn them into). Village Fair is a later work than I'd thought (1940s) and I think falls into the retrospective phase of English pastoralism, rather than the thing itself.

Offline relm1

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2019, 04:23:41 PM »
Can someone please educate me on English Pastoralism?  I absolutely love this style of music and would like to better understand why that is.  When I think of English Pastoralism, you usually think of RVW but there are many other examples.  Was RVW the originator or did he get it from someone else? Does the style still exist or is it really between the wars?  What are the qualities that makes a work English pastoralism?  For example, if I was to compose an English Pastoral piece, what would the characteristics of that work be?  What are your favorite examples of this style? 

To me, I hear some strong French influence, so I presume it didn't exist before Debussy/Ravel?  Let's say I was to program a concert called "English Pastorlism", what works would you suggest should be programmed as perfect examples of this style?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 04:25:53 PM by relm1 »

SymphonicAddict

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2019, 04:42:45 PM »
I don't know anything about English Pastoralism in musical terms, but I might suggest Eclogue for piano and strings by Finzi, Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1 by VW, and Pastoral Rhapsody by Howells. There are many others, of course, but at the moment I recall these ones.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: English Pastoralism
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2019, 05:36:29 PM »
Believe it or not, there is actually a thread on this already: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=21411.0
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