Author Topic: Milford's Haven  (Read 3295 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Milford's Haven
« on: September 04, 2015, 09:02:00 AM »
I thought that Robin Milford (1903-1959) despite being described as a 'minor 20th Century English composer' deserved a thread of his own, albeit likely to be of minority interest. If you like the music of his friend (Finzi) and his teacher, Vaughan Williams, you are likely to enjoy the music of Milford. There is a great warmth and humanity to this largely tranquil music. Milford, Finzi, Hadley etc are largely seen as lying in the shadow of Vaughan Williams and yet, as has been pointed out elsewhere, Vaughan Williams's music, despite its great beauty, has a strangely impersonal quality to it (which in the case of his Sixth Symphonyny is a strength); Finzi, Hadley and Milford, on the other hand, wrote music, which perhaps revealed more of themselves. Milford's 'The Darkling Thrush' an orchestral setting of an incredibly moving poem by Thomas Hardy is a deeply personal work. It is like The Lark Ascending in some ways but I actually prefer it, probably due to over-familiarity of the latter.

Milford had a sad life. Although being of a highly sensitive and nervous nature he volunteered for the army as soon as the Second World War broke out (unlike Britten, who cleared off to America) where he was bullied and suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be invalided out. Then, his only child Barnaby was killed in a road traffic accident in 1941. Finally, after the deaths of his friends, Finzi and Vaughan Williams he committed suicide in 1959,

Yet, his music lives on:







The CD with the lovely 'Darkling Thrush' won't appear but here is the link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frederick-Delius-Concerto-Benjamin-Darkling/dp/B011IO8PW6
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 09:08:08 AM by vandermolen »
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2015, 10:38:27 AM »
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2015, 10:22:23 PM »
Quote from: Mirror Image link 8) 8)=topic=25161.msg918662#msg918662 date=1441481907
Here you go:



Thanks so much John. I thought that this was a good candidate for a zero response thread. 8)

'The Darkling Thrush' is a beautiful and, I think very moving work. The Thomas Hardy poem has become one of my favourites too.

Slow movement of Milford's Violin Concerto:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D3f2gLEOw78
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 10:27:10 PM by vandermolen »
"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 Mirror Image

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2015, 04:40:45 AM »
Thanks so much John. I thought that this was a good candidate for a zero response thread. 8)

'The Darkling Thrush' is a beautiful and, I think very moving work. The Thomas Hardy poem has become one of my favourites too.

Slow movement of Milford's Violin Concerto:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D3f2gLEOw78

I hate to rain on your parade here, Jeffrey, but I listened to this first movement of his Violin Concerto (as you posted here) and I can say that I'm quite underwhelmed by it. I don't really hear a distinctive musical personality. With other English composers like Britten, RVW, Walton, and Elgar, the impact is immediate and I'm drawn into their sound-worlds. Milford seems to be one of those, out of many, English composers who seemed to struggle with their musical identity and what they wanted to express. I just don't hear many personal touches. For me, something has to be more than beautiful on the surface, there has to be some kind of turbulence underneath. Anyway, I believe I made my point. ;) ;D
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2015, 06:47:21 AM »
I'd like you to hear The Darkling Thrush or the 'Fishing by Moonlight' CD which perhaps show more originality. It is not startlingly original but there is a quiet beauty about the music which I find appealing.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 09:40:09 AM by vandermolen »
"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 Dax

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2015, 08:47:11 AM »
The Robin Milford Trust enables us to listen to recordings

http://www.robinmilfordtrust.org.uk/milfwork.htm

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2015, 12:44:20 PM »
The Robin Milford Trust enables us to listen to recordings

http://www.robinmilfordtrust.org.uk/milfwork.htm

Dax, thanks very much for alerting me to this excellent site. Nice to see a photo of Milford looking happy.
"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).

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2019, 08:29:16 AM »
Milford's Symphony which Vaughan Williams thought highly of has recently been performed for the first time. I haven't heard it but would love to do so. Last night I listened to 'The Darkling Thrush' after Thomas Hardy's eponymous poem. I found it incredibly moving, especially in the circumstances of Milford's sad life:
« Last Edit: April 06, 2019, 08:31:14 AM by vandermolen »
"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 Christo

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2019, 04:28:10 AM »
The BBC Concert Orchestra recording broadcasted yesterday (IIRC) with Milford's Symphony No. 2 is still available here (from 1:23'00 on):
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0006ffy
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Biffo

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2019, 05:03:18 AM »
I thought that Robin Milford (1903-1959) despite being described as a 'minor 20th Century English composer' deserved a thread of his own, albeit likely to be of minority interest. If you like the music of his friend (Finzi) and his teacher, Vaughan Williams, you are likely to enjoy the music of Milford. There is a great warmth and humanity to this largely tranquil music. Milford, Finzi, Hadley etc are largely seen as lying in the shadow of Vaughan Williams and yet, as has been pointed out elsewhere, Vaughan Williams's music, despite its great beauty, has a strangely impersonal quality to it (which in the case of his Sixth Symphonyny is a strength); Finzi, Hadley and Milford, on the other hand, wrote music, which perhaps revealed more of themselves. Milford's 'The Darkling Thrush' an orchestral setting of an incredibly moving poem by Thomas Hardy is a deeply personal work. It is like The Lark Ascending in some ways but I actually prefer it, probably due to over-familiarity of the latter.

Milford had a sad life. Although being of a highly sensitive and nervous nature he volunteered for the army as soon as the Second World War broke out (unlike Britten, who cleared off to America) where he was bullied and suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be invalided out. Then, his only child Barnaby was killed in a road traffic accident in 1941. Finally, after the deaths of his friends, Finzi and Vaughan Williams he committed suicide in 1959,

Yet, his music lives on:







The CD with the lovely 'Darkling Thrush' won't appear but here is the link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frederick-Delius-Concerto-Benjamin-Darkling/dp/B011IO8PW6

I had forgotten WW2 started in April 1939.

Offline Christo

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2019, 05:25:46 AM »
I had forgotten WW2 started in April 1939.
Well, the annexation of Czechoslovakia and part of Lithuaniania started in October 1938; for millions, Jewish inhabitants included, this was the beginning.
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Biffo

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2019, 05:49:43 AM »
Well, the annexation of Czechoslovakia and part of Lithuaniania started in October 1938; for millions, Jewish inhabitants included, this was the beginning.

War wasn't declared until September 1939 and the British Government tried to avoid it at all costs. As Britten and Pears weren't Czech or Lithuanian it is irrelevant what was happening to those countries. Britten and Pears left for the USA for several reasons, one was the deteriorating political situation. When war broke out they were advised by the British embassy to stay in the USA though Pears wanted to return. They eventually did return in 1942 and spent the rest of the war giving concerts.

Britten is a long way down my list of favourite composers and I don't agree with his pacifism but I also don't agree with the tedious factoids that are frequently trotted out whenever his name is mentioned.

Offline DaveF

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2019, 01:14:20 PM »
I thought that Robin Milford (1903-1959) despite being described as a 'minor 20th Century English composer' deserved a thread of his own...

When that thread has such a good title, he surely does!  And if, like me, you like Robin Holloway's music, how about one for him?  Holloway's Cell?  Holloway's Lock-Up?
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2019, 12:55:54 AM »
Well, the annexation of Czechoslovakia and part of Lithuaniania started in October 1938; for millions, Jewish inhabitants included, this was the beginning.
And some date it back to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931.

Back on topic, the revival of interest in Milford's Symphony No.2 (I had no idea that he'd written more than one) is such good news for those who admire his music.
 :)
"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).

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2019, 12:58:17 AM »
When that thread has such a good title, he surely does!  And if, like me, you like Robin Holloway's music, how about one for him?  Holloway's Cell?  Holloway's Lock-Up?
Thank you! Must explore Robin Holloway's music which I hardly know. Any recommendations?
"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).

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2019, 01:01:06 AM »
I'm pleasantly surprised by the increased traffic on this thread, even though most of the posts relate to the Origins of World War Two. Soon I shall have to hire a PA to deal with all the communications!
 8)
"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 Roasted Swan

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2019, 01:30:28 AM »
I'm pleasantly surprised by the increased traffic on this thread, even though most of the posts relate to the Origins of World War Two. Soon I shall have to hire a PA to deal with all the communications!
 8)

sorry haven't looked at the other thread to check - did you see I posted about being able to hear the Milford 2nd Symphony on BBC Radio 3 iplayer for the next month......

Offline Christo

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2019, 02:02:45 AM »
sorry haven't looked at the other thread to check - did you see I posted about being able to hear the Milford 2nd Symphony on BBC Radio 3 iplayer for the next month......
Here it is, the radio broadcast of the world premiere of Symphony No. 2 from 1933, that Milford withdrew in 1956 (BBC Concert Orchestra, Martin Yates conducting; introduction starting at 1:23'00): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0006ffy
(Another interesting piece is Vaughan Williams, incidental music for The Blue Bird (1913), starting around 0:59' minutes).
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2019, 03:13:12 AM »
RS and Christo - thanks so much for the info.
 :)

As Martin Yates is the conductor I hope that Dutton might release a CD of the Milford symphony as he has recorded a number of releases for them (VW, Arnell, Bate etc).

I was very lucky to coincidentally tune in to the broadcast concert on the car radio.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 03:18:16 AM by vandermolen »
"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).

Online vandermolen

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Re: Milford's Haven
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2019, 09:03:21 PM »
Before this thread goes back into hibernation I thought I'd recommend this lovely CD of poetic and gentle music if anyone wants to sample Milford.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 09:04:59 PM by vandermolen »
"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).