Author Topic: George Lloyd  (Read 17769 times)

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Offline Klaatu

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #40 on: May 10, 2013, 11:52:41 PM »
George Lloyd and Havergal Brian! Now, that brings back the memories....

Many years ago, in the days when I still had hair, I discovered the wonderful Vincent's record shop in Needless Alley, Birmingham (UK). Sadly, this emporium - whose sales staff all seemed to have the knowledge of a professional musicologist - has long since disappeared.

Lloyd's Fifth symphony had just been released, and this was the start of the composer's rediscovery by the musical media. I walked into Vincent's specifically to look for this LP.

Having found the Lloyd, I chanced on the Lyrita LP of Havergal Brian's 6th and 16th symphonies. A few years earlier I had seen the BBC documentary of his life, "The Unknown Warrior", and was fascinated by the man's story.

So I left the shop with both the Lloyd and the Brian LPs (plus a few others - Alan Bush and Edmund Rubbra, amongst them.)

On playing the records I immediately loved the Lloyd and hated the Brian - I just couldn't fathom the latter.

But an odd thing happened - I kept getting drawn back time and again to the Brian disc. Perhaps the music reminded me of one of those infuriating "hidden picture" puzzles that drive you nuts but you can't rest until you "see" it.

Nowadays I still like Lloyd - and I think his Symphonic Mass is a masterpiece which was unfortunately written about a half-century too late - but I have no doubt that Brian is a far more significant composer, although his output is wildly uneven.

Lloyd's Mass is to be performed this year at Truro. A recording is available on YouTube. Had this work been penned between, say, 1910-1930, it would have become a treasured jewel in the crown of English* choral/orchestral music; such a shame that it was stylistically so outdated at the time of its composition.

* I'm not sure whether Lloyd considered himself to be an "English" composer, or - as a true Cornishman would - a strictly "Cornish" one!
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 12:04:42 AM by Klaatu »

Offline relm1

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2013, 08:53:22 AM »
I really like Lloyd too but have to be in a certain mood.  His music is well crafted, extremely melodic, old fashion, but if you like Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Arnold in his dances and less serious side, there is much to enjoy here.  I also think he reminds me a great deal of Derek Bourgeois.  The melodies aren't very sticky but are well constructed. 

I prefer the Lyrita box set of Symphonies 4, 5, & 8 with the more seasoned Philharmonia Orchestra under Edward Downes to the composers recordings with Albany.  My favorite symphony is No. 7 because there is an elegant depth to it.  I also enjoy the Symphonic Mass and Vigil of Venus very much.

One thing I don't fully understand, what is the nature of his medical problem that kept him away from composing for two decades?  I recall from program notes in one of the CDs that he didn't see combat during his military services though there was an accident.  Basically, does anyone have further details on his medical issues?  Was it depression? 

Offline Brian

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2013, 08:54:31 AM »
There's a big sale at ArkivMusic right now - all the Albany records are $10 each if you buy three or more. I'm strongly considering it; I have only the Fifth Symphony, but love that piece.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2013, 09:07:56 AM »
One thing I don't fully understand, what is the nature of his medical problem that kept him away from composing for two decades?  I recall from program notes in one of the CDs that he didn't see combat during his military services though there was an accident.  Basically, does anyone have further details on his medical issues?  Was it depression?

Today we call it PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). He saw 17 shipmates die when one of their ship's own torpedos malfunctioned during a battle, causing an explosion which ruptured oil tanks, flooding the compartment where he and 19 other bandsmen were stationed. Only three escaped, Lloyd being the last one to make it out but not before taking oil into his lungs and stomach. He was so traumatized, he couldn't function at all. Couldn't speak. Lost coordination and mobility. Doctors initially thought he'd be institutionalized for life. After his discharge, his wife nursed him back to health but it took three years.

Sarge
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 09:53:41 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Sean

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #44 on: June 25, 2013, 09:34:25 AM »
The centenary of his birth falls on Friday, 28th June.

I'm only familiar with the Third, Fifth and Tenth symphonies, A Symphonic mass and Charade but the opening movement of the Fifth has a marvellously sophisticated melody that seems cheerful enough but really masks darker emotions; Lloyd I understand had to deal with manic depression. The Mass is richly scored and the Tenth symphony is for brass- I'd like to explore more.

Couldn't see an existing Lloyd thread...

Sean

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2013, 09:37:01 AM »
My regrets, this should be on the composers board- can someone oblige in moving it?

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2013, 09:38:14 AM »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Sean

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2013, 09:41:08 AM »
Oh well. The search box didn't bring it up- maybe it doesn't include thread names and I need to be more creative.

Somebody do the business.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #48 on: June 25, 2013, 12:10:45 PM »
Can't say I've been particularly impressed with any work I've heard by Lloyd. Certainly not up to par with some of my favorites.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 12:25:20 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #49 on: June 25, 2013, 02:33:27 PM »
Fourth Symphony is the best I think. Powerful and moving in places, containing memorable themes, influenced by his tragic war time experience being blown up in a ship escorting an Arctic convoy. First movement played on the radio today.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #50 on: June 26, 2013, 03:17:37 AM »
Can't say I've been particularly impressed with any work I've heard by Lloyd. Certainly not up to par with some of my favorites.


I can say I've been particularly impressed with all the works I've heard by Lloyd. Certainly up to par with some of my favorites  ;) Warmly emotional music, generous melodic content. A brave individual hewing his own path in the post-war modern world.

Sarge

the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #51 on: June 26, 2013, 03:52:35 AM »
The centenary of his birth falls on Friday, 28th June.

Thanks for the heads up. A good time to revisit my Lloyd recordings. I'll start today.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Sean

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #52 on: June 26, 2013, 05:50:22 AM »
He did find his own path, always a good sign for some kind of thinking mind.

By the way I also bought that Handel op.6 Baroque high watermark under Brown & ASMF, lush stuff.

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #53 on: June 26, 2013, 08:28:48 AM »

I can say I've been particularly impressed with all the works I've heard by Lloyd. Certainly up to par with some of my favorites  ;) Warmly emotional music, generous melodic content. A brave individual hewing his own path in the post-war modern world.

Sarge
Nice to see someone sticking up for Lloyd,who doesn't seem to garner too many adherents these days. Some years ago,when Lloyd was 'rediscovered' (a bit like HB was) his colourful,tonal scores & biography caused a minor stir amongst some critics,some of whom were very enthusiastic about the recordings that were subsequently made. Every other magazine or newspaper seemed to have something about the 'shell shocked' composer,his subsequent neglect and extraordinary 'rediscovery'. He was interviewed on the radio & I think he was even on Desert Island Discs? This was before the recent resurgence of interest in composers like Holbrooke,Bantock,Scott and Bowen,amongst others,and it certainly got some interesting & useful debates going,about tonal vs progressive/avant-guarde;so good on Lloyd and his proponents for that!!
Then his 'star' seemed to fade and the notion that LLoyd was just a derivative,bland,forgettable throwback  seemed to multiply and take hold! Also Lloyd died,and we all know what happens to a composers music when that happens;even if he's very good!
As to me. I'm no Lloydian,or whatever you might call his admirers;but I do remember enjoying a performance of his Fifth Symphony on the radio. The Seventh Symphony was on the only Lloyd cd I ever owned,apart from a BBC Music Magazint cassette of his Ninth (I think?). As a teenager,Lloyds Seventh was a fun work out for my cd player,at full volume,with mega bass boost on full!! The Finale with it's VW (Walton?) meets Korngold meets Star Wars climaxes,each one louder,noisier and more spectacular than the one before it,was just grrrree-aat!
Not sure if I would like it now.....but I'd be very curious to hear it again. I think I might even buy a s/h copy later this year.
On a quieter level,some of Lloyd's slow movements are very fine. In these more reflective moments,I think Lloyd does have his own individual voice. I certainly prefer his music to that of Bowen or Alwyn! Maybe,another reappraisal might help. A mid price box set from Albany might help his 'cause'! I've certainly heard allot worse!

« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 10:14:08 AM by cilgwyn »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #54 on: June 26, 2013, 03:08:50 PM »
I liked the 7th Symphony too and saw him conduct Symphony 11 in London and corresponded with him a bit. Symphs 4,5,7 and 8 are the best ones I think although I also like nos 11 and 12. I think that he is a far more interesting composer than Holbrooke and Bowen. I like some of Holbrooke's chamber music but I find his orchestral works to be unreservedly turgid.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Sean

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #55 on: June 26, 2013, 09:17:23 PM »
Good stuff Cilgwyn.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #56 on: June 28, 2013, 03:20:22 AM »
On a quieter level,some of Lloyd's slow movements are very fine. In these more reflective moments,I think Lloyd does have his own individual voice.

This trailer to a film about Lloyd begins with a bit of the Lento tranquillo from the Fourth Symphony (which segues at 1:12 into the first movement of the Seventh). Absolutely gorgeous. His father loved Italian bel canto. You can hear the influence, I think.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/m-mAFoqTU4Y" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/m-mAFoqTU4Y</a>


Sarge
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 04:43:25 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #57 on: June 28, 2013, 04:22:20 AM »
The Hurwitzer is a Lloyd advocate. Here are his reviews of the composer's recordings (the review of #5 can only be accessed by those with an Insider account):

Symphony 4  10/10 "The performance captured here, under the composer’s baton, is superb, notably clearer and more sharp-edged than Edward Downes’ otherwise worthy effort on Lyrita....do listen to this intensely beautiful, atmospheric, and joyous work."

Symphony 5  10/10  "....this outstanding disc presents one of the truly great Romantic symphonies in as fine a fashion as we have any right to expect"

Symphony 7  9/9 "....he was a very fine advocate of his own music, and this is without a doubt one of the last century’s major symphonic statements."

Symphonies 2 & 9  10/10 "George Lloyd’s Second Symphony is a remarkable achievement for a 19-year-old. In terms of structure, it’s loosely based on Tchaikovsky’s Sixth, with its peppy third-movement march (its tune fully worthy of the great Russian composer) and melancholy finale (bluesy rather than hysterically despairing). More importantly, the work shows Lloyd fully in command of his own personal idiom....the promise of the Second is abundantly fulfilled in the Ninth. The performances here are outstanding, among the best in Albany’s Lloyd cycle, with sonics to match."

Symphony 8  10/10 "The symphony has three big movements, is typically colorfully scored, and sports a full range of arresting melodic ideas. This performance by the composer himself is just about ideal."

Symphonies 1 & 12  9/9  "The First Symphony is a pleasant, exuberant, but slightly anonymous piece in the tradition of the early 20th century English tonal school. The Twelfth, on the other hand, is clearly a work of the late 20th century, more ambitious in formal terms and scored with a full awareness of the potential of the modern orchestra. It’s melodic and harmonic character could have come from no one but Lloyd."

Symphony 3  9/8 "Like Shostakovich’s First, written at roughly the same age, the music reveals Lloyd in command of a distinctive personal voice, composed of frankly romantic melody, contemporary harmony (with perhaps a touch of jazz to spice things up), and brilliant orchestration. In this last department, particularly, Lloyd had a real gift."

Symphony 11  10/10 "...the Eleventh is simply chock-full of memorable tunes, arresting gestures, and brilliant orchestration. The idiom is unashamedly romantic in its grandeur and sweep, and in its concentration on the expression of human emotion."

Sarge
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 04:54:52 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Brian

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #58 on: December 05, 2014, 08:34:37 PM »
If you'll allow me to revive this thread...

Someone recently saw me posting in the Listening Thread about my listening to Lloyd's Fifth Symphony. In fact, I had listened to it twice consecutively (along with the Fourth). And whoever it was, they said they were glad I was growing to be a fan of this composer, or discovering his music, or some such thing. That was not the case.

In September 2008, Hurricane Ike besieged Houston. My college had all its students move back on campus into shelters for the hurricane, and we stayed in the cafeteria while the storm raged outside. I spent a long night watching the gale-force winds and rain attack our building, and at about 2 a.m. fired up my iPod and listened to two pieces of music. Bruckner's Seventh Symphony (accidentally fell asleep through the adagio: the only sleep I got that stormy night) and George Lloyd's Fifth Symphony.

Since then I listen to Lloyd's Fifth about once per year. That's not much, but it's enough for the music to stay with me. A symphony that truly contains everything: pastoralism, anger, lyricism, heartbreak, a happy ending. It's sort of the platonic ideal of the Late Romantic Symphony, with, as Sean says repeatedly in this thread, a complex first movement, as well as a passionate romantic slow movement (what a complex of melodies) and inspiring finale. It's rather much, in its hour of chromatic drama. The piece strikes me as romanticism in desperate search of modernistic credentials. An old-fashioned composer, it always sounds like, jumping on the bandwagon to sound like a new composer. And yet, in the face of the triumphal finale and its explosion of tunes and splashy brass parts, you can't help but resist.

Naxos Music Library finally uploaded the Downes/Lyrita box set of Symphonies 4, 5, and 8. No. 4 strikes me as a similarly masterful, even great symphony. But despite 6 years of love for George Lloyd's Fifth, I still haven't had opportunity to properly explore a single one of his other works. Until the time (and recommendations!) arrive(s), it remains, all by itself, on a short list of my favorite pieces forgotten by time, critics, and even GMG. This forum does a great job remembering great old composers who aren't remembered anywhere else. And maybe I'm complicit, because I've always remembered Lloyd's Fifth as a complete symphony, even a perfect symphony, without knowing any of his other music.

I hope somebody will tell me that some of his other works are even better. But if they aren't, well, one masterpiece is enough for anybody.

This thread is an interesting read, but nobody really describes the music, or explains how one work is different from the others, so I'm not sure where to go next. Anybody want to help?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: George Lloyd
« Reply #59 on: December 07, 2014, 01:53:42 AM »
I think that Lloyd himself regarded his 7th Symphony as the best. It is together with nos 4,5,8,11 (which I saw live) and 12 the ones I listen to along with the fine 'Scapegoat' Piano Concerto and the epic Third Piano Concerto. If you are only familiar with the symphonies I'd recommend these works too.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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