Author Topic: William Alwyn  (Read 19562 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #120 on: May 19, 2017, 06:22:03 AM »
The symphonies are awesome! No. 5 is somewhat spicier than the other 4, but it's a wonderful condensing of the 4-movement symphonic form into a single 14-minute movement.
Yes, I very much agree.
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Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #121 on: May 19, 2017, 07:35:09 PM »
Actually I think that the 'Swan of Tuonela' comment above referers to 'Autumn Legend' (on the CD recommended by John/MI) rather than the eloquent Pastoral Fantasia, so you need to hear that one too. 'Odd Man Out' is a fine score.

The symphonies are awesome! No. 5 is somewhat spicier than the other 4, but it's a wonderful condensing of the 4-movement symphonic form into a single 14-minute movement.

Perfect! All that sounds attractive to me

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #122 on: May 19, 2017, 11:08:42 PM »
Perfect! All that sounds attractive to me
It was hearing Alwyn conduct Symphony 5 on the radio, presumably in the late 1970s which encouraged me to write to him to say how much I liked his music. He sent a very charming reply. There is a recent biography 'The innumerable Dance'.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline 71 dB

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #123 on: May 20, 2017, 02:10:57 PM »
I have been listening to Alwyn on Spotify. This is the first time I explore his music. Pretty pleasant experience. Alwyn has a nice velvet-y feel in his music and it's easy to listen, but not banal or too simple. It's just easy to follow. I ordered the Naxos discs of symphonies 2 & 5 + Harp Concerto, all works that I liked on Spotify.

I like Bax's chamber music for Harp and Alwyn's Harp Concerto was very nice. Seems like British composers know how to compose for harp!  0:)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #124 on: May 21, 2017, 10:34:10 AM »
I have been listening to Alwyn on Spotify. This is the first time I explore his music. Pretty pleasant experience. Alwyn has a nice velvet-y feel in his music and it's easy to listen, but not banal or too simple. It's just easy to follow. I ordered the Naxos discs of symphonies 2 & 5 + Harp Concerto, all works that I liked on Spotify.

I like Bax's chamber music for Harp and Alwyn's Harp Concerto was very nice. Seems like British composers know how to compose for harp!  0:)
I agree. Bax's Harp Quintet is by far my favourite of his chamber works - a lovely, tuneful score.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline 71 dB

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #125 on: May 21, 2017, 10:43:36 AM »
Now listening to Alwyn's String Quartets (Maggini Quartet) on Spotify.

I agree. Bax's Harp Quintet is by far my favourite of his chamber works - a lovely, tuneful score.

I think I'll limit* my Bax collection to the two Naxos discs I have (Chamber music for Harp and the 6th symphony)

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* I really need limits to mentally survive the abundance of classic music!

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #126 on: May 21, 2017, 09:19:01 PM »
Now listening to Alwyn's String Quartets (Maggini Quartet) on Spotify.

I think I'll limit* my Bax collection to the two Naxos discs I have (Chamber music for Harp and the 6th symphony)

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You need to hear symphony 3 as well.  >:D   8)

Alwyn tended to get recommended to those who liked Bax's music - rightly so I think, although some find Alwyn's music less diffuse.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline 71 dB

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #127 on: May 22, 2017, 12:17:47 AM »
You need to hear symphony 3 as well.  >:D   8)

Alwyn tended to get recommended to those who liked Bax's music - rightly so I think, although some find Alwyn's music less diffuse.

I listened to all 5 symphonies. The first one is weaker and the other 4 stronger imo.

I didn't find the String Quartets very interesting. Orchestral music is clearly Alwyn's forte. However, I did found Alwyn's Conversations interesting and good.

Of Alwyn and Bax I think I prefer Alwyn.

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #128 on: May 22, 2017, 04:08:54 AM »
I listened to all 5 symphonies. The first one is weaker and the other 4 stronger imo.

I didn't find the String Quartets very interesting. Orchestral music is clearly Alwyn's forte. However, I did found Alwyn's Conversations interesting and good.

Of Alwyn and Bax I think I prefer Alwyn.
Sorry, I meant Bax's Third Symphony. I like all those by Alwyn including No.1 which was criticised for it's 'film-like' thematic material but that is no problem for me. I especially like the historic CD with Barbirolli conducting Alwyn's 1st and 2nd symphonies (he also recorded Bax's Third Symphony in a legendary performance).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline 71 dB

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #129 on: May 22, 2017, 04:34:38 AM »
Sorry, I meant Bax's Third Symphony. I like all those by Alwyn including No.1 which was criticised for it's 'film-like' thematic material but that is no problem for me. I especially like the historic CD with Barbirolli conducting Alwyn's 1st and 2nd symphonies (he also recorded Bax's Third Symphony in a legendary performance).

I find all Alwyn's orchestral music "film-like" and that's not a problem at all. I just found the first symphony a bit dull compared to the rest.

I did listen to all 7 Bax symphonies, was it half a year ago, on Spotify and number 6 was my favorite by far so I bought that to my collection.  :)

At this point I have no plans to expand my Bax collection beyond the 2 Naxos discs I have (Chamber music for harp & Symphony 6). I'm cherry-picking hard!  ;)

To me Alwyn is more interesting composer than Bax, so I keep exploring him more, but soon I may move on to Bliss perhaps?
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #130 on: May 22, 2017, 04:40:15 AM »
I find all Alwyn's orchestral music "film-like" and that's not a problem at all. I just found the first symphony a bit dull compared to the rest.

I did listen to all 7 Bax symphonies, was it half a year ago, on Spotify and number 6 was my favorite by far so I bought that to my collection.  :)

At this point I have no plans to expand my Bax collection beyond the 2 Naxos discs I have (Chamber music for harp & Symphony 6). I'm cherry-picking hard!  ;)

To me Alwyn is more interesting composer than Bax, so I keep exploring him more, but soon I may move on to Bliss perhaps?
Bliss is not a 'great composer' but I find myself often returning to his music. His late-romantic Piano Concerto is good and the choral symphony 'Morning Heroes' and much else besides. For chamber music I'd recommend his lovely Oboe Quintet which you can get on Naxos.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Maestro267

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #131 on: May 22, 2017, 06:07:13 AM »
Bliss is not a 'great composer'

Oh yes he is! And so is Alwyn, and so is Bax, and so is everyone who has a thread here. The canon of great composers is far more vast than the marketing men, critics and concert hall programmers would have you believe.

Meanwhile, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Walton yet with regards to an Alwyn similarity.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #132 on: May 22, 2017, 06:13:00 AM »
Bliss is not a 'great composer'

So, ignorance is bliss?  :D

but I find myself often returning to his music. His late-romantic Piano Concerto is good and the choral symphony 'Morning Heroes' and much else besides. For chamber music I'd recommend his lovely Oboe Quintet which you can get on Naxos.

Okay, these are welcome recommendation for the day I start to check out Bliss, thanks! Oboe Quintet sounds attractive!  ;)

Oh yes he is! And so is Alwyn, and so is Bax, and so is everyone who has a thread here. The canon of great composers is far more vast than the marketing men, critics and concert hall programmers would have you believe.


That's true. If it weren't, we would be listening to Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, ... only.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #133 on: May 22, 2017, 11:34:51 AM »
Listening to Alwyn's piano music on Spotify (Volume 2 on Naxos).
I didn't have high expectations, but to my surprise Alwyn's piano music works for me!
This is like listening to a "British" Granados.  :)
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #134 on: May 22, 2017, 12:41:33 PM »
Oh yes he is! And so is Alwyn, and so is Bax, and so is everyone who has a thread here. The canon of great composers is far more vast than the marketing men, critics and concert hall programmers would have you believe.

Meanwhile, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Walton yet with regards to an Alwyn similarity.

Isn't this the 'Good Music Group' rather than the 'Great Music Group?'  8)

There are great moments in Bliss I agree and I like his music very much. Walton's First Symphony is a great piece of music IMHO.

Yes, Bliss's Oboe Quintet is wonderful, especially in the version performed by the Melos Ensemble.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Maestro267

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #135 on: May 23, 2017, 10:13:10 AM »
That's true. If it weren't, we would be listening to Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, ... only.

And what an incredibly dull and boring place that would be.

Offline JohnP

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #136 on: May 24, 2017, 07:38:27 AM »
I find all Alwyn's orchestral music "film-like" and that's not a problem at all. I just found the first symphony a bit dull compared to the rest.

I did listen to all 7 Bax symphonies, was it half a year ago, on Spotify and number 6 was my favorite by far so I bought that to my collection.  :)

At this point I have no plans to expand my Bax collection beyond the 2 Naxos discs I have (Chamber music for harp & Symphony 6). I'm cherry-picking hard!  ;)

To me Alwyn is more interesting composer than Bax, so I keep exploring him more, but soon I may move on to Bliss perhaps?


Hi 71dB

Hi

Have you tried the symphonies of Robert Simpson or Graham Whettam?

Re Alwyn, Steve Schwartz at Classical Net posits his string trio and clarinet sonatas as masterpieces

http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/n/nxs72425a.php

Similarly his violin concerto which he compares to Elgars' and his opera Miss Julie, based on Strindberg

http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/n/nxs70705a.php

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #137 on: May 24, 2017, 09:09:51 AM »
Alwyn's Violin Concerto is one of his best works I think.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline 71 dB

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #138 on: May 24, 2017, 09:10:49 AM »
Have you tried the symphonies of Robert Simpson or Graham Whettam?

No, I haven't.  :-\

Re Alwyn, Steve Schwartz at Classical Net posits his string trio and clarinet sonatas as masterpieces

http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/n/nxs72425a.php

Similarly his violin concerto which he compares to Elgars' and his opera Miss Julie, based on Strindberg

http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/n/nxs70705a.php

Alwyn's Violin Concerto is good stuff, but for us Elgarians hardly even close to that of Elgar.  ;)
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Alwyn
« Reply #139 on: July 01, 2017, 01:39:07 AM »
No, I haven't.  :-\

Alwyn's Violin Concerto is good stuff, but for us Elgarians hardly even close to that of Elgar.  ;)

I'm increasingly of the view that Alwyn's VC is one of his greatest scores (I know I've said this before) I find myself listening to it a great deal. Both the Chandos and Naxos versions are excellent. The work was totally neglected/rejected in Alwyn's lifetime.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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