Author Topic: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)  (Read 11064 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« on: December 14, 2007, 12:21:22 AM »
I don't expect much response here but I thought it worth drawing attention to two new releases of music by this largely unknown but (in my view) very worthwhile composer (the teacher of Bliss at Cambridge).

EMI have just issued an excellent CD of choral/orchestral works, including the excellent "For the Fallen" as part of an issue of several releases to commemorate Armistice Day in the UK (Foulds's "A World Requiem" was performed on the day itself this year in London). The EMI CD has given me great pleasure; the Miniature Suite for piano and and strings is a lovely, charming work and, as in the music of John Ireland, Rootham understates the emotion which, paradoxically, makes it more poignant.

Lyrita have also issued Rootham's Symphony of the 1930s. One of my favourite issues of the old Lyrita LP catalogue, it is coupled with music by Bantock and Holbrooke and is IMHO one of the best of the newly released Lyrita CDs (my other great discovery was Arthur Benjamin's epic Symphony of 1945). Both these works would, I think appeal to admirers of Vaughan Williams and Moeran. The Rootham Symphony (and I hope that his Symphony 2, completed just before his death, is recorded one day) is a great work with slapping brass and a "big tune" in the last movement, which reminded me of the end of the first movement of Vaughan Williams's Sixth Symphony (the slow movement of the Arthur Benjamin Symphony also reminded me of the VW symphony 6...his greatest in my view).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_?url=search-alias%3Dclassical&field-keywords=rootham&Go.x=3&Go.y=8


There's an article about Rootham here:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/Rootham/index.htm
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 12:29:46 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Montpellier

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2007, 03:24:06 AM »
I bought the Lyrita CD mainly for the Holbrooke, a work I easily fell for.   I didn't give the Rootham Symphony a fair listen but I put the EMI disc on my MDT wish list so I presume I liked it.   I'll run it again today and also get that MDT order going. 

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2007, 03:26:39 AM »
I do have the Lyrita LP in question and quite like the work, but have not listened to it in ages since I no longer have a serviceable turntable.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2007, 09:48:46 AM »
I plan signing up to eMusic,m where Lyrita recordings can now be downloaded at a very low price, so I'm grateful for your pointer, Vandermolen. You have whetted my appetite...
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2007, 11:13:10 AM »
Thanks for responses  :)

The new EMI CD (a reissue of an LP which, I think, must have been one of the last EMI classical LPs (c 1987)) is well worth investigating. Both this and the Lyrita recording of the Symphony are relatively inexpensive (on UK Amazon).

Look out for that Arthur Benjamin symphony too:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Benjamin-Orchestral-Works-Arthur/dp/B000N8UVSA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1197659773&sr=1-1
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 11:17:29 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2007, 06:02:37 PM »
I have no difficulty agreeing with you regarding Rootham's 1st Symphony! A good, solid and sometimes impressive contribution to the list of inter-war British symphonies. It does make one wonder what Rootham's 2nd symphony-written under the shadow of fatal illness and completed by Patrick Hadley-does sound like. The adjective 'apocalyptic' which has beeen used to describe the 2nd is certainly intriguing!
I did think that the Lyrita coupling of the Rootham with works by composers so different to him in Holbrooke and Bantock was rather odd but I suppose that there can be a case for variety within the same disc.

I was also impressed by the EMI CD recently reissued. The short choral pieces included are models of classical restraint but extremely beautiful. It is sad that Rootham's setting of Binyon's 'For the Fallen' led to a dispute with Elgar, whose own setting(part of "The Spirit of England") was published second. The CD does remind us-once again-the huge debt we owe to Richard Hickox in championing over the years so many British choral compositions. It does worry me to speculate on which conductors will follow Hickox, Handley and David Lloyd-Jones  in keeping the flame alive in the future.

Thanks also for reminding me that Bliss was a pupil of Rootham. This has given me an idea for a new thread!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2007, 08:48:21 AM »
Perhaps Rumon Gamba, a talented young conductor will carry forward the interest in works of lesser-known British composers. His Chandos Film Music Series (Rawsthorne,Alwyn, Vaughan Williams etc) has been very promising as was his Chandos CD of the last three Arnold symphonies (symbolically perhaps, taking up the torch from Richard Hickox, who had conducted the Chandos recordings of the earlier symphonies).
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Offline Montpellier

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 11:32:44 AM »

I did think that the Lyrita coupling of the Rootham with works by composers so different to him in Holbrooke and Bantock was rather odd but I suppose that there can be a case for variety within the same disc. 

Are they so different?  They sounded in the same realm - the Rootham 2nd movement bore similarities with the Holbrooke, perhaps darker.  However, I know too little about Rootham, not much more about Holbrooke, just this disc and some chamber music.  The Holbrooke seemed to have affinity with Bantock's Fifine at the opening string chorus.

However,
Quote
I was also impressed by the EMI CD recently reissued. The short choral pieces included are models of classical restraint but extremely beautiful.

I've ordered this disc now and look forward to it.  There isn't much of this composer about, nor Holbrooke for that matter but every little helps. 


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 11:55:19 PM »
Are they so different?  They sounded in the same realm - the Rootham 2nd movement bore similarities with the Holbrooke, perhaps darker.  However, I know too little about Rootham, not much more about Holbrooke, just this disc and some chamber music.  The Holbrooke seemed to have affinity with Bantock's Fifine at the opening string chorus.

However,  
I've ordered this disc now and look forward to it.  There isn't much of this composer about, nor Holbrooke for that matter but every little helps. 



I'm sure that you'll enjoy the EMI CD. I've played it many times over the past couple of weeks. It is a very well put together programme. The Miniature Suite is charming and "For the Fallen" is moving. For a CD it's a bit short on playing time c 50+mins as EMI have simple duplicated an LP; pity they couldn't have added something more...but maybe I am greedy. Like Dunnodell I'm very curious about Rootham's unrecorded Second Symphony from the very end of his life.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Montpellier

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2007, 07:13:17 AM »
I'm sure that you'll enjoy the EMI CD. I've played it many times over the past couple of weeks. It is a very well put together programme. The Miniature Suite is charming and "For the Fallen" is moving. For a CD it's a bit short on playing time c 50+mins as EMI have simple duplicated an LP; pity they couldn't have added something more...but maybe I am greedy. Like Dunnodell I'm very curious about Rootham's unrecorded Second Symphony from the very end of his life.
Yes, on first listening - most pleasant.   I've still to listen to "For the Fallen".   The CD arrived this morning, I made an MP3 so I could listen while about town - not the best conditions and this music demands listening in peace and quiet which I'll do this evening unless something goes wrong!   The music has clean lines, clean harmony, beautiful choral balance and the texture never seems to get clogged.  I hate to say this and hope it offends no one, I find it somewhat easier than similar from Holst.   Definitely glad I bought the CD. 

Symphonies by Daniel Jones arrived at the same time, maybe I should start a thread on him.   A very different music. 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2007, 11:55:55 AM »
Yes, on first listening - most pleasant.   I've still to listen to "For the Fallen".   The CD arrived this morning, I made an MP3 so I could listen while about town - not the best conditions and this music demands listening in peace and quiet which I'll do this evening unless something goes wrong!   The music has clean lines, clean harmony, beautiful choral balance and the texture never seems to get clogged.  I hate to say this and hope it offends no one, I find it somewhat easier than similar from Holst.   Definitely glad I bought the CD. 

Symphonies by Daniel Jones arrived at the same time, maybe I should start a thread on him.   A very different music. 

Pleased you are enjoying it. "For the Fallen" is the highlight of the CD for me, so I'll be very interested to hear what you think of it. I like the symphonies of Daniel Jones although he is a tougher nut to crack. Rootham's Miniature Suite is very charming.

I'm listening to Shostakovich's 11th Symphony at the moment, which is altogether quite different!
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2007, 02:09:05 PM »
Yes, on first listening - most pleasant.   I've still to listen to "For the Fallen".   The CD arrived this morning, I made an MP3 so I could listen while about town - not the best conditions and this music demands listening in peace and quiet which I'll do this evening unless something goes wrong!   The music has clean lines, clean harmony, beautiful choral balance and the texture never seems to get clogged.  I hate to say this and hope it offends no one, I find it somewhat easier than similar from Holst.   Definitely glad I bought the CD. 

Symphonies by Daniel Jones arrived at the same time, maybe I should start a thread on him.   A very different music. 

You should start a thread on Daniel Jones! Happy to join you there if you do. If you don't, then I shall start one myself!

Offline Montpellier

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2007, 05:35:50 AM »
I've found For the Fallen a very satisfying and poignant work.   Beautifully constructed.   

The Miniature Suite has sound and texture not unlike George Butterworth, the little music he wrote, a composer I find so easy to listen to.  Definitely a worthwhile buy.  It's also drawn my attention back to his Symphony. 

Great.

(I'll have a look at Daniel Jones later.  I need to d/ld the string quartets, noting that Chandos offer the service.


Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2007, 03:45:46 PM »
I don't expect much response here but I thought it worth drawing attention to two new releases of music by this largely unknown but (in my view) very worthwhile composer (the teacher of Bliss at Cambridge).

Thank you for the recommendation! We shall look out for Rootham's music. Oddly enough his name is not mentioned in Norman Lebrecht's book on Twentieth Century Music, a reliable work to which we are accustomed to turn for information about unknown composers.

Grove of course provides something, but even there we find only a "selective list" of his works, and there are among them a great many written for chorus. The most ambitious of Rootham's choral works with orchestra is said to be the Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, dating from 1928.

Will it not be an admirable thing when in a few years' time the internet has matured to the extent that we may retrieve at the press of a button a recorded performance of any one of the complete works of men such as Rootham! Will it happen in our life-time we wonder?
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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2007, 03:58:31 PM »
Will it not be an admirable thing when in a few years' time the internet has matured to the extent that we may retrieve at the press of a button a recorded performance of any one of the complete works of men such as Rootham! Will it happen in our life-time we wonder?
Listen to his complete first symphony here.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2012, 02:18:18 PM »
I have a CD of the Second Symphony now - a very fine and darkly moving score, written under the shadow of a fatal illness. Lyrical, valedictory (certainly not 'apocalyptic') with a choral finale, it cries out for a commercial release (Dutton?) The orchestration was completed by Patrick Hadley. Anyone who responds to Bax or Alwyn should enjoy this, although the work has a warmth and eloquence which is very much Rootham's own.
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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2012, 08:55:39 AM »
Yes,I was impressed by this completion of No2. I will 'dig' my cdr out a bit later. I need another listen! Like Holst's entertaining,'The Perfect Fool' opera.it seems to be one of those works that's just crying out for a commercial cd release.
Enjoyed the Moeran 'Second',too.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2012, 05:18:54 AM »
Yes,I was impressed by this completion of No2. I will 'dig' my cdr out a bit later. I need another listen! Like Holst's entertaining,'The Perfect Fool' opera.it seems to be one of those works that's just crying out for a commercial cd release.
Enjoyed the Moeran 'Second',too.

Yes, I agree - Dutton should do it (they have released some of Rootham's chamber music). I find the end of Rootham's Second Symphony to be very touching and the score altogether memorable. I must listen to the Moeran properly.
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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2012, 06:05:59 AM »
Vandermolen really has got me going! :o ;D It's been Roothmania for the last few days here. After having his glorious First Symphony on repeat for hours on end,I downloaded some of the emi recordings,to make up a cdr of mainly orchestral works,although I 'threw' in 'The Stolen Child',for good measure. This,'The Psalm of Adonis' & the 'Miniature Suite' are all wonderfully compact. No note spinning here. This is one composer who knew when to stop! 'The Stolen Child' sounds particularly effective heard immeadiately after the Second. It sort of steals (geddit?! ;D) in on you! And his orchestration is always so clean,so transparent. No one could ever have accused him of over scoring.

The Second is more ambitious in scope,more sombre in tone.......and I'm impressed! :) But I need another listen,so after the current (afore mentioned) cdr ends,I will 'bung it on'!
After that,thanks to a musical friend,I have a big,ambitious choral blockbuster lined up!!! :P :)

Looking at the essay on Musicweb & the list of unrecorded works,it is hard to understand why a composer of this quality remains ignored by even the most imaginative of small cd labels! :(

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2012, 06:08:34 AM »
Rootham

th = d

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