Author Topic: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)  (Read 7130 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #60 on: July 30, 2015, 05:02:01 AM »
Reviewed very positively on musicweb -

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Jul/Rootham_sy2_REAM2118.htm

 ;D
It's a great review. Thanks so much for posting it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #61 on: July 30, 2015, 07:48:07 AM »
Well,You certainly beat Musicweb! I'm still waiting and contacted them today. No reply,as yet. Perhaps someone is playing it now? Or thinking,what's this new indie band?!! ??? :( >:(
City in the West is a lovely,evocative piece. I think it is one of Rootham's finest.Thank you for enabling me to hear this without paying for the full download. You have to be careful about being tempted in this way. I've had the emi pieces (you could download separately) on my external drive for a while. Since then I've learnt to watch out for these kind of traps!! ::)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2015, 08:08:47 AM »
Well,You certainly beat Musicweb! I'm still waiting and contacted them today. No reply,as yet. Perhaps someone is playing it now? Or thinking,what's this new indie band?!! ??? :( >:(
City in the West is a lovely,evocative piece. I think it is one of Rootham's finest.Thank you for enabling me to hear this without paying for the full download. You have to be careful about being tempted in this way. I've had the emi pieces (you could download separately) on my external drive for a while. Since then I've learnt to watch out for these kind of traps!! ::)
My pleasure and glad that you are enjoying it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #63 on: January 11, 2017, 08:53:59 AM »
No Armstrong Gibbs thread as far as I can make out. I did look. Perhaps I missed it?! If there is one I apologise and I could move this?! Anyway,I listened to his third Symphony a few days ago,knowing that vandermolen enjoys it. What a surprise! A really lovely symphony! :) I enjoyed every moment of it. Quite a find imho,if you like symphonies along the lines of Rootham and other British composers of that period. In fact,there was not one moment of it that I didn't enjoy!!  With respect to the performance,it is definitely one of Marco Polo's better efforts.  I would certainly place this amongst the best of the less well known symphonies (I'd like to avoid ranking here!) of this period. Rootham admirers might enjoy this?!

« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 02:51:19 PM by cilgwyn »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #64 on: January 11, 2017, 12:49:34 PM »
No Armstrong Gibbs thread as far as I can make out. I did look. Perhaps I missed it?! If there is one I aplogise and I could move this?! Anyway,I listened to his third Symphony a few days ago,knowing that vandermolen enjoys it. What a surprise! A really lovely symphony! :) I enjoyed every moment of it. Quite a find imho,if you like symphonies along the lines of Rootham and other British composers of that period. In fact,there was not one moment of it that I didn't enjoy!!  With respect to the performance,it is definitely one of Marco Polo's better efforts.  I would certainly place this amongst the best of the less well known symphonies (I'd like to avoid ranking here!) of this period. Rootham admirers might enjoy this?!


Totally agree with you. It is in memory of his son killed in the war I think - very moving and poignant. I'm pleased that you like it too.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Christo

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #65 on: January 11, 2017, 01:09:35 PM »
Totally agree with you. It is in memory of his son killed in the war I think - very moving and poignant. I'm pleased that you like it too.
... and another vote here who totally agrees with both of you. 'Westmorland' is a poignant, moving symphony, as sincere as music can be.
… 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 vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #66 on: January 11, 2017, 01:16:30 PM »
... and another vote here who totally agrees with both of you. 'Westmorland' is a poignant, moving symphony, as sincere as music can be.
I had a feeling that Armstrong Gibbs would hook you into the discussion  8)
We'll get on to Eugene Goossens in a minute  :)
Yes the Armstrong Gibbs is a fine work and makes reference to locations I knew well as a student in the North of England although they are not all spelt properly on the CD 'Castnel Fell' should be Cartmel Fell. It's a beautiful area.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 01:18:08 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #67 on: January 11, 2017, 01:20:06 PM »
... and another vote here who totally agrees with both of you. 'Westmorland' is a poignant, moving symphony, as sincere as music can be.
Do you know Edgar Bainton Symphony 3 Johan? His wife died whilst he was composing it and he stopped composing. A friend challenged him to complete it and the result IMHO is as poignant and moving as the Armstrong Gibbs score.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 01:22:52 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2017, 11:35:01 AM »
I must admit I haven't made much headway with Bainton's third;try as I might. But then you haven't much headway with Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica!! ??? ;D  Although,as I found out very recently on the Respighi thread,it has got some fans!! That said,I'm sure Bainton's third is infintely more subtle!! ;D More fool me,eh?!! ;D  I must admit I do prefer his Second. I find the themes a bit diffuse in the third. I just can't get a grip on any real structure. The second,however has a memorable theme which reappears at intervals (it's a while since I heard it). It's very Baxian in atmosphere,but has a 'flavour' of it's own. Lovely! :)

I do also have a problem with the choice of coupling by Dutton. Boughton's First! Why not more Bainton? I must admit I dislike Dutton's 'habit' of coupling two  different composers,if it's anyone other than Arnell or Havergal Brian!!  I just find it annoying! I like to concentrate on one specific composer at a time;but there we are;maybe that's just me? Although,I know that at least one critic on Musicweb expressed the same view of Dutton's coupling tendencies. Of course,you can make a cd-r with just one composer;but I don't really want to do that if I can help it!!
More importantly,I suppose,is the fact that Boughton's first symphony is dull.........and I'm someone who likes Boughton. In fact,I think he deserves a bit better than he gets. I like his second and third symphonies. They are fine pieces of music. I think the second is absolutely lovely. I like all the music on the Hyperion cd;which includes his Flute Concerto and Concerto for String Orchestra. Finely crafted music,all of it! I love his Bethehem (also on Hyperion) and I like his unexpectedly more astringent,The Queen of Cornwall,even more than his Immortal Hour. But his First Symphony,NO!!! I appreciate that it's an early work,but imho I do think coupling it with the Bainton was a ghastly mistake.  The couplings for the Second are much better,and they do work quite well together.

On the other hand,sometimes a coupling of two different composers does work very well! The BBC Radio Classics cd of Bantock's Pagan Symphony,in a very satisfying and different performance by the late lamented Edward Downes is a case in point. I think the juxtaposition of the Bantock and Bax's Tintagel and Northern Ballads is very apt. The legendary atmosphere of the music by both composers chosen here, just makes this a perfect disc for me. Which is  more than I can say for Hyperion's choice of (or Handley's?) Fifine at the blasted Fair!! Not a favourite I'm afraid. For some reason,if I have to listen to it Beecham's performance is my preference,anyway,even if it's cut and in mono!! It just has more poetry! In fact,I even quite like parts of it his performance. That said,it's still not a favourite. For years this would have been the only accessible Bantock available. When I put the Lp on I would wonder what the rest of his music was like. The fact that it was the only Bantock I could hear meant it actually got more plays than it would have had otherwise. I never actually thought I would ever hear anything else by this composer!! The old emi recording makes me a bit sad though;because Beecham did,apparently,express a desire to record more of these neglected composers. I think Holbrooke may have been another one? Alas,it never happened. A Beecham recording of the Hebridean,Celtic Symphony or Pagan would have been truly special! And maybe a Beecham,Ulalume?! This (and Bantock's neglect at the time of the recording,and my own youth) gives the Beecham recording a certain poignancy which possibly helps to make Fifine a little more appealing than it would,or should be!! I actually do play it now and again as it is in that emi box set of English composers. On the final cd,if memory serves me correctly?!!

Anyway,I digress!! ::)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #69 on: January 14, 2017, 01:08:53 PM »
I must admit I haven't made much headway with Bainton's third;try as I might. But then you haven't much headway with Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica!! ??? ;D  Although,as I found out very recently on the Respighi thread,it has got some fans!! That said,I'm sure Bainton's third is infintely more subtle!! ;D More fool me,eh?!! ;D  I must admit I do prefer his Second. I find the themes a bit diffuse in the third. I just can't get a grip on any real structure. The second,however has a memorable theme which reappears at intervals (it's a while since I heard it). It's very Baxian in atmosphere,but has a 'flavour' of it's own. Lovely! :)

I do also have a problem with the choice of coupling by Dutton. Boughton's First! Why not more Bainton? I must admit I dislike Dutton's 'habit' of coupling two  different composers,if it's anyone other than Arnell or Havergal Brian!!  I just find it annoying! I like to concentrate on one specific composer at a time;but there we are;maybe that's just me? Although,I know that at least one critic on Musicweb expressed the same view of Dutton's coupling tendencies. Of course,you can make a cd-r with just one composer;but I don't really want to do that if I can help it!!
More importantly,I suppose,is the fact that Boughton's first symphony is dull.........and I'm someone who likes Boughton. In fact,I think he deserves a bit better than he gets. I like his second and third symphonies. They are fine pieces of music. I think the second is absolutely lovely. I like all the music on the Hyperion cd;which includes his Flute Concerto and Concerto for String Orchestra. Finely crafted music,all of it! I love his Bethehem (also on Hyperion) and I like his unexpectedly more astringent,The Queen of Cornwall,even more than his Immortal Hour. But his First Symphony,NO!!! I appreciate that it's an early work,but imho I do think coupling it with the Bainton was a ghastly mistake.  The couplings for the Second are much better,and they do work quite well together.

On the other hand,sometimes a coupling of two different composers does work very well! The BBC Radio Classics cd of Bantock's Pagan Symphony,in a very satisfying and different performance by the late lamented Edward Downes is a case in point. I think the juxtaposition of the Bantock and Bax's Tintagel and Northern Ballads is very apt. The legendary atmosphere of the music by both composers chosen here, just makes this a perfect disc for me. Which is  more than I can say for Hyperion's choice of (or Handley's?) Fifine at the blasted Fair!! Not a favourite I'm afraid. For some reason,if I have to listen to it Beecham's performance is my preference,anyway,even if it's cut and in mono!! It just has more poetry! In fact,I even quite like parts of it his performance. That said,it's still not a favourite. For years this would have been the only accessible Bantock available. When I put the Lp on I would wonder what the rest of his music was like. The fact that it was the only Bantock I could hear meant it actually got more plays than it would have had otherwise. I never actually thought I would ever hear anything else by this composer!! The old emi recording makes me a bit sad though;because Beecham did,apparently,express a desire to record more of these neglected composers. I think Holbrooke may have been another one? Alas,it never happened. A Beecham recording of the Hebridean,Celtic Symphony or Pagan would have been truly special! And maybe a Beecham,Ulalume?! This (and Bantock's neglect at the time of the recording,and my own youth) gives the Beecham recording a certain poignancy which possibly helps to make Fifine a little more appealing than it would,or should be!! I actually do play it now and again as it is in that emi box set of English composers. On the final cd,if memory serves me correctly?!!

Anyway,I digress!! ::)
Your post, as always, is very interesting and, rather boringly perhaps, I agree with everything in it! The 'Cromwell Symphony' by Boughton is a most dreary affair. The Clifford 'Symphony 1940' coupled with Bainton's Second Symphony on Chandos is much better, a fine and moving work - a kind of wartime act of defiance and a shaking of the fist at 'would be oppressors' as the booklet notes point out - it was written during the Blitz on London (Arnell's mother was killed in the Blitz - I say apropos of nothing!) Fifine at the Fair has such a stupidly twee title that it undermines my enjoyment of the work - although there are some beautiful passages. Going back to Boughton I have the highest opinion of The Immortal Hour and the Oboe Concerto, coupled with Symphony 3 on Hyperion I think. My latest discovery is R.Nathaniel Dett's 'The Ordering of Moses' - a fine work from 1937 but I will get back to Respighi's 'Sinfonia Drammatica'.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #70 on: January 17, 2017, 10:56:33 AM »
I've been listening to the Bainton third again. The fact that I often use cordless headphones hasn't helped. There you are listening in another room and the Boughton comes on! ??? As I said,ingrate as I am  ;D,I do prefer one composer at a time;unless it's one of those old style collections of overtures or ballet music,like you used to get on Lp's. I think Bainton and Veale are quite good enough to stand on their own. At least the Gardner symphony is a decent one;although I still skip to the Veale now! The Clifford is a good one;and the Bainton Second and Clifford seem to go very well together.  Lyrita's decision to couple Brian with Cooke led to my sticking to buying dowloads of 6 & 16. I would have been quite happy with a cd of just the Brian symphonies,myself. I'm not really that keen on what I've heard of Cooke;but I think it is a decent symphony of it's sort,unlike the Boughton!! Anyway,I'm using the program button to isolate the Bainton third from it's annoying neighbour and you'll be pleased to hear that I'm starting to enjoy it now. It's obviously a more complex work than it's predecessor,so it needs more of a listen. Another observation. While on first appearances the main composer comparison that springs to mind is Bax;a good deal of it sounds closer to the sound world of Moeran.  Maybe a sort of fusion of the two;but with a flavour of it's own. The big climaxes certainly make a most glorious sound. A bit like the ones you have in the first movement of Bax's Second symphony. You feel the full power of the orchestra roaring at you. Very exciting!
I think I'll play it again now. Again,using the program button. I can understand why the Rutland Boughton trust wanted to record it,but phew!! ::)

After bashing Boughton's First,I must say I was genuinely disappointed to read in the most recent Rutland Boughton trust Newsletter (available via their website) that funding for new Boughton recordings has virtually dried up. Meanwhile the Faust Fund on the HB website races past the 90% marker!! ??? And there I was hoping I might live to hear one of his Arthurian Music-Dramas!! ;D  As to Nathaniel Dett? I would look him up,but I fear I'll be dipping into my account again! Guess what one of my New Year resolutions is? (was?! ::)).

Just realised I'm droning on about Bainton on a Rootham thread. I may try and move this post. Apologies for this! :-[





Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Cyril Rootham (1875-1938)
« Reply #71 on: January 17, 2017, 11:05:16 AM »
I listened to Rootham's Second symphony again last night. I'm going to have another listen later;and to Gibb's third,along the way......or after? Wonderful symphonies. They go well together. I think Rootham's Second and Gibb's third are quite a find.

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