Author Topic: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)  (Read 11619 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« on: March 14, 2008, 10:11:43 AM »
The distinguished Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott died two days ago at the age of 78.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3547635.ece

and also-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/Mar08/Hoddinott_obit.htm

Hoddinott was, as the Times obituary makes clear, a towering figure in the musical life of Wales and an exceptionally fine composer. There are a number of excellent Lyrita discs containing his music, including the 2nd, 3rd and 5th symphonies(of ten in total) and the Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, the Harp Concerto and the Clarinet Concerto No.1. There is also a marvellous Chandos CD with Bryden Thomson conducting the (then) BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra in the more accessible and superb Symphony No.6. There are a number of shorter orchestral pieces on disc of which my own personal favourite is the mysterious and atmospheric Lanterne des Morts(on the Chandos disc). Hoddinott wrote six operas and was an extremely prolific composer. Record companies have not exactly done proper justice to one of the finest British composers(surprise, surprise!).

Hoddinott was the last of the quartet of Welsh composers(Grace Williams, Daniel Jones and William Mathias) who did so much for music in that country in the second half of the 20th century. His death sadly removes one of the last great symphonists on the British musical scene. Richard Arnell and John Gardner are now in their nineties. We still have Arthur Butterworth, John McCabe, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and David Matthews but all of these, bar Matthews, are over 70 years of age.

Sad news! I very much mourn his passing.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2008, 10:20:37 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2008, 10:35:16 AM »
Six operas!  (Of course, no sign of them being produced here.) 

Thanks for posting this, and although I've heard of him I'm not familiar with his music.  I'm usually a fan of neoclassic type works so I'll have to check out some of these. 

Sad news...

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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008)
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2008, 12:03:23 PM »
Many years ago I borrowed a Hoddinott LP from the music library in Amsterdam. I don't know what symphony I listened to (there was a picture of something cosmic on the sleeve). I didn't explore further, nor was that very easy, of course. But I have always known of Hoddinott's existence, and always intended to make his acquaintance a second time. It will now, sadly, take place after his death.

Thanks for the information.
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008)
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2008, 12:30:56 PM »
Many years ago I borrowed a Hoddinott LP from the music library in Amsterdam. I don't know what symphony I listened to (there was a picture of something cosmic on the sleeve). I didn't explore further, nor was that very easy, of course. But I have always known of Hoddinott's existence, and always intended to make his acquaintance a second time. It will now, sadly, take place after his death.

Thanks for the information.

That sounds like Symphony No.3 which was on a Decca LP(SXL 6570) coupled with the Sinfonietta No.3 and Hoddinott's highly regarded "The sun, the great luminary of the universe"(from the famous and terrifying  passage in James Joyce's 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'). I still have the LP-London Symphony Orchestra(David Atherton)-the 3rd symphony was transferred to CD by Lyrita but not the other two works. The LP cover certainly depicts a celestial, angelic-type figure blowing a trumpet!

The 2nd, 3rd and 5th symphonies are not easy works-Hoddinott's style was predominantly sombre and nocturnal, he was a serialist of a sort, influenced by Bartok and Berg. The 3rd is probably the finest of the three on the Lyrita CD, more approachable certainly than the abrasive 5th. Symphony No.6 on the Chandos CD is the better introduction to his music.

I should also have mentioned his two fine concertante works for cello and orchestra-Nocturnes and Cadenzas(Lyrita) and Noctis Equi(recorded  by Rostropovich on a cheap Warner Elatus CD).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2008, 04:28:12 PM »
I have the Lyrita with the symphonies on (thanks to Lilas Pastia) but agree that the best CD is the Chandos with the more approachable Symphony No 6 and the haunting Lanterne des Morts (which I have on my CD player now) and which opens mysteriously, rather like Martinu's Symphony 6 "Fantasies Symphoniques".  I did not know that Hoddinott had died; sad news. He was one of those composers who (from my point of view) wrote in a modernist idiom, but whose music possessed integrity and was always worth making the effort to get to know.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2008, 04:55:30 PM »
I have the Lyrita with the symphonies on (thanks to Lilas Pastia) but agree that the best CD is the Chandos with the more approachable Symphony No 6 and the haunting Lanterne des Morts (which I have on my CD player now) and which opens mysteriously, rather like Martinu's Symphony 6 "Fantasies Symphoniques".  I did not know that Hoddinott had died; sad news. He was one of those composers who (from my point of view) wrote in a modernist idiom, but whose music possessed integrity and was always worth making the effort to get to know.

I too have just finished playing 'Lanterne des Morts'! It is nice to think that people have actually listened to a composer's work after hearing of his death. I hope that he would be pleased.

I also listened again to the 6th symphony. It really does have a most beautiful final adagio section, proving that a serialist(albeit one who adhered to tonal centres) can produce beautiful lyrical music.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2008, 02:34:59 AM »
I too have just finished playing 'Lanterne des Morts'! It is nice to think that people have actually listened to a composer's work after hearing of his death. I hope that he would be pleased.

I also listened again to the 6th symphony. It really does have a most beautiful final adagio section, proving that a serialist(albeit one who adhered to tonal centres) can produce beautiful lyrical music.

I'm sure that he would be pleased. I listened to Symphony 6 too, which i greatly enjoyed.
"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).

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2008, 01:35:58 PM »
I'm sure that he would be pleased. I listened to Symphony 6 too, which i greatly enjoyed.

I see that Lyrita reissued Sinfonia fidei - another beautiful work.

Peter


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2008, 01:38:42 PM »
I see that Lyrita reissued Sinfonia fidei - another beautiful work.

Peter



Thanks Peter, don't know that work at all; must investigate.

Jeffrey
"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 Dundonnell

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2008, 03:33:37 PM »
I see that Lyrita reissued Sinfonia fidei - another beautiful work.

Peter



Yes, that is a good CD! The Sinfonia Fidei and the Cantata "Dives and Lazarus" are both more accessible examples of Hoddinott's work than, say, the Nocturnes and Cadenzas on the same disc.

Hoddinott, Grace Williams, William Mathias and Daniel Jones all wrote substantial choral works(as might be expected from the Welsh!). I admire Mathias's "This Worldes Joie"(Lyrita) and "Lux Aeterna"(Chandos) and the very fine "The Country Beyond the Stars" by Daniel Jones(Lyrita). Jones also wrote a very big Oratorio "St.Peter" which I would like to hear!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2008, 03:51:46 AM »
Yes, that is a good CD! The Sinfonia Fidei and the Cantata "Dives and Lazarus" are both more accessible examples of Hoddinott's work than, say, the Nocturnes and Cadenzas on the same disc.

Hoddinott, Grace Williams, William Mathias and Daniel Jones all wrote substantial choral works(as might be expected from the Welsh!). I admire Mathias's "This Worldes Joie"(Lyrita) and "Lux Aeterna"(Chandos) and the very fine "The Country Beyond the Stars" by Daniel Jones(Lyrita). Jones also wrote a very big Oratorio "St.Peter" which I would like to hear!

"The Country beyond the Stars" is my favourite work by Daniel Jones.
"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 tjguitar

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2009, 01:26:50 PM »
new Lyrita disc...



http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/July09/Welsh_Dances_SRCD334.htm

I ordered this a week or two back as I much enjoyed the Hoddinott dances, which were played on the radio recently.
"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 vandermolen

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2009, 02:45:37 AM »
I have just been listening to Symphony No 3 on Lyrita - a dark and sombre work, which I had not properly listened to before. It is a gaunt and craggy work, which I shall return to. Not easy music but it draws you into its world.
"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 lescamil

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2010, 10:37:38 AM »
Another old bumped thread, but more news for Hoddinott fans! His tenth symphony will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 tomorrow, with John Storgårds conducting the BBC NOW. Again, I hope to record and post the recording here, as I will with the Leighton that I mentioned in its respective thread. What a week at BBC Radio 3!
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Offline Christo

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2010, 10:59:31 AM »
Thanks for reviving this thread - expecially for such a good reason. By pure accident, I was playing his Welsh dances cd, that arrived today. Am reading this thread for the first time and discovered some discussion about his symphonies. I recall them vaguely, as I borrowed some of the old Lyrita lp's in the early 1980s from the same public library in Amsterdam wehere Jezetha hired the Third Symphony - in all probability we were listening to the same copy, somewhere around 1982!

I recall having admired the Sinfonia Fidei in those days - should order for it now.

This cd with his two sets of Welsh Dances, but also the Concerto Grosso No. 2 (1966), Investiture Dances (1966) and Jack Straw Overture, is my personal attempt to learn his music anew.
                                       
         
« Last Edit: May 11, 2010, 09:23:42 PM by Christo »
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Offline listener

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2010, 01:26:45 PM »
The complete (10) Piano Sonatas, and some other works on the Nimbus label are currently offered at a 2 for the price of 1 sale at presto
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/nimbus.php?k=2&w=Hoddinott
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2010, 07:15:15 PM »
As promised, here is the broadcast of Hoddinott's 10th symphony, which I recorded off BBC Radio 3's website today. All commentary was included, and the whole program is here for you to listen to. Enjoy!

--------------------------------------------------------------

Live from BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, Elin Manahan Thomas presents a concert given by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales - continuing their series revisiting works they've recently commissioned. Nielsen's dramatic fourth symphony, "The Inextinguishable", closes the concert, and it opens with the final symphony by Alun Hoddinott, the Welsh composer after whom the orchestra's hall is named.

Hoddinott: Symphony no. 10
John Storgards (conductor)

Bruch: Violin conerto no. 1 in G minor
Matthew Trusler (violin)
John Storgards (conductor)

3pm Interval
Sibelius: Nightride and Sunrise
Tadaaki Otaka (conductor)

3.15pm
Nielsen: Symphony no. 4 "The Inextinguishable"
John Storgards (conductor).

--------------------------------------------------------------

Again, I have a Rapidshare link for you, for the file was again too big for MediaFire.

http://bit.ly/9jJ3Ji

If there are any problems with the download, let me know. Rapidshare's uploader was acting weird at one point.

Addendum: Here is another Hoddinott piece in a program I recorded, with some Leighton also:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,7400.40.html
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 07:14:31 PM by lescamil »
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Offline tarantella

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2010, 12:05:07 PM »
I've just listened to this new Hoddinott CD released this month and its excellent.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hoddinott-Landscapes-Song-Cycles-Folksongs/dp/B0041XSB6C
All of the composer's songs for high voice and all English.

Singers include the wonderful young soprano Claire Booth and tenor Nicky Spence.
The cover is most attractive - a dramatic John Piper scene titled 'Grongar Hill Camarthenshire' which is apt as Grongar Hill is mentioned in one of the cycles.
The disc ends with Hoddinott's arrangement of 6 Welsh Folksongs and they are charming.
The opening cycle 'Landscapes' describes vividly 5 points on the Isle of Anglesey from deserted Roman fortifications where daffodils appear at Springtime to a beach where the well-worn paths are walked by lovers.
There is also a cycle on which Hoddinott collaborated with Ursula Vaughan Williams.
The CD liner notes are very informative and place these cycles with the operas the composer wrote - sadly never done it seems.
I must also mentioned the excellent piano accompaniments of Andrew Matthews-Owen who really seems totally at home immersed in Hoddinott's very orchestral sound world.
I can recommend this 100% - I have ordered another as a birthday present for a friend and amazon are expecting a delivery of more as it seems to be selling well.
Glad to come across this thread and I agree that Lanterne des Morts is a stunning work! As is the 6th Symphony, dedicated to the artist John Piper, whose work often graced Hoddinott's CD and LP covers.
Anyone else heard this disc yet?

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alun Hoddinott(1929-2008)
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2010, 12:19:34 PM »
Hello, tarantella, and welcome to GMG.  Just sent you a private message, and thanks for the post on this Hoddinott release.

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