Author Topic: Herbert Howells 1892-1983  (Read 15519 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2012, 04:02:01 PM »
I thought I would resurrect this thread by saying how much I really admire Howells' music. I heard a movement from Hymnus Paradisi a few days ago and was moved by it, so I ordered two recordings of it: Handley and Hickox.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2012, 12:26:53 PM »
Really looking forward to Hymnus Paradisi at the proms on Wednesday. The only prom I'll get to this year as I was away for the all Vaughan Williams prom. Hymnus Paradisi is more suited to a cathedral than a concert hall but I'm hoping that it will work better at the Albert Hall than it did at the Festival Hall where I last heard in live (in the presence of the composer) many years ago. It is sharing a programme with Elgar Symphony No 1 and it should be a good evening.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2012, 01:25:49 PM »
Hymnus Paradisi was wonderful at the Albert Hall last night - its first ever outing at the Proms, which surprised me. It worked much better at the Albert Hall, as the echoey acoustic suited it much more than did that of the Festival Hall, where I last heard it live, decades ago, in the presence of the composer.

Elgar's 1st Symphony was very fine too - a great concert.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2012, 02:41:02 PM »
Excellent, Jeffrey!
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2012, 10:22:57 PM »
Thank you Karl :)
"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 calyptorhynchus

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2014, 09:57:59 PM »
I was just listening to John McCabe playing Lambert's Clavichord and Howell's Clavichord on Hyperion (as far as I know the only recording). Has it struck anyone else that he plays many of the pieces too fast (to squeeze them all on to one disk?). I haven't listened to the this disk for some years and this is impression I came away with today.

Offline Cato

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2015, 04:27:13 PM »
A reference to the Hymnus Paradisi in an article about Schubert led me to this very positive review of a fairly new CD:

http://audaud.com/2014/10/herbert-howells-the-complete-works-for-violin-and-piano-tracklist-follows-rupert-marshall-luck-violin-matthew-rickard-p-emr-records/

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2015, 11:54:16 PM »
A reference to the Hymnus Paradisi in an article about Schubert led me to this very positive review of a fairly new CD:

http://audaud.com/2014/10/herbert-howells-the-complete-works-for-violin-and-piano-tracklist-follows-rupert-marshall-luck-violin-matthew-rickard-p-emr-records/



Looks interesting. All of his music is worthwhile in my view.
"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 Rons_talking

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2015, 04:54:53 AM »
I thought I would resurrect this thread by saying how much I really admire Howells' music. I heard a movement from Hymnus Paradisi a few days ago and was moved by it, so I ordered two recordings of it: Handley and Hickox.

I'm listening to the Hickox recording right now. It's my first time hearing the Hymnus Paradisi. It's so full of warmth and beauty. It's taken way too long for this to be my first listen.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2015, 05:16:28 AM »
I'm listening to the Hickox recording right now. It's my first time hearing the Hymnus Paradisi. It's so full of warmth and beauty. It's taken way too long for this to be my first listen.

Oh, it's terrific - a wonderful and deeply moving work. The Willcocks recording is worth hearing too.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 05:34:26 AM by vandermolen »
"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 Cato

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2015, 05:28:49 AM »
Here is the Hickox/BBC Symphony Orchestra performance, with the score, on YouTube:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ILiyzlJqYaU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ILiyzlJqYaU</a>
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Scion7

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2016, 06:23:53 AM »
Just now starting to get into the man's chamber pieces.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2016, 11:41:55 AM »
Just now starting to get into the man's chamber pieces.
Do you know his choral/orchestral score 'Hymnus Paradisi' - one of the most moving works known to me!
"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 Scion7

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2016, 05:07:43 PM »
He's been sort of in the background on the occasional radio listen to me, before now.  I will be checking him out all next week - so far, I like what he's done very much.  Had to spend my Easter giftee somehow.   :P
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2016, 05:47:58 AM »
Well, the violin sonatas are quite nice - even the early 1911 in b-minor at over 40 minutes holds together well - it's not the constant invention of Beethoven's or Brahms' but it's good.
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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2016, 06:20:55 AM »
For me, there are two works of Howells' that spring immediately to mind that are personal favorites and both of them written in what must have been some trying times for the composer: Threnody and Elegy. If you don't know these works, Scion7, then do check them out.

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Offline Scion7

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2016, 07:50:42 AM »
If you don't know these works, Scion7, then do check them out.

Well, this is the "acquire" list - for most composers, I tend to grab as much of their instrumental work, at least, as I can, and some choice choral bits.  Some of the unpublished stuff has been assembled and arranged by the recording artists - thankfully.

orchestral
Pf Conc. no.1, c, op.4, 1913, unpubd;
The B's, suite, op.13, 1914, unpubd;
3 Dances, op.7, vn, orch, 1915;
Puck's Minuet, op.20 no.1, 1917;
Suite, op.16, str orch, 1917, unpubd;
Elegy, op.15, va, str qt, str orch, 1917;
Thé dansant, 1919, lost;
Merry Eye, op.20 no.2, 1920;
Procession, op.36, 1922;
Pastoral Rhapsody, 1923, unpubd;
Pf Conc. no.2, op.39, 1925, unpubd;
Paradise Rondel, op.40, 1925, unpubd;
In Green Ways, 1928;
Mother's Here (incid music), 1929, collab. G. Jacob, lost;
Penguinski (ballet), 1933, unpubd;
Pageantry, suite, brass band, 1934;
King's Herald, 1937, unpubd [1st movt of Pageantry, arr. orch];
Fantasia, vc, orch, 1937;
Hymnus Paradisi for soprano, tenor, chorus & orchestra, 1938 ;
Threnody, vc, orch, late 1930s, orch C. Palmer, 1992;
Conc. for str, 1938;
Folk Tune Set, 1940, unpubd;
First Suite, str, 1942;
Second Suite, str, 1942, lost;
Fanfare for Schools, brass, timp, str, 1943, unpubd;
Music for a Prince, 1948, unpubd: Corydon's Dance, Scherzo in Arden;
3 Figures: Tryptych, brass band, 1960;
Fanfare to Lead into the National Anthem, brass, perc, org, 1977

chamber
3 or more insts: Variations for 11 solo insts, op.3, c1913, lost;
Sonata in b-minor for vn, pn, 1911;
Lady Audrey's Suite, op.19, str qt, 1915;
Piano Quartet, a, op.21, 1916;
Phantasy Str Qt, op.25, 1916–17;
In Gloucestershire (str qt no.3), 1916–c1935 [1st version lost, rev. 1920, final version early 1930s];
Rhapsodic Qnt, op.31, cl, str, 1919;
The Old Mole, pf qnt, 1937, unpubd [folktune arr.];
Hunsdon House, pf qnt, 1937, unpubd [arr.]
1–2 insts: Sonata, b, vn, pf, 1911, unpubd;
Comedy Suite, op.8, cl, pf, c1913, lost;
Prelude no.1, hp, 1915, unpubd;
3 Pieces, op.28, vn, pf, 1917: Pastorale, ‘Chosen’ Tune, Luchinushka;
Damsons, vn, pf, c1917, unpubd;
Sonata no.1, E, op.18, vn, pf, 1917–19;
Sonata no.2, E, op.26, vn, pf, 1917, unpubd;
Cradle Song, vn, pf, 1918, unpubd;
Sonata no.3, e, op.38, vn, pf, 1923;
A Country Tune, vn, pf, c1925;
A Croon, vn, pf, c1925;
Slow Air, vn, pf, c1927;
Lambert's Clavichord (3 transcrs), vc, pf, 1929;
Sonata, ob, pf, 1942;
Minuet (grace for a fresh egg), bn, pf, 1945;
Sonata, cl, pf, 1946;
A Near Minuet, cl, pf, 1946;
2 Pieces, fl, vn, unpubd:
Air, Alla Menuetto;
Lento, assai espressivo, vn, pf, unpubd

keyboard
Organ: Sonata, c, op.1, 1911; Phantasy Ground Bass, c1915, lost; 3 Psalm-Preludes set 1, op.32, 1915–16; Rhapsody, op.17 no.1, 1915; Rhapsody, op.17 no.2, 1918; Rhapsody, op.17 no.3, 1918; Sonata (no.2), 1932; 3 Psalm-Preludes set 2, 1938–39; Fugue, Chorale and Epilogue, 1939; Master Tallis's Testament, 1940; Preludio Sine nomine, 1940; Saraband for the Morning of Easter, 1940; Paean, 1940; Intrata (no.2), 1941; Saraband In Modo Elegiaco, 1945; Siciliano for a High Ceremony, 1952; Prelude De profundis, 1958; Rhapsody no.4, 1958; 2 Pieces, 1959: Dalby's Fancy, Dalby's Toccata; A Flourish for a Bidding, 1969; Partita, 1971–2; Epilogue, c1971; St Louis comes to Clifton, 1977; 6 Short Pieces (1987); 2 Slow Airs (1987); Miniatures (1993)
Pianoforte: 4 Romantic Pieces, 1908, unpubd [only no.2 extant]; Marching song, 1909, unpubd; Summer Idylls, 1911, unpubd; Minuet, a, c1915, unpubd; Snapshots, op.30, 1916–18; Phantasie, 1917, unpubd; Sarum Sketches, op.6, 1917; Procession, op.14 no.1, 1918; Phantasy Minuet, op.27, pianola, 1919; Rhapsody, op.14 no.2, 1919; Jackanapes, op.14 no.3, 1919; The Chosen Tune, 1920; Once upon a time …, suite (London, 1920); Gadabout, c1922; A Mersey Tune, 1924; 2 Pieces, 1926: Slow Dance, Cobler's Hornpipe; Country Pageant (London, 1928); A Little Book of Dances (London, 1928); A Sailor Tune (London, 1930); O Mensch bewein dein Sünde gross (arr. Bach: Chorale prelude,bwv 622); Triumph Tune, 1934, arr. 2 pf, 1941, unpubd; Promenade for Boys (London, 1938); Promenade for Girls (London, 1938); Minuet, 1939, unpubd; Polka, 2 pf, c1939; Puck's Minuet, 2 pf, c1941, unpubd [arr. of 2 Pieces for Small Orch, op.20 no.1]; Musica Sine Nomine, 1959; Pavane and Galliard, 1964, unpubd; Et nunc et semper, 1967, unpubd; Petrus Suite, 1967–73, unpubd; H-plus-H gavotte, 1970, unpubd; Sonatina, 1971
Clavichord: Lambert's Clavichord, op.41, 1926–7; Howells' Clavichord, 1941–61; My Lady Harewood's Pavane, 1949, My Lord Harewood's Galliard, 1949; Finzi: his rest, 1956
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 02:11:32 PM by Scion7 »
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2016, 07:23:49 AM »
Well, I find his piano pieces better than his organ work (which he seems to be more well-known) - they are mostly too ... static?  No.3 of the Six Pieces for Organ is pretty good, though.  The Sonata for Organ was not what I expected from this guy at all.

But all the piano music I've heard has been entertaining.
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Offline Oates

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2018, 01:43:04 AM »
Well, this is the "acquire" list - for most composers, I tend to grab as much of their instrumental work, at least, as I can, and some choice choral bits.  Some of the unpublished stuff has been assembled and arranged by the recording artists - thankfully.

orchestral
Pf Conc. no.1, c, op.4, 1913, unpubd;
The B's, suite, op.13, 1914, unpubd;
3 Dances, op.7, vn, orch, 1915;
Puck's Minuet, op.20 no.1, 1917;
Suite, op.16, str orch, 1917, unpubd;
Elegy, op.15, va, str qt, str orch, 1917;
Thé dansant, 1919, lost;
Merry Eye, op.20 no.2, 1920;
Procession, op.36, 1922;
Pastoral Rhapsody, 1923, unpubd;
Pf Conc. no.2, op.39, 1925, unpubd;
Paradise Rondel, op.40, 1925, unpubd;
In Green Ways, 1928;
Mother's Here (incid music), 1929, collab. G. Jacob, lost;
Penguinski (ballet), 1933, unpubd;
Pageantry, suite, brass band, 1934;
King's Herald, 1937, unpubd [1st movt of Pageantry, arr. orch];
Fantasia, vc, orch, 1937;
Hymnus Paradisi for soprano, tenor, chorus & orchestra, 1938 ;
Threnody, vc, orch, late 1930s, orch C. Palmer, 1992;
Conc. for str, 1938;
Folk Tune Set, 1940, unpubd;
First Suite, str, 1942;
Second Suite, str, 1942, lost;
Fanfare for Schools, brass, timp, str, 1943, unpubd;
Music for a Prince, 1948, unpubd: Corydon's Dance, Scherzo in Arden;
3 Figures: Tryptych, brass band, 1960;
Fanfare to Lead into the National Anthem, brass, perc, org, 1977

chamber
3 or more insts: Variations for 11 solo insts, op.3, c1913, lost;
Sonata in b-minor for vn, pn, 1911;
Lady Audrey's Suite, op.19, str qt, 1915;
Piano Quartet, a, op.21, 1916;
Phantasy Str Qt, op.25, 1916–17;
In Gloucestershire (str qt no.3), 1916–c1935 [1st version lost, rev. 1920, final version early 1930s];
Rhapsodic Qnt, op.31, cl, str, 1919;
The Old Mole, pf qnt, 1937, unpubd [folktune arr.];
Hunsdon House, pf qnt, 1937, unpubd [arr.]
1–2 insts: Sonata, b, vn, pf, 1911, unpubd;
Comedy Suite, op.8, cl, pf, c1913, lost;
Prelude no.1, hp, 1915, unpubd;
3 Pieces, op.28, vn, pf, 1917: Pastorale, ‘Chosen’ Tune, Luchinushka;
Damsons, vn, pf, c1917, unpubd;
Sonata no.1, E, op.18, vn, pf, 1917–19;
Sonata no.2, E, op.26, vn, pf, 1917, unpubd;
Cradle Song, vn, pf, 1918, unpubd;
Sonata no.3, e, op.38, vn, pf, 1923;
A Country Tune, vn, pf, c1925;
A Croon, vn, pf, c1925;
Slow Air, vn, pf, c1927;
Lambert's Clavichord (3 transcrs), vc, pf, 1929;
Sonata, ob, pf, 1942;
Minuet (grace for a fresh egg), bn, pf, 1945;
Sonata, cl, pf, 1946;
A Near Minuet, cl, pf, 1946;
2 Pieces, fl, vn, unpubd:
Air, Alla Menuetto;
Lento, assai espressivo, vn, pf, unpubd

keyboard
Organ: Sonata, c, op.1, 1911; Phantasy Ground Bass, c1915, lost; 3 Psalm-Preludes set 1, op.32, 1915–16; Rhapsody, op.17 no.1, 1915; Rhapsody, op.17 no.2, 1918; Rhapsody, op.17 no.3, 1918; Sonata (no.2), 1932; 3 Psalm-Preludes set 2, 1938–39; Fugue, Chorale and Epilogue, 1939; Master Tallis's Testament, 1940; Preludio Sine nomine, 1940; Saraband for the Morning of Easter, 1940; Paean, 1940; Intrata (no.2), 1941; Saraband In Modo Elegiaco, 1945; Siciliano for a High Ceremony, 1952; Prelude De profundis, 1958; Rhapsody no.4, 1958; 2 Pieces, 1959: Dalby's Fancy, Dalby's Toccata; A Flourish for a Bidding, 1969; Partita, 1971–2; Epilogue, c1971; St Louis comes to Clifton, 1977; 6 Short Pieces (1987); 2 Slow Airs (1987); Miniatures (1993)
Pianoforte: 4 Romantic Pieces, 1908, unpubd [only no.2 extant]; Marching song, 1909, unpubd; Summer Idylls, 1911, unpubd; Minuet, a, c1915, unpubd; Snapshots, op.30, 1916–18; Phantasie, 1917, unpubd; Sarum Sketches, op.6, 1917; Procession, op.14 no.1, 1918; Phantasy Minuet, op.27, pianola, 1919; Rhapsody, op.14 no.2, 1919; Jackanapes, op.14 no.3, 1919; The Chosen Tune, 1920; Once upon a time …, suite (London, 1920); Gadabout, c1922; A Mersey Tune, 1924; 2 Pieces, 1926: Slow Dance, Cobler's Hornpipe; Country Pageant (London, 1928); A Little Book of Dances (London, 1928); A Sailor Tune (London, 1930); O Mensch bewein dein Sünde gross (arr. Bach: Chorale prelude,bwv 622); Triumph Tune, 1934, arr. 2 pf, 1941, unpubd; Promenade for Boys (London, 1938); Promenade for Girls (London, 1938); Minuet, 1939, unpubd; Polka, 2 pf, c1939; Puck's Minuet, 2 pf, c1941, unpubd [arr. of 2 Pieces for Small Orch, op.20 no.1]; Musica Sine Nomine, 1959; Pavane and Galliard, 1964, unpubd; Et nunc et semper, 1967, unpubd; Petrus Suite, 1967–73, unpubd; H-plus-H gavotte, 1970, unpubd; Sonatina, 1971
Clavichord: Lambert's Clavichord, op.41, 1926–7; Howells' Clavichord, 1941–61; My Lady Harewood's Pavane, 1949, My Lord Harewood's Galliard, 1949; Finzi: his rest, 1956

This impressive list misses a real gem. Sine Nomine (1922) is a substantial (12m) orchestral fantasia with wordless chorus, in Howells' most sublime pastoral mode - its title suggests it is part of Howells' church / choral canon but this is misleading - it should be seen as a key part of the his (too slender) orchestral output. 

I only know of one recording (and it is stunning):

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573176

I've just discovered this by accident and am delighted and enthralled.

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Herbert Howells 1892-1983
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2018, 08:34:09 PM »
Thanks for alerting me to Sine Nomine, I hadn't known this work. Very reminiscent of the slow movement of Nielsen's Sinfonia Espansiva, but I don't think this was known in London c 1920 so Howells probably came up with idea himself.