Author Topic: Arthur Benjamin  (Read 301 times)

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Online JBS

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Arthur Benjamin
« on: June 30, 2020, 12:30:12 PM »
A thread for Arthur's art.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 08:58:38 PM »
Nice thread idea  :)
I like the symphony enormously and enjoy all three recordings of it. The Lyrita is best but the 'Ballade' on the Marco Polo CD is worth having. There is a nice Dutton CD featuring the Violin Concerto and I'm curious about the piano concertos on Everest, which sound very enjoyable on You Tube. I think that he wrote the 'Storm Clouds Cantata' for a Hitchcock (just checked, it was for 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'). He was Australian but lived in England. I find his music memorable and sometimes, as in the case of the Symphony and Ballade moving. Benjamin greatly admired his teacher Stanford at the RCM (Royal College of Music); Stanford's antisemitic comment to Benjamin 'of course you Jews can't write tunes' tells us more about Stanford than it does about Arthur Benjamin. He was a friend of Vaughan Williams. Benjamin had been a fighter pilot in the First World War and was apparently shot down by Herman Goring, later one of the most notorious Nazis, and spent the rest of the war as a POW.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:11:13 PM 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 Irons

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 10:24:52 PM »
Yes, excellent subject for a thread.

A composer that has appeared on my radar but not delved deeper. Now is as good time as any.

Jeffrey, how could Stanford say that?!
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Online Roasted Swan

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 10:37:39 PM »
Back in the mid 80's when I worked (briefly) for the Artist's Agents Ibbs & Tillet, they represented the very great Oscar Shumsky and it was my job to be a kind of go-fer for him when he was over in the UK.  A great man and a great artist and we talked a lot about all kinds of music.  He liked to perform alongside his son the violist Eric Shumsky (they recorded the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante) and one of the pieces he was very passionately keen on was the Benjamin Romantic Fantasy that is included on the Dutton disc.  I would loved to have heard a player of Shumsky's stature playing that work.  As an aside - he loved the Elgar concerto too and wanted to perform/record it - but it never happened......


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 11:11:41 PM »
Yes, excellent subject for a thread.

A composer that has appeared on my radar but not delved deeper. Now is as good time as any.

Jeffrey, how could Stanford say that?!

It's irrational, so difficult to explain, although I suspect that Stanford shared many of the antisemitic prejudices of his time. This was more, I think, of a British (and I know that Stanford was Irish) snobbish antisemitism rather than anything more sinister.

You must hear the Symphony Lol if you don't already know it.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 11:13:59 PM 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 Maestro267

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 11:43:24 PM »
Looking forward to hearing the Symphony, hopefully later today. I've heard good things about it, largely from these quarters.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 11:59:50 PM »
Looking forward to hearing the Symphony, hopefully later today. I've heard good things about it, largely from these quarters.
Excellent! Let us know what you think of it.
"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 André

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 04:25:00 AM »
Back in the mid 80's when I worked (briefly) for the Artist's Agents Ibbs & Tillet, they represented the very great Oscar Shumsky and it was my job to be a kind of go-fer for him when he was over in the UK.  A great man and a great artist and we talked a lot about all kinds of music.  He liked to perform alongside his son the violist Eric Shumsky (they recorded the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante) and one of the pieces he was very passionately keen on was the Benjamin Romantic Fantasy that is included on the Dutton disc.  I would loved to have heard a player of Shumsky's stature playing that work.  As an aside - he loved the Elgar concerto too and wanted to perform/record it - but it never happened......

I listened to it this week and it’s a very fine work. He uses one of Mahler’s most famous ‘Wunderhorn’ themes as the basis of the work (on the horn, of course) while never sounding mahlerian in feel or idiom.

Shumsky was a wonderful artist indeed. There’s a recording of the Fantasy by Heifetz but I haven’t heard it.


Offline Irons

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 04:26:58 AM »
Back in the mid 80's when I worked (briefly) for the Artist's Agents Ibbs & Tillet, they represented the very great Oscar Shumsky and it was my job to be a kind of go-fer for him when he was over in the UK.  A great man and a great artist and we talked a lot about all kinds of music.  He liked to perform alongside his son the violist Eric Shumsky (they recorded the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante) and one of the pieces he was very passionately keen on was the Benjamin Romantic Fantasy that is included on the Dutton disc.  I would loved to have heard a player of Shumsky's stature playing that work.  As an aside - he loved the Elgar concerto too and wanted to perform/record it - but it never happened......

Which is a pity. Shumsky playing the Elgar would be something. He made records for both ASV and Nimbus so if only and why not.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Papy Oli

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 04:42:10 AM »
Added that Lyrita one to the streaming list. Don't think I have sampled his music last year. One for the next few days.
Olivier

Offline Irons

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2020, 05:31:55 AM »
It's irrational, so difficult to explain, although I suspect that Stanford shared many of the antisemitic prejudices of his time. This was more, I think, of a British (and I know that Stanford was Irish) snobbish antisemitism rather than anything more sinister.

You must hear the Symphony Lol if you don't already know it.

Listened on YT, Jeffrey. As I was listening through the painful fog of a tooth extraction this morning I made the following notes: 1st movement - Epic. 2nd - Modern. 3rd - Heartfelt.  4th - Lively.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2020, 06:24:13 AM »
Listening to the Symphony now. Looks like he's gone for a rich orchestral pallette here. I've already heard piano, xylophone, tom-toms, snare drum, to name a few.

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2020, 09:47:12 AM »
Listening to the Symphony now. Looks like he's gone for a rich orchestral pallette here. I've already heard piano, xylophone, tom-toms, snare drum, to name a few.

Indeed, his orchestration in the Symphony is constantly ear-catching. In its orchestration and general style it rather reminds me of the Korngold Symphony and certain works by Prokofiev (5th and 6th symphonies) and Kabalevsky (4th symphony), while still having that indefinable "British" sound.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2020, 09:51:20 AM »
The delightful, jazzy Piano Concertino is well worth hearing:

https://youtu.be/ZOVaw1_Nsxk

I haven't heard his other concertante works yet (the Piano Concerto Quasi una fantasia, Violin Concerto, and Romantic Fantasy for violin and viola).
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2020, 10:27:47 AM »
Listened on YT, Jeffrey. As I was listening through the painful fog of a tooth extraction this morning I made the following notes: 1st movement - Epic. 2nd - Modern. 3rd - Heartfelt.  4th - Lively.
Well, I hope it at least distracted you from the teeth extraction Lol and hope you feel better tonight. I agree with your comments on the individual movements of the symphony. The second movement reminds me a bit of 'Mercury' from 'The Planets'.
"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: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2020, 10:29:45 AM »
Listening to the Symphony now. Looks like he's gone for a rich orchestral pallette here. I've already heard piano, xylophone, tom-toms, snare drum, to name a few.
Indeed - hope you enjoyed it. I played the Marco Polo recording today and had forgotten quite how good the symphony is.
"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 Roy Bland

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2020, 04:24:24 PM »
I appreciate highly:


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2020, 08:44:36 PM »
I appreciate highly:


The CD only seems to be available very expensively. I liked what I heard on You Tube.
"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 Maestro267

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2020, 11:27:56 PM »
The second movement reminds me a bit of 'Mercury' from 'The Planets'.

I can definitely see this, just from my first listen yesterday. And not just because the celesta joins in the motif tennis rally, which also happens in Mercury.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Arthur Benjamin
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2020, 04:56:41 AM »
I can definitely see this, just from my first listen yesterday. And not just because the celesta joins in the motif tennis rally, which also happens in Mercury.
Nice description.
"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).