Author Topic: Grace Williams  (Read 5728 times)

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cilgwyn

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2016, 04:37:29 AM »
 ;D That reminds me of the letters about the "Bowie salute" in Private a few months ago. Of course,he was just waving to fans!! I don't know. I wasn't there? :-\ ;D You sound like you don't like Karajan much? I don't like him but I think he was quite a good conductor in certain repertoire,and he made some very good recordings. His Mahler 5 is regarded as one of the finest recordings by quite a few people,and his Sixth,which I'm listening to now on headphones,has got it's admirers. I like it;but I wouldn't say it's the best one. I also think his Bruckner is good. Some of his Strauss recordings. I love his recordings of Die Fledermaus,and his first Der Rosenkavalier.  I must admit to being a bit of a fan of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,who divides opinion. Another one whose political affiliations have been the subject of much controversy. I know Johan can't stand her! I also have that Beethoven boxed set you picture. I think it's quite good......but I love Beethoven,and I think there are more characterful interpretations. Beecham for example;who despite his apparent dislike of his music,conducted and recorded quite allot of it. I like his observation about Beethoven's Seventh sounding like allot of Yaks leaping about! (Ican't recall the exact quote). Weingartner is very good,too. Not so keen on these HIP performances,I'm afraid;but Zinman is a nice compromise. The underrated Wyn Morris,once dubbed the Welsh Furtwangler,is also good in the more fiery ones. And whatever you think of Karajan,he's got to be umpteen types better than Simon Rattle! ::) One of those overrated conductors the Beeb and Gramophone never stop plugging. As to Mutter. I quite like some of her playing. I think she is very talented;but the marketing is ridiculous. I suppose they have to do it these days;but she has allot of money,and her opinions must bear some weight at the label HQ. As to the Pavao Cd of Bax & Elgar. A pity I think it's quite good. I wish they'd do more Bax....or Bridge or Scott? It's good that they chose to record something like that. Thankfully they seemed to have toned it down on their latest cd. If this trend goes any further they'll need to sell these cds under plain brown wrapping! :o ;D
I wonder what will be on the front of the forthcoming cd of Grace Williams' Missa Cambrensis. Thankfully,Lyrita have better taste. Those old Lp's they produced of Bax have had some flak. I didn't mind them. I think their choice of artwork for the Bax cd of Tintagel,The Garden of Fand and the Northen Ballade No1 (not forgetting Meditarranean) with that Wave was fantastic. I also liked their sleeve for Brian's Symphonies 6 & 16. It seemed to go with the music,somehow. I don't know why. I found the replacement less fitting;even though it was a landscape!! I just don't think it goes with Brian's music. Not that I hate it!!

If I had to put up with one conductor on the front of cds,I would pick Beecham. For obvious reasons he has no control on what goes on the front of boxed sets and single cd album reissues. But he was such a great character. Bryden Thomson usually seemed to keep a low profile. I'm trying to think if there is even one cd with him on the front?! What a modest man!
So by and large,I agree with you!! ;D Those Moeran cds from Lyrita you have cited,are a particularly fine example. Chandos also chose some lovely photos for their cds. In fact,I think that putting a really nice landscape or seascape of somewhere associated with a composer,particularly when it's someone less familiar to the average listener,like Daniel Jones or Grace Williams,is probably more likely to sell cds than a photo of the composer. Die hard enthusiasts like us know who Daniel Jones and Grace Williams are;others don't. If I saw one of those Moeran or Bax cds or that lovely photo of Porthkerry,it would catch my eye immediately. People like beautiful scenery. That's why tourism makes money! I might not be so compelled to investigate a photo of someone I didn't know from Adam! Although,Daniel Jones has got a good face. I recall a Musicweb critic (Rob Barnett?) describing him as looking out of the cd front like George Smiley? But,anyway (drone..drone!).......you get my drift?!! ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2016, 01:26:36 AM »
;D That reminds me of the letters about the "Bowie salute" in Private a few months ago. Of course,he was just waving to fans!! I don't know. I wasn't there? :-\ ;D You sound like you don't like Karajan much? I don't like him but I think he was quite a good conductor in certain repertoire,and he made some very good recordings. His Mahler 5 is regarded as one of the finest recordings by quite a few people,and his Sixth,which I'm listening to now on headphones,has got it's admirers. I like it;but I wouldn't say it's the best one. I also think his Bruckner is good. Some of his Strauss recordings. I love his recordings of Die Fledermaus,and his first Der Rosenkavalier.  I must admit to being a bit of a fan of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,who divides opinion. Another one whose political affiliations have been the subject of much controversy. I know Johan can't stand her! I also have that Beethoven boxed set you picture. I think it's quite good......but I love Beethoven,and I think there are more characterful interpretations. Beecham for example;who despite his apparent dislike of his music,conducted and recorded quite allot of it. I like his observation about Beethoven's Seventh sounding like allot of Yaks leaping about! (Ican't recall the exact quote). Weingartner is very good,too. Not so keen on these HIP performances,I'm afraid;but Zinman is a nice compromise. The underrated Wyn Morris,once dubbed the Welsh Furtwangler,is also good in the more fiery ones. And whatever you think of Karajan,he's got to be umpteen types better than Simon Rattle! ::) One of those overrated conductors the Beeb and Gramophone never stop plugging. As to Mutter. I quite like some of her playing. I think she is very talented;but the marketing is ridiculous. I suppose they have to do it these days;but she has allot of money,and her opinions must bear some weight at the label HQ. As to the Pavao Cd of Bax & Elgar. A pity I think it's quite good. I wish they'd do more Bax....or Bridge or Scott? It's good that they chose to record something like that. Thankfully they seemed to have toned it down on their latest cd. If this trend goes any further they'll need to sell these cds under plain brown wrapping! :o ;D
I wonder what will be on the front of the forthcoming cd of Grace Williams' Missa Cambrensis. Thankfully,Lyrita have better taste. Those old Lp's they produced of Bax have had some flak. I didn't mind them. I think their choice of artwork for the Bax cd of Tintagel,The Garden of Fand and the Northen Ballade No1 (not forgetting Meditarranean) with that Wave was fantastic. I also liked their sleeve for Brian's Symphonies 6 & 16. It seemed to go with the music,somehow. I don't know why. I found the replacement less fitting;even though it was a landscape!! I just don't think it goes with Brian's music. Not that I hate it!!

If I had to put up with one conductor on the front of cds,I would pick Beecham. For obvious reasons he has no control on what goes on the front of boxed sets and single cd album reissues. But he was such a great character. Bryden Thomson usually seemed to keep a low profile. I'm trying to think if there is even one cd with him on the front?! What a modest man!
So by and large,I agree with you!! ;D Those Moeran cds from Lyrita you have cited,are a particularly fine example. Chandos also chose some lovely photos for their cds. In fact,I think that putting a really nice landscape or seascape of somewhere associated with a composer,particularly when it's someone less familiar to the average listener,like Daniel Jones or Grace Williams,is probably more likely to sell cds than a photo of the composer. Die hard enthusiasts like us know who Daniel Jones and Grace Williams are;others don't. If I saw one of those Moeran or Bax cds or that lovely photo of Porthkerry,it would catch my eye immediately. People like beautiful scenery. That's why tourism makes money! I might not be so compelled to investigate a photo of someone I didn't know from Adam! Although,Daniel Jones has got a good face. I recall a Musicweb critic (Rob Barnett?) describing him as looking out of the cd front like George Smiley? But,anyway (drone..drone!).......you get my drift?!! ;D
Just to cheer you up here is a picture of that fine, underrated conductor Bryden Thomson on a CD set cover:


Why the likes of he, Handley and Hickox were never knighted and the overrated Simon Rattle and hopeless Roger Norrington were I have no idea - the latter is my least favourite conductor - I have been disappointed by any recording I have heard - maybe he's brilliant in Mozart.
As for Karajan - I am not admirer but have to admit that his recording of Honegger's Symphony 3 'Liturgique' is incomparably the best with its wonderfully haunting and poetic birdsong conclusion - my favourite recording of one of my favourite symphonies. There are some fine Sibelius recordings and also Shostakovich Symphony 10 (the live one and the earlier DGG one). Amazingly there is a recording of Karajan conducting Walton's First Symphony which is rather good. Yes, those Keith Hensby Bax LP cover designs (identical but in different colours) were a bit drab but, like you, I didn't mind them. Also the LP with Tintagel, Northern Ballad No.1, November Woods etc on had, I agree, a great design (actually, come to think of it, I think that November Woods was on a different LP, with works by Moeran and Holst and with a striking orange tree-scape cover design). I gather that Mr Hensby is alive and well and still involved in the graphic design business. I like some of his designs for the Lyrita CD releases of material which was originally on LP - like that for Patrick Hadley's wonderful score 'The Trees so High'.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 01:34:33 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).

cilgwyn

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2017, 11:12:09 AM »
I'm listening to this cd,now. Lovely,haunting,lyrical music from the Welsh composer,Grace Williams. Superbly performed and recorded;but sadly,deleted. I got this s/h. Took me a while to get a decently,low price! The Lp version is pictured on the right.

 


Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2019, 07:02:59 PM »
New Naxos disk of her chamber music out today! All previously unrecorded inc Violin Sonata
I don’t quite know how it slipped under the radar as I normally keep a close eye on Naxos, but I found it eventually!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2019, 09:57:33 AM »
Been enjoying the fabulous Symphony 2. I had the original LP release with its nice landscape photo. Also, I've never seen a photo of the young Grace Williams before:

"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 relm1

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2019, 03:34:40 PM »
Grace Williams Trumpet Concerto in concert in California!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2019, 07:27:49 PM »
Grace Williams Trumpet Concerto in concert in California!

Looks like a great concert!
Are you going?
"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 relm1

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2019, 05:33:54 AM »
Looks like a great concert!
Are you going?

No, it's a few hundred miles from me.  :(

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2019, 06:03:00 AM »
No, it's a few hundred miles from me.  :(
That's a long way to go I must say - but great that her music is being performed.
"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: Grace Williams
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2020, 02:25:28 PM »


Violin Sonata (1930, rev 1938).
Sextet for Oboe, Trumpet, Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano (1931).
Suite for Nine Instruments (1934).
Romanza for Oboe and Clarinet (1940's).
Sarabande for Piano Left Hand (1958).
Rondo for Dancing for Two Violins and Optional Cello (1970).

Madeleine Mitchell deserves the freedom of Cardiff or Swansea for her work in preparing and performing these amazingly inventive works. Listening through the pieces I was waiting for the quality to drop, it just didn't happen. Each, up to and including the short Rondo (1.55) are captivating. Her teacher and namesake is an obvious influence in the stunning middle movement of the Violin Sonata, but her other teacher Egon Wellesz is a stronger influence with the rest of works - central European (with a spattering of Oriental rhythms!) rather then pastoral British.
All premiere recordings and I could not recommend them highly enough.   
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Albion

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2020, 12:38:32 AM »
Major compositions by Grace Williams are available on the two splendid Lyrita compilations:

SRCD.323 - Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes (1940); Carillons for Oboe and Orchestra (1960, revised 1975); Trumpet Concerto (1963); Sea Sketches (1944)

SRCD.327 - Ballads for Orchestra (1968); Fairest of Stars (1973); Symphony No.2 (1956)

However, anyone who appreciates the distinctive voice of this still-under-performed composer should also have access to the following works which are not available commercially:

Elegy for String Orchestra (1936, revised 1940)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/som1zxdc656bmk1/Williams_-_Elegy_for_String_Orchestra_%25281936%252C_rev._1940%2529.mp3/file

Four Illustrations for the Legend of Rhiannon (1939, revised 1940)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/el58a7k6vjnc684/Williams_-_Four_Illustrations_for_The_Legend_of_Rhiannon_%25281939%252C_rev.1940%2529.mp3/file

Sinfonia Concertante (1941)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/1n6o22gf7jssdi0/Williams_-_Sinfonia_Concertante_%25281941%2529.mp3/file

Symphony No.1 (1943)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/4ed8jjx0j8nwomi/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_1.wma/file
https://www.mediafire.com/file/avrcmf1n3a1ogu1/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_2.wma/file
https://www.mediafire.com/file/pb4uxdpvfwb76db/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_3.wma/file
https://www.mediafire.com/file/nz62e6lmuxxbe32/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_4.wma/file

Violin Concerto (1950)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/934cbw8j3ygscjw/Williams_-_Violin_Concerto_%25281950%2529.mp3/file

Missa Cambrensis (1971)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/8ulsh50ibwuzi47/Williams_-_Missa_Cambrensis_%25281971%2529.mp3/file

These off-air recordings are from my personal archive and performance details can be found in the catalogue at AMF.

 :)
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2020, 02:41:51 AM »
Major compositions by Grace Williams are available on the two splendid Lyrita compilations:

SRCD.323 - Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes (1940); Carillons for Oboe and Orchestra (1960, revised 1975); Trumpet Concerto (1963); Sea Sketches (1944)

SRCD.327 - Ballads for Orchestra (1968); Fairest of Stars (1973); Symphony No.2 (1956)

However, anyone who appreciates the distinctive voice of this still-under-performed composer should also have access to the following works which are not available commercially:

Elegy for String Orchestra (1936, revised 1940)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/som1zxdc656bmk1/Williams_-_Elegy_for_String_Orchestra_%25281936%252C_rev._1940%2529.mp3/file

Four Illustrations for the Legend of Rhiannon (1939, revised 1940)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/el58a7k6vjnc684/Williams_-_Four_Illustrations_for_The_Legend_of_Rhiannon_%25281939%252C_rev.1940%2529.mp3/file

Sinfonia Concertante (1941)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/1n6o22gf7jssdi0/Williams_-_Sinfonia_Concertante_%25281941%2529.mp3/file

Symphony No.1 (1943)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/4ed8jjx0j8nwomi/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_1.wma/file
https://www.mediafire.com/file/avrcmf1n3a1ogu1/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_2.wma/file
https://www.mediafire.com/file/pb4uxdpvfwb76db/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_3.wma/file
https://www.mediafire.com/file/nz62e6lmuxxbe32/Williams_-_Symphony_No.1_%25281943%2529_4.wma/file

Violin Concerto (1950)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/934cbw8j3ygscjw/Williams_-_Violin_Concerto_%25281950%2529.mp3/file

Missa Cambrensis (1971)
https://www.mediafire.com/file/8ulsh50ibwuzi47/Williams_-_Missa_Cambrensis_%25281971%2529.mp3/file

These off-air recordings are from my personal archive and performance details can be found in the catalogue at AMF.

 :)
Two fine discs and that Naxos chamber music CD will be coming my way in the New Year following Irons's enthusiastic advocacy.
"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: Grace Williams
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2020, 08:11:00 AM »
Two fine discs and that Naxos chamber music CD will be coming my way in the New Year following Irons's enthusiastic advocacy.

Excellent.

Lyrita is a convenient home for the few Grace Williams recordings on CD but is a marriage of convenience. As above, the 2nd Symphony and Ballads originally on BBC Artium and the Groves recordings on Oriel. 
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2020, 09:31:00 AM »
Excellent.

Lyrita is a convenient home for the few Grace Williams recordings on CD but is a marriage of convenience. As above, the 2nd Symphony and Ballads originally on BBC Artium and the Groves recordings on Oriel.
I've already ordered it Lol - arriving tomorrow  ::)
I sampled the Violin Sonata on You Tube which sounded marvellous and reminded me of the VW one written towards the end of his life, which is a great favourite.
Love the LP cover which I've never seen before, although I did have the Symphony No.2 on the BBC LP. Lyrita included the work in their box set of British Symphonies.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2020, 09:33:08 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 Irons

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2020, 01:40:18 AM »
I've already ordered it Lol - arriving tomorrow  ::)
I sampled the Violin Sonata on You Tube which sounded marvellous and reminded me of the VW one written towards the end of his life, which is a great favourite.
Love the LP cover which I've never seen before, although I did have the Symphony No.2 on the BBC LP. Lyrita included the work in their box set of British Symphonies.

I may have imagined it Jeffrey but I thought Williams placed a musical quotation of "The Lark Ascending" in the middle movement.
I do hope you enjoy the CD when it arrives. I'm sure you will.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Grace Williams
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2020, 01:47:15 AM »
I may have imagined it Jeffrey but I thought Williams placed a musical quotation of "The Lark Ascending" in the middle movement.
I do hope you enjoy the CD when it arrives. I'm sure you will.
I'll listen out for that Lol.
"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).