Author Topic: Sir Arthur Bliss  (Read 61738 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #280 on: March 15, 2021, 05:38:28 AM »
Lately I've been blown away by Bliss' Music for Strings (1935), specifically the recording of it found in this stupendous new Chandos album:



Bliss did this work no favors by giving it such a generic title. It's a work so full of life and vigor that grabs your attention right from the beginning and never lets go. And, goodness, do the Sinfonia of London under John Wilson play it to the hilt! They must be one of my current favorite orchestra/conductor combos along with Pittsburgh/Honeck and Bergen/Litton. The entire album is a must-hear for those interested in this repertoire. I hope they go on to record a sequel - I'd love to hear them in Tippett's roughly contemporary Concerto for Double String Orchestra, for instance.
Yes, you're right about the title Kyle.
"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 Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #281 on: March 15, 2021, 07:16:41 AM »
Yes, you're right about the title Kyle.

When Vernon Handley conducted a birthday concert in Liverpool he got to choose the programme.  It included Bax Symphony 6 for sure and RVW Tudor Portraits (I think?). The third piece was the Bliss Music for Strings.  Its a really tricky piece to play and far from familiar - a combination that will always work against a work becoming fully appreciated.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #282 on: March 15, 2021, 07:52:34 AM »
When Vernon Handley conducted a birthday concert in Liverpool he got to choose the programme.  It included Bax Symphony 6 for sure and RVW Tudor Portraits (I think?). The third piece was the Bliss Music for Strings.  Its a really tricky piece to play and far from familiar - a combination that will always work against a work becoming fully appreciated.
What a great programme!
"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: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #283 on: June 09, 2021, 10:52:06 PM »
When Vernon Handley conducted a birthday concert in Liverpool he got to choose the programme.  It included Bax Symphony 6 for sure and RVW Tudor Portraits (I think?). The third piece was the Bliss Music for Strings.  Its a really tricky piece to play and far from familiar - a combination that will always work against a work becoming fully appreciated.
I've been listening to this marvellous CD with much pleasure. It features (IMO) the best performance of the 'Meditations on a Theme by John Blow' (written for the CBSO in 1955) and a wonderful 'Music for Strings'. The old Penguin CD Guide described the Blow work, condescendingly, as 'amiable but rambling' although I think that it is one of Bliss's greatest works and very moving in places. The old Lyrita LP was a great classical discovery in my youth:

« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 10:57:25 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 Roasted Swan

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #284 on: June 10, 2021, 12:23:33 AM »
I've been listening to this marvellous CD with much pleasure. It features (IMO) the best performance of the 'Meditations on a Theme by John Blow' (written for the CBSO in 1955) and a wonderful 'Music for Strings'. The old Penguin CD Guide described the Blow work, condescendingly, as 'amiable but rambling' although I think that it is one of Bliss's greatest works and very moving in places. The old Lyrita LP was a great classical discovery in my youth:



If ever a work was dammed by faint praise that is it.  I agree the Meditations are a superb work - but we've said this here before - I think that Bliss is generally underappreciated/respected.  I enjoy whole swathes of his music - not sure I can think of a single piece I dislike actually.  Even his fairly un-operatic opera "The Olympians" has some wonderful music in it.....

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Arthur Bliss
« Reply #285 on: June 10, 2021, 09:21:34 AM »
If ever a work was dammed by faint praise that is it.  I agree the Meditations are a superb work - but we've said this here before - I think that Bliss is generally underappreciated/respected.  I enjoy whole swathes of his music - not sure I can think of a single piece I dislike actually.  Even his fairly un-operatic opera "The Olympians" has some wonderful music in it.....
Still, it's nice to meet someone here who appreciates Bliss as well. 'Damned with faint praise' just about hits the nail on the head. Remember the oft-repeated suggestion that the most memorable piece that Bliss wrote was the 'March' from 'Things to Come' - what a load of rubbish! I don't even find the March the most memorable piece in 'Things to Come'!
"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).