William Alwyn

Started by tjguitar, April 16, 2007, 09:27:43 AM

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Irons

Quote from: Maestro267 on July 21, 2022, 07:47:01 AM
Nothing wrong with paying one's respects.

Quote from: DavidW on July 21, 2022, 08:26:52 AM
It provides a tangible connection to someone you admire but only knew abstractly.

"Connection" is the right word. Something more then listening to the music. Two for the price of one in the case of Mr and Mrs Alwyn.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

vandermolen

#301
On Friday I was showing my History of Art class a very old BBC TV documentary about the sculptor Henry Moore and I was pleased to note that the music was written by William Alwyn. I would imagine that they used existing chamber works by Alwyn rather than the music being specially composed for the documentary, but I may be wrong.
Here is the TV programme:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZAde-PBoD8

Henry Moore's own work has occasionally been featured on LP/CD sleeves:
"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).

Irons

Quote from: vandermolen on November 19, 2022, 11:33:38 AM
On Friday I was showing my History of Art class a very old BBC TV documentary about the sculptor Henry Moore and I was pleased to note that the music was written by William Alwyn. I would imagine that they used existing chamber works by Alwyn rather than the music being specially composed for the documentary, but I may be wrong.
Here is the TV programme:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZAde-PBoD8

Henry Moore's own work has occasionally been featured on LP/CD sleeves:


Enjoyed the documentary, Jeffrey. I have admired his work at Snape Maltings which is as far as my knowledge of Henry Moore goes. Alwyn's score is far too good to be just incidental music written for a television programme.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

vandermolen

#303
Quote from: Irons on November 21, 2022, 12:07:45 AM
Enjoyed the documentary, Jeffrey. I have admired his work at Snape Maltings which is as far as my knowledge of Henry Moore goes. Alwyn's score is far too good to be just incidental music written for a television programme.
Yes, I agree Lol and I'm glad that you enjoyed the TV programme.
I like discovering, by accident, music that I've only come across when showing documentaries to my students; examples are the start of Britten's Violin Concerto (used as introductory music for an old BBC Schools TV programme on 20th Century History) and an extract from Copland's 'Statements for Orchestra' used as part of a fascinating, collage-like, programme about the Great Depression in the USA and the Wall Street Crash ('Buddy can you spare a dime?'). I once watched a documentary about Henry Moore which used Lutostawski's 'Concerto for Orchestra' and one about the Finnish Architect Alvar Aalto which made effective use of Klami's 'Kalevala Suite'.
"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).

kyjo

Was recently listening to this splendid disc:



The Oboe Concerto (accompanied by strings and harp) is an enchanting composition - dare I say I prefer it to RVW's? And the three Concerti Grossi are all splendidly concise yet meaty works - there's not a hint of desiccated neoclassicism about them. Despite their obvious tonal grounding there are passages of dark chromaticism throughout which are quite gripping. I particularly loved the prominent writing for trumpet and timpani in No. 1, and No. 2 could be counted amongst the great English works for string orchestra. No. 3 closes unexpectedly with a desolate, sorrowful slow movement, which at 7 minutes in length is the most extended movement in all three works. Just wonderful music all-around, in committed and full-bodied performances.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

foxandpeng

Quote from: kyjo on June 01, 2023, 09:20:26 AMWas recently listening to this splendid disc:



The Oboe Concerto (accompanied by strings and harp) is an enchanting composition - dare I say I prefer it to RVW's? And the three Concerti Grossi are all splendidly concise yet meaty works - there's not a hint of desiccated neoclassicism about them. Despite their obvious tonal grounding there are passages of dark chromaticism throughout which are quite gripping. I particularly loved the prominent writing for trumpet and timpani in No. 1, and No. 2 could be counted amongst the great English works for string orchestra. No. 3 closes unexpectedly with a desolate, sorrowful slow movement, which at 7 minutes in length is the most extended movement in all three works. Just wonderful music all-around, in committed and full-bodied performances.

Excellent, Kyle, thank you. Once I've digested the Lloyd Jones releases, the Hickox are next on the playlist.
"A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

foxandpeng

#306
There is nothing quite like immersing yourself in the works of a composer, to learn to understand them, familiarise yourself with their work, and to learn to appreciate what previously hasn't grabbed your attention. I've been doing that for the last week or so with William Alwyn, because although I kind of know him, I haven't really ever felt connected to his writing or wanted to revisit it when the need for music is on me. I know he is good, but I can't say I have ever been hugely impressed with him. Not all composers grab everyone, I know, but I am really pleased to say that I am at the stage where familiarity is starting to make a difference. I felt the same with Bax years ago, and I now rate him incredibly highly, so am really glad this is happening. Alwyn's symphonies, in particular, are beginning to take real root, as are pieces like the Oboe & Harp Concerto, Lyra Angelica, the Sinfonietta for Strings, Elizabethan Dances, Concerto for Flute and 8 Wind Instruments, and more. Lots more listening to come, I think.

Particular appreciation goes to @Lisztianwagner and @Harry, whose recent postings made me shake myself and take the plunge!
"A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

Lisztianwagner

Quote from: foxandpeng on June 02, 2023, 06:24:03 AMThere is nothing quite like immersing yourself in the works of a composer, to learn to understand them, familiarise yourself with their work, and to learn to appreciate what previously hasn't grabbed your attention. I've been doing that for the last week or so with William Alwyn, because although I kind of know him, I haven't really ever felt connected to his writing or wanted to revisit it when the need for music is on me. I know he is good, but I can't say I have ever been hugely impressed with him. Not all composers grab everyone, I know, but I am really pleased to say that I am at the stage where familiarity is starting to make a difference. I felt the same with Bax years ago, and I now rate him incredibly highly, so am really glad this is happening. Alwyn's symphonies, in particular, are beginning to take real root, as are pieces like the Oboe & Harp Concerto, Lyra Angelica, the Sinfonietta for Strings, Elizabethan Dances, Concerto for Flute and 8 Wind Instruments, and more. Lots more listening to come, I think.

Particular appreciation goes to @Lisztianwagner and @Harry, whose recent postings made me shake myself and take the plunge!
You're welcome, sharing our musical impressions and learning from each other is one of the best aspects of this forum. That's great you've improved your opinion about Alwyn, he's a composer absolutely worth exploring; I've recently learnt to appreciate his music very much too, it's very compelling and beautifully suggestive.
"You cannot expect the Form before the Idea, for they will come into being together." - Arnold Schönberg

Irons

Quote from: kyjo on June 01, 2023, 09:20:26 AMWas recently listening to this splendid disc:



The Oboe Concerto (accompanied by strings and harp) is an enchanting composition - dare I say I prefer it to RVW's? And the three Concerti Grossi are all splendidly concise yet meaty works - there's not a hint of desiccated neoclassicism about them. Despite their obvious tonal grounding there are passages of dark chromaticism throughout which are quite gripping. I particularly loved the prominent writing for trumpet and timpani in No. 1, and No. 2 could be counted amongst the great English works for string orchestra. No. 3 closes unexpectedly with a desolate, sorrowful slow movement, which at 7 minutes in length is the most extended movement in all three works. Just wonderful music all-around, in committed and full-bodied performances.

Nicely summed up. I would add that there is not a smidgen of sameness between the three Concerti Grossi. They can be heard and enjoyed in one go. I found the Oboe Concerto more modern then expected. An instrument long associated with English pastoralism, Alwyn doesn't allow that to cramp his style.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

kyjo

Quote from: foxandpeng on June 01, 2023, 10:13:40 AMExcellent, Kyle, thank you. Once I've digested the Lloyd Jones releases, the Hickox are next on the playlist.

You're welcome, Danny! Not to knock Lloyd-Jones, but Hickox's Alwyn series is just fantastic, so I'm sure you'll find much to enjoy in it. Doing some brief comparisons, I noticed that Hickox's recordings have a richer string sonority than Lloyd-Jones' (partly due to Chandos' sonics, perhaps) which to me is an important factor.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

kyjo

#310
Quote from: Irons on June 02, 2023, 11:45:17 PMNicely summed up. I would add that there is not a smidgen of sameness between the three Concerti Grossi. They can be heard and enjoyed in one go. I found the Oboe Concerto more modern then expected. An instrument long associated with English pastoralism, Alwyn doesn't allow that to cramp his style.

Indeed, each of the three Concerti Grossi is very distinct in character yet still all recognizably from the same pen. In these works and the Oboe Concerto, I was engrossed by Alwyn's piquant harmonic language which is warmly consonant at one moment and chromatically unstable the next.

Overall, Alwyn was a very consistent composer who rarely disappoints (except for perhaps his rather acerbic String Quartets nos. 2 and 3, I wasn't too taken with those). His Symphonies 2, 3, and 5, Piano Concerto no. 2 (probably my favorite work of his, just tremendous!!), Lyra Angelica, Concerti Grossi, String Quartet no. 1, Miss Julie (opera), and Odd Man Out (film score) are all firm favorites of mine.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

vers la flamme

Personally, I prefer the Lloyd-Jones performances to the Hickox, though I do like both.

foxandpeng

Quote from: kyjo on June 03, 2023, 06:41:11 AMYou're welcome, Danny! Not to knock Lloyd-Jones, but Hickox's Alwyn series is just fantastic, so I'm sure you'll find much to enjoy in it. Doing some brief comparisons, I noticed that Hickox's recordings have a richer string sonority than Lloyd-Jones' (partly due to Chandos' sonics, perhaps) which to me is an important factor.

I look forward to trying these. I love Hickox in Rubbra, so can't imagine these Alwyn symphonies will disappoint in any way. I do like Lloyd Jones, though 😁
"A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

vandermolen

Here's the definitive list  ;D
Symphony No.1 (Hickox)
Symphony No.2 (Alwyn)
Symphony No.3 (Hickox/Lloyd Jones)
Symphony No.4 (Hickox)
Symphony No.5 (Lloyd-Jones, Alwyn)
Actually all three complete cycles (Alwyn/Hickox/Lloyd-Jones) are very good but I think that Alwyn is best in No.2. Also, don't forget Barbirolli's historic performances of 1 and 2 (Dutton) and Beecham's recorded premiere of No.3.
"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).

foxandpeng

Quote from: vandermolen on June 03, 2023, 01:03:38 PMHere's the definitive list  ;D
Symphony No.1 (Hickox)
Symphony No.2 (Alwyn)
Symphony No.3 (Hickox/Lloyd Jones)
Symphony No.4 (Hickox)
Symphony No.5 (Lloyd-Jones, Alwyn)
Actually all three complete cycles (Alwyn/Hickox/Lloyd-Jones) are very good but I think that Alwyn is best in No.2. Also, don't forget Barbirolli's historic performances of 1 and 2 (Dutton) and Beecham's recorded premiere of No.3.

This is immensely useful, Jeffrey, thank you. I've heard all the Lloyd Jones symphonies today, so will start to listen through the Hickox next, followed by the Alwyn. Just finished hearing #4 again... really connecting with it, I have to say.
"A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

foxandpeng

Quote from: vandermolen on June 03, 2023, 01:03:38 PMHere's the definitive list  ;D
Symphony No.1 (Hickox)
Symphony No.2 (Alwyn)
Symphony No.3 (Hickox/Lloyd Jones)
Symphony No.4 (Hickox)
Symphony No.5 (Lloyd-Jones, Alwyn)
Actually all three complete cycles (Alwyn/Hickox/Lloyd-Jones) are very good but I think that Alwyn is best in No.2. Also, don't forget Barbirolli's historic performances of 1 and 2 (Dutton) and Beecham's recorded premiere of No.3.

Now playing Symphony 4 by Hickox from this fine list of recs. This is a great symphony, and one which made little impression on me at first, if I am brutally honest. I know familiarity through repeat listens always unlocks far more than initial plays, but I suspect I am a complete dope even after all these years, as it takes me forever to pick out tunes, nuances, fascinating runs, developmental shifts and recapitulations, and other highlights. It starts off as complete mush more often than I would like, and only later delivers any sort of coherence and value. The Lloyd Jones introduced #4 to me, so interested to see the difference with RH.
"A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

Irons

Quote from: kyjo on June 03, 2023, 06:52:50 AMIndeed, each of the three Concerti Grossi is very distinct in character yet still all recognizably from the same pen. In these works and the Oboe Concerto, I was engrossed by Alwyn's piquant harmonic language which is warmly consonant at one moment and chromatically unstable the next.

Overall, Alwyn was a very consistent composer who rarely disappoints (except for perhaps his rather acerbic String Quartets nos. 2 and 3, I wasn't too taken with those). His Symphonies 2, 3, and 5, Piano Concerto no. 2 (probably my favorite work of his, just tremendous!!), Lyra Angelica, Concerti Grossi, String Quartet no. 1, Miss Julie (opera), and Odd Man Out (film score) are all firm favorites of mine.


The first quartet is a fabulous piece, a slow movement to die for. I would add to your list Alwyn's works for piano which I believe his favoured medium. I listen to the CD below as much at least as any other Alwyn recording.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

vandermolen

Quote from: foxandpeng on June 05, 2023, 05:44:47 AMNow playing Symphony 4 by Hickox from this fine list of recs. This is a great symphony, and one which made little impression on me at first, if I am brutally honest. I know familiarity through repeat listens always unlocks far more than initial plays, but I suspect I am a complete dope even after all these years, as it takes me forever to pick out tunes, nuances, fascinating runs, developmental shifts and recapitulations, and other highlights. It starts off as complete mush more often than I would like, and only later delivers any sort of coherence and value. The Lloyd Jones introduced #4 to me, so interested to see the difference with RH.
I love the first movement of the 4th Danny (a mini symphony itself) but I find the 2nd movement, with it's relentlessly repeating theme, rather banal but others will disagree. The 4th Symphony thus features my favourite and least favourite Alwyn symphony movement!
"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).