The British Composers Thread

Started by Mark, October 25, 2007, 12:26:56 PM

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relm1

I really wish there would be a recording of John McCabe's ballet diptych, Arthur Pendragon.  I love the subject and the suite, there is just no way to hear the whole thing. 

vandermolen

Quote from: Roasted Swan on February 15, 2024, 11:08:10 PMI must admit McCabe is not a composer whose music I respond to in a uniformly positive way.  Quite often, I don't dislike it, it simply fails to engage me - I am left indifferent - a cardinal sin for any Art really I guess.  But the Chagall Windows do engage me very much so even if for only that one work I 'like' McCabe as a composer.
I'm not a great fan although I liked every work on this CD:

"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).

calyptorhynchus

Talking of Ruth Gipps, Radio 3 in the UK is playing a performance of her Symphony No.1 (conductor Gamba) on Thursday at 3pm (and afterwards on listen on demand).
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

Albion

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on February 16, 2024, 01:06:40 PMTalking of Ruth Gipps, Radio 3 in the UK is playing a performance of her Symphony No.1 (conductor Gamba) on Thursday at 3pm (and afterwards on listen on demand).

This will, of course, be recorded and made available to interested parties...

 8)
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)

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Albion on February 16, 2024, 05:13:14 PMThis will, of course, be recorded and made available to interested parties...

 8)

and of course I assume Chandos will be taking it into the studio with those same artists too.....

Albion

Quote from: Roasted Swan on February 17, 2024, 03:54:10 AMand of course I assume Chandos will be taking it into the studio with those same artists too.....

I certainly hope so! My approach has always been to try to make significant broadcasts available for repeated listening. If an identical performance is commercially issued the broadcast gets deleted straight away, as has happened with a number of recent Lyrita discs. A coupling of Gipps' 1st and 5th would complete the cycle in fine fashion and this should surely be Chandos' goal...
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)

relm1

#1446
Quote from: relm1 on February 10, 2024, 05:11:30 PMBased on the works on this release, I really want to hear it but can't seem to find it.  It's not even on the London Philharmonic album list.  Have any of you heard it?  Is it worth tracking down and if so, how can I get it?



https://www.discogs.com/release/15592263-London-Philharmonic-Orchestra-John-McCabe-2-Malcolm-Arnold-Sir-Georg-Solti-Bernard-Haitink-Concerto-

I very much enjoyed this recording.  It was interesting to hear Solti and Haitink in this repertoire. The album was well conceived, and well performed but I think Vernon Handley's Philharmonic Concerto had more bight to it.  Haitink's was more measured but on the other hand, this approach worked very well in the slower movements.  Haitink's recording was also the world premiere of that work and perhaps Arnold wasn't thought of as a composer of depth, I wonder.  The John McCabe works are excellent and brimming with color and imagination. 

vandermolen

Quote from: relm1 on February 19, 2024, 05:47:51 AMI very much enjoyed this recording.  It was interesting to hear Solti and Haitink in this repertoire. The album was well conceived, and well performed but I think Vernon Handley's Philharmonic Concerto had more bight to it.  Haitink's was more measured but on the other hand, this approach worked very well in the slower movements.  Haitink's recording was also the world premiere of that work and perhaps Arnold wasn't thought of as a composer of depth, I wonder.  The John McCabe works are excellent and brimming with color and imagination. 
I have that CD as well. To be honest I preferred the one that I posted above featuring the Hartmann Variations etc.
"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).

Roasted Swan

Some might not consider this apt for a composer page but to my ear this is the most glorious MUSIC;

[img=350x350]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/912SGfbbZDL._AC_UF894,1000_QL80_.jpg[/img]

This is the 2nd BBC recording which features the melifluous tones of Richard Burton as the Narrator "beginning at the beginning...."  The original 1954(?) version is slightly cut - were the BBC censors offended by the very slight sauciness?!  This 2nd version from roughly a decade later is "complete" and although recorded in mono sounds quite wonderful as an audio play.  Of course Thomas' old school friend Daniel Jones provided the original music in 1954 and that is - rightly - retained.  Apart from the linguistic brilliance of the work there is so much warmth wit and humour as well.  It stands repeated listening in a way - for me - that few other pieces of spoken word do.  Dylan Thomas was one of the poets I had to study for my 'O' level exams in the mid 1970's (along with the also wonderful Wilfred Owen)and my love of his work has never dimmed.  If anyone does not know this play I'm sure it must be on some kind of podcast/stream.....

Roasted Swan

Fascinating article in the newest BMS Journal which arrived in today's post.  Ian Maxwell writes about the discovery of a major treasure trove of letters (170+) from Moeran to a lady called Kathleen Kemp who previously have never featured/been known about in Moeran biographies.  Prof. Maxwell wrote the recent extensive new biography of Moeran but these letters (written mainly from 1942-49) apparently supplement the many other letters he wrote during the same period to his wife Peers Coetmore and many others.  The article i the journal is simply by way of an introduction but Prof. Maxwell intends to write a more extended article in a future edition once he has examined and assessed the complete collection - a complex character becomes even more complicated!

relm1

#1450
George Lloyd retrospective with some very beautiful music.  I didn't realize how talented his family was.  The sequence at 6:30 is very beautiful from his Symphony No. 3.

Roy Bland


vandermolen

Quote from: Roasted Swan on February 23, 2024, 04:04:24 AMSome might not consider this apt for a composer page but to my ear this is the most glorious MUSIC;

[img=350x350]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/912SGfbbZDL._AC_UF894,1000_QL80_.jpg[/img]

This is the 2nd BBC recording which features the melifluous tones of Richard Burton as the Narrator "beginning at the beginning...."  The original 1954(?) version is slightly cut - were the BBC censors offended by the very slight sauciness?!  This 2nd version from roughly a decade later is "complete" and although recorded in mono sounds quite wonderful as an audio play.  Of course Thomas' old school friend Daniel Jones provided the original music in 1954 and that is - rightly - retained.  Apart from the linguistic brilliance of the work there is so much warmth wit and humour as well.  It stands repeated listening in a way - for me - that few other pieces of spoken word do.  Dylan Thomas was one of the poets I had to study for my 'O' level exams in the mid 1970's (along with the also wonderful Wilfred Owen)and my love of his work has never dimmed.  If anyone does not know this play I'm sure it must be on some kind of podcast/stream.....

Very much agree with you and pleased to hear that his old friend Daniel Jones wrote the accompanying music. Jones's 4th Symphony in memory of his old friend is my favourite of his symphonic cycle. Must look out for that recording as I like 'Under Milk Wood' very much. My 'O'Level in English Lit featured Macbeth, Wordsworth and Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia' as far as I recall.
"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).

calyptorhynchus

I have a list of works I consider quality symphonies. At the moment it stands at 394; I don't know how many of these are written by English composers, but I do know that of the composers of these works the greatest number for a nationality is English (n=23).

I have always been amused by my own country of birth and upbringing perhaps biasing me towards English composers, however I have found a wonderful quote in the booklet to this (wonderful) recording:



It's from Sibelius, writing to acknowledge VW's dedication of the 5th Symphony to him:

"It is a well-rounded, harmonious and vivid work. Moreover I have seldom heard anything that is more English. I do not mean that you were influenced by English folk songs but the symphonic grip seems to me to be English."

Hear, hear.
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

Irons

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on March 17, 2024, 12:42:34 AMI have a list of works I consider quality symphonies. At the moment it stands at 394; I don't know how many of these are written by English composers, but I do know that of the composers of these works the greatest number for a nationality is English (n=23).

I have always been amused by my own country of birth and upbringing perhaps biasing me towards English composers, however I have found a wonderful quote in the booklet to this (wonderful) recording:



It's from Sibelius, writing to acknowledge VW's dedication of the 5th Symphony to him:

"It is a well-rounded, harmonious and vivid work. Moreover I have seldom heard anything that is more English. I do not mean that you were influenced by English folk songs but the symphonic grip seems to me to be English."

Hear, hear.

I admire your honesty as rather then being amused I'm slightly embarrassed by my love of English music. I would be mortified if thought by others of xenophobic tendencies. To be an expat must make the appreciation that much greater. I was told a story of a Brit living abroad driving when some English music came over his car radio. Sobbing with tears rolling down his face he was forced to pull over!
Now I will have to see if I can come up with 23. ;)    
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.

Roasted Swan

#1455
My exploration/excavation of the String Orchestra music of W.H.Reed (Billy to his friends) continues with another impressive discovery.  Not this time a manuscript c/o the RCM Library but more of a curiosity.  I saw in the recent catalogue of an online music seller I buy from a 1909 "Suite for Piano Solo".  But a little more digging revelas that this is an arrangement for solo piano by Charles Woodhouse of Reed's three movement "Suite for String Orchestra".  Its published by Novello - as much of Reed (and of course Elgar) was but I don't remember ever seeing a reference to the original string work.  I guess if I tried to find out where the Novello archive lives (if it lives at all!) they might be able to come up with some more info.  The Wikipedia listing which includes quite a lot of his music (but not a complete or comprehensive list) does not mention this suite in either form.  So I'm not sure if the 1909 copyright applies to the piano reduction only or the original string suite as well.

Its in 3 attractive contrasted movements; Idylle, Valse Characteristique and a Allegro con fuoco finale.  The opening of the 1st movement is a hommage (rip-off??!!) of the Dvorak String Serenade but as always with Reed the melodies are attractive and there's some lovely harmonies.  By 1909 Reed had met Elgar but was not yet a close friend.  But the influence of works like the Introduction and Allegro (which Reed was part of the premiere as a founder memeber of the LSO) is clear.

So I have reconstructed the string original as far as I can tell.  What helps is that Reed's writing for strings was always clear and practical and also Woodhouse, in his piano reduction) has included some additional/3rd stave "cues" indicating extra string lines not playable by piano/2 hands.  So that being the case its been relatively straightforward to back-arrange this piano score for string ensemble.  Of course, unless I can find a score of the original its pure conjecture - I'd be interested to se how many of my guesses are correct!  As with all his other string scores - now just a question of getting it played......

Albion

#1456
Quote from: Albion on February 16, 2024, 05:13:14 PMThis will, of course, be recorded and made available to interested parties...

 8)

Here we are -

https://www.mediafire.com/file/jiwovid4ifkvm8b/Gipps_-_Symphony_No.1%252C_Op.22_%25281942%2529.mp3/file

Gipps - Symphony No.1, Op.22 (1942)
BBC PO/ Rumon Gamba (br. 22/2/2024)
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)

foxandpeng

"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

Roasted Swan

I'm guessing his bank manager is a happy man but I imagine that Howard Blake can get frustrated as being known only for The Snowman.  Especially so when you listen to this disc;



Very enjoyable, well-written and very well played and recorded here.  No, its not the most complex or profound music you might ever hear but it IS certainly worth hearing.  Robert Cohen especially is on very fine form in the witty and attractive "Diversions".

Roasted Swan

For those interested - the house that I think is the birthplace of W H "Billy" Reed (Elgar's friend and former leader of the LSO - and a considerable composer in his own right) is up for auction in Frome Somerset.  Not that there is any indication as to it's significance - but it is Grade II listed - a guide price of £285.000