The British Composers Thread

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

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Albion on April 10, 2023, 11:39:04 AMYou'll always have a good time with Parry. Beware of the Bamert performance - the second flute is missing for some unaccountable reason in No.5. Otherwise it's a great cycle (supplement it with the original version of No.4 under Gamba). Stand-out choral works are "The Lotos-Eaters" and "The Soul's Ransom" on Chandos, and "Ode on the Nativity" on Lyrita. Brian Rayner Cook does his very best to wreck  the gorgeous "Invocation to Music" with ridiculous over-emoting and Jarvi mangles the 1897 Magnificat to accommodate a frankly clapped-out soprano and "Judith" will bore you to tears. The Hyperion recording of "Job" is truly bloody dismal, here's Boult doing it in 1967 to greater effect (I had to do a lot of editing to the original audio file)...

https://www.mediafire.com/file/xhv5cfga3s0k2bw/Parry_-_Job_%25281892%2529.mp3/file

I should revisit that Hyperion "Job" - it made little or no impact which I guess might be down to the performance.  I disagree about Amanda Roocroft for Jarvi.  She might not be a soprano to everyone's taste - a bit wobbly in alt - but her actual vocal style seems well suited to this music and in no way is she "clapped out".  My main concern with this disc is that Jarvi gives one of his vigorous-but-generalised performances.  Its quite easy to be taken in by the excitement and the Chandos recording/orchestral playing but without any real or abiding sense of whether the music itself has much true substance

Maestro267

Quote from: lordlance on April 10, 2023, 04:16:14 PMNo choral music for me;  I stick to orchestral music. I heard the Boult Fifth as well actually. I might try the Fourth next.

We'll convert you to the glorious grandeur and beauty of choral music soon enough, don't worry about it.

calyptorhynchus

I've got a busy day today (23rd), so I don't have much of a chance of long musical enjoyment, but I've decided my St George's Day playlist will include (if there's time):

Some lute pieces and songs by Dowland
A symphony or two by John Marsh
Simpson's String Quintet No.1
And something by Rubbra... Piano Concerto?
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

Albion

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on April 22, 2023, 03:24:54 PMI've got a busy day today (23rd), so I don't have much of a chance of long musical enjoyment, but I've decided my St George's Day playlist will include (if there's time):

Some lute pieces and songs by Dowland
A symphony or two by John Marsh
Simpson's String Quintet No.1
And something by Rubbra... Piano Concerto?

Elgar's "The Banner of Saint George" is great fun, especially in the Chandos recording conducted by Andrew Davis - "The dragon comes" and then gets bludgeoned...

 ;D
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)

calyptorhynchus

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on April 22, 2023, 03:24:54 PMI've got a busy day today (23rd), so I don't have much of a chance of long musical enjoyment, but I've decided my St George's Day playlist will include (if there's time):

Some lute pieces and songs by Dowland
A symphony or two by John Marsh
Simpson's String Quintet No.1
And something by Rubbra... Piano Concerto?

Of course I didn't get to listen to much of that list, except the Rubbra PC.

But I did listen to this on the occasion of the Bard's birthday (and death-day):



There are three of four of these type of discs (music from Shakespeare's plays) and they are all very good, but I just chose this one yesterday.
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

Albion

Regarding really great British ballet music there ain't much. Sullivan made a splendid effort in "L'Ie Enchantee" and "Victoria and Merrie England" but then there was a huge gap. The next major players only got going in the 1920s onwards with Berners, Bliss, Lambert, Arnell and Arnold. Walton's "The Quest" and Britten's "The Prince of the Pagodas" are both significant but neither composer really seemed to relish the prospect of ballet. We've had other scores since such as McCabe's "Edward II" and Joby Talbot's "Alice in Wonderland" but is the appetite for original British contributions to the genre waning?
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)

DaveF

Quote from: Albion on April 26, 2023, 07:33:37 PMRegarding really great British ballet music there ain't much.
I'm going to shout "Job!" before all the (other) VW-lovers wake up.
"All the world is birthday cake" - George Harrison

Luke

Good Job....



He never seems to be counted amongst British composers despite being a British composer, but Gavin Bryars has written quite a number of ballet scores. In the 20s, I think, though I only know about five of them.

Roasted Swan

The issue I suspect - as ever - is one of finance.  For the Covent Garden Royal Ballet to 'risk' a main stage big investment on something like "Alice in Wonderland" is huge.  But the focus there was actually really on the staging which was witty and imaginative and theatrically effective.  I'm not sure anyone remembers much about the music or - in fact - the choreography.  Northern Ballet seem more committed to producing new work with new scores.  A few have been rather clever reworkings of existing (non-ballet) scores into kind of musically anthologised works by the likes of Elgar - "Great Expectations" and Arnold "Three Musketeers".  Ballet as an art form is odd - across all decades and all countries dozens of fine works (both in terms of music and choreo) are briefly staged and then effectively binned in terms of having any enduring life.  There are loads of British scores I'd love to see staged or French or American or Russian.  That seems to be the fate of ballet.......

vandermolen

+1 for Job and also 'Checkmate', 'Adam Zero' and 'Miracle in the Gorbals' by Bliss (not that I've seen any of them). Job is IMO one of Vaughan Williams's greatest works but I've only ever seen it performed as a concert piece (actually on VW's 100th Birthday in 1972) conducted by its dedicatee Boult.
"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).

Albion

The only British choral ballets that I know are Bantock's "The Great God Pan", Berners' "Wedding Bouquet" and Holst's "The Golden Goose" and "The Morning of the Year". Designed to make production even more difficult and expensive. Are there any others?
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)

vandermolen

I like the Ballet music from Holst's opera 'The Perfect Fool' and 'Horoscope' by Constant Lambert.
"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).

Albion

#1312
Quote from: vandermolen on April 27, 2023, 01:47:15 AMI like the Ballet music from Holst's opera 'The Perfect Fool' and 'Horoscope' by Constant Lambert.

Holst's "The Lure" is very appealing: luckily Richard Hickox made a splendid recording of all the Holst ballet music for Chandos (CHSA 5069). Lambert's ballets are all attractive, especially "Horoscope" and "Tiresias" (the latter of which had to be orchestrated by umpteen other composers as Lambert was pretty much dead by that point)...
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)

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: vandermolen on April 27, 2023, 01:47:15 AMI like the Ballet music from Holst's opera 'The Perfect Fool' and 'Horoscope' by Constant Lambert.
I enjoy it too.  I have a Chandos CD with Hickox of it.  Are there any other recordings of it?

PD

Albion

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on April 27, 2023, 02:52:24 AMI enjoy it too.  I have a Chandos CD with Hickox of it.  Are there any other recordings of it?

PD

Several other versions of the ballet music from "The Perfect Fool" include Adrian Boult and William Boughton. It's worth getting to know the complete opera. Don't bother with Lyrita's truncated issue conducted by Charles Groves, here is Handley in 1995 delivering the goods...

https://www.mediafire.com/file/2bsp2781ojb7sso/Holst_-_The_Perfect_Fool%252C_Op.39_%25281920-22%2529.mp3/file

 ;D
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)

Pohjolas Daughter

Thanks @Albion.  I'll look into it.  :)

PD

Albion

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on April 27, 2023, 03:49:19 AMThanks @Albion.  I'll look into it.  :)

PD

No problem, "The Perfect Fool" is great fun. For another highly impressive and totally different aspect of Holst, try "Hecuba's Lament" (1911) also conducted by Handley...

https://www.mediafire.com/file/tlplovj9cyp8srw/Holst_-_Hecuba%2527s_Lament%252C_Op.31_No.1_%25281911%2529.mp3/file

Arthur Bliss poured some of his most moving music into his ballets, especially "Adam Zero" and "Miracle in the Gorbals" and had a clear affinity for the stage...
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)

vandermolen

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on April 27, 2023, 02:52:24 AMI enjoy it too.  I have a Chandos CD with Hickox of it.  Are there any other recordings of it?

PD
Many recordings PD as Albion has pointed out. Boult remains my favourite.
"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).

Albion

Quote from: vandermolen on April 27, 2023, 04:56:35 AMMany recordings PD as Albion has pointed out. Boult remains my favourite.

You couldn't really go wrong with Boult conducting Holst. Somewhere or other I've got a stunning broadcast by Charles Groves but I (typically) can't find it...

 ::)
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)

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Albion on April 27, 2023, 05:32:59 AMYou couldn't really go wrong with Boult conducting Holst. Somewhere or other I've got a stunning broadcast by Charles Groves but I (typically) can't find it...

 ::)
Is it on cassette by any chance?

PD