Author Topic: Pieces that have blown you away recently  (Read 271284 times)

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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1720 on: November 03, 2021, 06:12:54 AM »
'Blown away' might not be the right expression but I found myself tearing up while listening to William Alwyn's 'Pastoral Fantasia' recently. I've owned the Chandos recording for years but I had not registered how beautiful this work is until hearing David Lloyd-Jones's recording with the Royal Liverpool PO on Naxos (Philip Dukes, Viola). Maybe the fact that this lyrical and reflective work was written on the eve of World War Two added to the poignancy of the experience.

A lovely piece!  Just checked it out on youtube.  Out of curiosity, I googled Alwyn to find out more about him (and also this work) and found a very helpful biography here:  http://www.musicweb-international.com/alwyn/culot.htm

I didn't see this work mentioned there though (also scanned through the update at the bottom).  Did I miss it?  Or is it a more recent discovery?

PD

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1721 on: November 03, 2021, 06:28:36 AM »
After reading that last night, and as an admirer of Alwyn's music, I bought it as a FLAC download from Presto Classical.  Listened earlier this morning.  At less than £4, it was a bargain!  There is a lot of great music on this 'disc' and the Pastoral Fantasia is beautiful!  I also thought the Scottish Dances were just the thing, and went for a quick skirl to Miss Ann Carnegie’s Hornpipe!  Great recommendation, thanks for that.  ;D
I'm glad that my enthusiasm for the lovely 'Pastoral Fantasia' is shared by kindred spirits here! If you like that CD I'd also very much recommend the Naxos CD of Alwyn's music including 'Elizabethan Dances' and 'Aphrodite in Aulis'.
"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: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1722 on: November 03, 2021, 06:32:02 AM »
A lovely piece!  Just checked it out on youtube.  Out of curiosity, I googled Alwyn to find out more about him (and also this work) and found a very helpful biography here:  http://www.musicweb-international.com/alwyn/culot.htm

I didn't see this work mentioned there though (also scanned through the update at the bottom).  Did I miss it?  Or is it a more recent discovery?

PD
Glad you enjoyed it PD. There's a biography of Alwyn, which I have, but haven't read yet:
"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 Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1723 on: November 03, 2021, 11:36:39 AM »
Glad you enjoyed it PD. There's a biography of Alwyn, which I have, but haven't read yet:

Jeffrey and others,

I did find this on the Chandos website:

Pastoral Fantasia for Viola and String Orchestra

During the early years of the war, when the Nazis had over-run France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, and had invaded Russia, Britain was standing on her own, with her back to the wall. Music played a great part in keeping up the morale of the British people. There were concerts for the troops, wherever they might be in the world, given by ENSA - an organization which included comedians, light music singers such as Vera Lynn, as well as top classical players of the day.
For the factory workers turning out the munitions the BBC provided music while you work; the National Gallery in London, denuded of its Art treasures, was used for lunch-time concerts to a packed audience, and for the people at home the Light programme of the BBC asked for small ensembles which could play original arrangements of classical music for half-hour programmes. William Pleeth (cello), Watson Forbes (viola) and William Alwyn (flute) were among the many distinguished musicians who joined together for this.. All the players took a turn in arranging the music and Alwyn also wrote original compositions for the players, including several works especially for the viola - then the Cinderella of the stringed instruments. The Pastoral Fantasia for Viola and String orchestra was one of these. A piano arrangement was given a first performance by Watson Forbes with Clifford Curzon in 1940. The following year the orchestral version was broadcast by the BBC from Bedford, the wartime home of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Lost for nearly fifty years, the Pastoral fantasia was recently rediscovered and is a welcome addition to the repertoire.


Interesting what they say about it being lost for fifty years....

PD

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1724 on: November 04, 2021, 02:54:45 AM »
Jeffrey and others,

I did find this on the Chandos website:

Pastoral Fantasia for Viola and String Orchestra

During the early years of the war, when the Nazis had over-run France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, and had invaded Russia, Britain was standing on her own, with her back to the wall. Music played a great part in keeping up the morale of the British people. There were concerts for the troops, wherever they might be in the world, given by ENSA - an organization which included comedians, light music singers such as Vera Lynn, as well as top classical players of the day.
For the factory workers turning out the munitions the BBC provided music while you work; the National Gallery in London, denuded of its Art treasures, was used for lunch-time concerts to a packed audience, and for the people at home the Light programme of the BBC asked for small ensembles which could play original arrangements of classical music for half-hour programmes. William Pleeth (cello), Watson Forbes (viola) and William Alwyn (flute) were among the many distinguished musicians who joined together for this.. All the players took a turn in arranging the music and Alwyn also wrote original compositions for the players, including several works especially for the viola - then the Cinderella of the stringed instruments. The Pastoral Fantasia for Viola and String orchestra was one of these. A piano arrangement was given a first performance by Watson Forbes with Clifford Curzon in 1940. The following year the orchestral version was broadcast by the BBC from Bedford, the wartime home of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Lost for nearly fifty years, the Pastoral fantasia was recently rediscovered and is a welcome addition to the repertoire.


Interesting what they say about it being lost for fifty years....

PD
Most interesting PD and thank you for posting it.
Apparently there was a much greater general interest in the arts during the war - because Londoners (and other city dwellers) might not survive until the next day due to the bombing in the 'Blitz', there was a tendency to live more 'deeply' and so those famous National Gallery concerts etc were very popular and introduced classical music to many who would not otherwise listen to it. I'd love to hear Boult conduct the 'Pastoral Fantasia' - odd indeed that such a fine work was lost for 50 years.
"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: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1725 on: November 04, 2021, 08:14:44 AM »
Most interesting PD and thank you for posting it.
Apparently there was a much greater general interest in the arts during the war - because Londoners (and other city dwellers) might not survive until the next day due to the bombing in the 'Blitz', there was a tendency to live more 'deeply' and so those famous National Gallery concerts etc were very popular and introduced classical music to many who would not otherwise listen to it. I'd love to hear Boult conduct the 'Pastoral Fantasia' - odd indeed that such a fine work was lost for 50 years.

Top post, Jeffrey. The National Gallery cleared of its treasures due to the impending Battle of Britain when the capital was in likelihood to be bombed to kingdom come. Up steps a lady with an unlikely name, Myra Hess, who her mission was to give Londoners daily classical music at the most vulnerable place and time. That she did, even with the bombs raining down.

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/about-us/history/the-myra-hess-concerts/myra-hesss-wartime-concerts
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline André

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1726 on: November 11, 2021, 05:00:01 PM »


Henri Marteau, violin concerto in C.

The work is presented here in an orchestration by conductor and booklet annotator Raoul Grüneis. The concerto was published only in a violin and piano score and the full score was lost and never published. It was composed in a very difficult period of the composer’s life. Under house arrest by the prussian authorities during WWI, he was allowed to play only a movement (the adagio) with organ accompaniment in a church. He fled to Sweden where he was greeted warmly by musician friends such as Tor Aulin, Stenhammar and others. Aulin had dedicated his 3rd VC to Marteau a few years earlier. Marteau, in turn, quoted that work in his own new concerto. Marteau was the soloist, Stenhammar conducting the Göteborg Orchestra. I think it’s not due to chance that a prominent theme in the huge first movement strikingly recalls the famous friendship duet tune from Bizet’s opera The Pearlfishers. But that’s only one incidental in a work that oozes surprising twists at every turn.

This mammoth work - it’s as long as Elgar’s VC composed just a few years earlier - has the reputation of being unplayable and ‘violin unfriendly’, a strange thing indeed considering its author was one of the foremost virtuosos and violin teachers of his time - he had replaced Joseph Joachim as head of the violin class in Berlin upon the latter’s retirement - at Joachim’s express recommendation.

Tchaikovsky Competition prize-winner Nicolas Koeckert makes a splendid case for the concerto, as do the fine Deutsche Radio Philharmonie orchestra and conductor Grüneis, who obviously made it his mission to rescue this masterwork from oblivion. Excellent sonics adorn this beautiful 2018 release. The Serenade that fills the disc is for 9 winds. Were it not for the fact that it is dwarfed by the main offering, it would be obvious that this is a superb score as well - just much shorter and smaller in size.

Warmly recommended.

Offline arpeggio

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1727 on: November 12, 2021, 07:48:55 PM »
I have just finished watching Great Performance on PBS.

Tonight's show was with John Williams conducting the premier of his new Violin Concerto with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Boston Symphony.

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!. This concerto is a little more modernistic that a typical Williams work.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1728 on: November 12, 2021, 11:58:34 PM »
Top post, Jeffrey. The National Gallery cleared of its treasures due to the impending Battle of Britain when the capital was in likelihood to be bombed to kingdom come. Up steps a lady with an unlikely name, Myra Hess, who her mission was to give Londoners daily classical music at the most vulnerable place and time. That she did, even with the bombs raining down.

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/about-us/history/the-myra-hess-concerts/myra-hesss-wartime-concerts
Thanks Lol - yes, Dame Myra was a most admirable individual.
"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: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1729 on: November 19, 2021, 04:50:42 PM »
I really enjoyed this disk.  Highly recommended.  Hans Eklund (1927-1999), studied composition with Lars-Erik Larsson and composed 12 symphonies and much else.  I hear traces of Shostakovich, Hilding Rosenberg, Nystroem, and Hindemith in his music. 

« Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 04:52:39 PM by relm1 »

Offline André

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1730 on: November 19, 2021, 04:59:51 PM »
I really enjoyed this disk.  Highly recommended.  Hans Eklund (1927-1999), studied composition with Lars-Erik Larsson and composed 12 symphonies and much else.  I hear traces of Shostakovich, Hilding Rosenberg, Nystroem, and Hindemith in his music. 



Good to know, thanks. I have his dark, brooding Requiem. I wasn’t sure if I’d explore further, but now I am. :)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1731 on: November 20, 2021, 12:52:51 PM »
Good to know, thanks. I have his dark, brooding Requiem. I wasn’t sure if I’d explore further, but now I am. :)
+1 for relm 1's comments André - I'm sure you'll enjoy that disc.
"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 Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1732 on: November 20, 2021, 04:07:57 PM »
I endorse the good impressions about the Eklund. There is no weak symphony in that little bunch of them. I like the menacing and militaristic qualities these works have. It was one of my best discoveries last year. Let's hope CPO will continue recording this promising cycle.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen

Offline André

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1733 on: November 21, 2021, 09:50:09 AM »
I put that disc on my listening schedule on Spotify !

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1734 on: November 21, 2021, 10:54:22 AM »
The Shostakovich string quartets. Not any specific one...just all of them. Chamber music that's arguably more intense than the grand symphonic counterparts which are intense enough as it is.

I can hear the suffering dark void in the soundspace all around these instruments.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1735 on: November 21, 2021, 01:51:56 PM »
Boris Tchaikovsky's 3rd Symphony 'Sevastopol' never fails to move me, especially the final few minutes:
"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 Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1736 on: November 25, 2021, 08:29:44 PM »
Weinberg: Symphony No. 14

Extraordinary. Such a mysterious piece, not necessarily depressing as some try to point out. Instead, I'd say it is somewhat eerie. Thank Kyle for alerting me to it.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen