Author Topic: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)  (Read 14700 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #40 on: July 18, 2017, 01:44:38 AM »
Am enjoying symphonies 1,2 and the double PC.
"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 kyjo

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2019, 06:31:39 AM »
Berkeley is a very interesting composer. Months ago I was bowled away by his Concerto for 2 Pianos (which Jeffrey and Johan also love), a big, colorful, imaginative work which very much belies Berkeley’s reputation as an emotionally “cool” composer. I was less impressed by his 2nd and 3rd symphonies, which have less personality and an occasionally “grey” demeanor, but they both contain some fine music, particularly the latter. I recently discovered his fine Guitar Concerto, which is as elegant and “fresh” as a sunny spring morning. The entrance of the guitar over hushed strings in the first movement is very beautiful. I’d be very curious to hear his unrecorded Cello Concerto and Nocturne for Orchestra, both of which date from the 1940s. Rob Barnett of MusicWeb claims that they are two of Berkeley’s finest works, and likens the spirit of the latter to Barber’s Essays, which I love. (I assume he’s heard them through radio broadcasts, because they’re not on YouTube.)
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2019, 09:00:33 AM »
Berkeley is a very interesting composer. Months ago I was bowled away by his Concerto for 2 Pianos (which Jeffrey and Johan also love), a big, colorful, imaginative work which very much belies Berkeley’s reputation as an emotionally “cool” composer. I was less impressed by his 2nd and 3rd symphonies, which have less personality and an occasionally “grey” demeanor, but they both contain some fine music, particularly the latter. I recently discovered his fine Guitar Concerto, which is as elegant and “fresh” as a sunny spring morning. The entrance of the guitar over hushed strings in the first movement is very beautiful. I’d be very curious to hear his unrecorded Cello Concerto and Nocturne for Orchestra, both of which date from the 1940s. Rob Barnett of MusicWeb claims that they are two of Berkeley’s finest works, and likens the spirit of the latter to Barber’s Essays, which I love. (I assume he’s heard them through radio broadcasts, because they’re not on YouTube.)
Very interesting Kyle. I hope that those works are recorded one day. Symphony 1 is especially good. He briefly spoke to me after a concert where he signed my programme for me. He asked if I was a musician (sadly not) and seemed very nice indeed.
"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).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2019, 02:47:08 PM »
The Symphony No. 1 is the only work I've ever played by this composer so far. I recall it like slightly complex in development. Not sure how great or original it is, but it is certainly engaging.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2019, 07:30:41 PM »
Thanks Jeffrey and Cesar for the replies. I'll be sure to check out the 1st Symphony soon. How nice that you got to meet Berkeley, Jeffrey!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2019, 10:28:09 PM »
I must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. Read some good reports - mainly here - of the work.

His son, Michael, also comes over as a nice person on his BBC 3 broadcast "Private Passions" which I listen every week.

I love the vigour of Sir Lennox's Serenade for String Orchestra. The opening is exhilarating. The composer's own recording on Lyrita is excellent but even better, a real foot-tapper, is unusually Munchinger.

« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 10:31:48 PM by Irons »
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Christo

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2019, 10:29:40 PM »
Berkeley is a very interesting composer. Months ago I was bowled away by his Concerto for 2 Pianos (which Jeffrey and Johan also love), a big, colorful, imaginative work which very much belies Berkeley’s reputation as an emotionally “cool” composer.
That's exactly what it is, and I love it (even placed it first when asked about our 'ten favourite piano concertos', IIRC.)  8)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Daverz

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2019, 12:15:35 AM »
I must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. Read some good reports - mainly here - of the work.

His son, Michael, also comes over as a nice person on his BBC 3 broadcast "Private Passions" which I listen every week.

I love the vigour of Sir Lennox's Serenade for String Orchestra. The opening is exhilarating. The composer's own recording on Lyrita is excellent but even better, a real foot-tapper, is unusually Munchinger.



I love the Leslie Jones recording of this:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4?t=1302" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4?t=1302</a>

This and the Horn Trio with Dennis Brain were my introduction to Berkeley.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 12:25:47 AM by Daverz »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2019, 12:17:08 AM »
I must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. Read some good reports - mainly here - of the work.

His son, Michael, also comes over as a nice person on his BBC 3 broadcast "Private Passions" which I listen every week.

I love the vigour of Sir Lennox's Serenade for String Orchestra. The opening is exhilarating. The composer's own recording on Lyrita is excellent but even better, a real foot-tapper, is unusually Munchinger.


Oh yes Lol, you must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. I agree about the  Serenade for String Orchestra as well. Indeed MB comes across as a very pleasant individual although I'm less keen on his music.
Here is the other recording:
"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 Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2019, 12:18:45 AM »
I love the Leslie Jones recording of this:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4</a>

That nice Leslie Jones LP was my first and very welcome encounter with Berkeley Snr's music.
"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: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2019, 05:41:38 AM »
I love the Leslie Jones recording of this:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4?t=1302" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4?t=1302</a>

This and the Horn Trio with Dennis Brain were my introduction to Berkeley.

Yes, Leslie Jones too! The Serenade is well served and so it should be.

The Horn Trio is coupled with Mozart which is not ideal but Dennis Brain so who cares.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Irons

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2019, 05:57:36 AM »
Oh yes Lol, you must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. I agree about the  Serenade for String Orchestra as well. Indeed MB comes across as a very pleasant individual although I'm less keen on his music.
Here is the other recording:


Consider it done, Jeffrey. I have the LP of the 2nd Symphony and Piano Concerto which is the first Lyrita I ever bought in the late 1970's (I own a different copy today). Don't quite know how I have missed the Two PC but after the mass advocacy I will purchase if not on LP the CD.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 06:42:37 AM by Irons »
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2019, 02:05:13 PM »
Listened to Berkeley's 1st Symphony yesterday (Hickox recording on Chandos) and enjoyed it quite a bit, save for the rather dour (IMO) slow movement. What it perhaps lacks in emotional depth it makes up for in brilliance and wit.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2019, 10:57:40 PM »
Listened to Berkeley's 1st Symphony yesterday (Hickox recording on Chandos) and enjoyed it quite a bit, save for the rather dour (IMO) slow movement. What it perhaps lacks in emotional depth it makes up for in brilliance and wit.
Despite its elegance I do not think that the Berkeley Symphony No.1 lacks depth and find the slow movement rather moving. I also think that the work reflects the time of its composition (1940).
"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 kyjo

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #54 on: July 19, 2019, 07:39:14 PM »
Despite its elegance I do not think that the Berkeley Symphony No.1 lacks depth and find the slow movement rather moving. I also think that the work reflects the time of its composition (1940).

Perhaps I was being unnecessarily demeaning to the work, which was unintentional as I very much enjoyed it. :)
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Christo

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #55 on: July 19, 2019, 10:58:47 PM »
Perhaps I was being unnecessarily demeaning to the work, which was unintentional as I very much enjoyed it. :)
:D Agree with Jeffrey though, that especially in Berkeley's slow movements there's a 'hidden lyricism' that makes it much more special (and very British after all) than appears at first listening. Something similar applies to Arnold Cooke, a comparable composer.
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
« Reply #56 on: July 19, 2019, 11:02:53 PM »
Perhaps I was being unnecessarily demeaning to the work, which was unintentional as I very much enjoyed it. :)
Not at all Kyle. It's always good to hear different views. I've been listening to,it again as well and actually think that the emotional high point is in the first movement. I've come to appreciate the Second Symphony more as well. I did not especially like the Chandos series coupling works by father and son and, in that sense, prefer the Lyrita all Berkeley Snr. CDs. I remember the big impact that the LP coupling of Symphony No.1 and the Concerto for Two pianos had on me:
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 11:06:52 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).