Author Topic: Charles Villiers Stanford  (Read 13865 times)

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #40 on: July 30, 2020, 12:48:19 PM »
Good to see more love for this composer. Songs of the Fleet on that Chandos CD is the best work there without a doubt. Stanford at his most inspired.

This CD is also quite good:



Stabat Mater is the main work, but I was taken by the other pieces the most. Stanford was a substantial choral and vocal composer.
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!

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Offline Albion

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Re: Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2021, 07:50:26 AM »
Good news that the Stanford Society is continuing to promote the composer's larger-scale works following the splendid mass Via Victrix on Lyrita. According to the Chairman of the Society:

Both the BBC and Lyrita were delighted with the concert and recording of the Stanford Mass and asked Adrian Partington if there were any more Stanford choral works of the same quality that had been neglected and never been recorded. Adrian asked the Stanford Society if we had any suggestions? As it happened we did, as we had started to prepare a list of Stanford works to recommend to the Three Choirs Festival for future performance.

The two specific works which we recommended to Adrian are The Elegiac Ode (Op. 21) and the Te Deum (Op. 66). The Elegiac Ode was written by Stanford in 1884 to a commission from the Norwich and Norfolk Festival. It was warmly received at its premier but has had very few performances since. This work was the first time that Stanford set a poem by the American metaphysical poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892)...

The Latin Te Deum of 1898 was written for the Leeds Festival of that year. This is another of Stanford’s large scale choral work which was well received at its premier but has subsequently been neglected.

We have provided the scores of both the Elegiac Ode and Latin Te Deum to Adrian Partington. After review and discussion with the BBC he plans to conduct both works with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, its Chorus and appropriate soloists early in 2022. We are hopeful that these works will then be released on CD by Lyrita. I am very much looking forward to this concert and the subsequent recording.


 :)


Another exciting prospect:

https://somm-recordings.com/recording/stanford-songs-faith-love-nonsense/

 :)
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)

Offline VonStupp

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2021, 01:34:24 PM »
After hearing some surprisingly exquisite Stanford music today, I thought I would cross post...

In addition to Charles Stanford's justly famous The Bluebird, may I also proffer his Three Motets, op. 38 as worthy. A sort of neo-Palestrina style, with Palestrina's clear, arching structure and tryingly difficult, 8-part, a cappella choruses, quite similar to the wonderful a cappella motets by Bruckner.

Beati Quorum Via is perhaps my personal favorite with Voces8 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9zgq5qrNGw

There are some samples of them all on Presto: https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/7922578--hear-my-prayer alongside VW & Parry, sung by His Majestie's Clerkes.

Charles Stanford
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in A, op. 12; G, op. 81; B-flat op. 10; and C op. 115
The King's Consort & Choir - Robert King
(rec. 2012)

Wowsers, what a choral album! I came for the Parry, but I am glad I stayed for the Stanford. If you like choral music, make sure you pick this one up!

Pardon my ignorance, but I assume most of our friends east of the Atlantic are familiar with Stanford's Service Music. Yet, it is normally performed with boy choristers and pipe organ, and here it is with a period orchestra and adult mixed chorus, and oh my, what a difference it makes.

Far from functional, the orchestra really brings out the beauty of Stanford's music, hidden behind the service aspect. The chamber strings of the Nunc Dimittis in A open into the whole ensemble and quite simply takes my breath away. Catrin Finch's harping and Carolyn Sampson's soprano in the Magnificat in G is some of the most exquisite, heavenly utterances I have heard in a long while.

The King's Consort are using instruments from Stanford's time period (1895-1905), and not only do the booklet notes list all of the players, there are descriptions of each of the instruments that are being played.

The pipe organ is a Hauptwerk sampling of the Hereford Cathedral for their performance at St. Jude's, but it is hardly worth noting. Excellent!


« Last Edit: July 08, 2021, 03:03:40 AM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2021, 12:30:05 PM »
After hearing some surprisingly exquisite Stanford music today, I thought I would cross post...

In addition to Charles Stanford's justly famous The Bluebird, may I also proffer his Three Motets, op. 38 as worthy. A sort of neo-Palestrina style, with Palestrina's clear, arching structure and tryingly difficult, 8-part, a cappella choruses, quite similar to the wonderful a cappella motets by Bruckner.

Beati Quorum Via is perhaps my personal favorite with Voces8 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9zgq5qrNGw

There are some samples of them all on Presto: https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/7922578--hear-my-prayer alongside VW & Parry, sung by His Majestie's Clerkes.

Have you heard Stanford's "In Haven" - absolutely stunning - up there with the finest unaccompanied British choral music.  It was included on this collection by Paul Spicer and his Birmingham Conservatoire Choir...


Offline VonStupp

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2021, 12:46:44 PM »
Have you heard Stanford's "In Haven" - absolutely stunning - up there with the finest unaccompanied British choral music.  It was included on this collection by Paul Spicer and his Birmingham Conservatoire Choir...



I do love Spicer and his college choir. Maybe even more than his time with the Finzi Singers.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2021, 12:48:54 PM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2021, 04:18:00 AM »
I do love Spicer and his college choir. Maybe even more than his time with the Finzi Singers.

I think I agree with you.  The Finzi Singers could just be a bit "buttoned up" in their slightly self-concious perfection

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2021, 08:48:41 AM »
Not prompted by this thread but jsut part-way through a first listen to this disc;



Gerald Finley has an ideal voice for this repertoire - robust and "hearty" in the best sense.  Also, the gentlemen of the BBC NOW Chorus have the upper range which often strains amateur choirs.  Great music!

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2021, 01:13:15 PM »
I was listening to a couple of Stanford Symphonies today which happened to be adjacent to a couple of Schumann symphonies before.  I find it very hard to get beyond the sheer competence of Stanford to hear much of real inspiration and genius in these works.  I really DO want to believe that he isn't just Brahms without the jokes but I have to say I'm disappointed.... AGAIN with these works.

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2021, 03:11:38 PM »
I was listening to a couple of Stanford Symphonies today which happened to be adjacent to a couple of Schumann symphonies before.  I find it very hard to get beyond the sheer competence of Stanford to hear much of real inspiration and genius in these works.  I really DO want to believe that he isn't just Brahms without the jokes but I have to say I'm disappointed.... AGAIN with these works.

I consider symphonies 3-6 the best of the seven he composed. The other three sound uninspired, too mainstream. For me, the Chandos recordings are more satisfying than the Naxos ones.
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!

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Offline Albion

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2021, 01:59:57 AM »
Not prompted by this thread but jsut part-way through a first listen to this disc;



Gerald Finley has an ideal voice for this repertoire - robust and "hearty" in the best sense.  Also, the gentlemen of the BBC NOW Chorus have the upper range which often strains amateur choirs.  Great music!

I think that Benjamin Luxon's EMI recording is much finer in terms of both character and emotional power. He occasionally swoops around the printed vocal line, but that just adds to the nautical swagger...
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)

Offline Albion

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2021, 02:07:56 AM »
I consider symphonies 3-6 the best of the seven he composed. The other three sound uninspired, too mainstream. For me, the Chandos recordings are more satisfying than the Naxos ones.

My personal favourites are 5 and 6. There is a good thesis on Stanford's symphonies -

The symphonies of Charles Villiers Stanford: constructing a national identity?
Jonathan White (PhD, Oxford, 2014)


https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:6d16fac7-bb70-4ba9-bf0e-17c0a9f26ce5/download_file?file_format=pdf&safe_filename=THESIS01&type_of_work=Thesis

 :)
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)

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2021, 02:11:54 AM »
I think that Benjamin Luxon's EMI recording is much finer in terms of both character and emotional power. He occasionally swoops around the printed vocal line, but that just adds to the nautical swagger...

I always enjoyed Luxon's singing - full of character for sure.  I agree with your description of nautical swagger!  But that EMI recording is SO washy and the chorus flap around - one of that label's worst recordings technically!  Such a shame because I do rate Del Mar very highly.

Offline Albion

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #52 on: July 12, 2021, 02:51:03 AM »
I do rate Del Mar very highly.

Absolutely - a woefully-unrecorded and now largely forgotten conductor! The conclusion of Fare Well from Songs of the Fleet is much more overwhelming under his direction than that under the usually-reliable Hickox...
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)

Offline kyjo

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #53 on: July 12, 2021, 05:43:22 AM »
The slow movement of the 6th Symphony is just gorgeous beyond words - it has an “Irish/Celtic” feel that foreshadows Bax in his more lyrical moments. It also has a considerable depth of feeling which I don’t usually associate with Stanford. I very much enjoy the whole symphony btw.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Albion

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #54 on: July 12, 2021, 06:44:07 AM »
The slow movement of the 6th Symphony is just gorgeous beyond words - it has an “Irish/Celtic” feel that foreshadows Bax in his more lyrical moments. It also has a considerable depth of feeling which I don’t usually associate with Stanford. I very much enjoy the whole symphony btw.

Stanford was a master of the slow movement - that of the 6th symphony is simply sublime, as are those of the 1894 and 1911 piano concertos....
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)

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #55 on: July 12, 2021, 12:18:49 PM »
Absolutely - a woefully-unrecorded and now largely forgotten conductor! The conclusion of Fare Well from Songs of the Fleet is much more overwhelming under his direction than that under the usually-reliable Hickox...

+1 - years ago my mother recalled singing in a performance of this work where a choir member had recently lost a child and she said that the performance nearly broke down during farewell because of all the associated emotion....

Perhaps Stanford is one of those lucky/unlucky composers who had a surfeit of technique so that when inspiration failed they could still churn out perfectly serviceable music by the yard!  At his best he is a nailed on genius but for me too often I have a feeling a composing by (Austro-Germanic) numbers........preparing to duck.........

Offline Biffo

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #56 on: July 12, 2021, 11:51:22 PM »
+1 - years ago my mother recalled singing in a performance of this work where a choir member had recently lost a child and she said that the performance nearly broke down during farewell because of all the associated emotion....

Perhaps Stanford is one of those lucky/unlucky composers who had a surfeit of technique so that when inspiration failed they could still churn out perfectly serviceable music by the yard!  At his best he is a nailed on genius but for me too often I have a feeling a composing by (Austro-Germanic) numbers........preparing to duck.........

A biography of RVW (or possibly a set of essays)  I read a while ago (now can't remember which one) suggested that Stanford was a more charismatic personality than his two previous teachers, Parry and Wood but his method of teaching was aimed at training composers to survive in the late-Victorian music market. This involved composing oratorios and  rehearsing and conducting them with the numerous choral societies. Possibly Stanford churned out a lot of stuff to meet the same market.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #57 on: July 13, 2021, 01:39:59 AM »
Vaughan Williams, referencing Bax, commented that perhaps 'he should have had some gruelling lessons with Stanford' but, on reflection, added that they would probably have just argued. I must revisit Stanford's 6th Symphony, partly because it's in memory of G.F. Watts - an artist whom I greatly admire. Stanford was obviously a great teacher, as can be seen by the large number of excellent composers who learnt from him.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 09:07:50 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #58 on: July 13, 2021, 07:13:39 AM »
BOY! I've not posted to this thread in a decade or so (repost below from the listening thread today) - since then, I've acquired some more of Stanford's instrumental works and am currently listening to a Spotify playlist of his 8 String Quartets (see the attached reviews, if interested?) - I've heard a number of his 'vocal recordings' (several discussed recently) but just not a collector of this genre, especially post-Baroque - just me.  Dave :)

Quote
Stanford, Charles Villiers (1852-1924) - String Quartets w/ the Dante Quartet - there has been a LOT of activity on the composer's thread lately - my collection has increased over the decade and now own the recordings charted below, all instrumental works (not a huge collector of choral/vocal works post-Baroque, just me and despite Stanford's high standing in his writing for voice, whether sacred or seccular).

Stanford wrote 8 String Quartets - I'm listening from a Spotify playlist which also includes the Dante Quartet doing his String Quintets, thus recordings from 4 CDs - my British Music cabinet is FULL, so don't plan to purchase these CDs separately - if boxed into a small container, then a consideration, but Spotify on my den speakers sounds fine; these have received a lot of 'review attention' - attached are both Fanfare and MusicWeb comments on all of the works for those interested.  Dave :)  P.S. click images to enlarge.




Offline kyjo

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Re: Charles Villiers Stanford
« Reply #59 on: July 14, 2021, 08:38:17 AM »
I consider symphonies 3-6 the best of the seven he composed. The other three sound uninspired, too mainstream. For me, the Chandos recordings are more satisfying than the Naxos ones.

Nos. 3 and 6 are the definite standouts for me - even nos. 4 and 5 didn’t really grab me. I do recall enjoying the finale of no. 1 with its catchy main theme.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff