GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: vandermolen on March 16, 2008, 01:42:55 AM

Title: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on March 16, 2008, 01:42:55 AM
I have just listened to Dyson's "Nebuchadnezzar" (1934), which despite an opening disconcertingly like Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast" soon moves in a different direction. Dyson writes in a conservative early 20th century idiom but I am increasingly enjoying his music. Although not as instantly memorable as the Walton score, Dyson's Nebuchadnezzar is, in my view, a deeper work which takes longer to give up its secrets. In view of the dates of its composition and its theme of Jewish persecution, I wondered if it related to the time of its composition, although the booklet notes make no mention of this.

Dyson's epic "Quo Vadis" although rather long-winded places has one of the most moving conclusions of any work known to me.

Dyson's Symphony is a fine work in the Vaughan Williams/Moeran tradition.

Anyway, I'm sure that there are plenty of other Dyson fans out there keen to share their views (haha).
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2008, 07:59:04 AM
Dyson has been incredibly fortunate in having almost all of his orchestral and choral compositions recorded for CD. By my estimate, only his Cantatas "Sweet Thames, run softly"(1954) and "A Christmas Garland"(1959) remain to be put on disc.

In addition to the works you recommended I would mention the Chandos CD coupling the Concerto Leggiero for piano and string orchestra, the Concerto da Camera for String Orchestra and the Concerto da Chiesa for String Orchestra(all very much in the tradition of excellent British string music), the big Cantata "The Canterbury Pilgrimas"(coupled on Chandos with "In Honour of the City"-another work also set by Walton ten years after Dyson) and the Cantatas  "St. Paul's Voyage to Melita" and "Agincourt" on a Somm CD conducted by Vernon Handley.

I prefer David Lloyd-Jones's version of the Symphony on Naxos to that by Richard Hickox on Chandos. (Lloyd-Jones is currently doing a great job for British music in the studio. The former boss of a symphony orchestra once told me that Lloyd-Jones was a 'bit dull' as a conductor to hire. Well-that certainly doesn't come over in the CDs he has conducted!)

One question which intrigues me....why wasn't Dyson made Master of the King's Music in 1941 when Walford Davies died? Sir Arnold Bax was the successor. Now, lots of people on here admire Bax enormously but by 1941 Bax had more or less 'run dry'(there was a brief resurgence of inspiration in the late 1940s) and he was not really the ideal man for the sort of music required of the Master of the King's Music. Dyson would have been ideal. His short, ceremonial choral works are just what was needed for big state occasions. I have seen comment on the strange choice of Malcolm Williamson for the job after Bliss died but not about the choice of Bax in 1942.
Good subject for a (short) book?
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on March 16, 2008, 08:33:57 AM
Dyson has been incredibly fortunate in having almost all of his orchestral and choral compositions recorded for CD. By my estimate, only his Cantatas "Sweet Thames, run softly"(1954) and "A Christmas Garland"(1959) remain to be put on disc.

In addition to the works you recommended I would mention the Chandos CD coupling the Concerto Leggiero for piano and string orchestra, the Concerto da Camera for String Orchestra and the Concerto da Chiesa for String Orchestra(all very much in the tradition of excellent British string music), the big Cantata "The Canterbury Pilgrimas"(coupled on Chandos with "In Honour of the City"-another work also set by Walton ten years after Dyson) and the Cantatas  "St. Paul's Voyage to Melita" and "Agincourt" on a Somm CD conducted by Vernon Handley.

I prefer David Lloyd-Jones's version of the Symphony on Naxos to that by Richard Hickox on Chandos. (Lloyd-Jones is currently doing a great job for British music in the studio. The former boss of a symphony orchestra once told me that Lloyd-Jones was a 'bit dull' as a conductor to hire. Well-that certainly doesn't come over in the CDs he has conducted!)

One question which intrigues me....why wasn't Dyson made Master of the King's Music in 1941 when Walford Davies died? Sir Arnold Bax was the successor. Now, lots of people on here admire Bax enormously but by 1941 Bax had more or less 'run dry'(there was a brief resurgence of inspiration in the late 1940s) and he was not really the ideal man for the sort of music required of the Master of the King's Music. Dyson would have been ideal. His short, ceremonial choral works are just what was needed for big state occasions. I have seen comment on the strange choice of Malcolm Williamson for the job after Bliss died but not about the choice of Bax in 1942.
Good subject for a (short) book?

Thanks. Yes, Dyson would have been a much better choice for Master of the King's Music after the death of Walford Davies. I have the other Dyson CDs you mention. At the moment I am really enjoying Nebuchadnezzar, finding something of interest in each listening. Do you know it?
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 16, 2008, 08:35:08 AM
I prefer David Lloyd-Jones's version of the Symphony on Naxos to that by Richard Hickox on Chandos.

Okay - that will be my first Dyson CD.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2008, 09:01:27 AM
Okay - that will be my first Dyson CD.

Good choice! And you will get the really splendid Concerto da Chiesa on that disc as well.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2008, 09:09:34 AM
Thanks. Yes, Dyson would have been a much better choice for Master of the King's Music after the death of Walford Davies. I have the other Dyson CDs you mention. At the moment I am really enjoying Nebuchadnezzar, finding something of interest in each listening. Do you know it?

Yes, Nebuchadnezzar is a good piece; much tauter than 'Quo Vadis', a work which, I have to admit, rather tried my patience-it does have some lovely moments but also some longuers. There is nothing quite so obviously dramatic in Nebuchadnezzar as in Walton's Belshazzar's Feast but it is a extremely fine example of the sort of big choral work which used to adorn the Three Choirs Festival in the first half of the last century.

As I have said before on this forum, I can't quite understand why-given the revival of the major choral compositions of VW, Howells and Dyson on CD-the comparable works by Bliss haven't enjoyed the same exposure.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on March 16, 2008, 11:50:37 AM
Yes, Nebuchadnezzar is a good piece; much tauter than 'Quo Vadis', a work which, I have to admit, rather tried my patience-it does have some lovely moments but also some longuers. There is nothing quite so obviously dramatic in Nebuchadnezzar as in Walton's Belshazzar's Feast but it is a extremely fine example of the sort of big choral work which used to adorn the Three Choirs Festival in the first half of the last century.

As I have said before on this forum, I can't quite understand why-given the revival of the major choral compositions of VW, Howells and Dyson on CD-the comparable works by Bliss haven't enjoyed the same exposure.

"Morning Heroes" comes to mind but which other Bliss works do you mean?
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2008, 12:55:50 PM
"Morning Heroes" comes to mind but which other Bliss works do you mean?

Cantata "The Beatitudes" for soprano, tenor, chorus, orchestra and organ(1961)-50 minutes long, composed for the opening of the new
   Coventry Cathedral but given far too little rehearsal time because most of the attention was given to Britten's War Requiem, not
   actually premiered in the cathedral itself but in a cramped theatre and has never been heard in the building for which it was conceived.

Cantata "Mary of Magdala" for contralto, bass, chorus and orchestra(1962)-27 minutes long, commissioned by the City of Birmingham
    Symphony Orchestra

The Golden Cantata for tenor, chorus and orchestra(1964)-25 minutes long

Substantial choral works indeed but obviously the priority would be 'The Beatitudes'! The description of the work on the Chester Novello website suggests that there are a lot of lovers of British music who would love to hear this work.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on March 16, 2008, 01:40:08 PM
Thanks Colin,

Must look out for that.

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 16, 2008, 01:41:02 PM
I just listened to Dyson's Symphony in G major. It is very delicately orchestrated, with lovely writing for, especially, the woodwind. I detect only a slight influence of Sibelius and, even less strongly, Delius (last movement). There is great rhythmic vitality. I don't hear it as a symphony, though, but as a suite, because the music sounds so light and pictorial, and because I don't (yet) hear an overarching idea behind the whole work. The second movement is haunting from the first bar. And the Finale starts off very movingly and seriously.

I short - I enjoy Dyson.

P.S. The second movement theme reminds me of a Chopin nocturne.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 16, 2008, 02:07:08 PM
This is the only Dyson recording I own (unless there is an LP or two hidden and forgotten in my uncatalogued record collection).

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/febgmc/DysonVC.jpg)

I bought it after reading a rave review sometime in the mid-90s (I no longer recall what publication). It's a gorgeous piece, full of that appealing, sweet melancholy the British do so well. This is a substantial concerto (four movements, over 43 minutes in length). The first movement is unusual in that the soloist doesn't play during the first three minutes and when he finally enters, plays a theme that sounds private, intensely personal as if the violinist were communing with himself.

Sarge
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: eyeresist on March 16, 2008, 08:35:22 PM
I have the Naxos disc with the symphony, overture & Concerto da Chiesa. Definitely the one to own (if you only have one). They're all really fine works, only proviso being the final movement of the symphony, which for me doesn't really hang together.

I also have a 2-disc set of orchestral stuff conducted by Hickox on Chandos, which also contains the Concerto da Chiesa. This record doesn't match the Lloyd-Jones on Naxos - it sounds too "soppy", for want of a better word. Too much vibrato, too much hall reverb, not enough guts.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 28, 2009, 08:20:39 PM
Recently I acquired the Symphony in G by English composer George Dyson. From the little information I got was that he was the son of the famous physicist and cosmologist Freemon Dyson. I have yet to become more familiar with the Symphony. The one critic who posted a review admired the work and claimed it was very much in the same league as the Moeran Symphony in G, written during the same year, I do believe. Quite English in conception with dramatic impact throughout.  Anyone else familiar with Dyson's work?  I don't think he was particularly prolific.  He's a new one for me.  At this point, after just two listenngs, I very much hesitate to acknowledge his Symphony on an equal basis as that of Moeran's memorable work, which is a  genuine masterpiece. 
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on February 28, 2009, 11:24:01 PM
Recently I acquired the Symphony in G by English composer George Dyson. From the little information I got was that he was the son of the famous physicist and cosmologist Freemon Dyson. I have yet to become more familiar with the Symphony. The one critic who posted a review admired the work and claimed it was very much in the same league as the Moeran Symphony in G, written during the same year, I do believe. Quite English in conception with dramatic impact throughout.  Anyone else familiar with Dyson's work?  I don't think he was particularly prolific.  He's a new one for me.  At this point, after just two listenngs, I very much hesitate to acknowledge his Symphony on an equal basis as that of Moeran's memorable work, which is a  genuine masterpiece. 

I agree with you (and if you read the review on Amazon UK, I think it was written by me!) But, I find Dyson's Symphony to be an endearing English work and oddly moving in its 1940 context. The end of his massive choral work Quo Vadis is very moving, but the work itself is rambling. The Naxos CD of the Symphony is coupled with a lovely concerto and I like his choral work Nebuchadnezzar (it starts like Walton's Belshezzar's Feast - but is a less dramatic and, I think, deeper work). Dyson's Violin Concerto is probably the one to investigate after the symphony.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 01, 2009, 05:29:58 AM
I don't think Dyson's symphony is in the same league as Moeran's, either. All the same, I really love the work. I still have to listen to the Violin Concerto (Chandos), so I can't yet tell you how I rate it...
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: schweitzeralan on March 01, 2009, 05:34:41 AM
I agree with you (and if you read the review on Amazon UK, I think it was written by me!) But, I find Dyson's Symphony to be an endearing English work and oddly moving in its 1940 context. The end of his massive choral work Quo Vadis is very moving, but the work itself is rambling. The Naxos CD of the Symphony is coupled with a lovely concerto and I like his choral work Nebuchadnezzar (it starts like Walton's Belshezzar's Feast - but is a less dramatic and, I think, deeper work). Dyson's Violin Concerto is probably the one to investigate after the symphony.

Thanks for your reply. It appears you are most knowledgeable in the musical discipline in terms of range and structure.  Vast.  I ordered the Dyson work on Amazon, and the reviewer was J. Scott Morrison, who very much liked the symphony.  Personally I sensed a few good moments, but overall I don't agree that it compares in originality, strength, (nor as Sibelian, a going thing with me),in dramatic effect, depth, et. al.which inhabit the Moeran.  I haven't "tested" the second recording as of yet; viz, the Concerto.  You mentioned Walton.  I like his 1st Symphony very much. I'm not familiar with Belshezzer's Feast, despite it's apparent popularity among the cognoscenti.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 01, 2009, 05:40:06 AM
I'm not familiar with Belshazzar's Feast, despite it's apparent popularity among the cognoscenti.

I am addressing this lack at the moment (i.e. uploading it).
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: sul G on March 01, 2009, 05:44:05 AM
I just love Belshazzar! It's one of those notes which hit me between the eyes when I was young. First note to last and every note in between seems to me to work so spectacularly well. One would never know Walton had had to pause for a few months at (IIRC) 'Praise ye the god of...................[compositional hiatus]..................Gold!', because (for me) this is one of those rare works where everything seems to have been there forever. Maybe it's just that I first heard it at an impressionable age....
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 01, 2009, 05:58:10 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51PM9S3374L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Soloist: William Stone
Orchestra: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Conductor: Robert Shaw

http://www.mediafire.com/?wcqzzl5jcjn
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 01, 2009, 06:49:53 AM
You know I am really becoming quite cross with the way in which Sir William Walton's music seems to invade threads about other composers! First it was the 1st Symphony which derailed two separate threads temporarily and now it is 'Belshazzar's Feast'.

You guys ought to stop this ::)

(Don't take any of that seriously btw ;D ;D Just very occasionally I miss being a schoolteacher ;D)

Ok....back to Sir George Dyson :)

He was not the son of the physicist Freeman Dyson. That gentleman, born in 1923, is in fact the composer's son.
Sir George came from a relatively humble background as the son of a blacksmith in Halifax, Yorkshire(the same sort of unprivileged background as Elgar, Havergal Brian, Rubbra and, though I hesitate to mention the name ;D,  Walton.). Despite this, he rose to eminence in the world of musical education as Director of Music in succession at the Royal Naval College, Osborne and at Marlborough, Wellington and Winchester-three of the top British boys' boarding(public=private!) schools. Dyson crowned his illustrious career as Director of the Royal College of Music in London.

I suppose that it is true to say that he was not as prolific a composer as some others but he did write a considerable amount of choral and church music in addition to the Symphony in G, the Violin Concerto, the Concerto Leggiero for Piano and String Orchestra, the Concerto da Camera for String Orchestra and the Concerto da Chiesa for String Orchestra.

The Symphony has been recorded by both Richard Hickox for Chandos and David Lloyd-Jones for Naxos. I prefer the Lloyd-Jones, to be honest; one occasion on which Hickox seems less committed. If you buy the Naxos version then you get the Concerto da Chiesa as well but better to get all three string works on the excellent Chandos disc where Hickox is on better form.

The big choral works are splendid examples of the traditional British cantata. Jeffrey has mentioned "Quo Vadis"-which has some impressive passages but which is certainly too long-but I agree with him that 'Nebuchadnezzar' is a better work. The other rousing cantatas are the big(but not too long this time!) "The Canterbury Pilgrims"-Hickox on fine choral form on the Chandos discs coupled with "In Honour of the City"(Dyson's setting of the William Dunbar poem also set later by a younger composer whose first name was William ;D) and  "St. Paul's Voyage to Melita" coupled with "Agincourt"(Vernon Handley on the Somm label).

There is nothing about Dyson's music which is in any way ground-breaking. He was following in a very British tradition, but his music is well-fashioned and throughly enjoyable.

Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 01, 2009, 06:55:35 AM
You know I am really becoming quite cross with the way in which Sir William Walton's music seems to invade threads about other composers! First it was the 1st Symphony which derailed two separate threads temporarily and now it is 'Belshazzar's Feast'.

You guys ought to stop this ::)

(Don't take any of that seriously btw ;D ;D Just very occasionally I miss being a schoolteacher ;D)

MEA CULPA (not)

 ;D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: sul G on March 01, 2009, 07:10:49 AM
...anyway, back to Walton...





 ;D >:D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 01, 2009, 07:19:58 AM
...anyway, back to Walton...





 ;D >:D

BAAADDDD ;D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 01, 2009, 07:25:56 AM
...anyway, back to Walton...

Nice one!  ;D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 01, 2009, 07:28:18 AM
Nice one!  ;D

Hear, You......just STOP IT ;D ;D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 01, 2009, 07:36:23 AM
(http://www2.halifaxtoday.co.uk/images/famouspeople/sir-george-dyson.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: schweitzeralan on March 01, 2009, 09:34:19 AM
You know I am really becoming quite cross with the way in which Sir William Walton's music seems to invade threads about other composers! First it was the 1st Symphony which derailed two separate threads temporarily and now it is 'Belshazzar's Feast'.

You guys ought to stop this ::)

(Don't take any of that seriously btw ;D ;D Just very occasionally I miss being a schoolteacher ;D)

Ok....back to Sir George Dyson :)

He was not the son of the physicist Freeman Dyson. That gentleman, born in 1923, is in fact the composer's son.
Sir George came from a relatively humble background as the son of a blacksmith in Halifax, Yorkshire(the same sort of unprivileged background as Elgar, Havergal Brian, Rubbra and, though I hesitate to mention the name ;D,  Walton.). Despite this, he rose to eminence in the world of musical education as Director of Music in succession at the Royal Naval College, Osborne and at Marlborough, Wellington and Winchester-three of the top British boys' boarding(public=private!) schools. Dyson crowned his illustrious career as Director of the Royal College of Music in London.

I suppose that it is true to say that he was not as prolific a composer as some others but he did write a considerable amount of choral and church music in addition to the Symphony in G, the Violin Concerto, the Concerto Leggiero for Piano and String Orchestra, the Concerto da Camera for String Orchestra and the Concerto da Chiesa for String Orchestra.

The Symphony has been recorded by both Richard Hickox for Chandos and David Lloyd-Jones for Naxos. I prefer the Lloyd-Jones, to be honest; one occasion on which Hickox seems less committed. If you buy the Naxos version then you get the Concerto da Chiesa as well but better to get all three string works on the excellent Chandos disc where Hickox is on better form.

The big choral works are splendid examples of the traditional British cantata. Jeffrey has mentioned "Quo Vadis"-which has some impressive passages but which is certainly too long-but I agree with him that 'Nebuchadnezzar' is a better work. The other rousing cantatas are the big(but not too long this time!) "The Canterbury Pilgrims"-Hickox on fine choral form on the Chandos discs coupled with "In Honour of the City"(Dyson's setting of the William Dunbar poem also set later by a younger composer whose first name was William ;D) and  "St. Paul's Voyage to Melita" coupled with "Agincourt"(Vernon Handley on the Somm label).

There is nothing about Dyson's music which is in any way ground-breaking. He was following in a very British tradition, but his music is well-fashioned and throughly enjoyable.








Sorry about the mistake.  To be sure, George was the son of the scientist, not the other way around.  Indeed there are wonderful moments in Dyson's Symphony. Yet the dramatic or, indeed, the thematic develpments seem to be lacking. Do like the various moments, however.










Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 01, 2009, 10:25:11 AM
Eh....no. I think that this may still be confused.

The relationships are-

Sir George Dyson, K.C.V.O., composer(1883-1964)>father of Freeman John Dyson, F.R.S.(born 1923), physicist and mathematician>father of George Dyson(born 1953), science historian.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: sul G on March 01, 2009, 10:27:56 AM
And where does the vacuum cleaner man fit into all this?
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 01, 2009, 10:28:40 AM
(http://www2.halifaxtoday.co.uk/images/famouspeople/sir-george-dyson.jpg)

Thanks for finding this photograph of Dyson, Johan :)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 01, 2009, 10:32:16 AM
And where does the vacuum cleaner man fit into all this?

Ho, Ho, Ho.

Sucks to you ;D ;D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on March 01, 2009, 11:18:17 AM
For Colin  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: sul G on March 01, 2009, 12:08:30 PM
Now that's more like it! And see, Walton suffered from No Loss Of Suction either...
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: schweitzeralan on March 01, 2009, 12:13:39 PM
Eh....no. I think that this may still be confused.

The relationships are-

Sir George Dyson, K.C.V.O., composer(1883-1964)>father of Freeman John Dyson, F.R.S.(born 1923), physicist and mathematician>father of George Dyson(born 1953), science historian.

Well, the Dysons were quite an informed, productive family.  I'm appreciating the symphony a little more as I continue "getting into it."  George the composer is a new one for me. I came across the name through musical insights on the internet. I was familiar with the name Freeman Dyson over the years as I've perused lay readings in particle physics and cosmology.  I'm also learning quite a bit from the sundry postings in this forum, particularly those that address many 20th century composers.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 01, 2009, 12:21:10 PM
Now that's more like it! And see, Walton suffered from No Loss Of Suction either...

He certainly 'sucked up' to the Sitwells!!

(See there I am being dragged into yet further digressions ;D)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: schweitzeralan on March 05, 2009, 05:38:13 AM
Sorry about the mistake.  To be sure, George was the son of the scientist, not the other way around.  Indeed there are wonderful moments in Dyson's Symphony. Yet the dramatic or, indeed, the thematic develpments seem to be lacking. Do like the various moments, however.














As I "get into" the Symphony in G", I'm  finding some very interesting moments.  I'll give it several listenings and probe more details.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: schweitzeralan on March 08, 2009, 05:31:03 AM


As I "get into" the Symphony in G", I'm  finging some very interesting moments.  I'll give it several listenings and probe more details.

I've now listend to the Dyson symphony several times now. I like the first movement in particular, as it moves along, has that unmistakable "British" quality to it with wonderful Sibelian nuances, not unlike the Moeran symphony, although both differ in their ways. I'd give the work a good "B."
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 16, 2010, 03:37:08 PM
Well, might as well bring this thread TTT!  ;D

The only George Dyson that I owned previously were the Three Rhapsodies on a disc w/ Howells - but just acquired the 2-CD set below (left) w/ Hickox & the City of London Sinfonia -just went through the first disc which is excellent; I'm sure that the second disc will be a joy for me (piano & string orchestral music) -  :D

Now, I'd like to acquire some of Dyson's vocal works, and the 2-CD set below (right) on Chandos which includes the Canterbury Pilgrims seems like a good start - so, let's bring this composer 'up to date'!  Is the latter a good recommendation - better options - or new choices now available?  Thanks all -   :)

(http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/DysonConcertos/765915171_bJNXf-O.jpg)  (http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/DysonCantPilgrims/766042351_ctSds-O.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Lethevich on January 16, 2010, 05:43:33 PM
I haven't heard the disc you link, but can praise the following ones:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419ZCAWX8QL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Dyson-Hierusalem-St-Michaels-Singers/dp/B00005OVYV/ref=cm_lmf_tit_3/183-1318717-1305666) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41t1gcSPHbL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Dyson-Nebuchadnezzar-Coronation-Anthems-Woodland/dp/B000VPNK2Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1263690511&sr=8-2)

These two discs contrast well. The music of the Hyperion disc is also right in the middle of the time period when Holst, Finzi and Vaughan Williams were writing church music of an unusually rhapsodic and sensual nature, and the Dyson pieces chosen fully reflect those practices. It's churchy, but due to those qualities not as frigidly reverential as the previous generation's (Parry, Stanford) excellent choral music. The Hierusalem piece itself is absolutely definitive of this style, and due to its late date of composition, represents sort of a fin de si├Ęcle. It throws in a bit of everything to create an orchestral and choral tone poem so far removed from a traditional church sound that it may as well be a pure concert piece. Echoes of Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music and Holst's Hymn of Jesus abound. I've never understood how so many composers at the same time took church music into such a hedonistic direction (although I suppose it has parallels in visual art), it is seemingly contrary to the whole point of the material, but the results are absolutely stunning - really exalted musical writing which expertly balances atmosphere, dynamic impact and meditation. Which reminds me, I must relisten to that piece. Insomnia sucks, but at least it can have a good soundtrack.

Excuse me for dribbling less over Nebuchadnezzar, this does not mean that it is any less good, but it is simply less perfectly to my tastes. This is a dramatic oratorio in the tradition of Walton and Coleridge-Taylor. Tremendous operatic sweep, fine choral drama, perky orchestral accompaniment, it's the usual deal. The thing which elevates this disc in my estimation is the impressive performance and deep and transparent recording from Chandos, and some delicious couplings, which are all mini masterpieces, and very intelligently cap-off the disc for a little relief after the monolithic opener.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Klaatu on August 16, 2010, 10:32:02 AM
In response to prompting on another thread, I must pipe up and say that one of my all-time favourite pieces of English music is "The Poor Parson of A Town" from The Canterbury Pilgrims.

This is quintessential romantic Englishness: Elgarian nobility combined with the spirituality of Parry's Jerusalem, combined with a certain quiet English restraint eventually overcome at the movement's passionate and radiant climax. Lovely!

Also the overture to the Pilgrims - At The Tabard Inn - is brilliant, not least because the heart of it is the same stirringly evocative "Poor Parson" theme!
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 16, 2010, 10:51:47 AM
I like Dyson's music a lot. In fact, I have just acquired the 2-CD set of his concerti with Richard Hickox on Chandos. I now own all of Hickox's Dyson recordings.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on January 18, 2014, 02:30:21 AM
Thought I'd bump up this thread. Have been listening to the CD below a lot recently and really enjoy all three pieces, finding 'In Honour of the City' oddly moving. I am also warming more to Hickox's performance of the fine Symphony. I like the Parry and Stanford meet Sibelius quality of the work and am moved by the way in which the warmth and humanity of Dyson's conception keeps breaking through the rather academic post-Brahmsian surface, especially in the context of the looming Second World War - for me the Symphony seems to demonstrate an assertion of humane values just as they were under threat. Incidentally, wanting to see what CDs of Dyson's music are currently available on Amazon I typed 'Dyson' into the search bar whilst forgetting to add under 'classical' I subsequently viewed an excellent range of vacuum cleaners.  ::)


Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2014, 06:27:03 AM
I agree with you, Jeffrey. Dyson was a very good composer and one that's worth spending more time with. I was just listening to his Violin Concerto (Mordkovitch/Hickox) the other night and was impressed with what I heard. Of course, it had been years since I heard the work, so it was a nice rediscovery for me. I, too, own that disc above so I'll have to refresh my memory of those pieces as well.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on January 18, 2014, 03:38:46 PM
I agree with you, Jeffrey. Dyson was a very good composer and one that's worth spending more time with. I was just listening to his Violin Concerto (Mordkovitch/Hickox) the other night and was impressed with what I heard. Of course, it had been years since I heard the work, so it was a nice rediscovery for me. I, too, own that disc above so I'll have to refresh my memory of those pieces as well.

Thanks John. The CD above is one I can listen to from beginning to end with great pleasure (like the new Naxos Moeran disc).
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2014, 06:33:37 PM
Thanks John. The CD above is one I can listen to from beginning to end with great pleasure (like the new Naxos Moeran disc).

But the question is do you own this 2-CD set?

Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on January 19, 2014, 12:28:10 AM
But the question is do you own this 2-CD set?



And the answer is no - but I do have both of the original single CD releases. I must listen to all those works again. The work I don't know at all is The Canterbury Pilgrims, his most famous work (or least unknown). Do you know that? If so what do you think of it John?
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 19, 2014, 07:31:43 AM
And the answer is no - but I do have both of the original single CD releases. I must listen to all those works again. The work I don't know at all is The Canterbury Pilgrims, his most famous work (or least unknown). Do you know that? If so what do you think of it John?

Excellent, Jeffrey! Interestingly enough I have not heard The Canterbury Pilgrims either, but have been wanting to hear it for quite some time. Perhaps I need to just go ahead and buy the Hickox recording even though Pilgrims is coupled with works I have on another disc: At The Tabard Inn and In Honour of the City.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: cilgwyn on January 19, 2014, 08:18:04 AM
I have the same problem with 'The Canterbury Pilgrims' as another reviewer (I forget who?). It's pleasant enough music,but just to d*** 'church-y'! I remember reading 'The Canterbury Tales',admittedly,quite some time ago!. It's so bawdy! Take 'The Millers Tale' for example, full of jokes about people farting in each others faces. In fact,allot of farting throughout the book and worse!!! ??? ;D Maybe,Dyson had the 'cleaned up' edition;but it's certainly not the Chaucer I know!
I'm not exactly an admirer of Carl Orff,but at least he captured the earthy,bawdiness in his most famous work (you know the one! ;D).
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on January 19, 2014, 03:07:53 PM
Excellent, Jeffrey! Interestingly enough I have not heard The Canterbury Pilgrims either, but have been wanting to hear it for quite some time. Perhaps I need to just go ahead and buy the Hickox recording even though Pilgrims is coupled with works I have on another disc: At The Tabard Inn and In Honour of the City.

Yes John, that's exactly the same problem that I have.  :)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on January 19, 2014, 03:08:50 PM
I have the same problem with 'The Canterbury Pilgrims' as another reviewer (I forget who?). It's pleasant enough music,but just to d*** 'church-y'! I remember reading 'The Canterbury Tales',admittedly,quite some time ago!. It's so bawdy! Take 'The Millers Tale' for example, full of jokes about people farting in each others faces. In fact,allot of farting throughout the book and worse!!! ??? ;D Maybe,Dyson had the 'cleaned up' edition;but it's certainly not the Chaucer I know!
I'm not exactly an admirer of Carl Orff,but at least he captured the earthy,bawdiness in his most famous work (you know the one! ;D).

Interesting! Many thanks for this.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: cilgwyn on January 19, 2014, 04:28:05 PM
I was merely making a point! Chaucer is bawdy,that's all. Being used to literature of a much later period I remember being more than a little surprised by the vulgarity of some of the content.Not that,being a late 70's teenager,I was exactly shocked! And let's face it,the ancients got there first!
I remember when I was in school,being given a copy of the second century novel 'The Golden Ass' by Apuleis. Apparently,my sister didn't like it! As a schoolboy I remember thinking this will be one big yawn. Well,I soon found out why she didn't like it! ??? I'd never read such a pile of graphic sex,violence,bawdy humour and necromancy in my young life. I couldn't put it down!! ??? ;D
Of course,it was the Victorians that cleaned things up. A bit like what the Hays code did to movies in the mid 30's,but in literary terms. I just wonder what they'd think of the stuff you get in the movies now?!!

Anyway,not wishing to stray too far from the main topic;taken on it's own terms I don't really see that it really matters that much. Also,Dyson's confines his work to the 'Prologue'; which is probably a good thing considering the nature of some of the subsequent material!! ;D
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on January 20, 2014, 01:51:21 PM
I was merely making a point! Chaucer is bawdy,that's all. Being used to literature of a much later period I remember being more than a little surprised by the vulgarity of some of the content.Not that,being a late 70's teenager,I was exactly shocked! And let's face it,the ancients got there first!
I remember when I was in school,being given a copy of the second century novel 'The Golden Ass' by Apuleis. Apparently,my sister didn't like it! As a schoolboy I remember thinking this will be one big yawn. Well,I soon found out why she didn't like it! ??? I'd never read such a pile of graphic sex,violence,bawdy humour and necromancy in my young life. I couldn't put it down!! ??? ;D
Of course,it was the Victorians that cleaned things up. A bit like what the Hays code did to movies in the mid 30's,but in literary terms. I just wonder what they'd think of the stuff you get in the movies now?!!

Anyway,not wishing to stray too far from the main topic;taken on it's own terms I don't really see that it really matters that much. Also,Dyson's confines his work to the 'Prologue'; which is probably a good thing considering the nature of some of the subsequent material!! ;D

As I had to study the Knight's Tale for A level English at school I have been effectively inoculated from discovering any more Chaucer - my loss as and I would like to read more ( perhaps the Dyson work would be a good introduction). I remember, as a school boy having trouble working out which extract was Chaucer and which one was Milton, let alone answering any questions on them.  8)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: cilgwyn on January 21, 2017, 11:31:31 AM
What a lovely symphony. Full of lush,sumptuous sounds. Those glorious strings!! It may be my imagination,but I get a brief snatch of Hollywood from them,at one or two points. Very filmic. I also think it's a very good  symphony. There are no deep messages here,but You feel like you're definitely going somewhere. I don't feel any note spinning or meandering. Oh,and you feel good at the end of it. Well,I do! ;D I've got this earlier release,which I chose purposely,because I just wanted the symphony and I love that 'Chandos sound'! I particularly love the way this symphony begins. The opening bars are glorious. They really grab your attention and pull you in. Nice painting too.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51llQVhMcEL_zpsx2psumpw.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on January 21, 2017, 02:27:36 PM
What a lovely symphony. Full of lush,sumptuous sounds. Those glorious strings!! It may be my imagination,but I get a brief snatch of Hollywood from them,at one or two points. Very filmic. I also think it's a very good  symphony. There are no deep messages here,but You feel like you're definitely going somewhere. I don't feel any note spinning or meandering. Oh,and you feel good at the end of it. Well,I do! ;D I've got this earlier release,which I chose purposely,because I just wanted the symphony and I love that 'Chandos sound'! I particularly love the way this symphony begins. The opening bars are glorious. They really grab your attention and pull you in. Nice painting too.

(http://i1362.photobucket.com/albums/r688/dinasman/51llQVhMcEL_zpsx2psumpw.jpg)
It has a great cover image too!  8)
I find this symphony rather moving - an assertion perhaps of humane values as the war clouds loomed.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Maestro267 on May 14, 2017, 05:03:25 AM
Via Twitter, conductor David Hill the other day revealed that there is to be a recording of Dyson choral/orchestral works featuring the Bach Choir and the Bournemouth SO released in November. St. Paul's Voyage to Melita and an early Choral Symphony apparently only rediscovered in 2014.

http://www.dysontrust.org.uk/news.html (http://www.dysontrust.org.uk/news.html)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: cilgwyn on May 14, 2017, 06:43:35 AM
I really enjoyed his Violin Concerto this afternoon. I thought it was beautiful......and I'd put it on one side! ::)

(http://i.imgur.com/6w229j7.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on May 14, 2017, 11:37:50 AM
This choral/orchestral work has one of the most moving endings I know:

Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: cilgwyn on May 15, 2017, 06:25:59 AM
I remember buying the cd set of his Canterbury Pilgrims back in the nineties,I think?!! Initial enthusiasm waned and it got sold to the lady who runs the secondhand record stall in the market!! A couple of months ago I made a cd-r set of the off air recording at the Art Music Forum,which I'd had on my pc for some time. I made a cd-r set a couple of weeks ago and for the first time I really did enjoy it. Not that I hated it before;but the absence of Robert Tear,not one of my favourite singers,to be honest was a definite plus!! :) Now,Tearless,I can at last hear Dyson's Canterbury Pilgrims for the lovely work it,undoubtedly,is!! :) :) :)

The Canterbury Pilgrims (1930-31)
Susan Gritton, sop; Alan Oke, ten; Simon Bailey, bass-bar/ Three Choirs Festival Chorus/ Philharmonia O/ Martyn Brabbins (25/7/2012, br. 9/9/2012)

Available as a download at the Art Music Forum. You have to register as a member first,though;and preferably contribute some posts,as well!! :)
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Maestro267 on October 02, 2017, 05:36:57 AM
Information on the new Dyson disc (https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573770) coming in November on Naxos. It's generously filled, the Choral Symphony lasting 44 minutes and St. Paul's Voyage to Melita lasting 31 minutes. Looking forward to it, especially having recently gotten into the wonderful work The Canterbury Pilgrims.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on October 02, 2017, 08:11:45 AM
Information on the new Dyson disc (https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573770) coming in November on Naxos. It's generously filled, the Choral Symphony lasting 44 minutes and St. Paul's Voyage to Melita lasting 31 minutes. Looking forward to it, especially having recently gotten into the wonderful work The Canterbury Pilgrims.
Interesting news - thank you. I note it's a very early work. The St Paul work is good I have it on another CD.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: kyjo on October 02, 2017, 09:15:04 AM
Dyson's Concerto da Chiesa is a fine work in the great English tradition of music for string orchestra.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: Maestro267 on October 02, 2017, 09:57:06 AM
Interesting news - thank you. I note it's a very early work. The St Paul work is good I have it on another CD.

Yes, interestingly composed around the time of Mahler 8 and Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony (1910), thus putting it amongst the first predominantly-choral symphonies written.

Dyson's Concerto da Chiesa is a fine work in the great English tradition of music for string orchestra.

I need to give that another listen. I've got it on a disc with the Symphony in G.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on October 04, 2017, 12:21:27 AM
Yes, interestingly composed around the time of Mahler 8 and Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony (1910), thus putting it amongst the first predominantly-choral symphonies written.

I need to give that another listen. I've got it on a disc with the Symphony in G.

That's a great disc. Better in the Symphony than the Chandos recording I think, although they are both good.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: VonStupp on June 03, 2021, 04:49:46 AM
I have an unnatural love of everything George Dyson. Aside from the Chandos oratorios, the Naxos Choral Symphony, and his Symphony in G already mentioned in this thread, might I also proffer the attention he received from the Somm and Dutton Epoch labels:

(https://d9cahy9arw81t.cloudfront.net/assets/uploads/2020/09/22134818/SOMMCD06022-cover-1536x1536.jpg) (https://d9cahy9arw81t.cloudfront.net/assets/uploads/2017/02/16044414/748871201422.jpg) (https://d9cahy9arw81t.cloudfront.net/assets/uploads/2017/02/16045011/748871223424.jpg)
(https://rovimusic.rovicorp.com/image.jpg?c=IZafWBpfGmH7bpwYO9YSzN_M69_UI9rrJSVvWL2-yAg=&f=5) (https://rovimusic.rovicorp.com/image.jpg?c=h-E_Qo8HMtZamNQhd4h-typQg_7iAU1wjqLgK_xGXts=&f=5)

If you haven't heard his The Blacksmiths, it is about as close as Dyson could ever get to a modernist voice from his English Pastoral School leanings.
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: vandermolen on June 03, 2021, 08:40:14 AM
I have an unnatural love of everything George Dyson. Aside from the Chandos oratorios, the Naxos Choral Symphony, and his Symphony in G already mentioned in this thread, might I also proffer the attention he received from the Somm and Dutton Epoch labels:

(https://d9cahy9arw81t.cloudfront.net/assets/uploads/2020/09/22134818/SOMMCD06022-cover-1536x1536.jpg) (https://d9cahy9arw81t.cloudfront.net/assets/uploads/2017/02/16044414/748871201422.jpg) (https://d9cahy9arw81t.cloudfront.net/assets/uploads/2017/02/16045011/748871223424.jpg)
(https://rovimusic.rovicorp.com/image.jpg?c=IZafWBpfGmH7bpwYO9YSzN_M69_UI9rrJSVvWL2-yAg=&f=5) (https://rovimusic.rovicorp.com/image.jpg?c=h-E_Qo8HMtZamNQhd4h-typQg_7iAU1wjqLgK_xGXts=&f=5)

If you haven't heard his The Blacksmiths, it is about as close as Dyson could ever get to a modernist voice from his English Pastoral School leanings.
Nothing unnatural I think! I have all those CDs, I think, other than 'The Open Window'. The Symphony, 'Quo Vadis' and Concerto da Chiesa remain my favourites. He's an interesting and worthwhile composer and the neglect of the Symphony, in particular, surprises me. Nice to see this thread revived from its four year slumber!
Title: Re: Sir George Dyson (1883-1964)
Post by: VonStupp on June 04, 2021, 05:30:06 AM
(https://d9cahy9arw81t.cloudfront.net/assets/uploads/2020/09/22134818/SOMMCD06022-cover-1536x1536.jpg)

Nothing unnatural I think! I have all those CDs, I think, other than 'The Open Window'. The Symphony, 'Quo Vadis' and Concerto da Chiesa remain my favourites. He's an interesting and worthwhile composer and the neglect of the Symphony, in particular, surprises me. Nice to see this thread revived from its four year slumber!

I rarely listen to solo piano music outside of the warhorses. Dyson's piano music in The Open Window seems a little simple sounding to me, although his 3-voiced fugues in Bach's Birthday are interesting.

Here is the promotional video of this recording: https://youtu.be/FHtSwVhU-3E (https://youtu.be/FHtSwVhU-3E)