GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Catison on April 09, 2007, 08:54:47 AM

Title: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Catison on April 09, 2007, 08:54:47 AM
I have just started to listen to this composer's symphonies after I purchased the Hickox cycle.  I know almost nothing about this composer other than few symphonies I've heard so far.  Most comments I have read are very general.  But which symphonies would you consider the best?  Any interesting biographical information I should consider when listening?  For instance, why did he choose a fairly tonal style?

I am interested in listening to more of his music as well.  Anything beyond the symphonies?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Todd on April 09, 2007, 09:02:02 AM
I know none of Rubbra's music, so I'll be interested in reading comments about his music as well.

Catison, what are your first impressions of the symphonies you have listened to?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Harry on April 09, 2007, 09:37:51 AM
For me it is always difficult to say what is the best. I have the same cycle on Chandos, and think the music very rewarding and a bit unsettling too. His idiom is tonal, but sometimes in a uneasy by no means ugly way. That is one of the reasons I like this music.
For me he stands apart from the majority of his fellow composers. There is nothing quite like Rubbra. Further than his Symphonies I never went though. Lost out of sight I guess. But after this thread I will dive in my collection to listen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Rubbra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Rubbra)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: karlhenning on April 09, 2007, 10:08:57 AM
weirdears spoke very highly of Rubbra's Tenebrae motets.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: BachQ on April 09, 2007, 10:26:41 AM
I like Rubbra's orchestration of Brahms' op. 24 for solo piano (Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel) . . . . . .


 :D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Don on April 09, 2007, 10:38:32 AM
Rubbra's Violin Concerto on Naxos is another winner.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Todd on April 09, 2007, 10:43:48 AM
Rubbra's Violin Concerto on Naxos is another winner.


Rubbra, Naxos.  Looks like I may know what to try first.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: karlhenning on April 09, 2007, 10:48:10 AM
Rubbra, Naxos.  Looks like I may know what to try first.

(FWIW, I have an idea the Tenebrae motets may also be a Naxos recording.)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Todd on April 09, 2007, 10:49:21 AM
(FWIW, I have an idea the Tenebrae motets may also be a Naxos recording.)



(Yet another reason to buy it . . .)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 10, 2007, 12:41:03 AM
Rubbra is an interesting composer. My own experience was that I found his symphonies quite plain when I first listened to them, but there was something about them that drew me back, and when I listened again more carefully I found a lot of depth. In that way he reminds me of Brahms, though on a more modest scale. His dense, polyphonic style is also quite Brahmsian.

Another thing that I find very attractive about his work is that it is influenced by Renaissance or Tudor music - someone described his symphonies as sounding like "vast orchestral motets" & I think that's about right.

I haven't heard all the symphonies, but of those I have I like nos. 4 & 7 the best. The 4th has a lot of that archaic quality in it, particularly in the 1st movement. The 7th is his most Brahmsian symphony, very stern with a passacaglia finale, a lot like Brahms' 4th.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: BachQ on April 10, 2007, 02:22:10 AM
The 7th is his most Brahmsian symphony, very stern with a passacaglia finale, a lot like Brahms' 4th.

I think I'll give that 'un a spin . . . . . .
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: springrite on April 10, 2007, 02:26:25 AM
I have (had) the complete symphonic cycle on CHANDOS. My favorite is unfortunately the one that is lost from my collection -- someone borrowed it and did not return it and I did not have a system of keeping record! It is the symphony #3 and #7. Maybe because these two most examplify his three main influences that I hear ---- Brahms, Sibelius and Nielsen. (Incidentally, Rubbra the critic and musicologist also wrote a wonderful book on Nielsen symphonies). I would recommend starting with these two.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: BachQ on April 10, 2007, 02:28:23 AM
I have (had) the complete symphonic cycle on CHANDOS. My favorite is ... the symphony #3 and #7.

Another vote for #7 . . . . . .
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Harry on April 10, 2007, 02:28:33 AM
I have (had) the complete symphonic cycle on CHANDOS. My favorite is unfortunately the one that is lost from my collection -- someone borrowed it and did not return it and I did not have a system of keeping record! It is the symphony #3 and #7. Maybe because these two most examplify his three main influences that I hear ---- Brahms, Sibelius and Nielsen. (Incidentally, Rubbra the critic and musicologist also wrote a wonderful book on Nielsen symphonies). I would recommend starting with these two.

Never ever lend your music to others, burn it, that is the best way to keep your collection intact!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: BachQ on April 10, 2007, 02:31:35 AM
Never ever lend your music to others, burn it, that is the best way to keep your collection intact!

Good advice . . . . . .
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: springrite on April 10, 2007, 03:07:52 AM
Never ever lend your music to others, burn it, that is the best way to keep your collection intact!

Thanks for the advise. I will heed that!

Meanwhile, I am planning to go to Holland sometime in the future to burn a copy of every CD you have of the music by Johann Gambolputty.... von Hautkopf of Ulm.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Harry on April 10, 2007, 03:11:33 AM
Thanks for the advise. I will heed that!

Meanwhile, I am planning to go to Holland sometime in the future to burn a copy of every CD you have of the music by Johann Gambolputty.... von Hautkopf of Ulm.

That one I don't have, but this one von Katzenkopf zum stiegsteilzumvergrostenvon Zweinebratheantje I have, so you are most welcome! ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Thom on April 12, 2007, 09:43:14 AM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000AXR.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_V45353840_SS500_.jpg)

I can recommend this disc. I think these symphonies are great, his idiom is unique. I agree with Harry, the music is unsettling sometimes but he also has a knack for great melodies imho that is.

X
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 12, 2007, 10:31:16 AM
Just have two Rubbra discs - one is the Naxos choral works under discussion - Chris' 5* review on Amazon can be read here (http://www.amazon.com/Rubbra-Nine-Tenebrae-Motets-Edmund/dp/B00005A7KA/ref=sr_1_2/103-8488946-8127043?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1176406161&sr=1-2) - I believe the main reason I purchased the CD a while back; the only other disc I have is Symphony No. 9 et al w/ Hickox - I see at Amazon that an entire 'box set' of these symphonies is available - anxious for some more comments - thanks.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00005A7KA.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)  (http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/07/9/5/437.jpg)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Hector on April 13, 2007, 03:25:15 AM
The symphonies tend to draw you in.

The 3rd, apparently, was played a lot by the BBC in the fifties.

That is until William Glock waged his one man campaign against tonal music, or what he judged as such.

So, little was heard on the radio of the likes of Rubbra, Arnold and Lloyd but Tippett scraped through because he wore sandals and had this hippie air about him, probably.

I'm collecting the Lyrita reissues as I cannot stand being bored by Hixcok.

Although all the symphonies are enjoyable the later ones are the best, I think. Barbirolli recorded the 5th and for any Rubbra fan this is a must-have.

However, I think there is room for another cycle and if either Hyperion or Naxos can get Handley or Lloyd-Jones into the studio and throw in the concertante and misc. orchestral pieces as well they could compliment and surpass previous recordings.

It is unlikely that any of this will be heard in the concert hall unless the 25th anniversary of his death is celebrated at the Proms in 2011!

 
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 14, 2007, 09:02:41 AM
symphonies 4,5,7 and 8 are my favourites.  Barbirolli's No 5 is a must have.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: tjguitar on April 16, 2007, 03:04:00 PM
For me it is always difficult to say what is the best. I have the same cycle on Chandos, and think the music very rewarding and a bit unsettling too. His idiom is tonal, but sometimes in a uneasy by no means ugly way. That is one of the reasons I like this music.
For me he stands apart from the majority of his fellow composers. There is nothing quite like Rubbra. Further than his Symphonies I never went though. Lost out of sight I guess. But after this thread I will dive in my collection to listen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Rubbra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Rubbra)

Harry I recommend this disc, all of these pieces were originally recorded and released with the symphonies, but not included on the symphonies box set, the sinfonia concertante has some nice piano work:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00005TNXY.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Robert on April 16, 2007, 03:44:48 PM
symphonies 4,5,7 and 8 are my favourites.  Barbirolli's No 5 is a must have.

Please tell me when he recorded his fifth...what label? I never saw this recording.....
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: btpaul674 on April 16, 2007, 06:48:22 PM
I've always loved A Tribute for Ralph Vaughan Williams on his 70th Birthday.. a fitting work, capturing a good portion of the ol' man's temperament. I am always reminded of the portrait of Vaughan Williams and his favorite cat Foxy.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Harry on April 16, 2007, 09:41:54 PM
Harry I recommend this disc, all of these pieces were originally recorded and released with the symphonies, but not included on the symphonies box set, the sinfonia concertante has some nice piano work:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00005TNXY.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

Thank you, it seems that I missed that one. Its on my next order list. :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2007, 01:25:04 AM
Please tell me when he recorded his fifth...what label? I never saw this recording.....

Robert,

it's on EMI CDM 5 66053 2

with Britten Violin Concerto and "Threnody for a fallen soldier"by Michael Hemming.  The Rubbra was recorded in 1950 and whilst it is obviously a historic recording, I believe that it is the finest interpretation of Rubbra's Symphony 5 on CD.  The EMI CD was issued in 1997.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Britten-Heming-Rubbra-Orchestral-Works/dp/B0000241DI/ref=sr_1_2/026-5773581-7374844?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1176805658&sr=1-2
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Hector on April 17, 2007, 03:27:53 AM
Robert,

it's on EMI CDM 5 66053 2

with Britten Violin Concerto and "Threnody for a fallen soldier"by Michael Hemming.  The Rubbra was recorded in 1950 and whilst it is obviously a historic recording, I believe that it is the finest interpretation of Rubbra's Symphony 5 on CD.  The EMI CD was issued in 1997.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Britten-Heming-Rubbra-Orchestral-Works/dp/B0000241DI/ref=sr_1_2/026-5773581-7374844?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1176805658&sr=1-2

As the Amazon link proves to some extent, EMI deleted the disc.

I would be tempted to await a reissue than pay either of these people for it.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2007, 09:45:11 AM
As the Amazon link proves to some extent, EMI deleted the disc.

I would be tempted to await a reissue than pay either of these people for it.

With EMI classical division going through some kind of meltdown, I wouldn't anticipate a speedy reissue.  My advice would be to get it while you can.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Robert on April 17, 2007, 09:52:56 AM
Robert,

it's on EMI CDM 5 66053 2

with Britten Violin Concerto and "Threnody for a fallen soldier"by Michael Hemming.  The Rubbra was recorded in 1950 and whilst it is obviously a historic recording, I believe that it is the finest interpretation of Rubbra's Symphony 5 on CD.  The EMI CD was issued in 1997.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Britten-Heming-Rubbra-Orchestral-Works/dp/B0000241DI/ref=sr_1_2/026-5773581-7374844?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1176805658&sr=1-2
Thanks for that captain.. I also love the Britten VC. Amazon wants almost 50 for the disc... ::)I think I will wait awhile.....
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2007, 11:25:39 PM
Thanks for that captain.. I also love the Britten VC. Amazon wants almost 50 for the disc... ::)I think I will wait awhile.....

In the link attached it seems to be available for £6.49+postage from Amazon UK.

I love Rubbra's "Resurgam" written in commemoration of a church destroyed in Plymouth in World War Two (it's on the Lyrita CD with Rubbra's 3rd and 4th symphonies)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 17, 2007, 11:30:35 PM
I've always loved A Tribute for Ralph Vaughan Williams on his 70th Birthday.. a fitting work, capturing a good portion of the ol' man's temperament. I am always reminded of the portrait of Vaughan Williams and his favorite cat Foxy.

Yes, I like that piece too (and Resurgam, on the same Lyrita CD) and also the photo of VW is a favourite:

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Harry Collier on June 29, 2007, 06:26:04 AM

I have just (!) acquired my first major Rubbra piece: the viola concerto (excellent new Hyperion recording with Lawrence Power, orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov). I listened to it dutifully, then listened to it all over again since I really liked it. It is difficult to perceive why it is not well-known and often played. Coupled on the CD with the Walton viola concerto to which I haven't yet listened, since I've been so busy listening to the Rubbra! Echoes of Sibelius, of Elgar, of Walton (Rubbra was born in 1901). An attractive piece to which I shall return often. The Hyperion recording is good, and well balanced.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on June 29, 2007, 06:51:05 AM
I have just (!) acquired my first major Rubbra piece: the viola concerto (excellent new Hyperion recording with Lawrence Power, orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov). I listened to it dutifully, then listened to it all over again since I really liked it. It is difficult to perceive why it is not well-known and often played. Coupled on the CD with the Walton viola concerto to which I haven't yet listened, since I've been so busy listening to the Rubbra! Echoes of Sibelius, of Elgar, of Walton (Rubbra was born in 1901). An attractive piece to which I shall return often. The Hyperion recording is good, and well balanced.


The Walton Viola Concerto is wonderful too, a much better work than his Violin Concerto IMHO.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Grazioso on September 09, 2008, 02:41:19 AM
I have just (!) acquired my first major Rubbra piece: the viola concerto (excellent new Hyperion recording with Lawrence Power, orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov). I listened to it dutifully, then listened to it all over again since I really liked it. It is difficult to perceive why it is not well-known and often played. Coupled on the CD with the Walton viola concerto to which I haven't yet listened, since I've been so busy listening to the Rubbra! Echoes of Sibelius, of Elgar, of Walton (Rubbra was born in 1901). An attractive piece to which I shall return often. The Hyperion recording is good, and well balanced.


Indeed. I listened to this recording of Rubbra's viola concerto yesterday for the first time and then listened again. What a beautiful, intriguing piece of music. It really is a shame it's not more widely known and recorded.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 09, 2008, 03:27:50 AM
If I was forced to choose one composer above all others to name as my favourite I would be torn between Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian and Edmund Rubbra.

There is a something about Rubbra's music which I find intensely moving. I have always found that 'something' difficult to define or explain. Nothing about the music is flashy or overtly dramatic but there is, in my opinion, a quite sublime intensity and an understated passion which undoubtedly stemmed from Rubbra's own personal religious and spiritual convictions. Those imbue his music with a a purity and quiet seriousness which elevates it above so much else in 20th century music. I cannot fail to listen to Rubbra without being held in its spell.

That applies to all of the eleven symphonies, the concertos and the wonderful unaccompanied choral music. Rubbra has been criticised for a certain thickness of scoring and it is only fair to acknowledge that, to a certain extent, that criticism is justified in the 1st symphony and (perhaps) the 2nd. He has also been accused of a lack of obvious 'colour' in his music-whatever exactly that may mean.
It is certainly true that if one were to listen to Rubbra's music with less than full attention the impression might be of a lack of incident, a 'greyness' I suppose. But Rubbra's sound world is one which does reward real committment on the part of the listener because there is little similar in British music of its time. The lumping together of Rubbra, Alwyn, Lennox Berkeley, Fricker and Rawsthorne by Malcolm MacDonald in his book on Havergal Brian as examples of 'Cheltenham Symphony' composers was an error which he himself now acknowledges.

Rubbra drew his influences from Tudor polyphony but also from a wide range of literary sources including medieval Latin and Chinese poetry. He certainly deeply admired both Brahms and Vaughan Williams and there are echoes of both in his music. He was undoubtedly a very British composer yet it is difficult to say that the music  sounds much like many other British composers.

My own personal favourites include the 4th(which has the most magical and sublime opening pages of any symphony of the last century), the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th 'Hommage a Teilhard de Chardin' and the big choral 9th 'Sinfonia Sacra'. All have, of course, been recorded by Hickox on Chandos but there are individual recordings by Boult, Handley and Del Mar which also illuminate particular symphonies. There are modern recordings of the Violin Concerto, the Viola Concerto and the Soliloquy for Cello and Orchestra but a modern recording of the wonderful Piano Concerto is desperately needed.

Rubbra's music will never-I fear-have widespread appeal or be a Proms favourite because it does require such a degree of concentration. It is not difficult music per se but it does have a profound 'stillness' which is ultimately so rewarding for those prepared to give it the attention it undoubtedly merits.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Hector on September 09, 2008, 06:01:51 AM
If I was forced to choose one composer above all others to name as my favourite I would be torn between Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian and Edmund Rubbra.

There is a something about Rubbra's music which I find intensely moving. I have always found that 'something' difficult to define or explain. Nothing about the music is flashy or overtly dramatic but there is, in my opinion, a quite sublime intensity and an understated passion which undoubtedly stemmed from Rubbra's own personal religious and spiritual convictions. Those imbue his music with a a purity and quiet seriousness which elevates it above so much else in 20th century music. I cannot fail to listen to Rubbra without being held in its spell.

That applies to all of the eleven symphonies, the concertos and the wonderful unaccompanied choral music. Rubbra has been criticised for a certain thickness of scoring and it is only fair to acknowledge that, to a certain extent, that criticism is justified in the 1st symphony and (perhaps) the 2nd. He has also been accused of a lack of obvious 'colour' in his music-whatever exactly that may mean.
It is certainly true that if one were to listen to Rubbra's music with less than full attention the impression might be of a lack of incident, a 'greyness' I suppose. But Rubbra's sound world is one which does reward real committment on the part of the listener because there is little similar in British music of its time. The lumping together of Rubbra, Alwyn, Lennox Berkeley, Fricker and Rawsthorne by Malcolm MacDonald in his book on Havergal Brian as examples of 'Cheltenham Symphony' composers was an error which he himself now acknowledges.

Rubbra drew his influences from Tudor polyphony but also from a wide range of literary sources including medieval Latin and Chinese poetry. He certainly deeply admired both Brahms and Vaughan Williams and there are echoes of both in his music. He was undoubtedly a very British composer yet it is difficult to say that the music  sounds much like many other British composers.

My own personal favourites include the 4th(which has the most magical and sublime opening pages of any symphony of the last century), the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th 'Hommage a Teilhard de Chardin' and the big choral 9th 'Sinfonia Sacra'. All have, of course, been recorded by Hickox on Chandos but there are individual recordings by Boult, Handley and Del Mar which also illuminate particular symphonies. There are modern recordings of the Violin Concerto, the Viola Concerto and the Soliloquy for Cello and Orchestra but a modern recording of the wonderful Piano Concerto is desperately needed.

Rubbra's music will never-I fear-have widespread appeal or be a Proms favourite because it does require such a degree of concentration. It is not difficult music per se but it does have a profound 'stillness' which is ultimately so rewarding for those prepared to give it the attention it undoubtedly merits.

You say that in your last sentence but Lyrita's notes mention the popularity of Rubbra's 3rd on the Third Programme in the fifties.

These are concert pieces, after all, and I find them immediately attractive and, so, worth a shot at revival.

If a toshmeister like Taverner can sucker an audience why not a far greater composer like Rubbra?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 09, 2008, 06:04:02 AM
The only Rubbra symphony I know very well is the Fifth (Schönzeler/Chandos, coupled with Checkmate by Bliss)). The centre of the elegiac slow movement, with that cor anglais solo above a funereal rhythm, is one of the most haunting things I know. Are there more symphonies as beautiful and good? Which ones should I listen to next?

As for favourite symphonist - I love several very much (Langgaard, RVW, Mahler, Bruckner, Beethoven, Brahms and so forth), but the one dearest to my heart is, unsurprisingly - Havergal Brian.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 09, 2008, 06:53:01 AM
The only Rubbra symphony I know very well is the Fifth (Schönzeler/Chandos, coupled with Checkmate by Bliss)). The centre of the elegiac slow movement, with that cor anglais solo above a funereal rhythm, is one of the most haunting things I know. Are there more symphonies as beautiful and good? Which ones should I listen to next?


Strangely enough I haven't heard the 5th, but I've heard most of the others. 4 & 7 are especially good. I'm also very fond of 2 for some reason, tho' few people mention it as a favorite. 6 is an easy one to like (with another elegiac slow movement featuring a cor anglais), and fairly straighforward.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 09, 2008, 07:06:39 AM
Strangely enough I haven't heard the 5th, but I've heard most of the others. 4 & 7 are especially good. I'm also very fond of 2 for some reason, tho' few people mention it as a favorite. 6 is an easy one to like (with another elegiac slow movement featuring a cor anglais), and fairly straighforward.

I see 4 and 7 mentioned most, so I think those two will head my Rubbra list. Thanks!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 09, 2008, 07:11:02 AM
I see 4 and 7 mentioned most, so I think those two will head my Rubbra list. Thanks!

Good choice! If the opening of the 4th doesn't hook you then nothing will :)

Hector, I fear that Rubbra is not really susceptible to the sort of media hype which Tavener attracts :( Yes, Rubbra did enjoy a measure of popularity in the fifties but the Glock regime at the BBC seemed to extinguish that. I can't remember when a piece by Rubbra was last played at the Proms. I do wish it were otherwise!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 09, 2008, 07:14:47 AM
Good choice!

Now I know for certain.  0:)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on September 10, 2008, 07:03:57 AM
Nice to see this thread revived. I have the greatest admiration for Rubbra and have thought of him as the true heir of Vaughan Williams. I think that VW thought much the same. Colin writes eloquently of Rubbra's appeal and I entirely agree.

My own favourite Rubbra recording is Barbirolli's of Symphony No 5. This was also my introduction to Rubbra on an old EMI LP, where it was coupled with Vaughan Williams's Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus and the Oboe Concerto; a great disc, which I borrowed from the High St Kensington Music Library in the 1970s. Oddly enough as I was driving into work today I was thinking that I must listen to some more Rubbra. My other favourites are Symphony No 7 conducted by Boult on Lyrita (my other Rubbra LP discovery), Symphony No 8 and, of course Symphony No 4. I like No 1 too but haven't really got my head round the choral No 9 yet.

As Colin says, there is something deeply spiritual about Rubbra's music, which is very conducive to quiet introspection (not that I get much chance for that  :-[) and it grows on you with repeated listening. I'd also recommend the haunting work 'Resurgam' (on Lyrita with symphonies 3 and 4), a beautiful, haunting, short work.

A new biography of Rubbra has recently appeared. I believe that his son, Benedict Rubbra is quite well known as a painter.

As to my favourite composers; Miaskovsky (obviously), Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold, Langgaard, Brian, Honegger, Tubin, Holmboe, Rubbra, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Copland, Diamond and Bloch come to mind.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 10, 2008, 07:29:10 AM
Thanks, Jeffrey.

('Quiet introspection', there's a luxury item for you!)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 10, 2008, 09:27:21 AM
I don't think anyone's mentioned Rubbra's chamber music yet...so I will put in a plug for the 2nd String Quartet, a marvelous old-fashioned sounding 4tet with a wonderful slow mvt. (Cavatina).

I have it played by the Dante Quartet, coupled with the 4th Quartet...that one doesn't grab me as much, though...anyone else heard these?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on September 10, 2008, 01:41:43 PM
I don't think anyone's mentioned Rubbra's chamber music yet...so I will put in a plug for the 2nd String Quartet, a marvelous old-fashioned sounding 4tet with a wonderful slow mvt. (Cavatina).

I have it played by the Dante Quartet, coupled with the 4th Quartet...that one doesn't grab me as much, though...anyone else heard these?

Yes, thank you for this. I have a number of CDs of the chamber music, mainly on Dutton; all of a very high quality. There is a lovely ASV disc "The Chamber Music and Songs with Harp" with Danielle Perrett playing harp. I was a friend of hers at Teacher Training College in Exeter and remember the complexities of having to help transport her harp for a concert! The CD is wonderful music for late night listening. A Hymn to the Virgin is especially beautiful.

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 10, 2008, 04:03:17 PM
Partly to demonstrate that I am not totally obsessed with the symphony as a musical form but mainly because I truly believe that these are short masterpieces can I recommend three discs from Chandos, EMI and Naxos containing examples of Rubbra's shorter choral works.

The Chandos contains his marvellous Suite 'Inscape' for mixed choir, strings and harp and the beautiful Advent Cantata 'Natum Maria Virgine'. The Naxos has the moving 'Missa in honorem Sancti Dominici' written in 1949 in response to Rubbra's own conversion to Roman Catholicism.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 10, 2008, 04:04:49 PM
and-
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: The new erato on September 11, 2008, 07:38:16 AM
The Dutton discs of string quartets are heartily recommended by me also. In case nobody has mentioned it, the Soliloquy for cello and orchestra (on an Lyrita disc) is very fine as well.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 11, 2008, 08:40:03 AM
The Dutton discs of string quartets are heartily recommended by me also. In case nobody has mentioned it, the Soliloquy for cello and orchestra (on an Lyrita disc) is very fine as well.

I agree about the Soliloquy. I actually have three versions-the Lyrita with Rohan de Saram and the late Vernon Handley(coupled with Symphonies Nos. 6 and 8), a version by Raphael Wallfisch and Handley again(coupled with other cello pieces on a White Line CD) and Raphael Somner's performance on an old BBC Classics CD(coupled with Handley's magnificent 4th Symphony and the Piano Concerto played by Malcolm Binns with the LSO). Any of these three would represent the piece well.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on September 21, 2008, 01:16:15 PM
Harry I recommend this disc, all of these pieces were originally recorded and released with the symphonies, but not included on the symphonies box set, the sinfonia concertante has some nice piano work:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00005TNXY.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

Just been listening to this; a great disc. I did not realise how good Rubbra's 'Sinfonia concertante' was.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 21, 2008, 01:22:38 PM
Just been listening to this; a great disc. I did not realise how good Rubbra's 'Sinfonia concertante' was.

Do you know the Piano Concerto, Jeffrey? A quite magical piece in my estimation.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on September 21, 2008, 01:50:17 PM
Do you know the Piano Concerto, Jeffrey? A quite magical piece in my estimation.

Sure that I owned it once but seem to have lost it in the chaos of my ever growing CD collection. Have just ordered it cheaply on Amazon (Sargent/Matthews); a fine work. Reminds me (oddly) of Klaus Egge's Piano Concerto No 2 (Naxos). Do you know that Colin?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 21, 2008, 03:12:58 PM
Good heavens! A comparison of Edmund Rubbra and Klaus Egge?

Yes, I have Egge's Piano Concerto No.2-but on an Aurora CD coupled with the Symphony No.1 "Lagnadstonar".

Will report back once I have refreshed my memory of the Egge!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on September 22, 2008, 05:06:34 AM
Not sure that I can go along with you very far on this one, Jeffrey :( Yes, there are a few moments in the Egge when I can hear some echoes of Rubbra but Egge's idiom is more advanced(though by no means difficult!) and I would not personally put his concerto in the same class as that by Rubbra.

Egge's 1st Symphony on the other hand is a more rewarding work and plumbs deeper waters. It is rather sad to read in the CD notes that Egge "was a dominant personality in the musical life of Norway and internationally acknowledged to be one of the foremost Scandinavian composers of his generation". That does not seem to be reflected in the attention he has received since his death in 1979.
BIS has given us a complete Saeverud symphonic cycle and is engaged on a similar exercise for Fartein Valen(whose music is too dry for my sympathies!). Geirr Tveit and, even, Eivind Groven have received exposure but there has been little Egge beyond the two old Aurora discs with the 1st. 2nd and 4th symphonies.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on September 23, 2008, 11:01:58 AM
Thanks Colin. Something about the atmosphere of the opening of the Egge reminded me of the Rubbra..don't know what really...maybe because they both feature the piano  ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on October 08, 2008, 07:49:58 AM
Have been listening to Symphony No 7 (LPO Boult, Lyrita). What a great work; it gets better and better, culminating in a deeply moving 15 minute finale. At the moment this is the Rubbra symphony I play most often. I think that nos 4,5,7 and 8 are the best in the cycle, although they are all worth investigating. The Boult No 7 with the Barbirolli and Schoenzeler No 5 are my favourite Rubbra discs.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: jowcol on October 08, 2008, 08:21:44 AM
I guess I'll need to check out the 7th. 

I currently have 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11 on Chandos. 

4 is hands down my favorite.  The opening is totally engrossing-- more of a set of evolving variations than a classic sonata form and I'm grateful for that.  ALso, there are a couple stretches in the the last movement that are nothing less than enthralling. 

2, of this group has been my second favorite.  The last couple are shorter and more angular, and I just haven't gotten them yet. 

I thought I'd like 1-- supposedly his angriest symphony, which is why I got it.  But I don't think it worked for me as much as I'd like.  I'm not sure if that mold really fit him.  The 4th almost approaches, to my ears, the cumulative impact of classical indian music where a very simple start grows into something that pulls you in deep.  THat first movement in particular.

I'll need to try the 7th for sure. 
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 08, 2008, 08:32:23 AM

4 is hands down my favorite.  The opening is totally engrossing-- more of a set of evolving variations than a classic sonata form and I'm grateful for that. 

Yes, it's wonderful. This is where I feel the Elizabethan-early music influence quite strongly - it's almost like something by Byrd or Dowland.

Quote
2, of this group has been my second favorite. 

Yay, another fan of the 2nd  :) I love that powerful opening mvt. (like compressed Bruckner) and the intense polyphonic scherzo that follows.

Quote
I thought I'd like 1-- supposedly his angriest symphony, which is why I got it.  But I don't think it worked for me as much as I'd like. 

I had a similar reaction. It was impressive on first listen, but gradually I cooled on it. I think he had a better grip on the anger in the 2nd.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on October 08, 2008, 08:51:30 AM
I guess I'll need to check out the 7th. 

I currently have 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11 on Chandos. 

4 is hands down my favorite.  The opening is totally engrossing-- more of a set of evolving variations than a classic sonata form and I'm grateful for that.  ALso, there are a couple stretches in the the last movement that are nothing less than enthralling. 

2, of this group has been my second favorite.  The last couple are shorter and more angular, and I just haven't gotten them yet. 

I thought I'd like 1-- supposedly his angriest symphony, which is why I got it.  But I don't think it worked for me as much as I'd like.  I'm not sure if that mold really fit him.  The 4th almost approaches, to my ears, the cumulative impact of classical indian music where a very simple start grows into something that pulls you in deep.  THat first movement in particular.

I'll need to try the 7th for sure. 

You must try No 5 as well; perhaps the most immediately enjoyable of all the Rubbra symphonies, but also a work of great depth. Lovely scherzo, deeply felt slow movement and inspiriting finale.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 16, 2008, 06:44:04 AM
I am overjoyed to learn that there are others who share my love for Rubbra's music :) :)

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments on the opening movement of Symphony No.4 and the glorious finale of No.7 :)

Rubbra himself regarded his 9th symphony('Sinfonia Sacra') as his magnum opus but perhaps its deeply religious nature puts some people off?

I wonder how long it will be before Naxos embarks on a cycle to go with their Stanford, VW, Bax, Alwyn, Arnold symphonic series? And if they do will they entrust it to David Lloyd-Jones, who appears to have become their 'house conductor', as Bryden Thomson was and Richard Hickox is for Chandos? Lloyd-Jones grows in my estimation all the time! His Bax and Alwyn cycles demonstrate that though he may not be the equal of, say, Vernon Handley in British music he can be relied upon to produce a thoroughly musical and impressive interpretation.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on March 10, 2009, 04:01:07 PM
Borrowed the new biography 'Edmund Rubbra - Symphonist' from the Library. Informative and well written but too much technical musical analysis for my liking and not enough about Rubbra as a person. I think that the best composer biographies have a more even balance between the 'life' and 'work' than this one demonstrates.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Guido on March 10, 2009, 04:21:13 PM
I have the Naxos CD of choral works, the Soliloquy (one by Wallfisch, the other a youthful recording by DuPre, with Finzi's Newbury String Players), and the cello sonata. I have liked everything so far. Where to next? Sounds like the Fourth Symphony might be a good bet(?)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 10, 2009, 04:54:40 PM
Borrowed the new biography 'Edmund Rubbra - Symphonist' from the Library. Informative and well written but too much technical musical analysis for my liking and not enough about Rubbra as a person. I think that the best composer biographies have a more even balance between the 'life' and 'work' than this one demonstrates.

I agree with you-again!-about the book by Leo Black. I bought it a few months back but found it dry and not particularly user-friendly. When one compares it with, for example, Malcolm MacDonald's trilogy on the Havergal Brian symphonies one appreciates again how the Brian works come alive through the medium of Malcolm's wonderful prose! I would have liked a lot more about the relationships between Rubbra and the other composers of his time, on his work at Oxford and with his pupils etc.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 10, 2009, 05:12:56 PM
I have the Naxos CD of choral works, the Soliloquy (one by Wallfisch, the other a youthful recording by DuPre, with Finzi's Newbury String Players), and the cello sonata. I have liked everything so far. Where to next? Sounds like the Fourth Symphony might be a good bet(?)

The one thing which Rubbra's music is not is superficial. There is no surface gloss, no immediate sense of musical gratification. To appreciate Rubbra one cannot half-listen whilst doing something else or thinking about something else. This is music to immerse oneself in, to take one's time over, to savour.
There is a depth, a profoundity, a spirituality however in the music which deeply repays attention and study.

I love the music but I know that others find it dull and boring, thickly scored and argue that nothing much happens because nothing glitters or glistens. One of the greatest British conductors-I suspect either Colin Davis or Simon Rattle-will not conduct Rubbra because he admits to simply not being able to get on Rubbra's wavelength. The idea however that Rubbra was just another of the worthy mid-century British composers whose 'middle-of-the road', conventional symphonies were performed at the Cheltenham Festivals of the 1950s but were soon rendered out of date by the innovations of the sixties is one that I would vigorously refute. Vaughan Williams considered Rubbra his own natural successor and although I would not claim that Rubbra is as great a composer as VW I do recognize a voice of great distinction.

My own favourite symphonies, I reckon are Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 but the Violin Concerto is also a particularly fine composition. (The Piano Concerto too-but it is hard to find!). As I have remarked before-I agree with Robert Layton(a pupil of Rubbra's at Oxford) that the opening of the 4th is one of the most magically inspired openings to any British(or indeed other) symphony of the 20th century. In a Rubbra slow movement one can feel the long traditions of British polyphony stretching back to the 16th century unfolding before one...and that, for me, is an intensely moving experience.

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: jowcol on March 12, 2009, 01:33:58 PM
As I have remarked before-I agree with Robert Layton(a pupil of Rubbra's at Oxford) that the opening of the 4th is one of the most magically inspired openings to any British(or indeed other) symphony of the 20th century. In a Rubbra slow movement one can feel the long traditions of British polyphony stretching back to the 16th century unfolding before one...and that, for me, is an intensely moving experience.



Can I have an AMEN?

  I don't know of anything else in the 20th century British tradition that comes close to the way it develops from such a small kernel into such a moving experience.  It comes close to scratching the same itch for me that a Classical Indian Raga would do.  Also, there are some moments in the last movement that is some of the most life-affirming stuff I've ever head. 

I'm still trying to wrap my head around his first.  Undoubtedly his most ferocious one, and more dissonant than the later ones.  It didn't click with me as much first, but my last listen was very rewarding.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 12, 2009, 06:04:51 PM
The general consensus amongst musicologists is that the 1st Symphony suffers from a certain amount of over-scoring and that it is the most monochromatic of the symphonies, ie the one most likely to expose itself to the kind of criticisms of 'thick, greyness' made by those not attuned to the wavelength. It does however repay repeated listenings :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: jowcol on May 06, 2009, 10:32:48 AM
I just experience his 5th and 8th Symphonies recently.  Both are very much worth digging into.  The 5th is quite solid-- it's a bit more outgoing and heroic sounding

I REALLY like the 8th.  It has some of that same feeling of mystery that I also get from the first movement of RVW's 9th.  While I still view the 4th as may fave, this one may have taken second place. 
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on May 06, 2009, 12:48:26 PM
I just experience his 5th and 8th Symphonies recently.  Both are very much worth digging into.  The 5th is quite solid-- it's a bit more outgoing and heroic sounding

I REALLY like the 8th.  It has some of that same feeling of mystery that I also get from the first movement of RVW's 9th.  While I still view the 4th as may fave, this one may have taken second place. 

I agree. Do you know the Barbirolli recording of No 5? No 7 is one of my favourites too.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: robnewman on June 02, 2009, 11:41:40 AM
Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Symphony No. 2, (1937/8)
4th Movement

http://www.mediafire.com/?cqdmbomzjgm


EDMUND RUBBRA

(Article from ‘Grove’ Dictionary - Expanded)

Born into a poor working-class family in England in 1901 Edmund Rubbra was fortunate in having music-loving parents. His mother’s pure soprano voice was prominent in her church choir, and she was in demand locally as a soloist. He began piano lessons at eight, transferring later to a teacher who added instruction in harmony and counterpoint. In his uncle’s music shop he discovered the music of Cyril Scott and Debussy. Leaving school at 14 to help his family financially, he worked as an office boy, then a railway clerk. At 17 he organized an all-Scott concert in Northampton, prompting the composer to accept him as a private pupil. In 1920 he won a composition scholarship to Reading University for study with Holst, and also piano with Evlyn Howard-Jones. In 1921 he won an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music where his teachers were, Holst, Howard-Jones (privately) and R.O. Morris in counterpoint; Ralph Vaughan Williams was a substitute during Holst’s absences. Of Rubbra’s earliest compositions, some of his songs were published during his RCM days. One, Rosa Mundi, pleased Holst enormously.

Leaving the RCM in 1925, Rubbra supported himself by teaching privately, playing for ballet dancers, and both composing and playing for a travelling theatrical company. His reputation as a sensitively astute critic and journalist was established in the 1930s with contributions to the ‘Monthly Musical Record’ and ‘The Listener‘. In the early 1930s he left London permanently, and moved to a remote cottage in the Chiltern Hills where the majority of his music was composed.

In 1941 Rubbra was conscripted into the army and instructed to form a piano trio that would appear at camps throughout Britain. Later known as the Rubbra-Gruenberg-Pleeth Trio, it performed locally and internationally until its disbandment in the 1950s. From 1947 to 1968 Rubbra was senior lecturer at Worcester College, Oxford, and from 1961 to 1974 professor of composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Honours came in 1938 with the Collard Fellowship, followed in 1955 by the Cobbett Medal for ‘Services to Chamber Music’. Three universities conferred honorary doctorates on him (Durham, 1949; Leicester, 1959; Reading, 1978). In 1960 he was made a CBE. He was a fellow of Worcester College (1963) and the GSM, and a member of the Royal Academy of Music.

2. Works.
Rubbra was a prolific composer of 164 opus numbers. Best known for his 11 symphonies, these, together with his solid achievements in almost every other genre except opera and ballet, reveal a keen and imaginative mind, placing him in the front rank of 20th-century English composers. In his major works two fundamental processes are present: the expansion of materials generated from small cells, and the sounding of a complete theme of a defined length. Contrapuntal treatment in an essentially diatonic framework is common to both, and the first procedure is employed more often. Large-scale structures are governed not by harmony but by counterpoint, and the emphasis is on textural growth. ‘I never know where a piece is going to go next … When I begin, my only concern is with fixing a starting point that I can be sure of … My imagination discovers the architecture for me’ (Schafer); in this modus operandi, discovery and an almost improvisatory spontaneity are implicit, balanced by disciplined musical reasoning.

Rubbra viewed his first four symphonies as ‘different facets of one thought’ (Rubbra, 1949). Although each is a distinct entity, they are ‘reactions to each other’. The First Symphony contains prototypes of the two processes: the scherzo, formed from a theme contrapuntally manipulated – a tour de force repeated in the scherzo of the Fifth Symphony – and the slow final movement derived from a melodic cell. The Second Symphony is more austere, but the tensions are more firmly controlled and exciting for the restraints imposed. No.3 is more relaxed and lyrical with less emphasis on counterpoint; and this ‘reaction’ continues in no.4 where the texture is more harmonically concentrated. The Fifth Symphony marks a new phase, for Rubbra began it with ‘no reference to the other four’ (Rubbra, 1949). The designated key (B) is a reference point, not a structural component, and the derivation of materials from intervallic cells is as disciplined as before. The notes E–F–A–B at the head of the Sixth Symphony indicate ‘the interval sources of the music, each movement beginning with a selection from these (except the last movement, which uses all of them thematically)’ (Rubbra, 1954). One passage of the slow movement suggests organum and discant, used explicitly in some of the choral works. The Seventh Symphony is notable for its incisive scherzo, and the passacaglia of its last movement. The Eighth Symphony ushered in the final phase of Rubbra’s symphonic thought: an awareness of ‘the dramatic value of intervals as such’ (Rubbra, 1970). Composed directly into full score unlike its predecessors, instrumental colours are given a formative role in the music’s unfolding. The choral Symphony no.9 (‘Sinfonia sacra’) shares symphonic procedures with an oratorio-like setting of the Resurrection text. The two final symphonies are one-movement, highly-compressed works in terms of treatment and duration.

Of his other instrumental music, the concertos for piano, violin and viola, Sinfonia Concertante op.38 for piano and orchestra and Improvisation op.89 for violin and orchestra, are solidly-written works emphasizing long, lyrical lines interspersed with stretches of cumulative tension. Their virtuoso passages, intimately related to the inherent content of the music, are never ostentatious. Rubbra’s affinity for chamber music dates from his unpublished First Violin Sonata and extends to the Duo for english horn and piano op.156 (1980). Among the four string quartets the second may be the finest with its first movement cellular growth, the madrigalian cross-rhythms of its Scherzo polimetrico, and the serene Cavatina. Also notable are the First Piano Trio op.68 and sonatas for violin, cello and oboe. An unusual category comprises eight pieces for recorder(s) with varied accompaniments, the largest of which is the Sonatina. Most of the solo instrumental music is for piano: outstanding are the Eight Preludes op.131, and the Fantasy Fugue op.161, a transcription of which forms the second half of the Sinfonietta op.163 for large string orchestra, Rubbra’s final work.

The extent of Rubbra’s choral music is greater than its 59 opuses indicate, for 13 contain from two to nine separate pieces. Most of the texts are religious and philosophical in accordance with his natural inclinations, which had been reinforced by the Eastern thought and mysticism of Scott, Holst and R.O. Morris. In 1948, Rubbra became a Roman Catholic, celebrating the occasion with the a cappella Missa in honorem Sancti Dominici, the second of his five masses, which contrasts the block harmonies of organum with Renaissance contrapuntal techniques. Other noteworthy unaccompanied works are the early Five Motets op.37 (1934) to texts by the English metaphysical poets, the Nine Tenebrae Motets op.72 (1951–61), and the Lauda Sion op.110 (1960), while representative accompanied works include The Dark Night of the Soul, The Morning Watch op.55 (Vaughan) and Song of the Soul op.41/1 (St. John of the Cross), and Inscape op.122 (Hopkins). Scattered among these are many short anthems, some commissioned for special occasions. Among the solo songs are two sets of string-accompanied Spenser sonnets, and The Jade Mountain (1962), a cycle of Chinese poems for high voice and harp.

Avoiding most contemporary styles Rubbra followed his own path, especially in his treatment of the symphony. Harmony was also an important factor, and as the product of contrapuntal interaction some of the resulting dissonances show that he was, too, a composer of the 20th century. Further traits are the shifts from polyphony to homophony within a single movement, homophonic slow movements, and striking enharmonic transitions and modulations. Aspects from the past such as organum and modality served him well, and are always used with taste. Energizing everything, however, is Rubbra’s fine, intuitive melodic sense. Rubbra’s output reveals a unity on two levels: the musical, which is readily demonstrable; and the less easily perceived religious/philosophical, which overrides the musical and encompasses almost everything he wrote. It is universal rather than sectarian, an instinctive blend of the most spiritual and mystical elements of Buddhism and Catholicism. It led to a music that overflows with optimism and a sense of well-being, though the, at times, dramatic and conflictual aspects attest to the hard-won nature of that ultimate peace and assurance.

//


Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Brewski on June 02, 2009, 11:46:38 AM
[merged with existing Rubbra topic]

--Bruce
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: robnewman on June 02, 2009, 11:48:34 AM
[merged with existing Rubbra topic]

--Bruce

Thank you Bruce !

Robert Newman
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on July 07, 2009, 02:18:57 AM
This is a wonderful CD! So glad I ordered it. It is very old (1975 recording) and was made with Rubbra in the studio. Richard Hickox writes a personal note about the recordings, at the end of which he found Rubbra in a corner of the studio, with tears running down his face - so moved was he that anyone had taken the trouble to record these works. The CD is taken from very good LP copies and the performances are excellent.  Sadly this is now as much a memorial to Richard Hickox as it is to Rubbra. The playing time is quite short - about 47 minutes, but the CD is worth having for the Credo from the Canterbury Mass alone - deeply moving music.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: monafam on July 14, 2009, 03:56:21 PM
I'd like to count myself among one of those big Rubbra fans.  I just happened across him from one of those recommendations ("If you like....then you'll love...") on a music site I was on.  I'm so glad I took a chance.  My collection is small (4 symphonies and one of the Masses listed above -- I believe this is one he wrote when he converted to Catholicism -- really good stuff), but I hope to add to it in the near future!

I highly recommend Rubbra.   :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Sid on July 29, 2009, 08:44:31 PM
I've only got the Naxos disc with Rubbra's Violin Concerto, Improvisation for violin & orchestra & the Improvisation on virginal tunes of Farnaby. I really like Rubbra's style, it seems to have the mellowness & warmth of the late Romantics & the modernity of Shostakovich. I especially like the Violin Concerto which is full of contrasts & never dull. A serious first movement, a meditative but tense second movement & a jolly & laconic finale. An excellent composer who I will explore further down the track.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on July 30, 2009, 03:59:20 AM
I've only got the Naxos disc with Rubbra's Violin Concerto, Improvisation for violin & orchestra & the Improvisation on virginal tunes of Farnaby. I really like Rubbra's style, it seems to have the mellowness & warmth of the late Romantics & the modernity of Shostakovich. I especially like the Violin Concerto which is full of contrasts & never dull. A serious first movement, a meditative but tense second movement & a jolly & laconic finale. An excellent composer who I will explore further down the track.

Try Symphony No 5 - it was my way into Rubbra's music and a very approachable score, but not lacking in depth. There are 3 recordings (Chandos x2 and EMI)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: mr_espansiva on November 06, 2009, 03:02:03 AM
It's interesting that there are few mentions of Rubbra's second symphony. This has been slated for it's thick textures and heavy orchestration and I can't deny that is is dense, but the symphony is almost unique in musical literature in it's concentration of thought and pile-driving polyphony. I absolutely love this symphony and it could make it on to my desert island discs list (the old Lyrita/Handley version) but I can only listen to it once in a blue moon - I find it mentally exhausting and you feel like you have been through the ringer at the end, but boy, it works for me!

The only symphony of his this I have problems with is the 9th (I haven't heard the 11th yet). I know many people love the 9th but something passes me by when I listen to it.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 06, 2009, 03:12:35 AM
It's interesting that there are few mentions of Rubbra's second symphony. This has been slated for it's thick textures and heavy orchestration and I can't deny that is is dense, but the symphony is almost unique in musical literature in it's concentration of thought and pile-driving polyphony.

Good description. "Pile-driving polyphony" is what I love about this piece too. Especially this comes out in the scherzo, which piles layer on layer until it feels like it's about to explode (although it just stops abruptly).

About time for me to revisit this one, I think  0:)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on November 06, 2009, 01:29:34 PM
Yes, I must listen to Symphony No 2 again - I have versions on Lyrita and Chandos. I also do not warm to Symphony No 9. My favourites are No 4,5,7 and 8; also the short piece Resurgam (Lyrita).
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: jowcol on November 07, 2009, 11:33:40 AM
I'm a big fan of 2.  I still haven't "cracked" the first yet, but 2 is up with 4, 5 and 8 with me as my faves.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: mr_espansiva on November 09, 2009, 03:30:12 AM
Good description. "Pile-driving polyphony" is what I love about this piece too. Especially this comes out in the scherzo, which piles layer on layer until it feels like it's about to explode (although it just stops abruptly).

About time for me to revisit this one, I think  0:)

The abrupt ending to the scherzo is the culmination of huge amounts of tension created by those layers you mention. It leaves you breathless!

I think if a student decided to re-orchestrate this symphony as an exercise, it would destroy the very 'purpose' of the music - the orchestration, IMO, is integral to the music, not an afterthought or aside or irrelevance as with some works.

Once I find the box with this disc in, I will give it a spin!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Catison on November 10, 2009, 06:12:21 PM
Catison, what are your first impressions of the symphonies you have listened to?

To belatedly answer your question, I absolutely love it now.  He seems to be in the tradition of Prokofiev, not idiomatically, but in personality.  I can't really say more now even thought I listen to his music weekly.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 11, 2009, 12:43:24 AM
He seems to be in the tradition of Prokofiev, not idiomatically, but in personality. 

Interesting reaction. Why do you think of Prokofiev? Rubbra reminds me of a range of composers, from William Byrd to Brahms and Bruckner, but I must admit I never think of Prokofiev while listening to him.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Catison on November 11, 2009, 08:05:47 AM
Interesting reaction. Why do you think of Prokofiev? Rubbra reminds me of a range of composers, from William Byrd to Brahms and Bruckner, but I must admit I never think of Prokofiev while listening to him.

I honestly don't know why.  There is nothing in his music that screams Prokofiev to me, but his music gives me the same "feeling".  For better or worse, his music has great power and energy while you listen to it, but that energy quickly fades after the piece is over.  I don't know why that should be.  Both Rubbra and Prokofiev make their statements beautifully and in their own idiom, but they do not penetrate too deeply.

Again, this is just a feeling.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 13, 2010, 12:10:28 PM
Glad to see other people as enthusiastic for Rubbra as I am! :D
 
His music is quite unique and very beautiful. I'm not sure about "unsettling" as someone else mentioned. When I hear Rubbra's music, I actually become quite settled and contained. Somebody did mention something very interesting about first time listenings to his symphonies: at first they do seem rather dry or plain-faced however you want to describe it, but repeated listenings revealed a whole realm of beauty and depth. I felt much the same way when I first heard Martinu's symphonies. I thought "Okay, is that it? What's the big deal?" But when revisited them after spending time away from them their logic makes a lot more sense and the emotional quality I felt missing at first is revealed in a gorgeous way.
 
I don't think I can pick a favorite Rubbra symphony, because he was so consistent and each symphony, like all great symphonists' symphonies, are virtual worlds unto their own. One thing that I find refreshing in Rubbra's symphonies is the almost free-flowing nature of them. Almost a moment-to-moment kind of feel rather than simply stating a theme and developing that theme. He seemed to compose with a stream-of-consciousness type of feeling. Sound too far-fetched of a description? Who knows, but that's just what it sounds like to me.
 
I just purchased a recording of his Viola Concerto on Hyperion, which came highly recommended to me from another Rubbra fan.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Klaatu on August 16, 2010, 09:14:38 AM
Reading this thread makes me want to pull out my Rubbras (steady, girls!) and listen to them again.

My abiding memories of his music on my first wave of listening were a beginning and an ending -

The beginning is that of the 4th Symphony - beautiful, simple, deeply spiritual and very English.

The ending is that of the 9th - where Rubbra's own music blends into the chorale by Hans Leo Hassler. When I was at school we used to sing the hymn "Oh Jesus I Have Promised" to this tune.

Listening to this final section of the 9th at Eastertide never fails to move me - I'm back at school in an English spring and the world lies pregnant with possibilities.

On a less serious note, I like the story about Rubbra's piano trio being introduced by a radio announcer as "three gentlemen who are at the top of the tree in their various string combinations"!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: drogulus on August 20, 2010, 12:31:29 PM

    The Rubbra/Hickox cycle is still available at the Chandos site. It's not hideously expensive (£39.52 for lossless DL). I'd like to get an opinion from the good Rubbrists here. Should I go, or no?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 20, 2010, 12:33:31 PM
    The Rubbra/Hickox cycle is still available at the Chandos site. It's not hideously expensive (£39.52 for lossless DL). I'd like to get an opinion from the good Rubbrists here. Should I go, or no?

I say go!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: drogulus on August 20, 2010, 12:40:39 PM

      That's what I wanted to hear. I already have 5, 8 and 9 in the series, but the numbers probably favor the complete set rather than chunks. I'll have to check on that.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 20, 2010, 05:13:47 PM
    The Rubbra/Hickox cycle is still available at the Chandos site. It's not hideously expensive (£39.52 for lossless DL). I'd like to get an opinion from the good Rubbrists here. Should I go, or no?

Why would you want a download of it when you can own the set? Anyway, do whatever you want to do. Hickox's Rubbra is essential listening in my opinion.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: drogulus on August 21, 2010, 05:05:19 AM
Why would you want a download of it when you can own the set?

     To get to the other side.

     (http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/chicken.jpg)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Elnimio on January 07, 2011, 10:07:14 PM
His viola concerto is incredibly beautiful.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 09, 2011, 10:08:05 PM
His viola concerto is incredibly beautiful.


Indeed. Have you heard his symphonies?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: just Jeff on January 10, 2011, 04:13:56 AM
I just now getting into some of the Lyrita label recordings on both LPs and CDs.  They are somewhat of an audiophile label, considered strong peformances and very good recordings.

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/Lyrita/LRUBBRASYM2.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/Lyrita/LYRIRUBBRA7FT-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Elnimio on January 10, 2011, 09:19:08 AM

Indeed. Have you heard his symphonies?

Working on it. What I've heard so far has been great.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 10, 2011, 09:22:10 AM
Working on it. What I've heard so far has been great.


The set on Chandos with Richard Hickox conducting the BBC Orchestra of Wales is essential listening as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: J on January 10, 2011, 04:51:38 PM
His viola concerto is incredibly beautiful.

Yes.  There's a short and fleeting visionary passage in the last movement (of about a minute's duration) where things become very hushed and time seems to stand still which is astonishingly beautiful.  You know the place?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Popov on August 14, 2011, 08:57:54 AM
Quartets No. 2 and 4 plus the Lyric Movement have just been uploaded to youtube.

I just listened to the 2nd SQ. It's my first complete Rubbra work and I have loved every bit of it :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 15, 2011, 01:37:51 AM
Barbirolli's and Schoenzeler's recorded performances of Symphony No 5 were revelations to me and great introductions to Rubbra - followed by the fine Lyrita LPs featuring Boult with Symphony No 7 and the 6th and 8th symphonies on one LP.  Then Hickox and Del Mar's CDs of Symphony No 4 - a wonderful work. One short work I love is the beautiful 'Resurgam' on the Lyrita CD.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 18, 2011, 10:39:07 PM
Listened to the Rubbra 7th Symphony a couple of times this week (Hickox recording). I now think this is probably his best symphony, at least of the ones I've heard. He solves the "finale problem" by putting there a really imposing passacaglia, similar to Brahms 4 but longer and more obsessive-sounding. I used to favor the 4th Symphony, but now I think the 7th is overall a solider composition.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 19, 2011, 12:17:56 AM
Listened to the Rubbra 7th Symphony a couple of times this week (Hickox recording). I now think this is probably his best symphony, at least of the ones I've heard. He solves the "finale problem" by putting there a really imposing passacaglia, similar to Brahms 4 but longer and more obsessive-sounding. I used to favor the 4th Symphony, but now I think the 7th is overall a solider composition.

I agree - the end of the 7th Symphony is very moving.  Do you know the Boult recording which is very fine?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: jowcol on August 19, 2011, 12:45:36 AM
I say go!

You've been a bad influence on a lot of us-- and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 19, 2011, 12:55:42 AM
You've been a bad influence on a lot of us-- and we wouldn't have it any other way.

That's so unfair - you should be very grateful for my CD box-sets purchasing tips.  ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 19, 2011, 01:07:35 AM
Do you know the Boult recording which is very fine?

No. How does it compare with Hickox?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 19, 2011, 03:19:40 AM
No. How does it compare with Hickox?

I prefer the Boult - more lyrical in the last movement and deeper - but this was my introduction to the work, on LP, so I may be biased towards it - as we often prefer the first recording we have of a work.  The Hickox is fine too.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on August 19, 2011, 03:21:53 AM
It is, to say the least, unfortunate that we are still without a modern recording of the Rubbra Piano Concerto. This is the only one of his works for solo instrument and orchestra outstanding and is a major omission from the composer's discography.

When Chandos embarked on its (otherwise) marvellous Rubbra symphonic cycle conducted by Hickox I was confident that the concertos would be included too but, for some reason, this didn't happen. I find it intensely frustrating when a company gives one an almost complete survey of a composer's music. (Contrast this with Naxos appearing to have recorded every orchestral piece ever composed by William Alwyn, including orchestrations by other people.) In fact, the only concertante work Chandos added to the symphonies was the Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra.

The Violin Concerto was recorded by Tasmin Little with Handley and the RPO for Conifer coupled with the Viola Concerto played by Rivka Golani. That cd may be difficult to obtain(?) but there are alternative versions of both-the Violin Concerto on Naxos(coupled with the Improvisations for Violin and orchestra) and the Viola Concerto on Hyperion.

The Piano Concerto however languishes in oblivion. There was a version from 1976 played by Malcolm Binns with the LSO under Handley on the old and only briefly available Carlton Classics label which released a number of BBC Radio Classics recordings. These were performances of (mostly?) British music from the BBC archives and included some real treasures like the Bliss Violin Concerto(Alfredo Campoli), the Boughton 2nd and 3rd Symphonies and the Simpson Piano Concerto. The Rubbra disc also contained Handley's version of the 4th Symphony and Raphael Sommer's performance of the Soliloquy for Cello and orchestra. I imagine though that few will ever have been able to locate this cd.
(There was also an old LP with Denis Matthews-who gave the first performance in 1956-accompanied by Sir Malcolm Sargent.)

The Piano Concerto is a marvellous work, imbued with all the familiar Rubbra depth of feeling and restrained passion. The opening movement-Corymbus(Adagio; calmo e quasi improvisatore)-immediately introduces the listener to the same kind of magical soundworld as the 4th symphony. The influence of Eastern improvisation is certainly noticeable. The slow movement-Dialogue(Lento e solenne)- is fantastically beautiful, moving forward with that slow but inexorable Rubbra progression I find so magical.
This is, I think, the British Piano Concerto most in urgent need of a modern recording. Can some record company please oblige?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 19, 2011, 12:23:03 PM
Colin,

I agree with you about the Rubbra Piano Concerto - a wonderful, deeply felt work.  Actually I have a CD of the Denis Matthews/Sargent version - it was on an old EMI British Composers CD with Britten's Piano Concerto and Prelude and Fugue for 18-part string orchestra. (EMI CDZ 5 74781 2).  I also have the BBC Radio Classics CD with Rubbra's 4th Symphony.  There were some gems in  that short-lived and generally poorly received series.  As well as the Bliss VC you mention there was a version of 'Morning Heroes' narrated by Richard Baker, Howells's 'Hymnus Paradisi' conducted by Donald Hunt, Bantock's 'Pagan Symphony', coupled with some Bax and some interesting Vaughan Williams symphonies CDs conducted by Sargent, Stokowski and Boult.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 20, 2011, 12:42:15 AM
Viola Concerto

Had my first listen to it last night (Hyperion recording with Lawrence Power, coupled with Walton's concerto).

It was a typical Rubbra experience in that the first hearing makes me think "this is very nice" but not much else. Later listens will no doubt reveal more and deeper layers to it.

I do like the meditative, quasi-archaic atmosphere, as usual with this composer.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: jowcol on August 20, 2011, 09:16:43 AM

The Piano Concerto is a marvellous work, imbued with all the familiar Rubbra depth of feeling and restrained passion. The opening movement-Corymbus(Adagio; calmo e quasi improvisatore)-immediately introduces the listener to the same kind of magical soundworld as the 4th symphony. The influence of Eastern improvisation is certainly noticeable. The slow movement-Dialogue(Lento e solenne)- is fantastically beautiful, moving forward with that slow but inexorable Rubbra progression I find so magical.
This is, I think, the British Piano Concerto most in urgent need of a modern recording. Can some record company please oblige?

Thanks.  I know that I'm going to obsess over this.  :P
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 20, 2011, 04:19:47 PM
Thanks.  I know that I'm going to obsess over this.  :P

Amazon UK has a brand new copy for only £18.83 - I suggest that you must immediately order it  :D :D

(actually you can get one there, second hand for £5.00 ;))
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Elnimio on February 14, 2012, 04:37:03 PM
His second symphony is my favorite piece of his now. Absolutely mind-blowing. I think I've listened to it 11 times during the last week.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on February 15, 2012, 01:25:54 AM
His second symphony is my favorite piece of his now. Absolutely mind-blowing. I think I've listened to it 11 times during the last week.

It's often seen as rather densely orchestrated - I must listen to it again as I tend to listen to 1,4,5,7 and 8 much more than 2. Thanks
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 15, 2012, 12:54:13 PM
His second symphony is my favorite piece of his now. Absolutely mind-blowing. I think I've listened to it 11 times during the last week.
I'm JUST going to HAVE to buy a cd of this,now! I notice the Chandos cd is coupled with No 6.
This is what comes of crossing swords with Dundonnell.......another hole in my wallet! :(
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 15, 2012, 06:01:57 PM
His second symphony is my favorite piece of his now. Absolutely mind-blowing. I think I've listened to it 11 times during the last week.

As I mentioned in my lengthy post about Rubbra in the Roy Harris thread :o :-X.....

the Second Symphony was Boult's favourite. It was the Rubbra symphony he would have chosen as one of his eight Desert Island Discs ;D :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 15, 2012, 06:07:52 PM
I'm JUST going to HAVE to buy a cd of this,now! I notice the Chandos cd is coupled with No 6.
This is what comes of crossing swords with Dundonnell.......another hole in my wallet! :(

No swords were crossed, I assure you ;D

Excellent though Hickox is in all the Rubbra symphonies, I have a soft spot for the Handley version of the 2nd coupled with Boult's incomparable 7th on Lyrita.

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/May04/Rubbra2_7.htm

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2010/DEC10/Rubbra_2_7_SRCD235.htm

And here are comparative reviews of the Fourth Symphony as recorded by Handley, Del Mar and Hickox:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2000/mar00/rubbra4.htm

Many of the points made by these reviewers about this superlative symphony are ones which I would heartily endorse. There is a stately and precise beauty which few other British composers can come near, let alone match. The Fourth reminds me of why, ultimately, I hold Edmund Rubbra in higher esteem than Havergal Brian (for all the latter's craggy individuality, there is little in his music which can plumb such depths). And yes, maybe that will upset Johan but I have to be honest :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 06:59:15 AM
I saw you'r post at about 2.30 in the morning & I was reminded of your riposte to my Rubbra post (in the Harris thread,of course! :o ;D) so I decided not to reply! ;D
  However,now that Count Dracula & Frankenstein's monster are safely in in bed I have digested you're very interesting & helpful reply & will be putting these suggestions on my list. You're description of the Piano Concerto is particularly intriguing.
  As to my remarks about Rubbra in the Harris thread. Not one of my best posts (an American Rubbra! :o ???). I was just trying to defend Harris against the usual accusations of 'sameness' & flailing for a comparison......and at 2.30 am this is exactly why they invented beds!!! ;D
  I may not be buying this immeadiately as something broke down last night ;D & the imminent hole in my wallet may be larger than I thought! :( I have however been thinking about getting into Rubbra for a while now,so it won't be long!
I shall look at some prices later! :( :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 10:30:54 AM
If I was forced to choose one composer above all others to name as my favourite I would be torn between Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian and Edmund Rubbra.

There is a something about Rubbra's music which I find intensely moving. I have always found that 'something' difficult to define or explain. Nothing about the music is flashy or overtly dramatic but there is, in my opinion, a quite sublime intensity and an understated passion which undoubtedly stemmed from Rubbra's own personal religious and spiritual convictions. Those imbue his music with a a purity and quiet seriousness which elevates it above so much else in 20th century music. I cannot fail to listen to Rubbra without being held in its spell.

That applies to all of the eleven symphonies, the concertos and the wonderful unaccompanied choral music. Rubbra has been criticised for a certain thickness of scoring and it is only fair to acknowledge that, to a certain extent, that criticism is justified in the 1st symphony and (perhaps) the 2nd. He has also been accused of a lack of obvious 'colour' in his music-whatever exactly that may mean.
It is certainly true that if one were to listen to Rubbra's music with less than full attention the impression might be of a lack of incident, a 'greyness' I suppose. But Rubbra's sound world is one which does reward real committment on the part of the listener because there is little similar in British music of its time. The lumping together of Rubbra, Alwyn, Lennox Berkeley, Fricker and Rawsthorne by Malcolm MacDonald in his book on Havergal Brian as examples of 'Cheltenham Symphony' composers was an error which he himself now acknowledges.

Rubbra drew his influences from Tudor polyphony but also from a wide range of literary sources including medieval Latin and Chinese poetry. He certainly deeply admired both Brahms and Vaughan Williams and there are echoes of both in his music. He was undoubtedly a very British composer yet it is difficult to say that the music  sounds much like many other British composers.

My own personal favourites include the 4th(which has the most magical and sublime opening pages of any symphony of the last century), the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th 'Hommage a Teilhard de Chardin' and the big choral 9th 'Sinfonia Sacra'. All have, of course, been recorded by Hickox on Chandos but there are individual recordings by Boult, Handley and Del Mar which also illuminate particular symphonies. There are modern recordings of the Violin Concerto, the Viola Concerto and the Soliloquy for Cello and Orchestra but a modern recording of the wonderful Piano Concerto is desperately needed.

Rubbra's music will never-I fear-have widespread appeal or be a Proms favourite because it does require such a degree of concentration. It is not difficult music per se but it does have a profound 'stillness' which is ultimately so rewarding for those prepared to give it the attention it undoubtedly merits.
There's allot here! :o
Who needs Groves? ;D
I'm sure I have an off air cassette somewhere of the Fourth's premiere performance?
I must try & 'dig it out'!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 11:15:00 AM
Indeed I have! I just found it! Edmund Rubbra conducting the first performance of his Fourth Symphony at the Proms in 1942. This is followed by Rubbra playing his 'Variation(s) on a theme of Cyril Scott'.
I notice a rarity on the A side of the cassette. Julius Harrison's 'Worcester Suite' performed by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Stephen Barlow,broadcast 18/9/96! (This has been recorded by Dutton recently,I believe).

A Maxell D90 cassette. Now let's see if it works. I plan to play the Rubbra items,but I could give JH a spin on my nice Dolby Cassette deck,if I'm in the right mood! :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2012, 12:59:37 PM
The performance of the 4th Symphony from the Promis in 1942 is quite a rarity I believe ???  You are extremely fortunate to have it :)

As for the quote from September 9th 2008..........that really does sum it up for me and I don't think that I should repeat myself or that I could improve on what I wrote almost four years ago ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 01:18:21 PM
The performance of the 4th Symphony from the Promis in 1942 is quite a rarity I believe ???  You are extremely fortunate to have it :)

As for the quote from September 9th 2008..........that really does sum it up for me and I don't think that I should repeat myself or that I could improve on what I wrote almost four years ago ;D
Please note. The cassette was taped from a repeat broadcast some years ago. I'm not THAT old! At least,I hope not!!! :(* (That's why I've got all these aches & pains! :()

Yes,I know flattery get's you knowhere & never has :(,but it is a very impressive post! Anyway,before I get too jealous! :'( A question,if you have the time. If I plump for the cheaper (from sellers) Chandos recordings of say,Symphonies 2 or 4,will I really be that worse off? If I'm that smitten I could get the Lyrita recordings later.

And now my joke about mis-posting in the HB thread has backfired. I just checked to see if I was posting this in the Rubbra thread! :-[ :(

* No,I'm okay,the cassette hadn't been invented,then!!! ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2012, 01:48:24 PM
Hickox has the benefit of splendid modern Chandos recording quality, a good orchestra and his readngs are far from neglible. To record a complete Rubbra symphonic set with a few other works (but, sadly, not the concertos) thrown in was a great achievement for which Rubbra-lovers are truly grateful. So I am not going to be over-critical :)

In any case...if you cherish the less well known composers you are often glad to get whatever is available ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 02:05:55 PM
You've been a bad influence on a lot of us-- and we wouldn't have it any other way.
I saw a post had been added & when I clicked this is what I saw......until I scrolled down! :o :( I was worried for a moment! :( I really thought those Rubbra posts in the Harris thread were coming back on me! (Or was it Harris in the Rubbra? :o)

Well,we'll see! I'll get that so called 'Chandos sound',won't I? Although,Lyrita were exceptionally good for their day.

Nice to see Rubbra in the Rubbra thread,too! ;D

Rubbra conducting his Fourth rare? Hm! I may post about this one again! :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 02:12:44 PM
I wonder where his unusual surname comes from? Nothing much on Wikipedia or Musicweb to enlighten me there. Well so far,anyway!

Okay,now to slot that ancient old cassette into a working & fully functional dolby cassette deck! (And no,it's not a Nakamichi! :( But I LIKE it! :o ;D)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 02:38:33 PM
The tape of Rubbra conducting the premiere of his Fourth is obviously taken from a radio programme. Composer of the Week,probably? The cassette side begins with a wonderful short work for organ & chorus. The announcer says it is based on,or incorporates,words from the Book of Ezra! Unfortunately,the beginning of this description is incomplete,although the music fortunately is. I wonder what this piece of music is?

This is followed by an archive recording of Rubbra talking about his Fourth symphony. The recording of the symphony is described as very good for it's time (not the EXACT words,but from memory!) & having been restored especially for the programme. Unfortunately,some of my tape recorders were less than state of the art. Fortunately,at least so far,this is definately one of my better ones. Very clear,no annoying 'wobble' or annoying background hiss)  Not bad at all for one what I did myself! ;D And indeed,this archive recording IS extremely impressive for it's day!
If only I'd had a Nakamichi,though!

As to the music! This HAS clicked! I'm impressed. Nothing dry here. It has a mystical quality. The slow movement is wonderfully serene & I'm not just saying this to be polite. But obviously,I'll need to listen more. (I haven't even got to the end yet!)
  On the downside. This could be VERY bad news for my bank balance! :( ;D

I will have to introduce this tape to audacity,when I've got the time (I can keep a tape copy for my cassette deck! :))
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2012, 02:50:54 PM
I wonder where his unusual surname comes from? Nothing much on Wikipedia or Musicweb to enlighten me there. Well so far,anyway!

Okay,now to slot that ancient old cassette into a working & fully functional dolby cassette deck! (And no,it's not a Nakamichi! :( But I LIKE it! :o ;D)

It is thought that Rubbra as a surname comes from the village of Ruborough in Somerset from which the family originated.

What is not often mentioned is that Rubbra's younger brother Arthur was supposed to be the one with the brains. He went on to become an aero engine designer for Rolls-Royce.

I can highly recommend Leo Black's book "Edmund Rubbra, Symphonist". It is not too "technical" and contains fascinating insights into the musical rivalries of the post-war decades-the deification of Britten and Tippett, the Glock regime at the BBC etc.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2012, 02:53:40 PM
Arthur could be the Rubbra I heard! ;D

Do you know what the short choral piece is? (See above post!)
After the excellent,for it's day,recording of the Fourth's premiere,a burst of applause & Rubbra not only talking about his 'Variation/s on Cyril Scott',but playing them himself!
What a treat! :) (The tape leaves the programme after that)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 16, 2012, 03:07:43 PM
Rubbra wrote a huge amount of music for chorus with organ accompaniment :)

The opening of the Fourth symphony does need to be taken at a very deliberate pace. Hickox is just that little bit too fast. Handley nails it. Presumably Rubbra did too :)

Quite apart from the opening being so utterly magical, as Robert Layton has always claimed (see quote above somewhere), but it is a mark of just how self-confident as a symphonist Rubbra was to begin a symphony in this way :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 17, 2012, 02:03:49 PM
Quote from: Dundonnell on 16-03-2012, 03:07:52 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=171.msg611345#msg611345)
Many of the points made by these reviewers about this superlative symphony are ones which I would heartily endorse. There is a stately and precise beauty which few other British composers can come near, let alone match. The Fourth reminds me of why, ultimately, I hold Edmund Rubbra in higher esteem than Havergal Brian (for all the latter's craggy individuality, there is little in his music which can plumb such depths). And yes, maybe that will upset Johan but I have to be honest :)



I don't mind. Rubbra isn't your avatar for nothing... But I'll have to see (hear) whether I agree. Brian's depths have a character all of their own. The funny thing about Brian is that he is utterly individual but impersonal, objective. I only get the feeling of HB as a human being in those marvellous (and lonely) violin solos in the symphonies. It could well be that Rubbra is simply more personal, however restrained he may be, which gives a listener an easier sense of 'depths being plumbed'. Rubbra was a religious man, Brian wasn't. I think this is an important difference, too. Imagine Bruckner without his faith... When Bruckner's faith seems to waver (in the Ninth), his music becomes dissonant and almost Expressionistic. In short - world view shapes musical style.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 17, 2012, 02:41:28 PM
I look forward to my ebay bargain Chandos coupling of Symphonies 2 & 6. I just hope that it works (his ratings were good!) & that I won't be kicking myself too hard for ignoring Dundonnell's recommendations. Let's face it,a few quid would have got me the Lyrita! :(
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 18, 2012, 09:11:18 PM
I’m going to make a few enemies here by saying that I find a lot of Rubbra’s music quite boring. I suppose the fact I’m unsympathetic to choral music and specifically Christian choral music puts me offside to begin with. However I find a lot of his orchestral and chamber music rather boring too.

At his best (Symphonies 4 & 7 and the Violin Concerto) there’s an inspired sort of declamatory feeling to the music which is sustained throughout. But in the rest of the music there doesn’t seem to be much that is symphonic, not much development, not much progression. His music is contrapuntal, but unlike other composers’ music it’s not dramatically contrapuntal, it’s contrapuntal because whenever he wrote music he wrote counterpoint.

I was at Oxford in the 1980s and Rubbra had just retired as Professor of Composition. He was a bit of a figure of fun amongst the youth because of his perceived old-fashionedness. Once I heard some music undergrads discussing composers and his name came up; one said ‘Step-wise basses!’ and they all raised their eyes and went on to discuss other things.

In his declamatoriness, he reminds me a bit of Rangström, except that Rangström doesn’t have much counterpoint either. However, of the two I prefer the Swede’s music.

Amusing anecdote: I was once listening to the Symphony 7 and my wife said ‘This is a dirge, isn’t it?’. ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘yes, it is a dirge.’
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 19, 2012, 08:29:01 AM
No..I am not going to regard you as an enemy ;D  I am sad that you don't get Rubbra, sad but not angry.

I do think that Rubbra is a composer you either 'get' or you don't. His sound-world is one that you can either embrace or, as you do, find boring, featureless and 'grey'.
I don't really think that any words of mine could change your mind on this :(
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 19, 2012, 08:40:37 AM
Hm! ::)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 19, 2012, 12:38:13 PM
No..I am not going to regard you as an enemy ;D  I am sad that you don't get Rubbra, sad but not angry.

I do think that Rubbra is a composer you either 'get' or you don't. His sound-world is one that you can either embrace or, as you do, find boring, featureless and 'grey'.
I don't really think that any words of mine could change your mind on this :(

The bits that I do like, I like (Symphonies 4 and 7 for example) and I think he has great skill in pulling off what I've called his 'declamatoriness'. However I think that it's a thing he couldn't be expected to succeed with every time, unlike my favourites Brian and Simpson... and Haydn, Mozart and the rest, I don't regard him as writing symphonically.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 19, 2012, 12:59:57 PM
Interesting point of view, Calyptorhynchus, which I can only put to the test once I have finished my traversal of all the Simpson symphonies (though I had a delaying Brian marathon yesterday...)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 19, 2012, 01:32:38 PM
Cheer up.Dundonnell. Who,knows? You may have another potential Rubbra fan,here! I haven't received my ebay bought cd (Chandos 2 & 6) yet,though! :( It's a bit too soon yet though,fair play.

And remember,this is a man who has survived TWO Roy Harris 'marathons' AND lived to tell the tale! :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 19, 2012, 06:40:31 PM
Mind you, having expressed reservations about his music I do have recordings of most of his early and middle period works, so his estate hasn't done too badly out of my reservations.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 19, 2012, 07:08:19 PM
 :) I find Dundonnell's comparison of Rubbra and Harris,in the Roy Harris thread,very intriguing! I've got a Rubbra cd in the post now so,we'll see?!!! ::)
Hoping I won't be bored!!! ??? :( ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 01, 2012, 08:39:41 PM
I don't find Rubbra's music boring or dull at all. On the first listening, a person may feel an overwhelming urge to nod off a time or two, but on the second listening and further, Rubbra's music starts to wield it's magical powers and casts a spell over the listener like no other. I don't think I can even begin to compare Rubbra to any composer because, quite frankly, a comparsion with a composer of this caliber seems futile. What I will say to those who don't find much greatness in the composer is that you should give him time. I think for many listeners he just doesn't do much for them right away and I think apart of the problem may very well stem from the listener's expectations. If you expect to be blown away by bombastic timpani rolls, pounding from the bass drum, screeching brass, sinister droning contrabasses, then look elsewhere. If, however, you are looking for music that reveals a radiant beauty with each successive listening, then Rubbra may very well be your composer just don't expect to be overwhelmed by what happens in this music on the surface. This music requires you to look deeper, much, much deeper.

It looks like the composers that I'm going to explore (again) for the rest of the year are Rubbra and Franz Schmidt. Of course, I'll sneek in a few other composers here and there, but these are going to be my main focus.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on September 01, 2012, 10:26:30 PM
I find much of Rubbra's music to be deeply felt. I enjoy all the symphonies although 4,5,7 and 8 are particular favourites. Barbirolli's fine old recording of Symphony No 5 was my way into this music.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: The new erato on September 02, 2012, 12:17:52 AM
I fully endorse what the two previous posters say. Let me chime in for the wonderful string quartets and the concertante works (eg Soliloquy for Cello and orchestra) as well!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: pencils on July 13, 2013, 01:18:56 PM
Nice to see this thread revived. I have the greatest admiration for Rubbra and have thought of him as the true heir of Vaughan Williams. I think that VW thought much the same. Colin writes eloquently of Rubbra's appeal and I entirely agree.

My own favourite Rubbra recording is Barbirolli's of Symphony No 5. This was also my introduction to Rubbra on an old EMI LP, where it was coupled with Vaughan Williams's Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus and the Oboe Concerto; a great disc, which I borrowed from the High St Kensington Music Library in the 1970s. Oddly enough as I was driving into work today I was thinking that I must listen to some more Rubbra. My other favourites are Symphony No 7 conducted by Boult on Lyrita (my other Rubbra LP discovery), Symphony No 8 and, of course Symphony No 4. I like No 1 too but haven't really got my head round the choral No 9 yet.

As Colin says, there is something deeply spiritual about Rubbra's music, which is very conducive to quiet introspection (not that I get much chance for that  :-[) and it grows on you with repeated listening. I'd also recommend the haunting work 'Resurgam' (on Lyrita with symphonies 3 and 4), a beautiful, haunting, short work.

A new biography of Rubbra has recently appeared. I believe that his son, Benedict Rubbra is quite well known as a painter.

As to my favourite composers; Miaskovsky (obviously), Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold, Langgaard, Brian, Honegger, Tubin, Holmboe, Rubbra, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Copland, Diamond and Bloch come to mind.


I am also delighted to find people who love Rubbra. After Vaughan Williams, I would put him at the very pinnacle of English composers. I actually bought my Chandos set of symphonies blindly after a recommendation that suggested he was another VW. I have never been sorry, and particularly favour symphonies 3 & 4. Big thumbs up for Rubbra.

I am also fascinated to see so many others of my favourite composers listed in this quoted post! VW, Tubin, Holmboe, Bruckner, Shostakovich.... I am poking around in Miaskovsky atm, to my great delight  ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on July 13, 2013, 11:18:45 PM

I am also delighted to find people who love Rubbra. After Vaughan Williams, I would put him at the very pinnacle of English composers. I actually bought my Chandos set of symphonies blindly after a recommendation that suggested he was another VW. I have never been sorry, and particularly favour symphonies 3 & 4. Big thumbs up for Rubbra.

I am also fascinated to see so many others of my favourite composers listed in this quoted post! VW, Tubin, Holmboe, Bruckner, Shostakovich.... I am poking around in Miaskovsky atm, to my great delight  ;D

Coincidentally I'm listening to Rubbra's 10th Symphony at the moment and had forgotten how good it is. It features on a fine old Chandos CD with the charming Farnby Improvisations an 'A Tribute' (to Vaughan Williams) - a lovely CD.

I'll be very interested to hear what you make of Miaskovsky - we have similar tastes. I'd recommend the Cello Concerto + symphonies 3,5,6, 11,15, 16 (great funereal slow movement), 17,21,24 and the valedictory no 27.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: pencils on July 14, 2013, 01:10:20 AM
Once I am in front of a pc in a couple of hours, I shall be plugged into Miaskovsky for a good while  8) ... we do have lots of similar taste. I have been reading your posts in my new role of Padawan learner.

Will give you some feedback in a bit  :D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on July 14, 2013, 03:16:14 AM
Once I am in front of a pc in a couple of hours, I shall be plugged into Miaskovsky for a good while  8) ... we do have lots of similar taste. I have been reading your posts in my new role of Padawan learner.

Will give you some feedback in a bit  :D

Had to look up 'Padawan'.

So, may The Force be with you!  :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: pencils on July 14, 2013, 03:46:44 AM
Had to look up 'Padawan'.

So, may The Force be with you!  :)

Thank you, Master VandermObiWan.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on July 14, 2013, 09:00:03 AM
Thank you, Master VandermObiWan.

 :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Ken B on May 07, 2014, 03:37:16 PM
I am finally getting around to giving the Rubbra quartets the attention they deserve.

1 is a wonderful quartet, dark, serious, and intense. I have two recordings, Maggini and Smithson Sterling. The Maggini have better sound, and seem to be the critical favourite, but I prefer the Smithson Sterling. They have a go for the throat quality lacking in the Maggini.

On to number 3. Will report back at some point.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Klaze on May 08, 2014, 09:40:21 AM
I am finally getting around to giving the Rubbra quartets the attention they deserve.

1 is a wonderful quartet, dark, serious, and intense. I have two recordings, Maggini and Smithson. The Maggini have better sound, and seem to be the critical favourite, but I prefer the Smithson. They have a go for the throat quality lacking in the Maggini.

On to number 3. Will report back at some point.

I liked the Rubbra String quartets and will soon give them another hearing. I've got the Dante recordings on Dutton. Did you mean the Sterling quartet, instead of Smithson, by the way? Anyway, interesting, I wasn't even aware there was an additional recording besides the Maggini quartet.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Ken B on May 08, 2014, 10:14:52 AM
I liked the Rubbra String quartets and will soon give them another hearing. I've got the Dante recordings on Dutton. Did you mean the Sterling quartet, instead of Smithson, by the way? Anyway, interesting, I wasn't even aware there was an additional recording besides the Maggini quartet.
I did. Fixed.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: amw on May 08, 2014, 05:24:20 PM
I have the Magginis' recording of No. 2 which I quite like, though I have to be in a certain mood for Rubbra, and when I am in that mood I usually go for the orchestral works. Will try 1, 3 and 4 at some point though.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on October 21, 2014, 01:53:31 PM
Great new release. Both recordings from the 1950s and No 5 is the old EMI version. No 6, however, is completely new to the catalogue - a much more intense performance than any other I have heard:

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Moonfish on March 05, 2015, 12:57:02 AM
*bump*
Great thread!  :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Christo on March 05, 2015, 01:30:25 AM
Coincidentally I'm listening to Rubbra's 10th Symphony at the moment and had forgotten how good it is. It features on a fine old Chandos CD with the charming Farnby Improvisations an 'A Tribute' (to Vaughan Williams) - a lovely CD.

In my better moments I even consider it Rubbra's finest symphony.  :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on March 05, 2015, 11:57:24 AM
In my better moments I even consider it Rubbra's finest symphony.  :)

And you could be right. It is a kind of synthesis of his music.  :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 05, 2015, 12:47:01 PM
Seeing Rubbra at the top of the list reminds me to ask this question.

I have the Dutton CD of the String Quartets 1, 3, but I'm not very taken with them. Are Quartets 2 and 4 similar, or are they different in some way that makes it a good idea for me to pick up the second disk?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: snyprrr on March 06, 2015, 06:07:51 PM
Seeing Rubbra at the top of the list reminds me to ask this question.

I have the Dutton CD of the String Quartets 1, 3, but I'm not very taken with them. Are Quartets 2 and 4 similar, or are they different in some way that makes it a good idea for me to pick up the second disk?

I think 4 might be the highpoint? mellower/more "spiritual"? He's not as pastoral as one would have perhaps hoped (as I did),... he can get thorny, just not as much as most others.

I think you'd like Arnold's No.2,... maybe even the Alwyn 2...
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Maestro267 on February 14, 2016, 02:48:55 AM
Posting here to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of Edmund Rubbra's passing today. I'll be spinning a symphony or two in his honour today.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on February 15, 2016, 12:30:30 AM
Posting here to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of Edmund Rubbra's passing today. I'll be spinning a symphony or two in his honour today.
Thanks for alerting us to this. Will aim to play a Rubbra symphony myself today. Maybe no 6 or 8.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on February 21, 2016, 10:08:14 PM
Posting here to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of Edmund Rubbra's passing today. I'll be spinning a symphony or two in his honour today.
Listening to Symphony 8 (Homage a Teihard de Chardin) now - one of his most magical scores. The last movement is especially moving (as I find with Symphony 7).
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Zeus on January 25, 2017, 09:31:08 AM

I'm surprised to see this album hasn't been mentioned yet...

Rubbra: Chamber Music & Songs with Harp
Tracey Chadwell/Danielle Perrett/Timothy Gill
Lyrita


(http://mp3red.su/cover/3353477-460x460/rubbra-the-complete-chamber-music-songs-with-harp.jpg)

This is an amazing album, easily one of the best I bought in 2016. I'm guessing it's a re-issue but I'm not certain.

UPDATE: It's a re-issue; first released on ASV in 1998.

Easily approachable without being trite, etc.

Highly recommended to both Rubbists and non-Rubbists. 
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 25, 2017, 03:35:24 PM
I'm surprised to see this album hasn't been mentioned yet...

Rubbra: Chamber Music & Songs with Harp
Tracey Chadwell/Danielle Perrett/Timothy Gill
Lyrita

(https://media3.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5020926035325.jpg)


This is an amazing album, easily one of the best I bought in 2016. I'm guessing it's a re-issue but I'm not certain.

UPDATE: It's a re-issue; first released on ASV in 1998.

Easily approachable without being trite, etc.

Highly recommended to both Rubbists and non-Rubbists.
I was a friend of the Harpist Danielle at university. I once had to help transport her harp for a concert.  8)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Christo on January 30, 2017, 12:50:19 AM
I was a friend of the Harpist Danielle at university. I once had to help transport her harp for a concert.  8)
We kept the picture: (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a9/e0/c0/a9e0c013b0411d3055bc652ce463a484.jpg)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 30, 2017, 04:16:14 AM
We kept the picture: (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a9/e0/c0/a9e0c013b0411d3055bc652ce463a484.jpg)

Uncanny!  ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 18, 2017, 08:51:32 PM
Great surprise for me to discover so beautiful music of him. I love how climax is built in his symphonies, he knew to be very dramatic without being bombastic. It's inevitable not to feel any echo of Brahms and Nielsen there (especially in the first seven symphonies, the latter ones are more intimate). All of them have seemed interesting to me (maybe the No. 9 the least), from the very beginning of the No. 1 I was catched for such peculiar sounds.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on March 18, 2017, 11:00:32 PM
Great surprise for me to discover so beautiful music of him. I love how climax is built in his symphonies, he knew to be very dramatic without being bombastic. It's inevitable not to feel any echo of Brahms and Nielsen there (especially in the first seven symphonies, the latter ones are more intimate). All of them have seemed interesting to me (maybe the No. 9 the least), from the very beginning of the No. 1 I was catched for such peculiar sounds.
1 and 4 to 8 and 10 are my favourites. As with Atterberg I've never got my head round No.9.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 19, 2017, 03:28:24 PM
1 and 4 to 8 and 10 are my favourites. As with Atterberg I've never got my head round No.9.

Two works where the fusion of symphony with choir was not very successful.

In addition, it's a shame that his piano concerto is not on CD. I would like to have it!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on March 20, 2017, 12:12:13 AM
Two works where the fusion of symphony with choir was not very successful.

In addition, it's a shame that his piano concerto is not on CD. I would like to have it!
The Rubbra PC is on CD:


I notice the image takes you to the U.S. Amazon site but the CD is considerably cheaper (second-hand) on Amazon UK.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Britten-Rubbra-Piano-Concertos-Benjamin/dp/B00005Q2X5/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1489997695&sr=1-1&keywords=Rubbra+piano+concerto
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 20, 2017, 04:15:51 PM
The Rubbra PC is on CD:


I notice the image take you to the U.S. Amazon site but the CD is considerably cheaper (second-hand) on Amazon UK.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Britten-Rubbra-Piano-Concertos-Benjamin/dp/B00005Q2X5/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1489997695&sr=1-1&keywords=Rubbra+piano+concerto

 :o :o I didn't know about that recording. Many thanks!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Catison on March 20, 2017, 07:08:58 PM
The Rubbra PC is on CD:


I notice the image take you to the U.S. Amazon site but the CD is considerably cheaper (second-hand) on Amazon UK.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Britten-Rubbra-Piano-Concertos-Benjamin/dp/B00005Q2X5/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1489997695&sr=1-1&keywords=Rubbra+piano+concerto

This is the wrong composer.  You can clearly see from Amazon that it is Benjamin Rubbra coupled with Edmund Britten.

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on March 20, 2017, 11:46:34 PM
This is the wrong composer.  You can clearly see from Amazon that it is Benjamin Rubbra coupled with Edmund Britten.
That's very funny. A friend of mine called Brian Williams wanted to change his name to 'Williams Brian' after I introduced him to the music of Havergal Brian.  8)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on March 20, 2017, 11:48:22 PM
:o :o I didn't know about that recording. Many thanks!
My pleasure it's a historical though fine performance.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 16, 2017, 11:08:22 AM
New release:


Also includes music by Cyril Scott performed by Rubbra.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: The new erato on August 16, 2017, 12:29:32 PM
We kept the picture: (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a9/e0/c0/a9e0c013b0411d3055bc652ce463a484.jpg)
Great for slicing up pedestrians!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on August 16, 2017, 12:50:10 PM
Great for slicing up pedestrians!
Yes, several were tragically chopped in half when I helped Danielle transport her harp to the concert.
 8)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 10, 2018, 02:00:51 PM
Looks like a fascinating new release. It features the premiere performance of the moving 4th Symphony conducted by the composer (in military uniform) at the Proms in London in 1942. The 4th Symphony has a wonderfully inspiriting conclusion and a most beautiful opening. Boult was the dedicatee of Symphony 2:

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Christo on January 10, 2018, 11:14:37 PM
Yes, several were tragically chopped in half when I helped Danielle transport her harp to the concert. 8)
Fabricando fit artem, you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette.  ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on February 08, 2018, 02:07:17 PM
Looks like a fascinating new release. It features the premiere performance of the moving 4th Symphony conducted by the composer (in military uniform) at the Proms in London in 1942. The 4th Symphony has a wonderfully inspiriting conclusion and a most beautiful opening. Boult was the dedicatee of Symphony 2:


The performances here have a special intensity to them which I find gripping. The recordings are old (1942 and 1954) but they did not stop me from enjoying this compelling music. The 'triumph against the odds' ending of the war time Symphony 4 is taken much more slowly here than in the rival performances by Hickox and Del Mar, good as they are, and is all the more moving for it. The performance is the premiere conducted by Rubbra (in military uniform) in 1942 and evidently went down well with the audience. Boult was the dedicatee of Symphony 2 and it is here performed with great urgency. There is an interesting broadcast of Rubbra discussing Symphony 4 complete with musical examples played on the piano. Altogether a wonderful disc.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on February 08, 2018, 09:42:07 PM
I once played the Symphony No.4 to my family and at the end someone commented, 'No wonder the Allies prevailed in WW2'!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on February 09, 2018, 03:36:02 AM
I once played the Symphony No.4 to my family and at the end someone commented, 'No wonder the Allies prevailed in WW2'!

I like that!

It is a great symphony I think.

 :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: kyjo on February 09, 2018, 12:48:12 PM
The ending of Rubbra's 4th Symphony is indeed deeply inspiriting. Rubbra's musical language is generally quite restrained and subtle, but when he finally "opens up", as he does at the end of the 4th, the effect is marvelous!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on February 10, 2018, 01:25:44 AM
The ending of Rubbra's 4th Symphony is indeed deeply inspiriting. Rubbra's musical language is generally quite restrained and subtle, but when he finally "opens up", as he does at the end of the 4th, the effect is marvelous!
Totally agree Kyle and that is especially true of the end of Symphony 4 in this new release of the premiere performance conducted by Rubbra himself. The 5th Symphony has a similarly inspiriting ending. As, for that matter, do the endings of Hilding Rosenberg's 2nd and 3rd symphonies. He reminds me of Rubbra in a way and is another of my favourite composers. I think that there is an underlying gravity and spirituality to much of his music as well.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: kyjo on January 08, 2019, 11:05:46 AM
What a wonderful work Rubbra’s 6th Symphony is! It’s a deeply inspiriting and eloquent work - with great gravity in the slow movement - that reminded me in places of my beloved Damase Symphonie.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 08, 2019, 12:12:59 PM
What a wonderful work Rubbra’s 6th Symphony is! It’s a deeply inspiriting and eloquent work - with great gravity in the slow movement - that reminded me in places of my beloved Damase Symphonie.
Excellent! Which recording were you listening to Kyle?
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: kyjo on January 08, 2019, 01:00:53 PM
Excellent! Which recording were you listening to Kyle?

Hickox/Chandos. It’s the only recording I’ve heard so I can’t make comparisons, but it sounded excellent to my ears.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 08, 2019, 01:07:57 PM
Hickox/Chandos. It’s the only recording I’ve heard so I can’t make comparisons, but it sounded excellent to my ears.
That is a fine version Kyle. Recently I got hold of a historic John Barbirolli recording which I really enjoyed.

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: kyjo on January 08, 2019, 03:29:50 PM
That is a fine version Kyle. Recently I got hold of a historic John Barbirolli recording which I really enjoyed.



Thanks for alerting me to this recording, Jeffrey. I see there is also a Del Mar recording of the 6th on Lyrita.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 08, 2019, 03:32:50 PM
Thanks for alerting me to this recording, Jeffrey. I see there is also a Del Mar recording of the 6th on Lyrita.
Also good even though I'm not a particular Del Mar fan - that is one of his better recordings, nicely coupled with the magical Symphony 8 I think (or it was on LP).
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: relm1 on January 08, 2019, 05:14:31 PM
Also good even though I'm not a particular Del Mar fan - that is one of his better recordings, nicely coupled with the magical Symphony 8 I think (or it was on LP).

You don't like Del Mar's No. 6?  I love that one.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 09, 2019, 12:05:41 AM
You don't like Del Mar's No. 6?  I love that one.
No, I do like that one - it's fine. It is his recording of Bax's 6th Symphony which has less appeal to me although others admire it very much.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Biffo on January 09, 2019, 03:55:31 AM
Just listened to Symphony No 6 (Hickox/BBC NOW) on Spotify, a fine work, now tempted to buy it. I have Symphonies 4,5,9,10 & 11 and like them all except No 9 which I find dull.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 09, 2019, 09:27:46 AM
Just listened to Symphony No 6 (Hickox/BBC NOW) on Spotify, a fine work, now tempted to buy it. I have Symphonies 4,5,9,10 & 11 and like them all except No 9 which I find dull.
Agree about No.9 you definitely need to hear No.7 one of the best IMHO - there is a wonderful Boult recording on Lyrita. Also No.8 has a magical, spiritual quality to it.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: kyjo on January 09, 2019, 10:44:32 AM
Agree about No.9 you definitely need to hear No.7 one of the best IMHO - there is a wonderful Boukt recording on Lyrita. Also No.8 has a magical, spiritual quality to it.

Agreed, no. 7 is fantastic with a particularly moving last movement.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Christo on January 09, 2019, 10:51:26 AM
Agreed, no. 7 is fantastic with a particularly moving last movement.
Gentlemen! Do you really think that I am going to play the complete Rubbra now that I have just processed Arthur Benjamin, Santoro and all my Christmas music?? (But you're right, I will)  :-X
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: kyjo on January 09, 2019, 10:52:55 AM
Gentlemen! Do you really think that I am going to play the complete Rubbra now that I have just processed Arthur Benjamin, Santoro and all my Christmas music?? (But you're right)  :-X

Yes, we do! ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 09, 2019, 11:30:05 AM
Yes, we do! ;D
We do indeed!
 8)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Christo on January 09, 2019, 11:38:25 AM
We do indeed!
 8)
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/TOGETHER_WE_CAN_DO_IT_-_KEEP_%60EM_FIRING_-_NARA_-_515856.jpg)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: kyjo on January 09, 2019, 12:08:31 PM
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/TOGETHER_WE_CAN_DO_IT_-_KEEP_%60EM_FIRING_-_NARA_-_515856.jpg)

 :D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Christo on January 09, 2019, 12:43:02 PM
(Sssssssshhht, be quiet, barbarians):
(https://www.chandos.net/artwork/LY0234.jpg)  8)

Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on January 09, 2019, 10:42:17 PM
(Sssssssshhht, be quiet, barbarians):
(https://www.chandos.net/artwork/LY0234.jpg)  8)
That's the one - great disc!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: springrite on January 09, 2019, 11:49:27 PM
I once played the Symphony No.4 to my family and at the end someone commented, 'No wonder the Allies prevailed in WW2'!
Just saw this.

Rubber over Wagner! Hooray!!!
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on April 03, 2020, 03:32:26 PM
Just the 1st Symphony ended and I have to say I'm overwhelmed (once again) by its inexorable energy!! An incredibly stirring work with no dull moments at all. His style seems very unique from here. Impressive altogether.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on April 19, 2020, 05:42:11 PM
A new release from Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concertos series, this time the PCs by Rubbra and Bliss. These works are not that Romantic taking into account when they were written. The release is due June 26.

(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/thumbs_550/034571282978.png)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2020, 09:36:41 PM
A new release from Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concertos series, this time the PCs by Rubbra and Bliss. These works are not that Romantic taking into account when they were written. The release is due June 26.

(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/thumbs_550/034571282978.png)
How interesting! Two fine works and, as you suggest, quite 'modern' for that series. The Bliss is a particular favourite of mine, especially the climax of the opening movement but the Rubbra has a poetic quality to it which is very appealing. This will go on my birthday list I think! Thanks for posting it Cesar.
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on April 20, 2020, 01:51:42 PM
How interesting! Two fine works and, as you suggest, quite 'modern' for that series. The Bliss is a particular favourite of mine, especially the climax of the opening movement but the Rubbra has a poetic quality to it which is very appealing. This will go on my birthday list I think! Thanks for posting it Cesar.

Is your birthday in June, Jeffrey? If so, mine too. Coincidence.  :)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 20, 2020, 08:35:28 PM
Is your birthday in June, Jeffrey? If so, mine too. Coincidence.  :)
OT

Yes on the 22nd (Cancer the Crab) when is your's Cesar?
Must explain the similarity of our musical tastes.
 ;D
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on April 21, 2020, 11:43:10 AM
OT

Yes on the 22nd (Cancer the Crab) when is your's Cesar?
Must explain the similarity of our musical tastes.
 ;D

Oh, very good, Jeffrey! Mine is on June 5th (Gemini). Definitely it helps to explain your last sentence.  ;)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 21, 2020, 12:15:36 PM
Oh, very good, Jeffrey! Mine is on June 5th (Gemini). Definitely it helps to explain your last sentence.  ;)
Most certainly Cesar - there can be no other explanation for it.
 ;)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: Christo on April 21, 2020, 11:06:15 PM
OT

Yes on the 22nd (Cancer the Crab) when is your's Cesar?
Must explain the similarity of our musical tastes.
 ;D
We, Sagittarii, don't believe in such fables!  8)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on April 22, 2020, 04:36:30 AM
We, Sagittarii, don't believe in such fables!  8)
8)
Title: Re: Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Post by: vandermolen on November 02, 2021, 11:21:37 PM
From WAYLTN thread - I thought that Edmund deserved a bump up!
Symphony No.4
(http://)