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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Kullervo on May 22, 2007, 12:46:43 PM

Title: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on May 22, 2007, 12:46:43 PM
Lately I've been intrigued by the CPO label's output of early 20th c. symphonists, though I have yet to hear any of them. Humphrey Searle is one that interests me in particular, but all I know about him thus far is that he was a pupil of Webern and a Liszt expert. Does anyone have any opinion on his music? Would it be worth forking out the $20 to pick up his symphonies?
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Harry on May 22, 2007, 12:47:52 PM
Yes to all questions.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on May 22, 2007, 01:16:51 PM
Yes to all questions.
There is no "Yes to all" button!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Harry on May 22, 2007, 01:19:26 PM
There is no "Yes to all" button!

I have most of the works released on CPO, and can safely say, buy them, they are more than good, so that is a button indeed my friend. :)
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on May 22, 2007, 01:27:44 PM
I have most of the works released on CPO, and can safely say, buy them, they are more than good, so that is a button indeed my friend. :)

Great, that's enough of a recommendation for me. I'll pick it up on my next Amazon spree.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Robert on May 22, 2007, 01:38:21 PM
Lately I've been intrigued by the CPO label's output of early 20th c. symphonists, though I have yet to hear any of them. Humphrey Searle is one that interests me in particular, but all I know about him thus far is that he was a pupil of Webern and a Liszt expert. Does anyone have any opinion on his music? Would it be worth forking out the $20 to pick up his symphonies?
for sure, also while your there look up Frankel......
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 22, 2007, 04:07:36 PM
I think Searle and Frankel stink, large atonal symphonies as a rule do not work because our ears can't discern thematic developement, rendering these works vacuous and unconvincing.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on May 22, 2007, 04:45:41 PM
I think Searle and Frankel stink, large atonal symphonies as a rule do not work because our ears can't discern thematic developement, rendering these works vacuous and unconvincing.

From what I've read it looks like Searle isn't a complete serialist. Anyway, it's only $17 for the whole lot. If I don't like it, I can always resell it.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Harry on May 22, 2007, 10:21:51 PM
I think Searle and Frankel stink, large atonal symphonies

Yes I kind of expected this from you, and frankly it amuses me.
For what you say is very very personal, and has nothing to do with reality.
Searle and Frankel are both great composers, and if you can ignore the Violin Concerto from Frankel, well than indeed your dislike is great.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 23, 2007, 06:29:32 AM
Yes I kind of expected this from you, and frankly it amuses me.
For what you say is very very personal, and has nothing to do with reality.
Searle and Frankel are both great composers, and if you can ignore the Violin Concerto from Frankel, well than indeed your dislike is great.


Well, the original poster asked whether anyone has any opinion on Searle and I gave an opinion. Whether your opinion or mine is reality is irrelevant. Frankly I hate the music, and that goes for Valen also, who also wrote large atonal works. I can't tell whether they are all serial or not because my ears can't pick that out. I know they are all atonal though.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2007, 06:31:55 AM
I have to admit that I find Searle's music rather turgid but I'm sure that is my loss. I struggle with Frankel but find his music more rewarding.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Harry on May 23, 2007, 06:40:29 AM
Well, the original poster asked whether anyone has any opinion on Searle and I gave an opinion. Whether your opinion or mine is reality is irrelevant. Frankly I hate the music, and that goes for Valen also, who also wrote large atonal works. I can't tell whether they are all serial or not because my ears can't pick that out. I know they are all atonal though.

Frankel is not Atonal, and Searle is not either.

And why are you using hate as a word, have you any idea what that means?
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Harry on May 23, 2007, 06:41:30 AM
I have to admit that I find Searle's music rather turgid but I'm sure that is my loss. I struggle with Frankel but find his music more rewarding.

Just listen to his beautiful Violin concerto  ( Frankel) and then tell me you are unmoved!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2007, 06:46:23 AM
Just listen to his beautiful Violin concerto  ( Frankel) and then tell me you are unmoved!

OK Harry, you're on!

I have the Violin Concerto at home (In memory of the Six Million?) and I will listen to it again asap and let you know what I think.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on May 23, 2007, 06:51:41 AM
I guess I will have to pick up the Frankel VC as well!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 23, 2007, 06:53:21 AM
Frankel is not Atonal, and Searle is not either.

And why are you using hate as a word, have you any idea what that means?

Okay, hate is a bad word, how about I detest Seale's music? Is that better.

Now for the facts, I am just reading the liner note for Searle's 1st and 4th on CPO and it states:

The 12 note row on which the entire work is based, and which is stated in its original form at the onset on the lower strings...blah blah blah

"Row" just means "tone row" and that to me means the work is atonal and possibly serial as well. This has nothing to do with preference, just facts. Am I incorrect?
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: not edward on May 23, 2007, 06:56:52 AM
Okay, hate is a bad word, how about I detest Seale's music? Is that better.

Now for the facts, I am just reading the liner note for Searle's 1st and 4th on CPO and it states:

The 12 note row on which the entire work is based, and which is stated in its original form at the onset on the lower strings...blah blah blah

"Row" just means "tone row" and that to me means the work is atonal and possibly serial as well. This has nothing to do with preference, just facts. Am I incorrect?
Yes, these works use tone rows and are thus serial.

That does not guarantee atonality. It's perfectly possible to use serial technique to write in a tonal manner (for a really blatant example, see late Copland).
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 23, 2007, 06:58:55 AM
Yes, these works use tone rows and are thus serial.

That does not guarantee atonality. It's perfectly possible to use serial technique to write in a tonal manner (for a really blatant example, see late Copland).

Of course there are a few notable exceptions, like Copland, Britten, Stravinsky (and a few others I don't remember right now).

Yes but Searle was a disciple of Webern, not Copland.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on May 23, 2007, 06:59:08 AM
That does not guarantee atonality. It's perfectly possible to use serial technique to write in a tonal manner (for a really blatant example, see late Copland).

Or Lutosławski's Musique Funebre
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2007, 09:05:02 AM
I think that Joonas Kokkonen is a kind of atonal composer but I really like his music, especially Symphony 4.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Harry on May 23, 2007, 09:13:39 AM
I think that Joonas Kokkonen is a kind of atonal composer but I really like his music, especially Symphony 4.

Kind of, but not really. ;D
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Robert on May 23, 2007, 10:19:39 AM
I think Searle and Frankel stink, large atonal symphonies as a rule do not work because our ears can't discern thematic developement, rendering these works vacuous and unconvincing.
I think this is a case of wax build-up.....
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Charles on May 23, 2007, 12:07:01 PM
I weely weely like Frankel's music ... have the whole CPO box set.

Searle I have the 2 CPO discs also .. I haven't played them in a while but I they were execellent. I would start with the one with symphones 2 + 3 (it's blue).

Whether is 'atonal', or 12-tone shouldn't decide for you whether it can be enjoyable. I usually enjoy serially composed works (if done well) but it depends on the composer and how he writes, the technique does not dictate the style and the sound.

Frankel is more 'emotional', wears his heart on the sleeve if you will.

Searle is more masculine, a bit more foward and jarring, but that doesn't tell the whole picture. The 2nd symphony of Searle and Frankel are both highpoints.

Charles
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Harry on May 23, 2007, 12:11:16 PM
Thank you charles. :)
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: The new erato on May 23, 2007, 01:26:06 PM
I think Searle and Frankel stink, large atonal symphonies as a rule do not work because our ears can't discern thematic developement, rendering these works vacuous and unconvincing.

What's wrong with this statement is that you use our ears when you clearly mean your ears.  Otherwise as your opinion this is clearly a valid statement, though I think that the crux of the matter lies not in the technique chosen, but the quality of the composer. Try some of Frank Martins works for example (his symphony). And by the tone of your post you seem to imply that this is a universal statement, denying the possibility that you will think otherwise in the future. If I hadn't any hope of developing my tastes by listening to music I would have given up this hobby years ago, in that case life would be like watching eternal reruns of the same shows on TV. Ah the delight of discovering depths where you previously thought there was none!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Hector on May 24, 2007, 04:51:32 AM
Frankel is not Atonal, and Searle is not either.

And why are you using hate as a word, have you any idea what that means?

These are both serias seriol composers.

If they do not strike you as atonal, fine, after all, serialism does not have to be atonal although a lot of it might sound so.

You like everything. You are not a reliable guide at all. Everything you buy and listen to you recommend.

The CPO Searle might be at a knockdown price but I suspect our friend will not play them that often.

Explore Alwyn, Rubbra and Arnold if you want a truer representation of post-War British symphonic writing.

Searle and Frankel were very much out on their own, although Frankel did manage to include some tunes in his rampant serialism. Good for him!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Christo on June 07, 2007, 03:10:38 AM
I have to admit that I find Searle's music rather turgid but I'm sure that is my loss. I struggle with Frankel but find his music more rewarding.

That could have been my answer - had it not been given by Jeffrey already. Yes, if forced to choose: opt for Frankel instead of Searle. And as Harry urges us to invest in the Violin Concert 'In Memory of the Six Million' (or so) you perhaps better follow his advise and start your quest here.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on June 07, 2007, 05:10:42 AM
That could have been my answer - had it not been given by Jeffrey already. Yes, if forced to choose: opt for Frankel instead of Searle. And as Harry urges us to invest in the Violin Concert 'In Memory of the Six Million' (or so) you perhaps better follow his advise and start your quest here.

Thanks, I'll probably just get both...
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on August 14, 2007, 02:49:37 PM
I know that this is an old thread but, having only recently joined this forum I am trying to catch up!

I must say that although I do find that Searle's last three symphonies are the proverbial 'tough nuts' I am a great admirer of Nos. 1 and 2. I played both again recently and was struck by the grandeur of much of Searle's writing. The brass in the slow movement of No.2 is splendlidly baleful and imposing(just how I like my music, I must admit!). I was reminded frequently-not of Webern(Searle's teacher) but of that great composer, Bela Bartok.

Yes, I suppose one could enter into a Searle-Frankel comparison but I really hate making what ultimately are invidious comparisons of that sort. Frankel too was a very fine composer-honoured more in Germany than here in Britain although I do remember a Third Programme cycle of his symphonies. Frankel's Second Symphony is one of my favourite symphonies-a quite superb work, in my opinion.

Lyrita will shortly re-release the Boult/Krips coupling of Searle Nos. 1 and 2. It will be interesting to compare these readings again with Alun Francis on CPO. Certainly a reminder of the catholicity of Boult's repertoire in British music and of that fine but little remembered conductor, Josef Krips.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Kullervo on August 14, 2007, 07:48:03 PM
I know that this is an old thread but, having only recently joined this forum I am trying to catch up!

I must say that although I do find that Searle's last three symphonies are the proverbial 'tough nuts' I am a great admirer of Nos. 1 and 2. I played both again recently and was struck by the grandeur of much of Searle's writing. The brass in the slow movement of No.2 is splendlidly baleful and imposing(just how I like my music, I must admit!). I was reminded frequently-not of Webern(Searle's teacher) but of that great composer, Bela Bartok.

Yes, I suppose one could enter into a Searle-Frankel comparison but I really hate making what ultimately are invidious comparisons of that sort. Frankel too was a very fine composer-honoured more in Germany than here in Britain although I do remember a Third Programme cycle of his symphonies. Frankel's Second Symphony is one of my favourite symphonies-a quite superb work, in my opinion.

Lyrita will shortly re-release the Boult/Krips coupling of Searle Nos. 1 and 2. It will be interesting to compare these readings again with Alun Francis on CPO. Certainly a reminder of the catholicity of Boult's repertoire in British music and of that fine but little remembered conductor, Josef Krips.

Thanks for the info. I still have not yet got around to getting his symphonies, but I will.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: The new erato on August 14, 2007, 09:18:45 PM
I think Searle and Frankel stink, large atonal symphonies as a rule do not work because our ears can't discern thematic developement, rendering these works vacuous and unconvincing.
It doesn't work for YOU because you think thematic development is of paramount importance and overlook the fact that:

- It is possible to have discernible thematic development within a 12-note framework
- Other listeners may have more developed listening skills than you
- Other listeners may place more importance on other elements than themes.

Personally I find a cool beauty in these kind of works (if they're well written) that is very refreshing. This is NOT a comment on Searle, whose music I don't know, but on your sweeping generalization.

 
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: vandermolen on August 15, 2007, 12:58:53 AM
I know that this is an old thread but, having only recently joined this forum I am trying to catch up!

I must say that although I do find that Searle's last three symphonies are the proverbial 'tough nuts' I am a great admirer of Nos. 1 and 2. I played both again recently and was struck by the grandeur of much of Searle's writing. The brass in the slow movement of No.2 is splendlidly baleful and imposing(just how I like my music, I must admit!). I was reminded frequently-not of Webern(Searle's teacher) but of that great composer, Bela Bartok.

Yes, I suppose one could enter into a Searle-Frankel comparison but I really hate making what ultimately are invidious comparisons of that sort. Frankel too was a very fine composer-honoured more in Germany than here in Britain although I do remember a Third Programme cycle of his symphonies. Frankel's Second Symphony is one of my favourite symphonies-a quite superb work, in my opinion.

Lyrita will shortly re-release the Boult/Krips coupling of Searle Nos. 1 and 2. It will be interesting to compare these readings again with Alun Francis on CPO. Certainly a reminder of the catholicity of Boult's repertoire in British music and of that fine but little remembered conductor, Josef Krips.

I remember Josef Krips well having seen him conduct; a fine conductor. I must listen to Frankel's Second Symphony (which I have somewhere) and you have encouraged me to investigate the early ones by Searle too.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Hector on August 15, 2007, 04:57:52 AM
It doesn't work for YOU because you think thematic development is of paramount importance and overlook the fact that:

- It is possible to have discernible thematic development within a 12-note framework
- Other listeners may have more developed listening skills than you
- Other listeners may place more importance on other elements than themes.

Personally I find a cool beauty in these kind of works (if they're well written) that is very refreshing. This is NOT a comment on Searle, whose music I don't know, but on your sweeping generalization.

 

That is spot on.

Frankel's 1st Symphony has toons!

Searle, I must admit, I struggle with but, hey, this is the man who catologued Liszt's oeuvre and that alone gives him the right to a hearing/listen!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on March 19, 2009, 07:48:48 AM
http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//SRCD285.htm

Finally released ;D

Just such a pity that we could not have had the recording of the Searle 1st made by Sir Adrian Boult which was on the Lyrita LP or the recording of Seiber's marvellous setting of the James Joyce 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' which was the coupling on the original Decca LP:( (Decca-I curse you!)
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: snyprrr on March 20, 2009, 05:07:27 PM
This is a great time to mention Roger Sessions' Sym. No.3! ;D

nudge, nudge, wink, wink 0:)
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on March 20, 2009, 07:45:47 PM
Actually, I can see the similarities between Sessions and the Searle of Symphonies Nos. 3-5 ;D I must admit that I find them dense, thorny and intractable too ;D Searle's 1st and 2nd however I can handle and, in fact, I think that both are quite magnificent!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: snyprrr on March 21, 2009, 11:08:10 AM
ah...the prick leaves a sting...

I remember when I "flipped," when I went from not being able to stand "thorny" to craving the "punishment" that composers like this love inflicting upon me!

Yes, mistress, I've been a bad boy $:)!!!

However, I draw the line at Lou Harrison's 1960's Symphony on G. If anyone knows this piece, I would love to debate its "merits."  It is a symphony "on" G, not "in" G.  Did I say "1960s"?
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: snyprrr on March 21, 2009, 11:09:34 AM
Any similarities amoungst the syms. of Searle and Toch or Wellesz?
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on March 21, 2009, 11:47:55 AM
Any similarities amoungst the syms. of Searle and Toch or Wellesz?

On my way out to dinner :) I shall mull over any similarities while eating my food ;D
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on March 21, 2009, 05:37:39 PM
Have returned, bloated with too much food and red wine ;D

Similarities between Searle, Toch and Wellesz? Hmm. Toch is a much easier composer to listen to I think-the dissonances are more 'gentle' on the ear, the textures more 'airy'. Wellesz's music divides between the Brucknerian Symphonies Nos. 1-4 and the later serial symphonies which are, I suppose, more akin to later Searle.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on March 26, 2009, 12:15:38 PM
If anyone doubts that a serial symphony can be gloriously beautiful then I implore them to listen to Searle's magnificent Symphony No.2 now re-released on this Lyrita cd!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: vandermolen on April 28, 2009, 01:18:29 PM
I have to admit that I find Searle's music rather turgid but I'm sure that is my loss. I struggle with Frankel but find his music more rewarding.

I have revised my views here, having just heard the reissued Lyrita CD containing Searle's Second Symphony. I now think that I completely misjudged it and find it to be quite a gripping, darkly powerful work - much more approachable than I previously thought.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on April 28, 2009, 02:45:04 PM
I have revised my views here, having just heard the reissued Lyrita CD containing Searle's Second Symphony. I now think that I completely misjudged it and find it to be quite a gripping, darkly powerful work - much more approachable than I previously thought.

Delighted to hear that, Jeffrey! I ttally agree with your assessment. Krips does a superb job with the 2nd. What a glorious slow movement with the soaring string melody accompanied by those baleful brass chords! A serial symphony to cherish ;D

If only we could have the Boult 1st reissued as well!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Dundonnell on January 14, 2012, 01:38:43 PM
Two years on down the road...I am reviving this thread with a cross-posting of what I wrote recently elsewhere:

"As I asserted in my recent post on 'English Contemporary Composers in 1961' Humphrey Searle is one of the forgotten generation of British composers.

Together with Elizabeth Lutyens, he was one of the very first British composers to adopt the serial techniques of the Second Viennese School.  Unlike Lutyens however, Searle continued to compose in the traditional forms of both the symphony and the concerto. Moreover, Searle always insisted that at heart he was a 'romantic composer'. He became a leading authority on the music of Liszt and was largely responsible for a re-evaluation of the music, particularly the later music, of that great 19th century composer.

Although Searle studied briefly with the 'conservative' composer/teachers Gordon Jacob and John Ireland, it was the impact of hearing Alban Berg's "Wozzeck"
(premiered, remember, in Britain by Sir Adrian Boult ;D) and the five months he spent studying with Webern that had a much greater impact on his future compositional idiom and technique.

Searle composed five symphonies between 1952 and 1964, two piano concertos(1944 and 1955), three operas, various other orchestral and chamber works and a series of compositions for speakers, chorus and orchestra.

During the 1950s and early 1960s Searle may well have been regarded as at the forefront of the avant-garde of British music but by the 60s others were catching him up and indeed going much much further in terms of musical experimentation. Indeed, by the 1970s Searle's music was already beginning to disappear. The BBC-for reasons I cannot discover-no longer sponsored or broadcast performances. (I know from my own collection of taped music just how much Fricker was broadcast in the 70s, yet virtually no orchestral Searle.)

I first heard any Searle on the Decca LP released in 1960 which had on it a performance of Searle's 1st Symphony(1952-53) with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Boult. Although Boult may not have had much sympathy with the music, the performance of a work of quite shattering power and violence is  superb.
In 1975 Lyrita re-issued the Boult recording on LP coupled with a performance of Searle's Symphony No.2(1956-58) given by the London Philharmonic under the late (and greatly under-estimated) Josef Krips. The Krips/2nd made it onto a Lyrita cd in 2009, coupled with Robert Still's Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4, but the Boult/1st remains locked away somewhere-which is a really appalling disgrace >:(

In the mid 1990s CPO-to its eternal credit-recorded all five Searle symphonies with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Alun Francis. These are fine performances but do not replace Boult or Krips in my estimation.

Now, there are those who regard serialism with utter distaste or indeed genuine abhorrence. I make no secret of the fact that I prefer tonality to atonality and have decidedly jaundiced views of the Schoenbergian revolution. I am a great lover of the romantic ardour of the symphonies of Richard Arnell and of Stanley Bate ;D I have read Searle's symphonies described as 'ugly'.

At the same time however I can accept and embrace the proposition that it is possible for a 'serial symphony' to contain both power and beauty. Benjamin Frankel's symphonies are "less serial" than Searle's( ;D ;D) and I admire them greatly.

There is no doubting that Searle's Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are difficult to appreciate fully(as, of course, are the later symphonies of Egon Wellesz, who claimed to have turned his back on dodecaphony ;D). But I really defy anyone to deny that the Lento, solenne finale of Searle's Second Symphony does not contain passages of soaring, romantic beauty. And yes, of course, there is plenty of 'power and violence' of shattering impact in the First and Second Symphonies but of almost Brucknerian grandeur.

If I had to compare Searle with a younger symphonist the composer I would instance would probably be Alun Hoddinott, whose music exhibits the same 'darkness' in idiom, often the same degree of difficulty for the listener. Hoddinott had however the great advantage of a teaching 'power-base' in Wales and in the BBC in Cardiff and the many Welsh Music Festivals organizations willing to support him and perform his music.

I know that there are at least a few members here who do respect Searle's music. I cannot say that I do often return to the later symphonies but Nos. 1 and 2, to my mind, are masterpieces and towering achievements in the British music canon of the 1950s which should not be ignored or neglected.

Nor should Searle's other music. It deserves to be heard again so that the older amongst us( ;D) and the younger generations of music-lovers who will probably be totally unfamiliar with his name, let alone his music, can be given the opportunity for a re-evaluation."



Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: kyjo on May 13, 2019, 03:09:55 PM
If anyone doubts that a serial symphony can be gloriously beautiful then I implore them to listen to Searle's magnificent Symphony No.2 now re-released on this Lyrita cd!

I just listened to Searle's Symphony no. 2 (Lyrita recording) and fully concur with Colin's comments from ten years ago. What a fine work - compact, tense, gripping, and not without mysterious beauty in the second movement. This symphony is proof that serial music doesn't have to sound as ugly as the 2nd Viennese School (there, I said it)! IIRC, Walton and Alwyn also used 12-tone rows in their 2nd and 3rd symphonies, respectively.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 03:25:26 PM
I just listened to Searle's Symphony no. 2 (Lyrita recording) and fully concur with Colin's comments from ten years ago. What a fine work - compact, tense, gripping, and not without mysterious beauty in the second movement. This symphony is proof that serial music doesn't have to sound as ugly as the 2nd Viennese School (there, I said it)! IIRC, Walton and Alwyn also used 12-tone rows in their 2nd and 3rd symphonies, respectively.

I’m sorry but the Second Viennese School does not sound ugly all of the time. Sure there’s some works that aren’t pleasing to the ears, but how can you call a work like Berg’s Lyrische Suite or Webern’s Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5 ugly? There are many forms of beauty and it doesn’t always come with an opulent surface.
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Irons on May 13, 2019, 10:59:06 PM
I just listened to Searle's Symphony no. 2 (Lyrita recording) and fully concur with Colin's comments from ten years ago. What a fine work - compact, tense, gripping, and not without mysterious beauty in the second movement. This symphony is proof that serial music doesn't have to sound as ugly as the 2nd Viennese School (there, I said it)! IIRC, Walton and Alwyn also used 12-tone rows in their 2nd and 3rd symphonies, respectively.

I agree, a fine work. The last conductor you would think of, Josef Krips!
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: kyjo on May 16, 2019, 06:48:51 PM
I’m sorry but the Second Viennese School does not sound ugly all of the time. Sure there’s some works that aren’t pleasing to the ears, but how can you call a work like Berg’s Lyrische Suite or Webern’s Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5 ugly? There are many forms of beauty and it doesn’t always come with an opulent surface.

Both Berg's Lyric Suite and Webern's Five Movements were overall quite unpleasant listening experiences for me, I'm afraid. I acknowledge that they are very well written, but they simply don't appeal to me. Now, Schoenberg's and Webern's early, late-romantic works are quite a different story!  ;)
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2019, 06:52:50 PM
Both Berg's Lyric Suite and Webern's Five Movements were overall quite unpleasant listening experiences for me, I'm afraid. I acknowledge that they are very well written, but they simply don't appeal to me. Now, Schoenberg's and Webern's early, late-romantic works are quite a different story!  ;)

'To you' being the operative phrase here. ;)
Title: Re: Humphrey Searle?
Post by: Christo on June 03, 2019, 10:14:38 PM
This symphony is proof that serial music doesn't have to sound as ugly as the 2nd Viennese School (there, I said it)!
Hear, hear!  :D