GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Guido on February 15, 2008, 06:27:42 PM

Title: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Guido on February 15, 2008, 06:27:42 PM
I was wondering whether or not Seiber was worth exploring - someone recently recommended the piece Ulysses to me as a forgotten masterpiece. What are people's thoughts?

I really want to hear the Tre Pezzi for cello and orchestra, but I can't find a recording. They're also meant to be quite good.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Dundonnell on February 16, 2008, 06:10:18 PM
Sometime in the mid 1960s-while I was still in my late teens-I acquired a Decca LP containing Humphrey Searle's 1st Symphony played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult(this excellent performance of one of my favourite British symphonies was transferred to a Lyrita LP in the mid 1970s coupled with Searle's 2nd conducted by Josef Krips and will shortly be re-released on CD).

The old Decca LP(LXT 5588) coupled the Searle with Matyas Seiber's Elegy for Viola and Small Orchestra(1954) played by Cecil Aronowitz and the LPO conducted by the composer and the Chamber Cantata Three Fragments from "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"(James Joyce)(1958) with Peter Pears as speaker, the Dorian Singers and the Melos Ensemble conducted by Seiber.

I still have the LP and the cantata still possesses the same power and makes the same impact on me as 40 years or more ago. I was not at that time at all attracted by the twelve-tone technique but I was then and still am hugely impressed by Seiber's quite masterly use of tone colours and the chilling use to which Joyce's words are put. Pears' superb diction makes the work quite special. I had not listened to the piece for years(decades?) but if this work is at all representative of Seiber's work then he was most definitely a composer to reckon with. I am sorry that you probably have no opportunity to hear the Three Fragments and I certainly have not heard any other Seiber but I certainly can recommend at least that work to you.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Guido on February 17, 2008, 06:40:44 AM
Only a tiny amount seems to be available on CD - Ulysses isn't and I don't think the other cantata that you mentiom is either. I have emailed his daughter who coincidentally lives in Cambridge, so hopefully she will be able to tell me if there has been a noncommercial recording of the Tre Pezzi. I will certainly try to search out the other works.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Dax on June 10, 2010, 07:15:44 PM
The Permutazioni a cinque is on youtube.

A big favourite is the 2 Jazzolettes for a couple of brass, a couple of saxes, piano amd percussion, the 2nd (1932) of which was his 1st 12-note piece.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Luke on June 10, 2010, 09:36:02 PM
Thanks for TTT-ing this. Years ago I bought a score by Seiber secondhand, the Improvisations he wrote in collaboration with Johnny Dankworth for jazz band and orchestra. Third stream tat, one might think, but the score has always looked good to my eyes, and I've read good things about the piece without ever having tracked down a recording. Until prompted by seeing this thread this morning I searched again, and found it this time, here

It's as good as it looks, and a lot more straightforward, too....
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: listener on June 10, 2010, 11:14:40 PM
My current CDs for Seiber are
Denon      38C37-7124   Serenade 2 cl, 2bssn, 2 hn                 Netherlands Wind Ensemble
BIS          CD-376          Notturno for Horn and String Orch      Umea Sinfonietta
Olympia   OCD 710         Pastorale for recorder vn, vla, cello   Camerata Ensemble member
The name is familiar, I must have something on vinyl as well.

Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Dax on June 11, 2010, 03:21:35 AM
Here's an old radio broadcast of the Serenade. Charmingly attractive with the occasional perversion, but not really characteristic of what he did later.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: mjwal on June 11, 2010, 06:21:01 AM
There's an Amadeus Qt recording of the Quartetto lirico (3rd qt, premiered in 1951 at Baden-Baden) coupled with some historical recordings of Tippett on EMI British Composers, a 2003 reissue that I recently bought via Amazon. It is basically dodecaphonic, but its first movement begins both rhythmically and melodically rather like Bartók #6, goes on with some typically Schoenbergian big interval leaps and segues into a sort of 12-tone gypsy keening before returning to Bartókian origins and a mysterious darkling fade-out. The second movement is again very Bartókian, with pizzicato passages interrupted by stern pesante chordal sequences etc. The third and last movement features a long lamento,  whispery sul ponticello stuff, more keening and wailing, grave chordal passages, muted tremoli, halting unresolved phrases in the lower depths rising to a sad final vibratoless tenuto. In fact it seems to me to be as good as some more touted Shostakovich quartets, if rather less extravert. I love it - it's beautifully played - and actually prefer it to the Tippett Qt#2 on the same disc. I remember hearing quite a bit about Seiber during my teens in England back in the late 50s early 60s on the BBC 3rd programme, his presence on which was doubtless much encouraged by Hans Keller, but of course it meant little to me then. As far as I know, my record collection only represents Seiber with one more work, the Four French Folk Songs w/Julian Bream, which are merely beautiful arrangements. I am now quite keen to hear some more of this composer. Thanks for the Dankworth link.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Dax on June 11, 2010, 09:40:37 AM
Is that Dankworth link downloadable? My elementary computer knowledge has let me down - again.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Luke on June 11, 2010, 10:25:50 AM
Yes, it is. Good fun it is too - I've played it through a few times today. Don't expect great profundity, but it's impressive even so, because it works, I think, and that is quite a trick to pull off.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Dax on June 11, 2010, 12:29:59 PM
i know the piece well - just haven't heard it recently.
Title: Re: Matyas Seiber
Post by: Dax on October 29, 2011, 10:00:21 AM
A big favourite is the 2 Jazzolettes for a couple of brass, a couple of saxes, piano amd percussion, the 2nd (1932) of which was his 1st 12-note piece.

Does anybody possess a copy of the BBC recording made in the 1970s?
Probably not . . .