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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Dundonnell on October 29, 2008, 03:14:37 PM

Title: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 29, 2008, 03:14:37 PM
Christo has referred in a couple of recent posts to his liking for the music of Lennox Berkeley-so I thought that he might deserve a separate thread.

As Christo said, Berkeley rather stands apart from so many of his contemporary British composers as someone for whom the influences of his teacher Nadia Boulanger and of French composers like Ravel, Poulenc, or Milhaud and of Stravinsky were more powerful than, for example, the Folk Music influences on Vaughan Williams or the examples set by composers like Sibelius.

Berkeley's music is consistently elegant and airy, light in touch without being 'light music', eminently civilised. Sometimes, it seems to me, to be too civilised and elegant. I would welcome a degree more roughness, asperity, anger, passion-but these are obviously purely personal reactions.

Chandos brought out a six volume Berkeley edition in which they coupled some of Berkeley's orchestral music with music by his distinguished composer son, Michael. This series included the four symphonies, the piano concerto, the concerto for two pianos and orchestra, the marvellous Four Poems of St.Teresa of Avila for contralto and strings, the Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe, the Serenade for Strings, and "Voices of the Night". There were also two operatic releases- "Ruth" and "A Dinner Engagement" and a number of chamber and instrumental discs.

I was not totally convinced that pairing father and son Berkeley worked particularly well. I would certainly have preferred more of Lennox's music to provide an even fuller picture of his work(as Chandos did for Frank Bridge, for example).

The first three symphonies, the piano concerto, the concerto for two pianos and orchestra, the Serenade for strings, the Sinfonietta, the Divertimento and the Partita for Chamber Orchestra can also be found on a number of Lyrita reissues. EMI has/had a disc with the Violin Concerto but there are no recordings of the two concertante works for cello and orchestra, the Flute Concerto or a number of other orchestral and choral works.

Berkeley will never be my favourite British composer(Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian, Rubbra, Simpson, Arnell, Bax, Arnold, Frankel and a few others are more appealing to my tastes) but his fluent music should not be ignored.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on October 29, 2008, 03:48:27 PM
When my eMusic account refreshes again in December, I'll certainly give Lennox Berkeley a listen. I remember hearing his music 20 years ago. Time to renew my acquaintance.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 29, 2008, 04:00:36 PM
You know that you can access any of his recorded orchestral music quicker than that, if you wish, Johan :) :)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on October 30, 2008, 12:51:48 AM
As Christo said, Berkeley rather stands apart from so many of his contemporary British composers as someone for whom the influences of his teacher Nadia Boulanger and of French composers like Ravel, Poulenc, or Milhaud and of Stravinsky were more powerful than, for example, the Folk Music influences on Vaughan Williams or the examples set by composers like Sibelius.

Right. That said, there are a couple of other British composers from his generation who show similar characteristics. For me, Berkeley fits into the same category with e.g. Alan Rawsthorne, Arnold Cooke, and also in part Eugene Goossens, and perhaps Constant Lambert or even Arthur Bliss. But especially the first three (Berkeley, Rawsthorne, Cooke) forming their own school of British Neoclassicists, who in the end are recognizably "British" too, due to e.g. their typical lyricism. It is as with Havergal Brian: al the major influences are continental European, but the final result cannot be called anythging but "English/British" after all. Or am I completely mistaken?  :-\

Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: canninator on October 30, 2008, 12:59:53 AM
As a guitarist, I appreciate Lennox Berkeley (and his son, Michael) for their contributions to the core twentieth century repertoire (Quatre pièces pour la guitare, (1928), Sonatina, op.52 (1957), Theme and Variations, op.77 (1970)). Craig Ogden has made an excellent recording of the Berkeley's solo guitar works and is available on Chandos.

I should also not forget to mention the Guitar Concerto Op.88 (also recorded by Ogden with Hickox, but I have the superlative Bream recording now I suspect OOP) which is, as stated above, elegant, light, airy without walking into Coates territory.

I am not familiar with this composer outside of his guitar works but playing the Op.88 again right now I think I should correct that.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on October 30, 2008, 01:03:52 AM
I should also not forget to mention the Guitar Concerto Op.88 (also recorded by Ogden with Hickox, but I have the superlative Bream recording now I suspect OOP) which is, as stated above, elegant, light, airy without walking into Coates territory.

I am not familiar with this composer outside of his guitar works but playing the Op.88 again right now I think I should correct that.

Oh, yes, the Guitar Concerto! Never heard it anymore since the 1980s, but I know I enjoyed it very much in those years. The Julian Bream recording of it is OOP, but availabe second-hand with Amazon:

                              (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FMV0KZWYL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: canninator on October 30, 2008, 01:53:08 AM
Oh, yes, the Guitar Concerto! Never heard it anymore since the 1980s, but I know I enjoyed it very much in those years. The Julian Bream recording of it is OOP, but availabe second-hand with Amazon:

                              (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FMV0KZWYL._SS500_.jpg)

This disc has the sonatina, not the GC, but that disc, together with the second volume of his recordings of 20th C guitar almost entirely consist of benchmark recordings (I guess you could argue that point now as many of these pieces are recorded over and over (I have so many versions of the Walton Bagatelles I've lost count). The disc with the GC is this one.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411N78TSD6L._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on October 30, 2008, 01:55:13 AM
This disc has the sonatina, not the GC, but that disc, together with the second volume of his recordings of 20th C guitar almost entirely consist of benchmark recordings (I guess you could argue that point now as many of these pieces are recorded over and over (I have so many versions of the Walton Bagatelles I've lost count). The disc with the GC is this one.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411N78TSD6L._SS500_.jpg)

Very sorry! Yes, in the meantime I discovered my mistake, but you're quicker too correct it. Many thanks and great to learn your verdict on these recordings.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 30, 2008, 06:10:53 AM
Right. That said, there are a couple of other British composers from his generation who show similar characteristics. For me, Berkeley fits into the same category with e.g. Alan Rawsthorne, Arnold Cooke, and also in part Eugene Goossens, and perhaps Constant Lambert or even Arthur Bliss. But especially the first three (Berkeley, Rawsthorne, Cooke) forming their own school of British Neoclassicists, who in the end are recognizably "British" too, due to e.g. their typical lyricism. It is as with Havergal Brian: al the major influences are continental European, but the final result cannot be called anythging but "English/British" after all. Or am I completely mistaken?  :-\



No, Johan, you are certainly not completely mistaken :) One of the penalties of writing a post so late at night is that one's brain is not necessarily as fresh as one thinks it is ;D

You are quite correct to point out that there are other British neo-classicists and mentioning composers like Rawsthorne, Cooke, Lambert and Bliss is entirely appropriate. Regarding continental influences-I would say that both Rawsthorne and Cooke probably derived more from central Europe rather than France but certainly Lambert and Bliss do show a Gallic turn of musical phrase in their music. We need to hear more Cooke, of course, to judge just how good a composer he was :) Given that Havergal Brian regarded him so highly in the 1930s I think that Cooke does deserve more attention!

And yes, I should also have mentioned Berkeley's fine Guitar Concerto!
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on October 30, 2008, 06:25:18 AM
I agree with Colin that the coupling of Berkeley, father and son, on Chandos was not entirely a Roman triumph.

My favourite works by Berkeley are Symphony No 1 and Concerto for Two Pianos (for the great pounding piano sequence in one section). I discovered these on an old Lyrita LP (now on two Lyrita CDs). I got him to sign my programme after a concert featuring some of his music many years ago. He was very courteous, asking me a bit about myself. His Serenade for Strings is a much deeper work than its title implies. Definitely a composer worth exploring.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 30, 2008, 06:39:10 AM
Delighted to see that you have recovered enough from your pounding by the waves of the German Ocean(no, sorry, that's the North Sea, isn't it!) and your participation in the historic Leiden Conference to return to the board, Jeffrey! You have much to catch up with...much good, some not so good, unfortunately :( It is fantastic that you and your family enjoyed the visit so much and I was delighted to see the pictures!!

Someone at Chandos must have thought that the Berkeley Father and Son pairing was logical. I can understand the thinking behind the decision. But coupling works by different composers on the same disc is a tricky business. Some of Michael's music is effective but not all of it appeals to me and the contrasts jarred and left me feeling curiously uneasy and dissatisfied.

Very sadly, Lennox Berkeley's last years were destroyed by Alzheimer's Disease. (Copland is another great composer whose muse was-if I recall-silenced by this terrible affliction.)

Berkeley Society website for those interested-

http://www.lennoxberkeley.org.uk/

Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on October 30, 2008, 08:22:21 AM
Delighted to see that you have recovered enough from your pounding by the waves of the German Ocean(no, sorry, that's the North Sea, isn't it!) and your participation in the historic Leiden Conference to return to the board, Jeffrey! You have much to catch up with...much good, some not so good, unfortunately :( It is fantastic that you and your family enjoyed the visit so much and I was delighted to see the pictures!!

Someone at Chandos must have thought that the Berkeley Father and Son pairing was logical. I can understand the thinking behind the decision. But coupling works by different composers on the same disc is a tricky business. Some of Michael's music is effective but not all of it appeals to me and the contrasts jarred and left me feeling curiously uneasy and dissatisfied.

Very sadly, Lennox Berkeley's last years were destroyed by Alzheimer's Disease. (Copland is another great composer whose muse was-if I recall-silenced by this terrible affliction.)

Berkeley Society website for those interested-

http://www.lennoxberkeley.org.uk/



Yes, the 'Siege of Leiden' (as Jezetha amusingly put it) is sadly over; a great evening and I very much hope that you also find yourself in that warm company in due course (although the weather in Holland was certainly not warm..at least on Tuesday when there was freezing hail). You were definitely an'absent friend' at our meal (how could you not be as the fourth member of the so-called Braga Santos experts?)

In one sense, I think, my encounter with the Johans represents the nicest possible thing about this forum...the formation of mutually respectful and rewarding friendships with people who one would otherwise never come across. I regard my encounter with you as of equal value and I hope to meet you too one day. As you say, in view of recent exchanges, for example, on the VW thread of which I have been made aware, the contacts are not always so positive, which is a great shame.

Sorry, I haven't talked about Lennox Berkeley at all  ::)

best wishes to you

Jeffrey
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on October 30, 2008, 08:36:39 AM
Sorry, I haven't talked about Lennox Berkeley at all  ::) 

 ;) 
My favourite works by Berkeley are Symphony No 1 and Concerto for Two Pianos (for the great pounding piano sequence in one section).

Let me just announce then, that I'll be playing Berkeley's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra Op. 30 (1948) in the car, on my way back home, in ten minutes. A work I love for its great, often both grandiose and lyrical, melodies and rhythmic contrasts and its rich orchestral sonorities in general. Not an everage Piano Concerto!

                 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51glzetT0oL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 30, 2008, 08:37:35 AM
Yes, the 'Siege of Leiden' (as Jezetha amusingly put it) is sadly over; a great evening and I very much hope that you also find yourself in that warm company in due course (although the weather in Holland was certainly not warm..at least on Tuesday when there was freezing hail). You were definitely an'absent friend' at our meal (how could you not be as the fourth member of the so-called Braga Santos experts?)

In one sense, I think, my encounter with the Johans represents the nicest possible thing about this forum...the formation of mutually respectful and rewarding friendships with people who one would otherwise never come across. I regard my encounter with you as of equal value and I hope to meet you too one day. As you say, in view of recent exchanges, for example, on the VW thread of which I have been made aware, the contacts are not always so positive, which is a great shame.

Sorry, I haven't talked about Lennox Berkeley at all  ::)

best wishes to you

Jeffrey

Ahem...stutters in embarrassment :-[ :) :)

I shall reply by PM, Jeffrey, to avoid further digression from the post in hand :)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on October 30, 2008, 08:46:06 AM
;) 
Let me just announce then, that I'll be playing Berkeley's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra Op. 30 (1948) in the car, on my way back home, in ten minutes. A work I love for its great, often both grandiose and lyrical, melodies and rhythmic contrasts and its rich orchestral sonorities in general. Not an everage Piano Concerto!

                 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51glzetT0oL._SS500_.jpg)

Delighted to hear it. Variation IV (Adagio) is a great moment for me and a highlight of the piece. I have it on the CD player now!
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on December 25, 2008, 02:03:43 PM
Delighted to hear it. Variation IV (Adagio) is a great moment for me and a highlight of the piece. I have it on the CD player now!

Inspired by this thread, I've been playing Berkeley a lot, these weeks. IMHO Berkeley was at his most inpired in the 1940s. I find this Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1948) a very inspired creation, one of the most 'grandiose' concertos that I know. It shows his true Romantic self and is a daring, often dazzling piece, even better than the more conventional - and better known - Piano Concerto (1947) that had just preceded it.

Other favourites, also from the 1940s, include his First Symphony (1940) and the lovely Divertimento (1943) as well as, of course, the elegant Serenade for Strings (1939).

From the 1950s on, his style became more abstract, probably in an attempt to cope with the ever growing demands of Modernism. I admire his Second (1957), Third (1969) and Fourth (1978) Symphonies. But none of them equals the First in its sheer life-affirming vitality, imo. I can easily love a meditative late work like Antiphon for Strings. But for me, Berkeley remains essentially a composer of the 1940s, when his creativity knew no bounds, when he forged his own type of neoclassicism and when he dared to be his very Romantic self.  >:D

The best proof of it being this Concerto for Two Pianos, with its wild quotes from Beethoven 5 and so much more. What a fantastic piece!  :D :D

Edit: Still missing among the stars in my personal little Berkeley Pantheon are the Four Poems of St Teresa of Avila (1947) that Dundonnell mentions as one of Berkeley's best creations. I overlooked it so far (it goes hidden between to many Horn Trios and other Chamber Music  :-\) but hope to play it tomorrow, to see whether it fits into my "1940s" theory.  ::)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on December 26, 2008, 08:28:36 AM
Belated Christmas Greetings to you, Johan :)

I do agree with your analysis. Like you, I think that the best of Berkeley is to be found in his earlier works. Some of the inspiration seems to have left him as he got older.

I have recently acquired Peter Dickinson's book 'The Music of Lennox Berkeley'. I had hoped that this would shed more light on the works which I have not heard or which are less well-known but the book is selective in those works it covers in detail. There is nothing about the early Cello Concerto, the Flute Concerto or much on the 4th Symphony. Dickinson does make the point that Berkeley cannot be understood except as a 'religious composer' inspired by his faith(like Rubbra he was a convert to Roman Catholicism) and the Four Poems
of St.Teresa of Avila stand out as a shining example of that.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on February 14, 2009, 01:42:41 AM
I've been reminding myself what a fine work Berkeley's Symphony No 1 is. His music is often described in terms of 'French - Neo-Classical' etc, but this, I think, undermines the originality of much of it. The slow movement of Symphony No 1 has great depth and the whole score is marvellous, as is the Concerto for Two Pianos and the Serenade for Strings.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Lethevich on October 09, 2011, 08:15:37 AM
I enjoy Lennox's music greatly, and am considering the Chandos joint Lennox/Michael edition, but first - can anybody comment on how his son's music sounds? Dundonnell's comment is enough to make me wary.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 09, 2011, 02:02:48 PM
I enjoy Lennox's music greatly, and am considering the Chandos joint Lennox/Michael edition, but first - can anybody comment on how his son's music sounds? Dundonnell's comment is enough to make me wary.

If I can respond.....the idea of coupling the music of father and son must have seemed a good idea to someone at Chandos. Clearly it makes some sense commercially-it is both a good marketing ploy but also allowed Chandos to record at least some music by both composers. There were critics who hailed it as a good way to explore the contrasts between the music of father and son.

I regretted the decision however. Michael's music is obviously much more 'modern' than his father's. It is dissonant, abrasive, angry although there is lyricism in there as well. He is a composer of substance and talent. There is no use asserting that his music appeals to me because it largely doesn't. I find that if I want to listen to some of the father's music I am subconsciously slightly deterred by the fact that I shall want to hear it quite apart from that very contrast in styles. The cool, neo-classical music which Lennox composed does not, in fact, seem to me to sit easily alongside that of the son.

It is also a matter of regret that what Chandos did was record some of Lennox Berkeley's music. If a company does this it leaves me at least even more curious about other unrecorded works and frustrated that they did not go on to record them as well. Hyperion and Chandos  did this in recording respectively  the Simpson and Rubbra symphonies but not the concertos.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on October 09, 2011, 03:02:17 PM
yes, the coupling of father/son was not a great one and I ended up only listening to the Berkeley Senior works. Having said this I had an LP of Berkeley Junior's choral 'Or Shall we Die'- which despite lapsing into bathos at the end I found rather impressive.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Daverz on October 09, 2011, 05:23:29 PM
The Horn Trio recording by Dennis Brain and friends was my introduction to his music.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YCPXVP0XL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dNgkBBvkL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

(The second set shown seems to contain the first.  The Horn Trio is also in the Dennis Brain Icon box).  I also enjoy Symphonies 1 & 2 on Lyrita, but the music does not have a strong profile.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qGk5TQ4NL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on October 10, 2011, 09:50:05 PM
yes, the coupling of father/son was not a great one and I ended up only listening to the Berkeley Senior works. Having said this I had an LP of Berkeley Junior's choral 'Or Shall we Die'- which despite lapsing into bathos at the end I found rather impressive.

(Again) we seem to be sharing exactly the same listening experiences. I found `Or Shall we Die' quite acceptable, in those old days. The other piece that convinced me was his work for strings - forget the title - coupled on another lp with his father's Antiphon, also for strings. Antiphon is a quite impressive, because less abstract, piece from Lennox' later years.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on October 10, 2011, 09:51:32 PM
I also enjoy Symphonies 1 & 2 on Lyrita, but the music does not have a strong profile.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qGk5TQ4NL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I came to appreciate the somewhat troubled Second even more than the First.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Elnimio on February 16, 2012, 08:37:05 PM
His third symphony is fantastic.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2012, 08:54:03 PM
yes, the coupling of father/son was not a great one and I ended up only listening to the Berkeley Senior works. Having said this I had an LP of Berkeley Junior's choral 'Or Shall we Die'- which despite lapsing into bathos at the end I found rather impressive.

I would buy those Hickox Berkeley recordings if his son's music wasn't on it. :D His son's music can't match his father's. Sigh...I wish Chandos would just release the Hickox recordings of Lennox's.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on February 17, 2012, 01:24:38 AM
I would buy those Hickox Berkeley recordings if his son's music wasn't on it. :D His son's music can't match his father's. Sigh...I wish Chandos would just release the Hickox recordings of Lennox's.

Yes, that was a misconceived idea - in that sense the Lyritas are preferable to the Chandos series, desite the excellence of Hickox's performances. My favourites are Symphony No 1, Serenade for Strings and the Concerto for Two Pianos but above postings have encouraged me to listen again to symphonies 2 and 3. I think that Berkeley L. was a fine composer. I had a very brief chat with him at a concert once.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 17, 2012, 08:06:35 AM
Yes, that was a misconceived idea - in that sense the Lyritas are preferable to the Chandos series, desite the excellence of Hickox's performances. My favourites are Symphony No 1, Serenade for Strings and the Concerto for Two Pianos but above postings have encouraged me to listen again to symphonies 2 and 3. I think that Berkeley L. was a fine composer. I had a very brief chat with him at a concert once.

I'll have to check out the Lyrita recordings. Thanks for the recommendation and, I agree, L. Berkeley was a good composer.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Dundonnell on February 17, 2012, 08:43:11 AM
I shall repeat what I wrote when I started this thread three years ago-

"Berkeley's music is consistently elegant and airy, light in touch without being 'light music', eminently civilised. Sometimes, it seems to me, to be too civilised and elegant. I would welcome a degree more roughness, asperity, anger, passion-but these are obviously purely personal reactions. Berkeley will never be my favourite British composer(Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian, Rubbra, Simpson, Arnell, Bax, Arnold, Frankel and a few others are more appealing to my tastes) but his fluent music should not be ignored."

The comparisons Christo made with composers like Bliss, Rawsthorne and Cooke remain valid too, It is a pity that the Fourth Symphony, written not long before Berkeley was compelled to stop composing due to the onset of Alzeimer's, is a fairly weak and ineffective composition :(
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Lethevich on February 17, 2012, 12:18:14 PM
His third symphony is fantastic.

That one bowled me over when I first heard it - so condensed, yet expressive - a perfectly crafted thing.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on January 02, 2014, 10:46:06 AM
I came to appreciate the somewhat troubled Second even more than the First.

I am learning to appreciate Symphony No 2 more and agree.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on February 25, 2016, 09:31:41 AM
A rather touching obituary of Berkeley's wife in the newspaper today:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12172020/Lady-Berkeley-obituary.html
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Scion7 on March 06, 2016, 02:34:01 AM
A rather touching obituary of Berkeley's wife...

Thanks - good article.  Another composer I need to investigate from home, yet largely unkown.  Quite an extensive set of works:

http://www.classicalarchives.com/composer/8573.html

. . . and even more via The Grove.

(https://cdn.discogs.com/7aQF1ObzDcHuVhubPaBcUNKSXnU=/fit-in/479x478/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(96)/discogs-images/R-7925976-1451785776-9824.mpo.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on March 06, 2016, 11:19:25 AM
Thanks - good article.  Another composer I need to investigate from home, yet largely unkown.  Quite an extensive set of works:

http://www.classicalarchives.com/composer/8573.html

. . . and even more via The Grove.

(https://cdn.discogs.com/7aQF1ObzDcHuVhubPaBcUNKSXnU=/fit-in/479x478/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(96)/discogs-images/R-7925976-1451785776-9824.mpo.jpg)
Seeing that LP cover was such a nostalgia trip for me. I came across it in the small record library of The Commonwealth Institute in London probably in the mid 1970s. Williamson was Australian hence the Commonwealth connection. I took out the LP many times as I did one featuring music by the New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn. They both made a huge impact on me although it was the Williamson Violin Concerto which made the greater impression. It is one of my very favourite violin concertos and is a deeply moving work although the Berkeley is very fine too. As someone with an interest in portrait sculpture I also loved the LP cover image (so much better than the CD which features both works, alongside that of Panufnik). I saw the portrait of Menuhin many times when I think it was displayed at the Royal Festival Hall in London - also a great work. So thanks very much for the memory of the fine LP!
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89) flipside .....
Post by: Scion7 on March 06, 2016, 08:45:54 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/WsUAAOSwSHZWgl6w/s-l1600.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89) flipside .....
Post by: vandermolen on March 06, 2016, 11:28:31 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/WsUAAOSwSHZWgl6w/s-l1600.jpg)
Thanks. Those were the days! Great disc.  :)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89) ... withdrawn/unpublished
Post by: Scion7 on March 07, 2016, 09:12:38 PM
Would be interesting to find out which of these were later partly re-worked into other pieces.

Suite, 1927; Ov., op.8, 1934, unpubd, withdrawn;
Variation on an Elizabethan Theme (Sellinger's Round), str, 1953, collab. others, unpubd;
Prelude-Intermezzo, fl, vn, va, pf, 1927, unpubd;
Overature., light orch, 1959, unpubd;
Piece, fl, cl, bn, 1929, unpubd;
Suite, fl/pic, ob, vn, va, vc, c1930, unpubd;
Polka, op.5/1, 2 pf, tpt, cym, tambour de basque, triangle, c1934, unpubd,
Minuet, 2 rec, c1924, unpubd;
Sonatine, cl, pf, 1928, unpubd;
Sonata no.1, vn, pf, 1931, unpubd;
March, pf/hpd, 1924, unpubd;
Mr Pilkington's Toye, pf/hpd, 1926, unpubd;
For Vere, pf/hpd, 1927, unpubd;
Paysage, 1944, unpubd;
Prelude and Fugue, op.55/3, clvd, 1960, unpubd
Impromptu, 1941, unpubd;
Theme and Variations, op.73, pf 4 hands, 1968, unpubd;

Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Scion7 on March 08, 2016, 09:40:55 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/hZIAAOSwPc9Wy2ng/s-l500.jpg)  (http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/hv8AAOSwzgRW1Mzx/s-l500.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Scion7 on March 08, 2016, 09:51:49 PM
(http://s20.postimg.org/6vv2689v1/smaller_Berkeley.jpg)

The 1959 sound is not bad at all - the sonata is from 1945, and is a rugged little piece.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on March 09, 2016, 02:03:32 AM
I must investigate his chamber music - thank you for posting all those LP images which have inspired me to do so. I have just received the book 'Freda and Lennox' which I shall look forward to reading.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on July 18, 2017, 01:44:38 AM
Am enjoying symphonies 1,2 and the double PC.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: kyjo on July 15, 2019, 06:31:39 AM
Berkeley is a very interesting composer. Months ago I was bowled away by his Concerto for 2 Pianos (which Jeffrey and Johan also love), a big, colorful, imaginative work which very much belies Berkeley’s reputation as an emotionally “cool” composer. I was less impressed by his 2nd and 3rd symphonies, which have less personality and an occasionally “grey” demeanor, but they both contain some fine music, particularly the latter. I recently discovered his fine Guitar Concerto, which is as elegant and “fresh” as a sunny spring morning. The entrance of the guitar over hushed strings in the first movement is very beautiful. I’d be very curious to hear his unrecorded Cello Concerto and Nocturne for Orchestra, both of which date from the 1940s. Rob Barnett of MusicWeb claims that they are two of Berkeley’s finest works, and likens the spirit of the latter to Barber’s Essays, which I love. (I assume he’s heard them through radio broadcasts, because they’re not on YouTube.)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on July 15, 2019, 09:00:33 AM
Berkeley is a very interesting composer. Months ago I was bowled away by his Concerto for 2 Pianos (which Jeffrey and Johan also love), a big, colorful, imaginative work which very much belies Berkeley’s reputation as an emotionally “cool” composer. I was less impressed by his 2nd and 3rd symphonies, which have less personality and an occasionally “grey” demeanor, but they both contain some fine music, particularly the latter. I recently discovered his fine Guitar Concerto, which is as elegant and “fresh” as a sunny spring morning. The entrance of the guitar over hushed strings in the first movement is very beautiful. I’d be very curious to hear his unrecorded Cello Concerto and Nocturne for Orchestra, both of which date from the 1940s. Rob Barnett of MusicWeb claims that they are two of Berkeley’s finest works, and likens the spirit of the latter to Barber’s Essays, which I love. (I assume he’s heard them through radio broadcasts, because they’re not on YouTube.)
Very interesting Kyle. I hope that those works are recorded one day. Symphony 1 is especially good. He briefly spoke to me after a concert where he signed my programme for me. He asked if I was a musician (sadly not) and seemed very nice indeed.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on July 15, 2019, 02:47:08 PM
The Symphony No. 1 is the only work I've ever played by this composer so far. I recall it like slightly complex in development. Not sure how great or original it is, but it is certainly engaging.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: kyjo on July 15, 2019, 07:30:41 PM
Thanks Jeffrey and Cesar for the replies. I'll be sure to check out the 1st Symphony soon. How nice that you got to meet Berkeley, Jeffrey!
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Irons on July 15, 2019, 10:28:09 PM
I must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. Read some good reports - mainly here - of the work.

His son, Michael, also comes over as a nice person on his BBC 3 broadcast "Private Passions" which I listen every week.

I love the vigour of Sir Lennox's Serenade for String Orchestra. The opening is exhilarating. The composer's own recording on Lyrita is excellent but even better, a real foot-tapper, is unusually Munchinger.

(https://i.imgur.com/RikMF5R.jpg)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on July 15, 2019, 10:29:40 PM
Berkeley is a very interesting composer. Months ago I was bowled away by his Concerto for 2 Pianos (which Jeffrey and Johan also love), a big, colorful, imaginative work which very much belies Berkeley’s reputation as an emotionally “cool” composer.
That's exactly what it is, and I love it (even placed it first when asked about our 'ten favourite piano concertos', IIRC.)  8)
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0001/148/MI0001148775.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Daverz on July 16, 2019, 12:15:35 AM
I must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. Read some good reports - mainly here - of the work.

His son, Michael, also comes over as a nice person on his BBC 3 broadcast "Private Passions" which I listen every week.

I love the vigour of Sir Lennox's Serenade for String Orchestra. The opening is exhilarating. The composer's own recording on Lyrita is excellent but even better, a real foot-tapper, is unusually Munchinger.

(https://i.imgur.com/RikMF5R.jpg)

I love the Leslie Jones recording of this:

https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4?t=1302

This and the Horn Trio with Dennis Brain were my introduction to Berkeley.

Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on July 16, 2019, 12:17:08 AM
I must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. Read some good reports - mainly here - of the work.

His son, Michael, also comes over as a nice person on his BBC 3 broadcast "Private Passions" which I listen every week.

I love the vigour of Sir Lennox's Serenade for String Orchestra. The opening is exhilarating. The composer's own recording on Lyrita is excellent but even better, a real foot-tapper, is unusually Munchinger.

(https://i.imgur.com/RikMF5R.jpg)
Oh yes Lol, you must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. I agree about the  Serenade for String Orchestra as well. Indeed MB comes across as a very pleasant individual although I'm less keen on his music.
Here is the other recording:
(http://)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on July 16, 2019, 12:18:45 AM
I love the Leslie Jones recording of this:

https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4

That nice Leslie Jones LP was my first and very welcome encounter with Berkeley Snr's music.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Irons on July 16, 2019, 05:41:38 AM
I love the Leslie Jones recording of this:

https://www.youtube.com/v/82Wks32b0_4?t=1302

This and the Horn Trio with Dennis Brain were my introduction to Berkeley.

Yes, Leslie Jones too! The Serenade is well served and so it should be.

The Horn Trio is coupled with Mozart which is not ideal but Dennis Brain so who cares.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Irons on July 16, 2019, 05:57:36 AM
Oh yes Lol, you must listen to the Concerto for Two Pianos. I agree about the  Serenade for String Orchestra as well. Indeed MB comes across as a very pleasant individual although I'm less keen on his music.
Here is the other recording:
(http://)

Consider it done, Jeffrey. I have the LP of the 2nd Symphony and Piano Concerto which is the first Lyrita I ever bought in the late 1970's (I own a different copy today). Don't quite know how I have missed the Two PC but after the mass advocacy I will purchase if not on LP the CD.

Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: kyjo on July 17, 2019, 02:05:13 PM
Listened to Berkeley's 1st Symphony yesterday (Hickox recording on Chandos) and enjoyed it quite a bit, save for the rather dour (IMO) slow movement. What it perhaps lacks in emotional depth it makes up for in brilliance and wit.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on July 17, 2019, 10:57:40 PM
Listened to Berkeley's 1st Symphony yesterday (Hickox recording on Chandos) and enjoyed it quite a bit, save for the rather dour (IMO) slow movement. What it perhaps lacks in emotional depth it makes up for in brilliance and wit.
Despite its elegance I do not think that the Berkeley Symphony No.1 lacks depth and find the slow movement rather moving. I also think that the work reflects the time of its composition (1940).
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: kyjo on July 19, 2019, 07:39:14 PM
Despite its elegance I do not think that the Berkeley Symphony No.1 lacks depth and find the slow movement rather moving. I also think that the work reflects the time of its composition (1940).

Perhaps I was being unnecessarily demeaning to the work, which was unintentional as I very much enjoyed it. :)
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: Christo on July 19, 2019, 10:58:47 PM
Perhaps I was being unnecessarily demeaning to the work, which was unintentional as I very much enjoyed it. :)
:D Agree with Jeffrey though, that especially in Berkeley's slow movements there's a 'hidden lyricism' that makes it much more special (and very British after all) than appears at first listening. Something similar applies to Arnold Cooke, a comparable composer.
Title: Re: Sir Lennox Berkeley(1903-89)
Post by: vandermolen on July 19, 2019, 11:02:53 PM
Perhaps I was being unnecessarily demeaning to the work, which was unintentional as I very much enjoyed it. :)
Not at all Kyle. It's always good to hear different views. I've been listening to,it again as well and actually think that the emotional high point is in the first movement. I've come to appreciate the Second Symphony more as well. I did not especially like the Chandos series coupling works by father and son and, in that sense, prefer the Lyrita all Berkeley Snr. CDs. I remember the big impact that the LP coupling of Symphony No.1 and the Concerto for Two pianos had on me:
(http://)