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Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958)


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Author Topic: Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958)  (Read 1813 times)
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2012, 12:49:12 pm »

... the score ...?

Here at the International Score Library:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.2_%28%27Apollo_and_the_Seaman%27%29,_Op.51_%28Holbrooke,_Joseph%29

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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2013, 09:00:21 am »

A review of a performance of Holbrooke's Illuminated Symphony, from the Spectator of January the twenty-fifth, 1908. I wonder who "C.L.G." was?



P.S. Error in image size now fixed by tinkering with photobucket options . . .
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2013, 10:09:32 am »

I have always preferred Holbrooke's chamber music to the orchestral scores I have heard. There was a nice CD of his chamber music on Marco Polo.
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2013, 10:09:58 am »

Thanks for this fascinating review. The whole idea of throwing the text onto a screen was clearly a bit of a disaster, but most interesting is the quotation from Ernest Newman regarding a possible earlier incarnation of at least some of the music.

Holbrooke was an inveterate re-user and regularly retitled or restructured several of his works - The Skeleton in Armour (Longfellow) became The Viking and later still (1941) was renamed The Corsair (Byron), whilst music from the opera-ballet The Wizard makes up the bulk of the later fantasie The Pit and the Pendulum (Poe). In the earliest lists (1904) of his works The Masque of the Red Death is described as an orchestral poem, but by 1913 it had become a ballet, The Red Masque.

Whatever it's literary origins, Apollo is certainly a work which I'd say richly deserves a professional recording.

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2020, 12:16:05 pm »

Bogey Beasts, Op.89a was a 1923 collaboration between Holbrooke and his friend the artist/ poet Sidney Sime (1867-1941) dealing with fantastical, imaginary creatures (with more than a hint of satire). Here is an excellent illustrated recitation-performance:



and here is the piano score (Holbrooke subsequently made a shorter orchestral suite):

https://imslp.org/wiki/Bogey_Beasts,_Op.89a_(Holbrooke,_Joseph)

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2020, 01:57:17 am »

You are reinforcing the point that it is so sad that unfamiliar repertoire is often committed to disc by the smaller companies using orchestras totally unaccustomed to the idiom and keen and enthusiastic but not particularly inspired conductors and recorded on the cheap. The result is a recording which may give one some idea of the nature of a work but cannot reveal just how good it could sound if performed with more polish and panache.

It its early days and, to some extent, still today Marco Polo/Naxos used Eastern European/Russian orchestras who struggled with such repertoire-the Havergal Brian 2nd is one example but, most notoriously, in my opinion, the set of Malipiero symphonies recorded by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra Sad

It is a testimony to the rising standards of orchestral playing across the world that this is getting less of an issue these days. There was a time when, again for example, I would have doubted the capacity of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland to play a piece to its full potential but it is now a first-class band. So too all the British orchestras. Give a professional orchestra a score and they can now virtually sight-read it onto disc Grin

It is still however remarkable how a conductor who really believes in a piece can transform it. That was Beecham's great genius..so too Sir Adrian Boult. There are young conductors around who can do that but instead they are asked to conduct yet another performance of a Mahler symphony Roll Eyes

Your final point is, of course, also quite correct Smiley I DO have a very wide knowledge of the orchestral music of the last century but-by definition it is "wide" rather than "deep". I cannot discuss comparative versions of a particular composition in the way that others here and elsewhere are capable. I rely on the critics in IRR or reputable reference books for that. That is just the way it is Grin As I said, I have no regrets Smiley
Marco Polo's Adriano Malipiero symphonic cycle has often been berated by many musical critics. Perhaps the axiom holds that if something is repeated often enough, it becomes the accepted view. It would be a tragedy if this discouraged anyone from listening to the music.
If it were not for this cycle, I would never have developed an interest in Malipiero's fine music and he was quite prolific.
While the performances may lack sparkle and pzazz, I think they may have been reflective of Malipiero's personna,he was certainly no Respighi. I wish I could understand what was "wrong" with the cycle other than the "boxed" Marco Polo audio. I hope I am not being snarky by asking for performances/conductors who have done better by comparison?
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2021, 09:20:01 am »

Some Holbrooke items:

Annabel Lee, Op.41b



Apollo and the Seaman, Op.51 (extract) - does anybody know anything more about this recording? It is from Section VI (The Rebuke) and begins at the Maestoso con moto seven bars before figure 73, ending at figure 78 (pages 128-133 in the full score, pages 55-58 in the piano reduction).



Three Dramatic Songs, Op.69




 Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2021, 10:38:07 am »

Apollo and the Seaman, Op.51 (extract) - does anybody know anything more about this recording? It is from Section VI (The Rebuke) and begins at the Maestoso con moto seven bars before figure 73, ending at figure 78 (pages 128-133 in the full score, pages 55-58 in the piano reduction).



Martin Walsh is now currently working on a midi realisation of Holbrooke's "Illuminated Symphony" Apollo and the Seaman , Op.51 (1907), and has so far completed the first two parts (of four), which he has uploaded to Youtube:

Part 1 (Apollos's Coming; The Rumour; The Ship):

Part 2 (The Tidings):

 Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2021, 10:44:39 am »

Martin's midi "realisation" of Apollo and the Seaman (the first two parts so far) is fascinating and it would be wonderful to think that he would be able to complete the whole score in this clever way, although it is difficult to imagine what the male chorus included in the last section (The Embarkation) will sound like...



...I just love this picture.

It's best to ignore the abstruse poem by Herbert Trench which the score allegedly "mirrors" -



The text is included in both the full and the vocal scores:

https://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.2%2C_Op.51_(Holbrooke%2C_Joseph)

 Wink
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« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2021, 12:34:53 pm »

My word, that must be a labour of love. It takes long enough to prepare a piece for a normal-sized orchestra so the number of hours Martin Walsh must have spent to get even this far with such a garganutan score is hard to grasp. I do hope he finishes it, not only for itself but also so that it can be used in some way to promote a performance and recording of the piece.
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« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2021, 01:10:47 pm »

My word, that must be a labour of love. It takes long enough to prepare a piece for a normal-sized orchestra so the number of hours Martin Walsh must have spent to get even this far with such a garganutan score is hard to grasp. I do hope he finishes it, not only for itself but also so that it can be used in some way to promote a performance and recording of the piece.

Indeed! It's hard to think of a more challenging project: personally, I would not know where to begin. Fully professional commercial recordings of Apollo and the Seaman, The Bells (the 1978 John Poole broadcast is in the British and Irish Music Archive) and Queen Mab (all in full score at IMSLP) should have been undertaken years ago and would put Holbrooke's legacy in quite a different light. As it is, there are the invaluable discs from CPO, Dutton and Hyperion to be going on with...

 Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2021, 01:55:51 pm »

Don't be alarmed that the dreaded "edited by Admin" appears on posts in this thread. This was merely to add a space between Holbrooke's name and his dates in the title...

 Roll Eyes

...no content has been changed whatsoever.

 Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2021, 04:18:03 pm »

Gareth Vaughan, a member of this forum, is the expert on Holbrooke and has worked tirelessly to both preserve and promote the composer's music. Towards the end of his life, Holbrooke wrote an unpublished autobiography - now that would be interesting to say the least, given his supreme talent for invective...



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« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2021, 08:55:07 am »

For anyone new to Holbrooke and wanting to explore his orchestral music, I can strongly recommend the three CPO discs conducted by Howard Griffiths:







 Grin

Unfortunately, two other splendid discs on Dutton appear to have been deleted (I think "out of stock" is a euphemism):

The Pit and the Pendulum, Symphony No.4, Cello Concerto, Pandora

https://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=CDLX7251

Aucassin and Nicolette, Saxophone Concerto

https://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=CDLX7277

 Sad

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« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2021, 09:08:06 am »

For anyone new to Holbrooke and wanting to explore his orchestral music, I can strongly recommend the three CPO discs conducted by Howard Griffiths:

I have all these and I agree with Albion's recommendation. Holbrooke is another of those composers who inhabits an entirely personal sound world -- and an absorbing and attractive one it is too.
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