The Art-Music Forum

Little-known music of all eras => Coming broadcasts and listen-later links => Topic started by: northern on March 04, 2016, 12:28:51 pm



Title: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: northern on March 04, 2016, 12:28:51 pm
BBC Radio 3 Monday 7th March c.2.50pm
Grace Williams: Four Illustrations for the Legend of Rhiannon
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Perry So (conductor)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 04, 2016, 10:08:10 pm
I'll record that one and post it!


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Albion on March 05, 2016, 08:46:56 am
I will also record the broadcast for the archive, which will then contain most of Grace Williams' important unrecorded works (Symphony No.1, Sinfonia Concertante, Violin Concerto, Missa Cambrensis).

Full details of the score in question are:

Four Illustrations for The Legend of Rhiannon (1939, rev. 1940)

1. The Conflict
2. The Nuptial Feast
3. The Penance
4. The Return of Pryderi


 :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: jimfin on March 05, 2016, 09:21:10 am
A very good few weeks for Grace Williams!


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: tapiola on March 06, 2016, 07:31:31 am
Gentlemen, thank you very much for doing this.  Music I thought I'd never live to hear and you make it possible.
Can it be done as mp3?


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Albion on March 06, 2016, 07:52:46 am
Can it be done as mp3?

As with the Missa Cambrensis I will record as a 320kbps mp3.

 :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: relm1 on March 07, 2016, 12:49:51 am
Can it be done as mp3?

As with the Missa Cambrensis I will record as a 320kbps mp3.

 :)

Cheers Albion!  The Missa Cambrensis was an excellent discovery and I look forward to hearing more so thanks for posting!


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Albion on March 07, 2016, 03:25:15 pm
This broadcast is now in the archive and the catalogue has been updated accordingly.

 :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: djarvie on March 07, 2016, 05:11:20 pm
Thanks for this, Albion, much appreciated.


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Dundonnell on March 07, 2016, 08:48:12 pm
......and a fine-if obviously early-work it is too :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Albion on March 08, 2016, 09:52:12 am
From Malcolm Boyd's invaluable study on Grace Williams (Composers of Wales 4, University of Wales Press, 1980):

The last and most ambitious of Grace Williams's pre-war orchestral works has the title Four Illustration for the Legend of Rhiannon and is based upon incidents from the Mabinogion, that great medieval treasure-house of ancient Welsh legend, history and folklore. Each of its four movements illustrates part of the first branch of the mabinogi, the story of Pwyll, Lord of Dyved. The first, a stormy, impassioned movement entitled 'The Conflict', tells of the rivalry between Pwyll and Gwawl, son of Clud, for the love of Rhiannon, the beautiful daughter of Heveydd the Old: 'And thereupon Pwyll's house-hold came down upon the palace and seized all the host that had come with Gwawl and cast them into prison'. The second movement, 'The Nuptial Feast', is descriptive of the marriage feast for Pwyll and Rhiannon: 'And they went to the tables and sat down. And they ate and feasted, and spent the night in mirth.' The third movement deals with the penance Rhiannon was forced to make for having supposedly killed her son, Pryderi; it takes the form of a sombre chorale prelude on the Welsh hymn tune Hen Ddarbi, later used by the composer in the slow movement of her Violin Concerto. The final movement, telling of how Teirnon Twrvliant slew the monster that had snatched Pryderi away and of Rhiannon's reunion with her son, also uses a traditional Welsh air, Cainc Dafydd proffwyd, as its main theme. It strongly recalls a theme in the first movement of Sibelius's Second Symphony.

Despite the evident intention of giving it an overall symphonic shape (the second movement has the character of a scherzo and the third functions as a slow movement), the work remains disjointed and episodic. Only the first two movements are at all convincingly shaped, and even then the quality of the music rarely rises above that of a good film score. On a technical level, too, the Rhiannon Illustrations represent a withdrawal from the radical position occupied by the Elegy. Their musical language is more conservative, harking back to the idiom of the early works, particularly in the last two movements (later discarded), in which the introduction of traditional material entails the use of key signatures once more. Grace Williams was to tackle again the problem of symphonic narration on a large scale in the Symphonic Impressions [Symphony No.1] of 1943, but it was one she was never to solve with complete success.

 :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Dundonnell on March 08, 2016, 05:23:50 pm
The reference to the "Elegy" is to the Elegy for string orchestra(1936/40) which is the only non-choral roughly contemporary composition to the Four Illustrations. It has not been recorded and I have never heard it-although, obviously, I now would ;D

Boyd's analysis of the Four Illustrations is a little harsh I think although, as I said, it is an early work and not to be compared with the much finer later music Grace Williams composed including the Symphony No.2 or the Missa Cambrensis.


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: tapiola on March 08, 2016, 07:40:27 pm
Boyd's assessments are pretty negative on virtually her entire output.  He seems defensive that she is Welsh. or some other unknown reason.  Some musical giants thought very highly of her music. 
 I wish someone would write something more objective and enlightened.


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 08, 2016, 08:52:31 pm
For what it's worth I think that Grace Williams was one of the great C20 composers, on a level with Vaughan Williams and others.

I remember being similarly annoyed by Stephen Banfield's book about Finzi, he seems to spends a lot of time making snippy comments about Finzi's works, even ones, which, in almost everyone's opinion, are masterworks. Can't see why you would a write a whole book about someone's music if you didn't like it much.


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Dundonnell on March 09, 2016, 02:04:14 am
The reference to the "Elegy" is to the Elegy for string orchestra(1936/40) which is the only non-choral roughly contemporary composition to the Four Illustrations. It has not been recorded and I have never heard it-although, obviously, I now would ;D

Boyd's analysis of the Four Illustrations is a little harsh I think although, as I said, it is an early work and not to be compared with the much finer later music Grace Williams composed including the Symphony No.2 or the Missa Cambrensis.

.....and almost immediately the Elegy for string orchestra becomes available :) Many thanks, britishcomposer :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Albion on March 09, 2016, 07:53:35 am
.....and almost immediately the Elegy for string orchestra becomes available :) Many thanks, britishcomposer :)

Indeed, many thanks! I have put a copy in the archive and updated the catalogue ...

 :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Dundonnell on March 09, 2016, 03:15:41 pm
.....Eh,pause for a moment!

According to my catalogue of the orchestral music of Grace Williams she wrote two Elegies for string orchestra-the first in 1936, revised 1940 and another in 1970. The second lasts for five minutes-which is the time of the work uploaded.

I shall investigate further since I must have found the information somewhere ::)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: britishcomposer on March 09, 2016, 05:48:07 pm
I am sorry, I cannot give you more information about the recording of the Elegy. It was the last piece in a five-part edition of Composer of the Week in 2006. Donald McLeod said the score bore the inscription "not to be performed" or something like that but he didn't give the date.


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Albion on March 10, 2016, 06:59:39 am
I am sorry, I cannot give you more information about the recording of the Elegy. It was the last piece in a five-part edition of Composer of the Week in 2006.

In which case it was broadcast on 11th August 2006. There isn't a second independent orchestral Elegy dating from 1970: the musical example given on p.19 of Malcolm Boyd's study confirms the present work as the very early score.

 :)


Title: Re: Grace Williams-Four Illustrations
Post by: Dundonnell on March 10, 2016, 03:11:07 pm
Thank you for this, John :) I have no idea where I got the idea of the "1970 Elegy". I shall continue to investigate but without doubting that you are correct.