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1  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: CPO Booklet Notes on: August 17, 2018, 02:59:20 pm
Paul Conway's notes for Lyrita cds are, for me, the absolute ideal: very informative about the composer's career and the music on the CD.
2  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: CPO Booklet Notes on: August 16, 2018, 11:45:09 pm
Yes, I understand that there is a distinction between High German and the language as used by ordinary Germans in everyday speech or writing. Whether this applies to van den Hoogen or not I could not say. The problem is not his musical analysis per se but his digression into extended and often fanciful discussion of the wider German cultural context within which a composer lived and worked.

Sadly my ability to read Latin is superior to my German and there are precious few cd booklet notes written in Latin! I do have a certain familiarity with German political and military terminology. Indeed I have several reference books written in German and can negotiate these reasonably well. The interesting thing to me is the way German can use one very long word to composite complex ideas which would require several words in English. Gleichschaltung is an example.........but I digress!
3  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: CPO Booklet Notes on: August 16, 2018, 09:21:04 pm
Thanks for your comments, Holger.

I think that the fault probably lies equally between CPO- which as the commissioning publisher has ultimate authority- van den Hoogen for his flights of fancy and Ms Praeder for rendering her translations literally rather than idiomatically.
4  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: CPO Booklet Notes on: August 16, 2018, 04:47:18 pm
Holger might care to comment?
5  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / CPO Booklet Notes on: August 16, 2018, 04:46:49 pm
I am listening to the "new" CPO release of the Walter Braunfels Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, Two Horns and String Orchestra (coupled with an arrangement for string orchestra of the String Quintet). I say "new" because the recording was actually made in 2009 but only now released.

We owe CPO an incredible and ongoing debt for making so much previously unrecorded and neglected music available. The Braunfels Sinfonia Concertante is a substantial and most impressive piece.

But our obligation to and admiration for CPO should not blind us to another of its problems. The company has claimed-on occasions-that delays in the release of particular cds are due to the time it takes to obtain the cd booklet notes from their authors. That may be so but there are two further problems for those who buy CPO cds.

The first is that it is almost impossible for those of us with aged eyesight to read the notes without a magnifying glass. This issue is not, of course, confined to CPO. Other companies publish similarly minute typescript.

The other is the notes themselves. For German music (a very substantial part of CPO's output) the company frequently use Eckhardt van den Hoogen. Mr. van den Hoogen's notes are extremely lengthy (no bad thing in itself) and extraordinarily discursive (which can be tedious if one simply wishes to learn about the music as opposed to following extended quasi philosophical musings on the composer, his life, his times and matters which seem to have little real bearing on any of these!).

However.......CPO then get Susan Marie Praeder to translate Mr. van den Hoogen into English. This is where it gets almost impossibly difficult. Ms Praeder seems to believe that a translation should be as literal as possible, that van den Hoogen's rambling prose should be translated word for word into what she, presumably, thinks is a faithful English version (as opposed to turning the "sense" of the original into readable English).

What results is far too often a disaster. Thus, the notes on the Braunfels contain sentences such as:

"This certain someone who turned the kaleidoscopic tube was of course the same person who looked in on one side and on the other marveled at the fantastic manifoldness in order to make creative use of it."

or

"In any case, as I see it, the burly gait of boisterous landler or waltzes, the brusque thematic development, and the stamping groundings bubble forth from the same source that used to offer liquid refreshment not only to the residents of Bohemian villages."


This is incomprehensible gibberish! Google Translate would produce something like this. One should not expect it from someone who is presumably paid to translate German into English, not German into Double Dutch!!

I know a number of Germans who can speak and write flawless English; there are no doubt millions who can do this. Sadly Ms Praeder seems to not be one of them. I am very sorry for her. She must have an extraordinarily difficult job with Mr. van den Hoogen's ornate, baroque, prose, his extraordinary allusions and his literary diversions.

......but, come on, must do better!!!!!

6  Little-known music of all eras / Youtube performances / Re: Azarashvili on: August 15, 2018, 11:14:08 pm
When I access the site the annoying Banner Ad which previously read "Download" and "Play Now" has been replaced by one which reads "Check out this special offer: Click Here".

All I can say is DON'T !! It MAY be-and probably is- harmless advertising but, as Maris has said, if you don't know where the link comes from or where it is taking you then ignore it!!
7  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: John Pickard on: August 14, 2018, 04:46:18 pm
I entirely agree! Pickard is one of the finest contemporary British composers. It is splendid that BIS has taken him up. What they should now do is to go back and record the Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3-both exceptionally fine works.

I second this.  I still want to hear his orchestration/reconstruction of Havergal Brian's Cleopatra Vision cantata.

The Havergal Brian cd is coming any day now from Dutton Grin
8  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: John Pickard on: August 14, 2018, 01:52:45 pm
I entirely agree! Pickard is one of the finest contemporary British composers. It is splendid that BIS has taken him up. What they should now do is to go back and record the Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3-both exceptionally fine works.
9  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Lars-Erik Larsson Vol.3 from CPO on: August 14, 2018, 01:39:44 pm
The Larsson Symphony No.3 is an impressive and attractive work and it is good to have a modern alternative to the elderly BIS recording. It was an incredibly odd decision on Larsson's part to withdraw his symphonies for so much of his life. At least he relented before it was too late.

The revelations however (and I know we had downloads from radio broadcasts) are the Three Orchestral Pieces and the Adagio for Strings. Composed in free 12 note idiom these are translucently beautiful compositions and I wish Larsson had written more music in this vein during the last 25 years of his life. It is a great pity that CPO could not have found space for Larsson's "Due Auguri" of 1971. These works demonstrate how the use of 12 tone need not be a barrier to musical beauty!

(But beware: the final piece on the disc "Musica permutatio" begins with an enormous bang!! Coming just after the quiet, subdued ending of the Adagio for strings it just about gave me a cardiac arrest!)

(Also note that the works on this new disc were recorded in 2011 and have taken 7 years to reach us. The works on the simultaneously released new Braunfels disc were recorded in 2007 and 2009. A decade has passed before CPO has made these recordings available. This is an intolerable situation!! It means that there is music which we know CPO is recording, we know the conductors and orchestras, we are thereby "encouraged" to look forward to the release of these pieces, yet in some cases some of us may well not live long enough to hear them because of the outrageous delay in getting the music onto cd. By this token the Holbrooke which CPO recorded some months back could be released sometime in the 2020s!!)

10  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Ruth Gipps symphonies on: August 13, 2018, 11:05:50 pm
I understand the point about the influences on Braga Santos of RVW and Sibelius, Jeffrey. But the music is not simply reheated VW or Sibelius. There is clearly the influence of Portugese folk music as well but in addition there is an almost American romantic swaggering self-confidence about BS's music. Yet he surely could not have been familiar with Roy Harris or Aaron Copland?

Indeed, who was he familiar with?? After all the Symphony No.1 was written in 1946. Braga Santos was 22 years old in 1946. When World War Two broke out in 1939 the composer was 15. What was the situation in Portugal during the war? The country was officially neutral but retained its long-standing friendship with Great Britain. What music was broadcast on Portugese radio during the war? The young composer clearly did not travel outside his country during the war. Did he study scores? If so, by which composers? These questions have intrigued me ever since I first heard the music. (No doubt Alvaro Cassuto could provide answers and I am tempted to try to contact him!)

It is almost as though somehow the young Portugese composer had absorbed every sort of romantic influence from around the world-from the USA, from Respighi, Bloch, Sibelius, RVW etc etc mixed those with Portugese folk influences and came up with an amalgam free from any inhibitions, free from any preconceived ideas of where contemporary music should be going and simply threw himself into symphonic music with youthful abandon. Because ultimately what shines through is his sheer unbridled self-confident enthusiasm.
If it is inspired-and I think that the early music IS inspired-then is that "inspiration" wholly derivative? I wonder!

(and btw I know that this thread is supposed to be about the symphonies of Ruth Gipps but she too-at the time of the Symphony No.2-was a young, romantic composer.....so the connection is not entirely off piste Grin)
11  Little-known music of all eras / Downloads discussion / Re: Finnish music on: August 13, 2018, 10:18:10 pm
Huge thanks to Latvian for his generosity in providing so much Finnish music in one go like this!

There was a time when members regularly uploaded vast quantities of music. I guess these days are over- for all kinds of perfectly understandable reasons- but it is fantastic when we get this kind of reminder of the times when almost every day brought new treasures!
12  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Ruth Gipps symphonies on: August 13, 2018, 04:27:22 pm
I consider music to be of personal 'relevance' if it moves me emotionally or if can relate to it is some way - although I wouldn't expect others to share my views. For example I consider the music of Braga-Santos (well, at least the early symphonies), Stanley Bate, Ruth Gipps, Ricard Arnell, Eduard Tubin,  Camargo Guanieri, John Kinsella, Harold Truscott, Godfried Devreese, Klaus Egge etcetc to be relevant to me in a way that the piano concertos of Mozart or most operas are not - whilst recognising the greatness of major composers whose music means little to me.

I'm greatly looking forward to receiving the Gipps CD - one of the most exciting releases on Chandos in recent times.



Well said, Jeffrey!

We all have our personal favourites-composers who "speak to us". These are not necessarily to be counted among the most famous or "the greatest" of composers (define that how you will). One of the joys about belonging to a music forum-such as this-is to learn about the composers who mean a lot to others and, if one has the inclination, to sample their music for oneself.

I cannot recall now when I first read about the music of Braga Santos but when I first heard the music for myself it was a revelation. Is it orginal? No, I don't suppose it is. Is it derivative? Yes, I suppose so (although it remains a mystery to me how Braga Santos had acquainted himself with the music of other, similar composers in wartime Portugal).
Has it had an influence on other composers? Extremely doubtful (certainly outside Portugal).

In that sense is his music "relevant" to the future course of musical development? No, it is almost certainly not. Is it therefore, by extrapolation, "redundant", superfluous etc. Of course not. Listening to it enhances my life.....as it does that of others who love the music.

If it means nothing to others then that is the nature of musical experience. I don't "get" the music of Harrison Birtwistle. Doesn't mean he isn't a composer of genuine importance and that I cannot respect those who consider him a musical genius.
13  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Stenhammar – Sången, symphonic cantata BIS-2359 on: August 11, 2018, 04:46:22 pm
Järvi must be speedy. His recording of Sången goes for 29'45" while Blomstedt's on Caprice takes 35'!

That would be what one would expect from Jarvi!
14  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Ruth Gipps symphonies on: August 09, 2018, 02:18:51 pm
I am grateful to other members for their contributions.

I am well aware that I have not yet worked out in my own mind when I should be posting as an Administrator and when under my usual member name and that I have not got this distinction correct yet.

I am also conscious that in taking a particular "hard line" here as an administrator I may well not please everyone and am-quite properly-open to challenge and dissent. That is inevitable and comes with the role. But someone has to do it........ Smiley
15  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Ongoing CPO projects. on: August 08, 2018, 01:11:06 pm
I gave my reasons for making a respectful suggestion.

It was no more than that- a suggestion.

If however members wish to continue such discussion then so be it.
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