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1  Little-known music of all eras / Coming broadcasts and listen-later links / Re: Grace Williams - Missa Cambrensis on: May 11, 2019, 02:08:28 pm
I am generally opposed to narration in music as being distracting and a bad idea, but here it is not too bad. I did listen to the broadcast, but with distractions. What helps here is that the narration is in Welsh, so for a non-Welsh speaker like me (and I suspect most of us) the effect is one of a quiet, not unmusical burbling of sounds from Rowan Williams with the strings beneath.

It is a great shame that this was only the second public performance of such a major work in 45 years - partly due to the difficulty of the choral writing. I have to say, though, that making allowances for the fact that I was not giving the work my full attention, there are other pieces by Williams I would look forward to re-hearing first.
I was thinking,Martinu's,Epic of Gilgamesh,is another choral work with narration. I usually like Martinu;but every time I put it on,it ends up getting switched off!! My loss,I know!! Roll Eyes Sad
2  Little-known music of all eras / Coming broadcasts and listen-later links / Re: Grace Williams - Missa Cambrensis on: May 11, 2019, 01:44:31 pm
I was going to make a cd-r from the file here,this week;then discovered,I'd already made one!! Shocked Grin  I was just reading (albeit,belatedly! Roll Eyes Grin)  Tecwyn Evans' reply,on Youtube,to the posts,bemoaning the lack of performances and recordings,of this work! Tecwyn Evans stating,"One day,I hope!" This seems one of those works that just,are,bedevilled by bad luck! Sad

Third time lucky,as they say?!! One can only hope?!!
3  Various / Miscellany / Re: Marmite on: April 23, 2019, 05:58:48 pm
That's tough! I hope you'll be able to buy it again,at some point in the near future?! As to me?! I think I just,thought,I liked Vegemite,for a while;because my (late) mother,had bought some. I bought it for a while,convincing myself that I liked it better than Marmite. Then Morrisons (the supermarket I was going to,at the time) stopped stocking it,and I had to eat Marmite again;having tried the Morrison brand,and not liked it. Eating Marmite again,made me realise how inferior Vegemite was!! I notice that the slogan on the Vegemite website is,"Tastes like Australia". Well,good for them,if they really do love it?! Yet,I was reading,somewhere,that Vegemite was actually,invented,as a substitute for Marmite,because German U boats prevented Australian's from getting supplies of their,much loved,spread,during World War One! On the other hand,the Vegemite site says that wartime rationing (of Vegemite) during World War Two,meant that Vegemite was in short supply there;and it was the,subsequent,craving,of Australian's,for the home 'grown' product,that led to it's dominance (after the war)! I can't see anything about U boats,there!!
4  Various / Miscellany / Re: Marmite on: April 21, 2019, 06:45:32 pm
Gosh,yes? Five years! I must admit;looking at this thread,I was amazed that Dundonnell has never tasted Marmite! Shocked Grin But then again,Ive never tasted Nutella. And I'm not sure I want to?!! Roll Eyes Grin Incidentally,I rather admire someone for resisting a product. It shows fortitude!! In my case,I was,what has been called,a "Marmite baby"! My mother fed it to me,when I was little;and,presumably,I enjoyed it?! (I hardly think my late,mother would have force fed it,to me?!!)

I seem to remember there was some short lived,controversy,some years ago;when a school tried to ban Marmite,because of,what was perceived as,a high salt level! Now,I don't know whether there is any truth in that? When I was a child,I remember being told that,there was yeast in Marmite;which,apparently,meant it was good for you! Anyway,I believe the school quickly backed down,after a furious backlash from angry Marmite lovers;and one of their favourite foods was quickly reinstated!

Marmite also made national headlines,more recently;when there was a dispute between Tesco and Unilever;who had hiked up the price of some of their products. Marmite being one of them. I remember listening to a news bulletin,informing me that some worried consumers had been stockpiling jars in lieu of a Marmite crisis;which was referred to,rather unimaginatively (I thought) as Marmitegate! This between items on the Middle East and people dying!! Didn't it occur to any of these people,that there are other stores,besides Tesco?!!  I must admit,I did get a little worried,myself;as I love the stuff! It's also very economical;despite the initial outlay,because it has such a strong taste that a little goes a very long way! Which is good news for paupers,like me!  I remember staying with my father,recently,and finding to my horror that he'd stocked up with a supermarket brand,instead of the bone-fide product! I had to explain to him that Marmite is not like any old product. It's a 'concoction';and you can't just imitate it! Marmite has a very distinctive taste! I did try eating the Tesco brand,for a while. It was runnier and saltier;but I kept telling myself that it wasn't that bad,and I was probably saving myself some money,since it was cheaper!! Imagine my delight,when I discovered that,despite the fact that the Tesco jar looked the same size,it actually had less Marmite inside it!! Finally,I had a good reason to eat the more expensive,branded product!! Smiley
5  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: April 20, 2019, 08:01:08 pm
Josef (Joseph) is is one of those "marmite" composers who you either want to to hear more of or simply can't be arsed. These three volumes from CPO have given us a showcase of his orchestral virtuosity; together with the two Dutton discs  (Symphony 4, Cello Concerto, Aucussin and Nicolette, Saxophone Concerto). If I could envisage further recordings of Queen Mab, The Bells and Apollo and the the Seaman this will have given us a comprehensive view of this composer's finest achievements...

 Smiley
I think they will be recorded at some point! Really good performances and recordings like this allow people to get to know a composer. You play,spot the influences,at first;but,the more you hear,the more apparent it becomes,that the composer has his (or her?) own personality,and,finger prints,that mark them out. Holbrooke,obviously,was a bit of,stick in the mud,late romantic;but his music has a quirky,individuality;and gothic,eccentricity,which marks him out from some of the other also rans,of that period. I think it's getting,pretty obvious,by now. At least,to my ears,that the "cockney wagner" label,was,not just unfair,but innacurate. I can see an influence on the Cauldron of Annwn cycle,yes! But some of the more astringent sounds I hear,in the Dylan prelude (in the faster passages) actually make me think more of late Sibelius,than Wagner! Not that I would like to compare Holbrooke,with the great Finnish,composer! That astringency,is particularly,evident,in some of the later works;like Amontillado,for example! And then,there's the,Prelude to the Bells,which makes me think of Russian composers;and even,fleetingly,of Ravel. (There is no Wagner!!) Although,Holbrooke's palette is,to my ears,less refined,than the French master.

And,so it goes! The more we are able to hear;the more we will be able to extract the real Holbrooke,from,received opinion,and the vagaries of,fickle,fashion!
6  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Marx Eine Herbstsymphonie on: April 20, 2019, 02:26:28 pm
Despite my reservations about some of the music I've heard about this composer,(although,I quite like his Piano Concerto. Particularly,the first movement!) I think I may be ,sorely,tempted by the Cpo release?!! It seems to be Marx's equivalent of Brian's Gothic,in some ways?!
7  Various / Miscellany / Re: Marmite on: April 20, 2019, 02:20:54 pm
I was starting to wonder whether I just,dreamt,this thread?! Roll Eyes Grin It is rather,close,here...........and I had a late,night!! Roll Eyes
8  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: April 19, 2019, 05:28:11 pm
Josef (Joseph) is is one of those "marmite" composers who you either want to to hear more of or simply can't be arsed. These three volumes from CPO have given us a showcase of his orchestral virtuosity; together with the two Dutton discs  (Symphony 4, Cello Concerto, Aucussin and Nicolette, Saxophone Concerto). If I could envisage further recordings of Queen Mab, The Bells and Apollo and the the Seaman this will have given us a comprehensive view of this composer's finest achievements...

 Smiley
Luckily,for me;I love Marmite!! Smiley
By the way! Remember the Marmite thread,here?!! (I seem to remember I was the fool who said he preferred,Vegemite?!! Shocked Grin)
9  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Weinberg (Vainberg) on: April 18, 2019, 01:42:37 pm
From DGG? I doubt it.
Goodness......it is a Long, Long time since I bought a DGG disc!! Note that the performers get higher billing than the composer. Roll Eyes
Quite! A sign of the times,eh?! But,at least it's something other than the usual repertoire! (I wish the big labels would get,more,adventurous again!)
10  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: What are you currently listening to? on: April 13, 2019, 01:56:53 pm
Arnold on Brass (Conifer).I'm not usually that mad about Brass band music;but this one is great!! Although,the last track (The Padstow Lifeboat) began skipping last night! Sad Some light scratches visible. After a clean;I'm hoping it will work! The way the band get all the sonorities,humour and atmosphere of Arnold's music is quite brilliant and fun! Arnold conducts the last track,with the "insistent offkey foghorn (based on the real one at Trevose in Cornwall" (Quote from Gramophone review,which describes it as a stunning aural experience"!) I love the jolly artwork too! Perhaps I should add some more Brass Band music to my collection?! Oh,and I'll have to hear his Symphony for Brass Instruments,won't I?

And.......YES,it played all the way,through! Smiley Some of the playing is quite thrilling! I love the whistling on one of the tracks! Superb! I wish my mother was still alive to hear this one. She liked Arnold. I remember my parents sitting down to watch a program about him,on BBC2,back in the eighties (or nineties?) expecting some jolly looking man;and being confronted,by,a close up,of this miserable,embittered face,wailing about the disdain of the musical establishment towards his achievement! Of course,my mother knew his music from the jollier,more upbeat works.

Holbrooke next!! Smiley
11  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: April 10, 2019, 01:56:15 pm
I listened to all my Holbrooke cd's,a few months ago;and there was not one I didn't enjoy! Although,I'm afraid I will be waiting for this new cd to become available in the UK;and for the price to drop a bit! (If I was a bit better off I would have ordered it when it came out!) I listened to his Fourth symphony,a few days ago. It's more like a suite;and,admittedly,a bit of a curates egg;but the slow movement is gorgeous. There's one brief moment that's like something out of Korngold!  (Pure Hollywood!). But it's the colourful orchestration and the quirky,eccentricity of imagination that fascinates. I can't wait to hear his best music! (Queen Mab,Apollo and the Seaman) Talk of wonderful sonorities and a saxophone just increases my impatience to to hear this new cd.
12  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: April 02, 2019, 06:17:08 pm
I was going to add (but I could smell sausages cooking!! Grin) that,unlike Holbrooke (it seems? After all,I've only heard one Holbrooke symphony!!) Langgaard could put together a well argued symphony (symphonies 4 & 6,for example!). But I still find much to enjoy in some of the symphonies,which strike me as more like,glorified,suites (No 8,for example!). Of course,someone will probably point out that Langgaard is a finer,and more original composer;and,with respect to compositions like his,Music of the Spheres,he probably is?! (In fact,I think he is!) But I still like Holbrooke;and I was just making a point! Maybe someone else here can think of another symphony by a different composer,which they enjoy;even though it comes across as more akin to a suite?!
13  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: April 02, 2019, 01:18:00 pm
I think you are looking for too much in "Ships", if I may say so, Dundonnell - at least if you are expecting symphonic argument. That's not what Holbrooke is about (to be honest, he wasn't very good at it - and probably knew it!). That's why, with the exception of the Choral Symphony "Homage to E.A. Poe" and possibly "Apollo and the Seaman" everything Joseph called a "symphony" is really more of a "suite". He was a very accomplished orchestrator (IMHO) and excelled at the symphonic poem, the mood painting: so if you think of "Ships" as a series of portraits I hope you will be less disappointed. Having read the score and listened to the CPO recording, both the unedited takes and the final version, many times, I must say I do rather like this work.
I must say,as someone who really enjoys Holbrooke's music,that I've always felt that large scale,abstract form & argument was not one of his best points. I'm chiefly attracted to his music because of his rich,somewhat,gothic (imo) imagination and the brilliancy of his orchestration. I enjoyed his Fourth Symphony. Like some of Langgaard's symphonies,which are more like suites than symphonies;but,imho,no less enjoyable for that! And one of the movements,of the Fourth Symphony,is so gorgeous.I think it's the second movement? I'll have to put it on,again (my memory!). It's like something out of Korngold. It never fails grab my attention. (Gareth may know the moment I'm referring to?) It makes me think what a fine film score Holbrooke could have composed,if he'd the opportunity,or,maybe,been inclined to do so?! If I'm looking for a tersely written,well argued symphony,I would certainly look elsewhere! The Cello Concerto,on the same cd,is another example! Yet,the concise,and,imo,cogently argued,little "Grasshopper" Violin Concerto,geniunely,surprised me! (The Dylan Prelude strikes me as another example;and I'd love to hear a really first rate orchestra tackling it! Come on Cpo! Grin)
14  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: March 30, 2019, 01:13:42 pm
Yes,it is excellent! I don't know why I used the 'grin' Grin emoticon? I think it was because some Wikipedia articles aren't?! Of course,years go I would have had to go to the library and look all these things up. Incidentally,I never saw the Groves entry for Holbrooke. I'm not sure if they publish the books anymore? Did they say much about Holbrooke,I wonder? I think my first encounter with his name was in a book of stories from the operas? It included some (or all of) Holbrooke's Cauldron of Annwn cycle and The Enchanter! Also the stories of some other British operas by Boughton and Smyth (which are currently being revived) Holst's The Perfect Fool (for which a cd release is way,overdue,imo) and some potted biographies,or details,about the composers at the end. I remember wishing I could hear some of the operas!

Incidentally,I went back to the library (a couple of months ago) when my pc broke down! I was expecting to see the old counter there,and helpful librarians. Alas! The librarians had been (largely) replaced by self service machines. The nice,cosy niches,I used to sit in,with my book,by the window,had been replaced by pc's. The librarians all seemed to be talking to each other in very loud voices,as did most of the other users (apparently,a quiet library puts people off!). And apart from the noise of a kids computer game,in the background;my nostrils were constantly assailed by the smell of a meat pie (with onions,I think?! Shocked Grin) which someone was eating!! Now,I know I'm an old duffer,and it's progress (and the meat pie did smell tasty!) but I'm afraid that,unless my internet connection goes down again,this old duffer will be doing his research from home!! Grin
15  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: March 29, 2019, 07:00:01 pm
The Wikipedia very good,actually! A model of it's kind! Grin Smiley Considering Holbrooke is a relatively obscure figure! And not to be confused with a certain,jazz trio;which,sometimes comes up,if you search for this composer & (according to Wikipedia) was named in his honour! (I suppose I should give them a listen,but I'm not really into jazz! At least,not the more modern kind!) Just reading Gareth's response;I think I'd like to hear the Sixth,now! (And why,wouldn't I?!! Grin) The only other brass/band music,I listen to is by Holst. I love his Suites. Although,I recently acquired the Conifer cd,Arnold on Brass,and thought it was fantastic! Yes,I like Holbrooke's use of wind instruments. One of the best Holbrooke cd's I have heard,which seems to have been largely overlooked (judging by the lack of online reviews) is the Cpo cd of Clarinet Chamber music. Some of the music on it has a refined,haunting,slightly,otherwordly,quality. I would recommend the cd to anyone who believes the lie that Holbrooke's just composed vast,barely performable works for huge orchestras. It is also superbly performed and recorded!
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