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June 19, 2019, 11:47:47 pm
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1  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: June 01, 2019, 06:24:16 pm
However, suppose you only knew the music Respighi wrote before the age of 35 (the age Pilati died). Would you say the same thing? There would be no Roman Trilogy, for instance.
2  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: SOME unrecorded British Piano Concertos, 1934-94 on: June 01, 2019, 10:03:38 am
The Rubbra concerto is a great work - I suppose it suffers from the lack of bravura in the first movement.
3  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: June 01, 2019, 10:01:54 am
The thing about humour is that it's supposed to be funny, or at least amusing. The "sex and the Swiss" remark is simply stupid and offensive however you look at it.

Actually, I am reminded of a remark along those lines that manages to be more successful; the writer George Mikes once remarked that "continentals have sex lives - the British have hot water bottles".
4  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Leonid Polovinkin (1894-1949) on: May 30, 2019, 11:52:38 am
I have been listening with interest to the 7th symphony of Leonid Polovinkin. Particularly notable is the slow movement, which is one long unfolding melody. There doesn't seem to be much internet biographical information about the composer, a contemporary of Prokofiev, but it seems he wrote nine (!) symphonies of which only #7 and #9 have been recorded. It seems he went through the typical stages for a composer of his generation - influence of Scriabin, then experimentalist in the 1920s, and then moving to a social realist phase in the Stalin era.

It seems to me to be very surprising he is not better known. His works apparently include an opera based on JM Synge's "Playboy of the Western World", which would be interesting to hear. He is not even mentioned in SD Krebs's study of Soviet composers, though he does get an article in the 1953 Groves.
5  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: New Dutton CDs for May - Vaughan Williams, Braunfels, Arne and Elgar on: May 30, 2019, 11:28:22 am
Whether the music is or is not a masterpiece, that poem certainly isn't.
6  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Julius Bittner's Symphony No.1 from Toccata on: May 19, 2019, 10:19:38 am
I just listened to the Bittner symphony, and I can't say I agree with you. It's certainly not Brucknerian, and I think that may have been another example of Adriano's complaint about trying to pigeon-hole works by saying "it's like X". And equally, I would not be in a hurry to compare it to Franz Schmidt. Bittner seems to have an individual voice, and though on first hearing I felt there was a spot towards the end of the slow movement where his imagination was struggling, overall I enjoyed it and am happy to be able to hear it. I will listen to it again.

I gather there is a 2nd symphony as well.
7  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: May 19, 2019, 10:13:00 am
I have the Fanelli CD!

Alexandre Dénéréaz I have added to my listening list.
8  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: May 18, 2019, 11:48:27 am
Accusing Brun of "spasmodic syntax" reminds me rather of all the negative remarks about Havergal Brian, another composer whose style does not yield up easily to casual listening, but whose music is highly rewarding for those who make an effort to understand Brian's way of thinking. To go from an antipathy to Brun to damning the Swiss en bloc is frankly bizarre.

Incidentally, on the subject of rescuing neglected Swiss composers, it seems to me that a lot of French composers have been very poorly treated. André Gedalge is one case in point. Then there is a fantastic symphony by Louis Thirion which is completely unknown.
9  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Another unknown British symphonist on: May 14, 2019, 08:49:18 pm
Andrew J Baker - Stafford-based composer with at least 20 symphonies to his name. I know about him because my sister met him. Some of his work is on Soundcloud in synthetic performances.
10  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Unrecorded British Symphonies: an update on: May 14, 2019, 08:27:13 pm
Wilfred Josephs is missing from the list. Twelve symphonies, only one recorded.
11  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Heinrich Sutermeister Orchestral Works from Toccata on: May 14, 2019, 07:35:48 pm
I do think spoken words in a piece of music are a grave mistake. It is natural (for evolutionary reasons even) to pay more attention to speech than music, so when the speaker is speaking, you don't really hear the music, and when the speaker is not speaking, you are posed for the next bit of speech.
12  Little-known music of all eras / Downloads discussion / Re: Swiss Music on: May 13, 2019, 10:10:24 pm
Thanks to mjkFendrich for the Sutermeister piano concertos. Much deserving of a modern recording!
13  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Mario Pilati on: May 13, 2019, 10:04:13 pm
I was browsing Spotify the other day, and came across a CD of the music of Mario Pilati, starting with the Concerto for Orchestra. It didn't mean much to me until I played it and it was then VERY familiar. Of course, I have the CD, and had just forgotten about it; such are the perils of age. I remember now looking up the composer's life history after discovering him for the first time.

My mother was fond of the music of Alan Rawsthorne, and particularly praised the 2nd piano concerto. She would point with approval to how the composer gets straight on with the job, opening the work with the first subject, without any messing around with portentous introductions. Pilati's Concerto for Orchestra is like that - the work opens at once with the first subject, which is a huge tune that can really stick in your mind. How audiences would love it if it could ever be got into the concert hall! It's quite surprising it hasn't been nicked to front a TV series. (Or maybe it has - I wouldn't know!)
14  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Unrecorded British Symphonies: an update on: May 13, 2019, 09:53:55 pm
Bourgeois's later symphonies should not be ignored. They may not be "great", but they are certainly enjoyable listening, and would be great for an amateur orchestra looking for something original to play. I recommend #90 and #101 as starting points.
15  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: May 13, 2019, 09:41:00 pm
Coming back to my opinion on some reviwers: I forgot to mention those who, because just they don't like a piece, they just find it bad. This is also unfair.

This is a pet hate of mine. Just because you like something doesn't make it good, and just because you dislike something doesn't make it bad. I think most critics are not actually capable of judging the quality of a work, and just go by personal taste. Plus, of course, the assumption that a composer outside the standard canon must be bad, or he wouldn't be neglected. Whereas anyone famous must be good. It's the same in the visual arts, and its refreshing when you see an art critic lay into, say, Damien Hirst. I have a theory that Picasso, in his late years, actually tried to produce bad drawings to dare art critics to call him out - which none would dare do, of course.
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