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1  Little-known music of all eras / Youtube performances / Re: Babcock,,David - Symphony No. 5 Op. 58 (2001) on: September 20, 2017, 12:19:26 pm
Also studied with Francis Burt ...
2  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Lyrita futures on: September 20, 2017, 11:35:29 am
I have often wondered if it is actually undesirable to have a composer conducting his own work. There is a tendency to look towards the composer's own performance as somehow definitive, but there are two things against it. Firstly, he may have such a vivid idea of what the work should sound like, that he is not fully aware of what it does sound like in the orchestra's realisation. Secondly, a gifted composer may not also be a gifted conductor. It is a remarkable thing to have great talent in one field; to have it in two is asking a lot of fortune. Which is why I despair of people like Tippett who thought he was a great poet as well as a great composer.
3  Little-known music of all eras / Youtube performances / Alexander Zhurbin Symphony No. 1 on: September 18, 2017, 02:13:23 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFJBSq6Hle4

The listing is rather amusing because of a typo (or spell-check error): "Sinfonia Concentrate". Of course, it should be Sinfonia Concertante. But it is not the usual "Sinfonia Concertante for <soloist> and orchestra". The long, slow (and rather beautiful) third and final movement has solos for practically every instrument in the orchestra, even the tuba. Well worth a listen. I am becoming rather attracted to Zhurbin's music; the second symphony is also enjoyable.
4  Little-known music of all eras / Notice of interesting concerts around the world / Glass Symphony No. 11 on: September 18, 2017, 02:05:55 pm
Glass's 11th will be played by the Royal Liverpool PO under Petrenko in Gateshead on 30 September. I have my ticket!
5  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Lyrita futures on: September 18, 2017, 01:00:27 pm
Then you have the case of Haydn's "Emperor hymn", a really "big" tune. I understand that the composer really had to chisel away at it over many iterations to get it into the form we know it today. Perspiration rather than inspiration.
6  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Discarded, withdrawn, suppressed early Symphonies. on: September 15, 2017, 09:49:02 am
Because of separate cultural and linguistic histories, each nation does have an individual musical character, at least so far as folk-inflected music goes. So RVW is quintessentially English in character, while Grace Williams is a conspicuously Welsh composer, drawing on quite a different cultural background.
...I don't see this as applicable much today, either within UK or indeed elsewhere. Even Elgar doesn't sound "English" to me. Take four English composers born in 1943 (two of them actually on the same day) - Brian Ferneyhough, Gavin Bryars, the aforementioned David Matthews and Robin Holloway; would anyone listening to the work of all of them be expected even to assume the country in which each originated, let alone that they all came from the same one?

This is a very interesting question. Obviously, nationality is more evident in tonal music where there is more likelihood of folk-inflected melody. But:

(a) There are still composers today who show folk influences. I would counter your examples with Eddie McGuire and James MacMillan, who are recognisably Scottish.
(b) A sort of national style may also be evident through a teaching tradition. I think if one heard a piece by, say, Miloslav Kabeláč (admittedly b. 1908) without knowing the composer, one could at least identify it as Czech.
(c) I suspect you could pick four American composers born in 1943 whose music is obviously American.

Incidentally, regarding other posts in this thread, I do regard myself as a European. My best friends are spread around Spain, Italy, Germany, Czechia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Norway ...
7  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Discarded, withdrawn, suppressed early Symphonies. on: September 13, 2017, 09:39:01 am
Calloing a Scotsman Welsh isn't by nature insulting: it would simply be incorrect (other, perhaps, then in cases such as Ronald Stevenson who was Scots on his father's side and Welsh on his mother's, although I've never heard him referred to other than as a Scottish composer). Speaking personally, I'm a European first, a Scot second and a Brit last.

Anyway - back to the topic!

On the other hand, Scots do find it offensive when the whole of the UK is referred to as "England", which is very common. There is a clear analogy between the music of the four nations and sport. There is seldom a "British team"; there will be a Scottish team, a Welsh team and so on, and there is fierce rivalry. Traditionally, a Scot will support whichever team is playing against England in a match, and it doesn't matter who.

Because of separate cultural and linguistic histories, each nation does have an individual musical character, at least so far as folk-inflected music goes. So RVW is quintessentially English in character, while Grace Williams is a conspicuously Welsh composer, drawing on quite a different cultural background.

In the case of Northern Ireland, matters are complicated by the partition of 1922. The obvious Irish composer before that date is Hamilton Harty; one could argue about Stanford. In contemporary music, there are obviously many Irish composers, but I am struggling to think of a Northern Irish composer beyond Philip Hammond (b. 1951 and not to be confused with the current Chancellor), who is generally described just as Irish.

This may be a bit off the topic of the thread, but I think it's important to get things clear.
8  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: EMIL TABAKOV (b.1947): Complete Symphonies, Vol. 2 on: September 10, 2017, 12:10:38 pm
I listened to this today and was rather disappointed. The textures are very thin, mostly single lines, and repeating blocks alternating soft and loud does not a satisfying musical argument make.
9  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Lord of the Rings in music on: September 09, 2017, 10:26:33 am
This is the best Tolkien music I know:

https://www.discogs.com/David-Munrow-And-The-Early-Music-Consort-Of-London-David-Cain-Play-Music-By-David-Cain-From-Four-Rad/release/3617411
10  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: John Maxwell Geddes(1941-2017): R.I.P. on: September 09, 2017, 10:06:54 am
Oh I'm very sorry to hear both of these announcements.
11  Little-known music of all eras / Notice of interesting concerts around the world / Herbert Blomstedt at 90 on: August 31, 2017, 10:40:35 am
http://www.berwaldhallen.se/konsert/blomstedt-90-ar/
12  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: List of Symphony Composers on: August 28, 2017, 05:11:41 pm
There is nothing to stop someone writing a piece and putting on the title page "Symphony No. 485". There is no law that you must have written 484 other symphonies first.
13  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: first twelve-tone technique compositions? on: August 28, 2017, 05:06:24 pm
Why?

A combination of:

The title, "Modern suite";
The tempo indication "Tempo di foxtrot";
The music itself, which shows little sign of any system.

I am thinking it might be a parody along the lines of Nielsen's 6th.
14  About music in general / The listener / Re: What are you loading (or removing) from your portable music player? on: August 24, 2017, 09:41:32 pm
I have a classic iPod with 160 Gb storage, so I can carry a huge amount. What I have on it is a very mixed bag in different styles and genres from different periods, but with a tendency towards the unfamiliar end of the repertoire. All the Casella symphonies but none of Beethoven's, for instance, though I do have all Beethoven's piano trios. Mozart: some of the divertimentos, but none of the masterworks. All Vierne's organ symphonies. Lots of Sorabji. Rossini's Mathilde Shabran. String quartets by Ropartz. And so on. It means that whatever my mood, there's something to fit, and I can make up highly contrasting programmes, where, for instance, a work by Friedrich Fesca is followed by one by Hovhaness.

I very seldom take anything off it, unless to replace it with a better performance, or I find the sound quality is too poor.
15  Various / Miscellany / Re: What are the most annoying things about modern composers? on: August 23, 2017, 06:54:01 pm
But "Seven States of Rain" (and there are many worse) tells the listener nothing except that the composer is rather pretentious.

I'm largely with you up to that point...  but then the iceberg starts to melt for me.

What is that makes "Seven States Of Rain" pretentious (if, let us say, the composer seriously intended to portray different kinds of precipitation as music), but "Four Sea Interludes" is perfectly fine? Or indeed, Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the countryside ?


There are many worse examples, but I was short of time and looking fro something specifically for violin and piano. The work is not seven states of rain. Four Sea Interludes ARE interludes. If it had been entitled "Rain: Seven sketches for violin and piano" there would be no criticism of it at all. And when did you ever hear anyone talk about a "state of rain", anyway?

Let's go back to Alastair's point that modern works often don't follow classical forms, and you can't call a piece a violin sonata if it's not a sonata. Whet irks me is that when a piece evidently DOES fit a classical title, it's not used. Let's take a recent example: Julian Anderson's recent Proms commission. This is a piano concerto, and was introduced as a piano concerto, but is it called "Piano Concerto No 1"? No, it's called "The Imaginary Museum". Not even "Piano Concerto 'The Imaginary Museum'". Note that definitive article, as though there is one imaginary museum somewhere in the world and we ought to know about it. If it had been called "An Imaginary Museum", even, that would have struck a less pretentious note.

In contrast, take James Dillon. A work like Helle Nacht doesn't call out for any formal title, and the title it has is fine. But when Dillon writes a string quartet, he calls it "String Quartet No 8" (or whatever), and not "Remembered Crystal Geometries".
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