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 on: June 23, 2019, 04:01:59 pm 
Started by Dundonnell - Last post by Dundonnell
I note the death of a British composer who has suffered serious neglect: Anthony Hedges.

Hedges's Symphony No.1 is available in our British Music Archive. His Symphony No.2 has never been performed.

Hedges worked at the University of Hull and this "regional isolation" certainly seems to have worked to his disadvantage. He was the sort of composer championed by the late Bryden Thomson but since Thomson's death very few conductors have had the interest, dedication and influence to get music by these conductors performed by BBC regional orchestras.

 on: June 21, 2019, 05:53:11 pm 
Started by Grandenorm - Last post by Dundonnell
I respect the views of those who have enjoyed the new disc. I also appreciate the observations about Holbrooke's orchestration. There is indeed much to enjoy in the music.

The problem for me is related to expectations of the Symphony. If a work is called a symphony and if it is in essence a programme symphony then I expect it to deliver. Obviously that does not necessarily mean in the classical definition of symphonic form but at least as a work of real substance. Strauss's Alpine Symphony or RVW's London Symphony or Sinfonia Antarctica deliver genuine power, substance and programmatic evocation.

Sadly, I think Holbrooke aims too high. The fact that the work was alternatively titled suggests some confusion in the composer's own mind which ships and which time he is thinking of. The cd cover picture does depict warships of World War One and given the date of composition of the symphony it seems clear that we are being invited to think of the vessels of that time. If that is the case then the first movement in particular needs to conjure up vistas of imposing power and strength and that it fails to achieve to my ears. The music is attractive and pleasant and certainly demonstrates the skill in orchestration already mentioned. And had Holbrooke more modest designs and expectations both of himself and for his listeners then, as a Suite, the work would work perfectly well. But, as a programme symphony I feel that it fails to achieve the drama, the power, the evocative magic that other composers might have achieved with a similar subject.

I derive absolutely no pleasure from my sense of disappointment with the work. Holbrooke's earlier compositions, and in particular those inspired by Poe, the Gothic melodrama, work extremely well. He achieves what he sets out to do. I am just not convinced that in this symphony he did so. Perhaps I expected too much? Listening to the music freed from the programmatic subtext might well be a better way to tackle the listening experience.

But of course this is a personal response to the music. The enthusiastic response of others should not and will not be diminished by my reservations.

 on: June 20, 2019, 11:19:40 pm 
Started by Grandenorm - Last post by Grandenorm
Dear Cilgwyn,
Thank you for your kind words. I am so pleased you enjoyed the disk, especially "Ships". Holbrooke's orchestral imagination is always so excitingly colourful especially, IMHO, in his writing for wind instruments. That 2nd movt of "Ships" is breathtaking, I find, while the variations are very entertaining and almost Ivesian in places. That observation, by the way, is not mine. It was made by the distinguished musicologist, David Brown (author of the 4 volume biography of Tchaikovsky) when he heard them first at a concert I organised in London at the Cadogan Hall back in 2010.

 on: June 20, 2019, 07:04:27 pm 
Started by Grandenorm - Last post by cilgwyn
And here's a satisfied customer!! Grin I received the new Holbrooke cd,yesterday! I'm afraid,I,really,enjoyed everything on it! Shocked Grin Particularly,the symphony! It took more than one,or two,listens to assimilate what I was hearing;but I liked it! Again,for me,it's Holbrooke's flair for orchestration,that really does it for me. The second movement (Hospitalships) opens mysteriously and has to have some of his most evocative music. I think it might just be one of my favourite Holbrooke movements,now! And it was great to be able to hear the final movement in it's entirety,at long last!! I found the whole work wholly intriguing and absorbing! Yes,it's more like a suite;but it's all the wonderful sounds that keep me listening. I never know quite what to expect,really! There's an eccentricity about Holbrooke's imagination,to my ears,that,really,marks him out from some of his more conventional,contemporary,late romantic,wannabees!
As to the other works on the cd. I actually didn't think I knew,"The girl I left behind me"! Of course,I knew the tune immediately!  Again! If you're expecting something like the Enigma Variations,you might be disappointed! But,oh,what gorgeous orchestration! Yes,it rambles a bit;but in a wholly delightful,entertaining,idiosyncratic way,that keeps me listening! I think this might be my favourite Holbrooke variations,after "Auld Lang Syne,on the earlier Cpo cd!
All in all,the only disappointment,as far as I'm concerned,is that there isn't going to follow up cd from Cpo,with another symphony,concerto or ballet! Sad A wonderful cd! Smiley And Gareth Vaughan, definitely,has quite a career opening up as a booklet note,writer!!

 on: June 20, 2019, 03:39:56 pm 
Started by dhibbard - Last post by relm1
This is a very fine release of exclusively younger Icelandic composers and well worth exploring.

 on: June 20, 2019, 03:36:54 pm 
Started by Dundonnell - Last post by relm1
A more "restrained" response would be helpful😉You will, I hope, note the inclusion of the violin concerto by a certain Bourgeois

I did.  Smiley

 on: June 20, 2019, 11:48:40 am 
Started by Dundonnell - Last post by Dundonnell
A more "restrained" response would be helpful😉You will, I hope, note the inclusion of the violin concerto by a certain Bourgeois

 on: June 20, 2019, 03:29:44 am 
Started by dhibbard - Last post by dhibbard

Some of you may have an interest in the music of Iceland.   I know I have acquired some CDs on Chandos and others of various composers of Iceland.

Some of the music is good some not so delightful.   Here Lew Smoley describe the good and the ugly.!!

 on: June 20, 2019, 12:57:50 am 
Started by Dundonnell - Last post by relm1
I love you Dundonnell.  Grin

 on: June 19, 2019, 06:52:04 pm 
Started by Dundonnell - Last post by Dundonnell

Can I begin by emphasising that this is not a definitive list and that it is very much a personal selection.

The recent news of the recording of the William Wordsworth Violin Concerto provided the incentive for this list of 23 unrecorded violin concertos.

1943: Stanley Bate No.2
          Ruth Gipps
1947-50:Stanley Bate No.3
1948: Sir Eugene Goossens Phantasy Concerto
1950: Grace Williams
1952: Franz Reizenstein
1953-54:Peter Racine Fricker No.2 (Rhapsodia Concertante)
1954: John Joubert
1958: Arnold Cooke
1959: John McCabe No.1 "Sinfonia Concertante"
          Robert Simpson
1960: Alun Hoddinott No.1
1966: Daniel Jones
1969: Robert Still
1972: Iain Hamilton No.2 "Amphion"
1978: Arthur Butterworth
1980: John McCabe No.2
1992: William Mathias
1995: Alun Hoddinott No.2 "Mistral"
1992: Wilfred Josephs
2002: Derek Bourgeois
2003-04:Hugh Wood No.2
2009: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies No.2 "Fiddler on the Shore"

(There are of course others by composers like Denis ApIvor, Ronald Stevenson, Malcolm Lipkin and David Ellis.)

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