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The Rise of the Concerto and the Fall of the Symphony in Britain

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Author Topic: The Rise of the Concerto and the Fall of the Symphony in Britain  (Read 1253 times)
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« on: November 17, 2012, 11:03:29 pm »

Thank you, Alistair Smiley

I DO beg Robin Holloway's pardon Embarrassed He has indeed written a monumental Symphony, an hour-long piece, composed in 1998-99 for the 2000 Proms. The critic in the "Sunday Telegraph" wrote "A recording soon, please!" We are still waiting Sad

But I do have to make the point that this is Holloway's solitary named orchestral Symphony and though the critics playfully joshed him that his (even-longer) Fourth Concerto for Orchestra was, in fact, his Symphony No.2 Holloway resisted the use of the word.

This-it seems to me-is indicative of a tremendous weight of historical legacy bearing down on the shoulders of contemporary composers which, frankly, intimidates them from using the word. It cannot, surely, be the Simpsonian dictum that a "symphony" is "not a symphony" unless it follows classical symphonic development. That prerequisite has surely been discarded now by so many composers over the years that if a composer choses to call a work a "symphony" then most of us are perfectly content to live with that description. As you yourself write "it is a very daunting prospect"......unless, of course, your name happens to be either Derek Bourgeois or Philip Glass Grin Grin

Anyway....all I am trying to do is to provoke discussion so thank you for your interesting contribution Smiley
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