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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 19, 2012, 09:22:11 pm »

Talking of eccentrics, has Leif Segerstam got to symphony No. 260 yet? He can't be far off.

Though I don't think that William Glock was wrong to promote Modernist composers at the BBC/Proms, it was unfortunate that some more traditional composers were sidelined. Perhaps this could be one reason for the decline of the British symphony? Key relationships were a feature of symphonic writing so Modernists had yet to find a way in (RR Bennett perhaps an exception) - pieces with fanciful titles (I hesitate to say 'silly names') often gave a clue to the processes involved in their composition. It is interesting to read how PMD came to write his first symphony and how he searched for ways to make the form work for him. Though Simpson continued to compose symphonies in the 60s & 70s it is interesting to see gaps in the output of others such as Arthur Butterworth or George Lloyd. Alan Bush has a gap of over 20 years between the 3rd and 4th Symphony, and the only nod towards the form in the 70s was the Symphonic movement 'Africa', for piano and orchestra!

Another point - if the BBC were reluctant to promote more traditional composers, perhaps symphonists, I can see how such a composer might produce a concerto for a particular performer thus gaining an instant advocate for the work. But I speculate.

Thanks Dundonnell for an interesting topic.
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