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Louis Glass


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cilgwyn
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« on: February 05, 2013, 12:01:58 pm »

I don't think I've ever seen a Louis Glass thread (although there may be one at the GMG?) so I thought I might try & start one!! Roll Eyes Grin
Rob Barnett is very enthusiastic over at Musicweb & some people seem to think his Fifth is pretty good. On the whole,a couple of 'googles' around has led to very little,indeed. Most of the Danacord cds haven't even got any customer reviews 'attached' to them & the few I have found are some of the poorest examples I have encountered. They are either incoherent or so short & devoid of content I wonder why they even bothered?!
  Quite frankly,the 'glassy' (Boom!Boom! Grin) boxy,wierd sounding acoustics,or whatever they are,don't help. Neither do the 'chug along' performances. As one 'critic' observed (somewhere) the strings sound 'under-nourished'. I totally agree. I feel works of this nature demand lush,sweeping string sections & this lot certainly could do with some 'string nourishment',to say the least! In fact the whole experience of listening to the Plovdiv is a bit like ploughing through one of those Marco Polo Tournemire cds. Having said that,I wouldn't care to place Glass as high as Tournemire;he just doesn't have his degree of individuality or mastery of orchestration;but he has something & it is hard to resist some of his best ideas. In fact the almost 'Korngold-ian' tune in the third symphony is going around in my head right now! As one or two observers have ponted out elsewhere,it could have popped straight out of some old movie! Surely,any composer who writes a tune as catchy as that has to have something going for him?!! (One measly tune?!! Roll Eyes Grin).

Unfortunately,my posts about Glass on the Atterberg thread have backfired! I just couldn't resist hearing his massive Second Symphony,even if I have to endure the Plovdiv & those wierd acoustics again! Apparently,it includes a choir!!! I just wish those Danacord cds were a little less pricey. Anyway,it's on order,now!
The fourth is another epic. I like & am intrigued by some of it. There IS something there;but I have to say,I'm not entirely convinced! Having said that,something tells me that Louis Glass's Fourth DOES deserve a better hearing & that the experience would be beneficial. Although,I don't think we can expect any miracles (I think the level of inspiration just IS uneven!).
That tune in the third is an absolute cracker,though!! Grin (If Hollywood sound movies had existed then,I would be convinced Glass had pinched it!)

In summation,I remember when I first heard Bantock,via that dodgyMarco Polo cd of the Hebridean. The one with the cover image of him looking like Father Christmas! I thought,this is quite interesting,but......?! Roll Eyes Then the Vernon Handley/Hyperion cd was released,the brass section blazed,the lush RPO strings swept out across the storm flecked,glitter of waves & I thought,"Wow! This Bantock bloke knows how to use an orchestra!" Now,I'm not sure if a Handley,or Rpo,could do the same for Louis Glass;but it makes you think!
Brian's Second Symphony is another example. I've seen it rubbished via the Marco Polo recording. I read their posts & think,if only they could hear the Mackerras performance. Brian's Second is a little uneven,but there's allot of impressive music there just waiting to be unlocked!

To any unwary internet surfers who chance on this thread. Please note,I'm not talking about the 'Einstein on the Beach/ Bowie' bloke!! Roll Eyes Grin ('Langgaard on the Beach' was a bit of a flop! Grin)
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Latvian
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 07:13:32 pm »

I like Louis Glass' symphonies. Granted, the Danacord/Plovdiv CDs leave much to be desired, but at least we can hear the music, and I find it gloriously Romantic.

My favorite is still #5, the so-called "Sinfonia svastika," which I first heard in the original Danacord release of Grondahl's 1950s performance. Of the four Danish rarities in this LP set, I found the Glass the most distinctive and memorable by far.

The Marco Polo issue with Marchbank and the South African Broadcasting Orchestra is decent enough. There's also an upload here with Edward Downes in a live performance, but I found it a little too eccentric interpretatively to be really satisfying.

Perhaps da capo might take up the cause with a new, improved recording!
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 08:02:43 pm »

I agree with you! Smiley Let's face it,without the Plovdiv PO & their conductor I wouldn't have much Louis Glass to listen to! Sad Grin Actually,the curious acoustic is the main problem for my ears. It's a bit wierd,that's all. Very Marco Polo! Still,maybe,in a way,the shortcomings of the performances (& their recordings) adds to the excitement? Enhancing the feeling of some kind of personal discovery. A bit like those off air recordings of Brian symphonies I listened to for years!
I DO like that theme in the 3rd,though. Glass could have made a bit more of it,perhaps,but it certainly goes round in my head! I noticed one reviewer saying that it sounded like "My Favourite Martian!" I never saw that,so I can't really comment! At least it wasn't "Mork & Mindy!" Shocked Sad Grin
To be quite honest,I'd be reluctant to  place his Symphonies as highly as Rob Barnett does;let alone examples by (for example) Tournemire or Rued Langgaard;but I still think he deserves a thread of his own! Maybe wearing too short trousers & giving the movements of his symphonies 'peculiar' titles might have helped his cause,I don't know! Grin But then again,for all his peculiarities,Langgaard DID compose some wonderful music,including his masterly,'Music of the Spheres'. But enough of lazy comparisons!
According to MDT,my cds of No's 2,3 & 6,should take at least four weeks!! Roll Eyes Sad Grin (I have 3 & 6 as downloads!)

I have listened to No 4 a couple of times and,with the best will in the world,I do get the feeling Glass took on a bit more than he could chew here. It's the kind of work that is very ambitious in scope,but unfortunately,the composer hasn't quite got the capability to realise the breadth of his ambition. The level of inspiration is frankly uneven. Yet,there's enough there to maintain my interest & it's the sort of failed musical block buster that's fun to puzzle over.If Dacapo,or some other cd label,brought out a superior performance I would certainly snap it up. It's not a masterpiece,but I like it & I think it would sound allot finer than it does in the Plovdiv performance. Still,this is allot better than nothing that all!!! Grin




I remember the original Lps of that Danacord set you mention being advertised in Gramophone. That peculiar cover illustration immeadiately grabbed my teenage attention. Glad they kept it for the cd reissue!

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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 01:44:49 pm »

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I have listened to No 4 a couple of times and,with the best will in the world,I do get the feeling Glass took on a bit more than he could chew here.

I have the same reaction to this work. Intriguing, colorful, but certainly not a masterpiece.

May I also recommend the lovely Elf-Hill suite, with Ole Schmidt, if you're not already familiar with it. It was originally on Unicorn-Kanchala -- I don't know of its current availability.
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 02:31:03 pm »

At least it's not a complete clunker! I'd love to hear a really good orchestra tackle it. It needs virtuosity & a good string section. My guess is it'll sound allot better,maybe a tad more convincing,but still uneven.I think it will be worth it,though! I'll snap it up!! Smiley And it's an intriguing puzzle! And,in a way, that's half the fun,of these 'would-be' late romantic blockbusters! I can't wait to hear No 2!! Grin It's even got a choir!!! Roll Eyes Shocked Grin
Mind you,if you're an also-ran,imho,Langgaards First is the way to do it!! Smiley Although,I hate comparisons!

No,I haven't heard the Elf-Hill suite. The cd rings a bell. I think I've browsed over it,but never actually bought or listened to it! Ole Schmidt & the late,lamented Unicorn label?!! Right,that one is going on my list! Smiley Thanks for the suggestion,Latvian!

One rather trivial gripe. The cover 'paintings' on the Danacord cds?! Is it just me,but aren't they just a blobby mess?! Even I can paint better! Surely there are more appealings paintings that would do more to catch the eye of a music lover,than these disasters?!! They look like some one just tackled 'painting-by-numbers' without their spectacles on!! Shocked Sad
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2013, 03:30:16 pm »

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One rather trivial gripe. The cover 'paintings' on the Danacord cds?! Is it just me,but aren't they just a blobby mess?! Even I can paint better! Surely there are more appealings paintings that would do more to catch the eye of a music lover,than these disasters?!! They look like some one just tackled 'painting-by-numbers' without their spectacles on!! Shocked Sad

Quite so!

I have to admit that I'm very susceptible to the influence of cover art on CDs (and LPs, back in the day). It shouldn't be so, but I'm often more likely to buy a mediocre recording with gorgeous packaging than a superb recording with repulsive cover art, sloppy graphics, etc. Ah well, we all have our foibles.  Grin
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2013, 06:05:55 pm »

Personally,I think cd artwork dos have an influence on whether someone buys a cd,or not. If not,cd labels wouldn't bother with the covers;they'd all be like Hyperion's release of the Gothic;which,incidentally, was great for AC DC's 'Back in Black! Grin Still,at least that one didn't look like a Danish version of Rolf Harris! And maybe,the peculiar 'artwork' Roll Eyes did catch some unwary (heavy metal enthusiast's Grin) eyes?!!
CPO,unlike Danacord,seem to know how to promote a cd with attractive artwork. Some of them look so nice I could almost eat them!! Roll Eyes Huh Shocked Grin
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 01:32:14 pm »

Maybe I shouldn't mention the UC here (sorry,Dundonnell! Grin) but I just spotted an interesting post about Louis Glass,there. Apparently,the Glass symphonies (Louis!)  were recorded,in the 90s,by the Aarhus Symphony orchestra,under (possibly?) Barry Wordsworth. The recordings were then canned!! Apparently,they were allot better than the Plovdiv ones!
Well.that's news to me,yet,in a way there's something familiar about this kind of story! At any rate,I can't help agreeing with the post. I feel the Bulgarian performances are in a similar category to the Tournemire recordings on Marco Polo,although,maybe,not quite as bad?! In that instance,the Auvidis Valois performances are a refreshing alternative. Unfortunately,Louis Glass isn't quite so lucky! These symphonies need lush strings,blazing horns & spacious sound recording quality to do them justice. Otherwise (with the notable exception of Latvian!) they are only ever going to attract the attention of 'anoraks' of neglected obscurities,like yours truly!! Grin
Incidentally,I wonder,precisely, why they were canned?! Does anyone here,know?

Wait,don't tell me!! Money?!!! Sad Grin
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 01:49:54 pm »

Actually, I feel the Plovdiv orchestra in the Glass cycle is wretchedly inferior to the Moscow Symphony in the Tournemire cycle...

Regarding the purported Wordsworth cycle -- of course, these decisions almost always come down to money, unfortunately. Although I'm somewhat at a loss as to why, if indeed the recordings were made, the company didn't go ahead and try to recoup some of their investment by actually releasing them! Surely it can't have been a negligible cost to record an entire symphonic cycle! Or at least sell the masters to a more enterprising outfit. Ah well...
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 02:49:25 pm »

Please don't use the phrase "purported Wordsworth cycle" Roll Eyes

It makes me think of William Sad
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 02:49:43 pm »

It's hard to choose! A bit like choosing between a Robin Reliant & a Lada! The wierd,cramped acoustics of the recordings don't help. I think they're both pretty awful,to be honest. But,the Moscow Symphony did manage fairly decent performances of Tournemire's third & eighth. A bit more water boarding & I might decide! But,on second thoughts,I think you're right! Grin
  As to these Barry Wordsworth recordings. It sounds promising & it must have cost a few bob to perform them! I wonder if they were ever broadcast (off air tapes?! Roll Eyes Smiley) It seems such a waste of time & effort! Someone must be able to do something with them. Cpo is another one that seems to 'sit' on recordings for years & do nothing. It's very annoying,and,dare I say,a bit silly!
Still,fair play to the Plovid lot! At least I can listen to a whole cycle! Roll Eyes Grin

 
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 02:52:41 pm »

Please don't use the phrase "purported Wordsworth cycle" Roll Eyes

It makes me think of William Sad
Sorry,Dundonnell! Grin And poor old William could do with a Plovdiv cycle! Roll Eyes Grin
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 03:01:23 pm »

Please don't use the phrase "purported Wordsworth cycle" Roll Eyes

It makes me think of William Sad
Sorry,Dundonnell! Grin And poor old William could do with a Plovdiv cycle! Roll Eyes Grin

Much better....a BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra cycle. Wordsworth was an honorary Scotsman after all Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 03:05:52 pm »

Actually, I feel the Plovdiv orchestra in the Glass cycle is wretchedly inferior to the Moscow Symphony in the Tournemire cycle...

Regarding the purported Wordsworth cycle -- of course, these decisions almost always come down to money, unfortunately. Although I'm somewhat at a loss as to why, if indeed the recordings were made, the company didn't go ahead and try to recoup some of their investment by actually releasing them! Surely it can't have been a negligible cost to record an entire symphonic cycle! Or at least sell the masters to a more enterprising outfit. Ah well...
I'd be willing to bet that projects like this are fully funded by your occasional wealthy eccentric, who may or may not care whether or not the recordings ever see the light of day, as long as he/she (but probably he) gets a CD privately burned for him of the master tapes.  It's like commissioning your own private orchestra and recording studio for a vanity project.  Thus the label takes no loss on the deal.
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 08:27:28 pm »

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I'd be willing to bet that projects like this are fully funded by your occasional wealthy eccentric, who may or may not care whether or not the recordings ever see the light of day, as long as he/she (but probably he) gets a CD privately burned for him of the master tapes.  It's like commissioning your own private orchestra and recording studio for a vanity project.  Thus the label takes no loss on the deal.

Certainly a possibility! Is anyone aware of any specific instances where this happened?
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