The Art-Music Forum
December 09, 2019, 01:13:36 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Here you may discover hundreds of little-known composers, hear thousands of long-forgotten compositions, contribute your own rare (non-copyright) recordings, and discuss all the Arts in an erudite and decorous atmosphere full of freedom and delight. To participate, simply log in or register.
 
  Home Help Search Gallery Staff List Login Register  

Holst Choral Symphony from Chandos


Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Holst Choral Symphony from Chandos  (Read 3820 times)
Albion
Level 5
*****

Times thanked: 47
Offline Offline

Posts: 591


Henry Hugo Pierson (1815-1873)


View Profile
« on: August 31, 2013, 02:40:02 pm »

The long-awaited resumption of the project that was, tragically, curtailed by the sudden death of Richard Hickox -




http://www.mdt.co.uk/holst-first-choral-symphony-mystic-trumpeter-andrew-davis-chandos-sacd.html


This is one of my favourite Holst works, even though it has come in for it's share of brickbats.

 Smiley
Report Spam   Logged

A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

jimfin
Level 4
****

Times thanked: 21
Offline Offline

Posts: 494



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 02:15:40 am »

Oh, I'm so glad you like this work, John: it's possibly my favourite Holst, and certainly one of my favourite choral symphonies. I find it mystifying why so many people dislike it, even Vaughan Williams only expressing a 'cold admiration' (in return, Holst had trouble understanding 'Flos Campi', which to me is about VW's most Holstian work). I only know the Boult recording, so very much look forward to hearing this one.
Report Spam   Logged
Vandermolen
Level 4
****

Times thanked: 3
Offline Offline

Posts: 309



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 07:07:28 pm »

It is my favourite Holst too. I love the Sargent recording, although it is slightly cut. Vaughan Williams was wrong about it.
Report Spam   Logged
Expi
Level 3
***

Times thanked: 10
Offline Offline

Posts: 103


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2013, 11:02:29 am »

Really, who needs this new recording. there are already some good recordings of that symphony around (Hyperion, EMI) !! And this symphony is not a masterwork like "The Planets".  So why wasting money for this, dear Chandos producers Huh Huh
Report Spam   Logged

Here is a short list of relevant british composers:
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 134
Offline Offline

Posts: 4286


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2013, 01:29:25 pm »

Really, who needs this new recording. there are already some good recordings of that symphony around (Hyperion, EMI) !! And this symphony is not a masterwork like "The Planets".  So why wasting money for this, dear Chandos producers Huh Huh

Well...I have the EMI/Boult version of the Choral Symphony and the Hyperion version under Hilary Davan Wetton. Unless the reviews of the new disc are spectacularly good I very much doubt that I shall buy the Chandos. But that is because I do not tend to duplicate recordings of works I already have if the version in my collection satisfies me. I prefer to keep my money and to use it to buy recordings of previously unrecorded music. If I had unlimited funds the situation might be different.

Your point therefore has a certain validity for me. However it has to be said that the EMI version was recorded in 1974 and the Hyperion in 1994 and there is therefore an argument for saying that a new recording is not superfluous to requirements. This is the work Richard Hickox was recording when he died suddenly. In that sense the Chandos recording is a tribute to his memory and Chandos might feel that they owe it to Hickox to complete a project they had started. In any case Andrew Davis may bring fresh insights to the piece. His recordings of Delius for Chandos-which I have not bought Grin-have certainly been very highly praised.
Report Spam   Logged
cilgwyn
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 22
Offline Offline

Posts: 869



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2013, 01:29:47 pm »

I love it! Maybe it meanders a little here & there,but when music is as lovely,atmospheric & mystical as this who cares? In fact,it's possibly my favourite work by Holst,too. I certainly play it allot more than 'The Planets'!
I have to say,however,that like 'Expi',I can't say I feel particularly excited by the prospect of a new recording. A release of a complete recording of the rather wonderful 'The Perfect Fool' opera (another favourite),yes;but the Boult recording is so good I just simply don't need another one!
As to the Hyperion recording. I didn't like it at all. The recording was awful for a start. I had to keep fiddling with the controls. As soon as the orchestra sounded loud enough I was having to turn it up to hear the singing. And back again! Also the whole performance seemed listless. I took it to a charity shop (after 'ripping' a copy for reference purposes only)!! Sad The Boult is superb! The Lp used to be in the library years ago,and I remember waiting two or three years before I finally obtained it on cd. The sellers were asking horrible prices! Luckily emi came to the rescue with that marvellous 'twofer' coupled with his lovely one act operas!
Anyway,to sum up;while I'm not against the idea of a new recording......and it's been a heck of a long time coming (it remember it being discussed endlessly on the old Chandos Forum,not the recently deceased one!)....I just can't see any need whatsoever in spending my cash on a new cd,when the Boult is just so-oo good?!! Huh

Also,call me an old fogey;but I just don't like allot of the singers now!!

What perfectly good recordings are Chandos going to replace next?!! Roll Eyes Huh I remember 'the Hurwitz' (as some refer to him) ranting on about how Chandos were running out of ideas. I scoffed at the time;but looking back it,I think he was probably right!! Sad

Report Spam   Logged
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 134
Offline Offline

Posts: 4286


View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2013, 01:47:51 pm »

I have no objection to Chandos issuing cds which they believe will sell. Companies like Chandos have to survive in a difficult financial climate and, like BIS, they clearly feel the need to record music with a wider appeal. If the sales of standard repertoire recordings help to fund recordings of previously unrecorded music that makes sense.

My beef with Chandos is that this is not happening- unless you count the recent Casella recordings(which of course duplicate the recent Naxos versions of the same pieces Roll Eyes
Chandos's commitment to new(ie unrecorded) British music seems to have withered since the death of Richard Hickox. They have Sir Andrew Davis and Edward Gardner.....but have used Davis to re-record Elgar and Delius and Gardner(who does not want to be labelled "a British Music conductor" to re-record Benjamin Britten.
Report Spam   Logged
Clambert
Level 2
**

Times thanked: 6
Offline Offline

Posts: 49


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 01:01:08 pm »

Well, if this mornings broadcast is any guide, I'm afraid it looks like it's going to be another rather undercooked performance from Andrew Davis. (Like his recent "Planets". Perhaps he just doesn't get Holst? Odd, because his Proms performance this year of The Midsummer Marriage showed he can do energy and vitality) Better than the Hyperion recording, but not much: slightly soggy plodding rhythms, with none of the crispness or punch of Boult's original recording. (EG the climactic shout of "Bacchus" at the end of 1 goes for nothing, while the scherzo lacks Boult's wild-eyed frenzied quality. Surprising that Boult, of all people, could unbutton to release real fire.) The soprano sings prettily, but with, it seemed to me, not much sense of connection with the text. I think Davis is a fine Delius conductor, but temperementally he just lacks that dramatic "killer-instinct" this music requires? (And the Choral symphony does need a bit of help here and there.)

But perhaps real cd-sound would make the difference?
Report Spam   Logged
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 134
Offline Offline

Posts: 4286


View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 02:44:06 pm »

I don't think that we should ever underestimate Sir Adrian Boult. He was, in my opinion, one of the greatest of 20th century conductors but his very formal persona and almost Edwardian manners coupled with his reserve, low key podium style and, apparent, lack of charisma, glamour, call it what you will makes him an unlikely candidate for inclusion in the media-conscious, jet-setting, youth-orientated conductor world of the early 21st century.

Sir Thomas Beecham attracted more attention perhaps in his day and was, at his best, a supreme interpreter BUT of a much more limited repertoire than Boult. Barbirolli-again, on his day and in certain repertoire, was inspirational. But, for all-round excellence, in an astonishingly wide repertoire, ranging from Schubert and Brahms, through almost everything in British Music to twelve-tone Schoenberg and Berg, Boult STILL takes some beating. His recordings of the Brahms 4th or the Schubert 9th are as good as any of the interpretations of the great German conductors of the 20th century. The fact that his recordings of Elgar and Vaughan Williams are still regarded as at the very top of the tree of comparisons is a testimony to the depth of Boult's interpretations. Anyone who doubts Sir Adrian's capacity, through sheer command of an orchestra and the immense respect orchestral musicians had for him, to produce enormously "exciting" readings of works like The Dream of Gerontius, or the VW symphonies or Job or the Holst needs to actually listen to these performances Grin With a stick-technique which was, to say the least, "minimalist", Boult could conjure the most amazing sounds from an orchestra.

As I mentioned not so long ago, Decca are still sitting on Boult's amazing recording of the Humphrey Searle Symphony No.1. The Searle 1st(a serial symphony) is not the sort of work the general public MAY have associated with Boult-yet the performance is absolutely blistering Smiley Whether Boult actually liked it is immaterial; he was a conductor who was prepared to conduct, indeed give first performances to, a VAST range of British Music. Indeed his contribution has been grossly insufficiently acknowledged. Remember too that it was Boult who conducted the first performance of the Havergal Brian Gothic Smiley Smiley

Yes...compared to Gergiev or Jurowski or Petrenko or Dudamel or........Boult will appear an elderly gentlemen from another era but as a conductor of superb talent and a musician of undoubted total integrity he still takes some beating!
Report Spam   Logged
Clambert
Level 2
**

Times thanked: 6
Offline Offline

Posts: 49


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 03:41:23 pm »

Well, since you raise the topic, I was at the Festival Hall for Boult's performance of Holsts Choral Symphony some time in the 70's, and there was never any question of his "star quality" from the moment he came on stage - brisk, ramrod stiff, I think everyone unconsciously sat up slightly straighter; but his was the charisma of a strict, wise but benign headmaster rather than a podium show off...And then at the Proms (?) a few years later, when he was very elderly...the moment he raised his stick to conduct Job one was aware of a tremendous sense of sheer authority and integrity which never wavered until the end of the performance...
Report Spam   Logged
cilgwyn
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 22
Offline Offline

Posts: 869



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 04:53:36 pm »

One of my favourite conductors. I must admit I was very dubious about the new Chandos recording as soon as I heard about it. The Boult is just so good. Hickox might have made a better job of it with his undoubted expertise in this repertory. Unfortunately,it was not to be! Sad
Chandos should concentrate on recording music that isn't already available on cd in perfectly good recordings. I keep wondering what they are going to re-record next! Sad Angry

Boult's recording benefits also from one less tangible quality that is far less easy to define.Atmosphere! The performance has oodles of it. That timeless,mysterious quality that is so suited to Holst's muse.

I recall seeing Boult on the tv when I was a youngster. Unlike so many flashier conductors,the one thing I seem to remember more than anything was how his hands barely seemed to move. None of that waving arms around semaphore style and podium pirouettes you see to often these days.!

A total contrast to one of my least favourite conductors. Bernstein!! Can't stand the man or his conducting;although even I'll admit,his recordings of American composers are,generally speaking,second to none.
Report Spam   Logged
Dundonnell
Level 8
********

Times thanked: 134
Offline Offline

Posts: 4286


View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 05:01:37 pm »

As both CLambert and cilgwyn imply, less was more with Boult on the podium Smiley He used an extra long baton but just seemed to flick it about whilst remaining(as CLambert says) ramrod straight. Very, very seldom did his arm rise to shoulder level yet he could produce every bit as much excitement as conductors who "leap about". The very antithesis (in a way) of the histrionic Bernstein-although the latter is a conductor I also enormously admire.

....and yes, it was quite correct to mention Boult's reading of RVW's "Job"-an extract from which can be seen on YT Smiley

To be fair though to Andrew Davis Smiley He has done some very good RVW-the Symphony No.6 and the Tallis Fantasia stand out-and, yes, I read( Grin) how good his Delius has been. I suppose though that Chandos felt that to finish the Holst Choral Symphony project Davis was the right choice Huh
Report Spam   Logged
jimfin
Level 4
****

Times thanked: 21
Offline Offline

Posts: 494



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 01:14:19 am »

I think that another wonderful thing about Boult was his dedication to unusual repertoire for recording at a much more conservative period. He also championed a number of younger composers like Tippett and Malcolm Williamson.
Report Spam   Logged
Paulp
Level 2
**

Times thanked: 2
Offline Offline

Posts: 40


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 02:34:17 pm »

Haven't heard the Davis recording yet, and as I too am very happy with Boult, doing so is rather low on my list of priorities. But this did trigger a memory from a few years back, when I attended the Proms premiere of the Choral Symphony back in 2009 - David Atherton was the conductor, and I suspect this was originally one of Hickox's programmes before the Grim Reaper claimed him. For me, Atherton is a very underrated conductor, and he unquestionably "gets" Holst: had he been the conductor on this recording, I think the performers' response would have been much closer to what I heard in the RAH 4 years ago. The best moments were almost on a par with Sir Adrian (I recall an especially blistering Scherzo)..........
Oh well. May as well file under "missed opportunities" and stick with Boult..........
Report Spam   Logged
jimfin
Level 4
****

Times thanked: 21
Offline Offline

Posts: 494



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2013, 03:20:31 am »

I was at an Atherton Prom this year, where Holst's "Indra" and the London Symphony were performed, and he was pretty fine, I agree.
Report Spam   Logged

Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum


Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy