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Josef Holbrooke Grasshopper


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Author Topic: Josef Holbrooke Grasshopper  (Read 184 times)
cilgwyn
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« on: October 30, 2014, 08:08:24 pm »

It seems as if Holbrooke's Violin Concerto "The Grasshopper" is finally getting a radio broadcast! Hopefully this means that the long promised Holbrooke Vol 2 from Cpo will finally emerge. Of all the neglected late romantics who experienced brief fame at the beginning of the last century Holbrooke does seem to be the one of the most neglected by the cd labels in this age of rediscoveries!

http://www.deutschlandradiokultur.de/programmvorschau.282.de.html?drbm:date=29.11.2014

Hope the link works (it's in German,if you do. Scroll down for the Holbrooke).
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britishcomposer
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 08:14:01 pm »

Thanks for reposting this from UC. I thought members here are not that much interested in romantic stuff. Anyway, a broadcast doesn't mean that a physical release is imminent - not if we talk of CPO. Wink
The J. Weismann and A. Ph. Heinrich broadcasts are about 5 years old or so and the Weismann is mentioned in Alun Francis's discography for some years, too, but no release yet!

I must say I wasn't impressed with the violin-and-piano version of this concerto released by naxos an EM Records some years ago. It's difficult to say if Holbrooke ever came to find his own style. In contemporary music it is almost a virtue to avoid a personal style of writing but in romantic music it's the trademark that helps to bind the interest.
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 08:50:20 pm »

I should have mentioned the source of my post. My apologies for this! I actually do quite like some of Holbrooke's music;but then again I quite like Scott,another composer who doesn't seem to attract allot of posts on these message boards. I do think his best music has a sound world of it's own,if you take the time to get to know it,or have the inclination! Not that I've heard much of his 'best music',considering some of his supposedly finest achievements remain unrecorded or only available in the form of extracts. Having said that,he obviously doesn't have the individuality of a Bax or the fluency of Bantock. At best his approach to orchestration strikes me as eccentric and even amateurish. He also strikes me as having a very poor sense of structure. I must admit I regard even some of the better examples of his work as a bit of a curates egg to say the least. That said,there is an odd,garish,often gothic imagination and atmosphere to his muse that usually maintains my attention........when I'm in the right mood!! Grin
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 10:20:57 pm »

Thanks for reposting this from UC. I thought members here are not that much interested in romantic stuff. Anyway, a broadcast doesn't mean that a physical release is imminent - not if we talk of CPO. Wink
The J. Weismann and A. Ph. Heinrich broadcasts are about 5 years old or so and the Weismann is mentioned in Alun Francis's discography for some years, too, but no release yet!

I must say I wasn't impressed with the violin-and-piano version of this concerto released by naxos an EM Records some years ago. It's difficult to say if Holbrooke ever came to find his own style. In contemporary music it is almost a virtue to avoid a personal style of writing but in romantic music it's the trademark that helps to bind the interest.
Since the members of this forum are generally not filtering music by compositon date, we are likely to find acceptance even if the music is good and described as "romantic". Good music is simply good music. At least that how I feel..
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britishcomposer
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 10:49:29 pm »

Thanks, cilgwyn, for offering your personal assessment of Holbrooke's style.
"odd,garish,often gothic imagination and atmosphere" - Yes, that quite fit's it. Or at least some of it.
I have listened to a lot Holbrooke again and again for some years now but lately have decided to give up. Wink

BTW, talking about style reminds me of a strange stylistic influence on Holbrooke: does any of you remember the String Sextet released by Marco Polo?
Listen to the first movement, the first Allegro subject after the Adagio Introduction. This is pure Svendsen!!!  Grin
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 11:39:08 pm »

Indeed,some of it! I must admit he's not the most frequent visitor to my cd player! I do find his music  quite intriguing and I haven't given up yet. That said,I can't deny that Holbrooke cds are a bit of a mixed bag. Maybe I'll give up?! Grin But then again,I like the Dylan prelude very much,I rather like the Funeral march from Bronwen,and find it rather moving. I like The Raven,Ulalume,Amontillado. But the Cello Concerto and the Fourth Symphony are a disjointed mess. I like parts of them,though! I like the prelude to The Bells and some of the Variations on Three Blind Mice........but Dohnanyi is allot better! Even for someone who does like some Holbrooke,I do wonder,if the law of diminishing return applies here,though?!

I think I'll have some Marmite on toast a bit later!! Grin
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2014, 12:47:05 pm »

And Marmite for breakfast it seems! Listening to the Cpo and Dutton cds of his orchestral music I have to admit I do like this music! Ramshackle,wierd,eccentric,but to me what collecting unusual,off-the-beaten-track repertoire is all about. Also,I think the Cello Concerto holds together better than I thought. I don't even usually like Cello Concertos,either! Whether the Fourth symphony is anything more than a suite in disguise,the second movement really does it for me! I think it could be played on it's own. At one point Holbrooke throwing all caution to the wind with a gorgeous passage that strikes me as pure Hollywood. The third movement reverts to the idiom of the first movement,however! Sad Intriguing,but the final movement goes on too long!

I might listen to some Sibelius later! Grin
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2014, 02:07:02 am »

I've got both of the current 'Grasshopper' recordings, the 'just sonata' version and the 'concert arranged for piano' version, and am looking forward to hearing it in orchestral clothing.
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2014, 04:03:49 pm »

So am I,jimfin? After not listening to my Holbrooke cds for a while I was wondering if I would enjoy them this time around. Well,I did! So,bring on the 'grasshopper',I say! Grin As to a five year plus wait? Well,I've waited allot longer and heard music I never expected to hear. The only trouble is I'm not getting any younger! A pity Howard Griffiths doesn't like the third symphony,though.......because it sounds like Havergal Brian,I gather?! As someone who posts regularly in the HB thread over at the GMG,all the more reason for me to want to hear it! I'd also love to hear his Fifth Symphony,'Wild Wales',not just because I live in Wales,but because I particularly like Holbrooke's use of the brass section and I am very curious to hear what he could do in a piece like this.
Chandos keep saying they want to record Holbrooke (see Chandos forum) and Dutton appear to like Holbrooke so maybe there is hope of some more Holbrooke (if you like his music!) in the next 20 years?!! Sad Grin If I win the lottery I'll be paying for a Daniel Jones cycle first,though!!
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2014, 11:41:20 am »

Just a reminder that this broadcast will be this evening at 8.25 (?) UK time...Alas, I shall be at work, but hope that other people will be able to catch it...
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2014, 03:52:13 pm »

Just a reminder that this broadcast will be this evening at 8.25 (?) UK time...Alas, I shall be at work, but hope that other people will be able to catch it...
I missed it! And it's a bit difficult listening online anyway (excuses I know! Grin ) as the pc is upstairs. Did anyone hear the broadcast of " The Grasshopper" in it's orchestral guise? if so what did they think of it!? Both sides of the coin are welcome,of course! Grin
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jimfin
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2014, 12:06:53 pm »

Downloaded it from 'the other place'. I'm a firm lover of the romantic, but also of more recent things, right up to Birtwistle. I like this piece, though not sure the orchestral version was a huge revelation. Holbrooke did like his popular melodies (perhaps a trace of his music hall upbringing), and that might have been one reason he got sneered at, like Mahler. But it's great listening to a set of variations on, for example, Three Blind Mice and Auld Lang Syne, as you know the melody so well that you can see exactly what's being done with it. Whereas I can hardly remember the original form of that Tallis theme or that Bridge theme that VW and Britten respectively worked on.
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