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Joseph Holbrooke from CPO

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Author Topic: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO  (Read 6584 times)
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« Reply #90 on: March 30, 2019, 04:18:33 pm »

Well..........I received the new CPO cd this morning and have listened to it (only once so far, I concede!).

The two works I already knew "The Birds of Rhiannon" and "The girl I left behind me" are, of course, both delightful, attractive music and both extremely well-played.

The Symphony No.3 "Ships"Huh I have to say I found it distinctly underwhelming. It grieves me to write this but I must be honest. The work is certainly pleasant, "agreeable" music but there is nothing of the grandeur I expected (given the "theme" of the work). I was looking-and this no doubt is my fault-for something different, something heroic, something which said "I am a powerful 1920s British symphony!"  I did not get that reaction.

There were very few British symphonies from the 1920s and 1930s of real substance. There are the great RVW symphonies, the Bax symphonies-which are all fine works, the early Havergal Brian symphonies (which were never performed of course at that time but we now recognise as immensely powerful works) but apart from those?

Rutland Boughton's 2nd and 3rd (1927 and 1937), George Lloyd's 1st, 2nd and 3rd (1932-1933), Cyril Roothams' 1st and 2nd (1937), Edmund Rubbra's 1st and 2nd (1937, 1939), the solitary symphonies of Gordon Jacob (No.1, 1929), Cecil Armstrong Gibbs (No.1, 1932), Cyril Scott (No.3, 1937) and those two magnificent works by Bliss (Colour Symphony) and Walton's 1st. (Tippett and Stanley Bate both withdrew their early symphonies.)

Does Holbrooke's 3rd claim a place in a list of 1920s British symphonies of real substance? Well......I am not yet convinced. The work may grow on me.....but it did not "grab" my attention on first hearing.

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