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Joseph Holbrooke from CPO

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Author Topic: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO  (Read 7172 times)
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« Reply #105 on: April 20, 2019, 08:01:08 pm »

Josef (Joseph) is is one of those "marmite" composers who you either want to to hear more of or simply can't be arsed. These three volumes from CPO have given us a showcase of his orchestral virtuosity; together with the two Dutton discs  (Symphony 4, Cello Concerto, Aucussin and Nicolette, Saxophone Concerto). If I could envisage further recordings of Queen Mab, The Bells and Apollo and the the Seaman this will have given us a comprehensive view of this composer's finest achievements...

I think they will be recorded at some point! Really good performances and recordings like this allow people to get to know a composer. You play,spot the influences,at first;but,the more you hear,the more apparent it becomes,that the composer has his (or her?) own personality,and,finger prints,that mark them out. Holbrooke,obviously,was a bit of,stick in the mud,late romantic;but his music has a quirky,individuality;and gothic,eccentricity,which marks him out from some of the other also rans,of that period. I think it's getting,pretty obvious,by now. At least,to my ears,that the "cockney wagner" label,was,not just unfair,but innacurate. I can see an influence on the Cauldron of Annwn cycle,yes! But some of the more astringent sounds I hear,in the Dylan prelude (in the faster passages) actually make me think more of late Sibelius,than Wagner! Not that I would like to compare Holbrooke,with the great Finnish,composer! That astringency,is particularly,evident,in some of the later works;like Amontillado,for example! And then,there's the,Prelude to the Bells,which makes me think of Russian composers;and even,fleetingly,of Ravel. (There is no Wagner!!) Although,Holbrooke's palette is,to my ears,less refined,than the French master.

And,so it goes! The more we are able to hear;the more we will be able to extract the real Holbrooke,from,received opinion,and the vagaries of,fickle,fashion!
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