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Joseph Holbrooke from CPO


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Author Topic: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO  (Read 3665 times)
Albion
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« Reply #90 on: March 29, 2019, 06:16:11 pm »

Also, don't worry about getting confused with numberings. That is Jo's fault. He was always renumbering and re-organising his works, making it a nightmare for musicologists to find their way around his oeuvres.
Perhaps we should start pestering Chandos again!



I'm afraid that I'm responsible for the Wikipedia catalogue, having sourced original work-lists dating from 1904 through to 1952. I've tried to make it as comprehensive and user-friendly as I can, including lost works, abandoned works, changes of opus number, scoring and changes of nomenclature...

 Smiley
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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)
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« Reply #91 on: March 29, 2019, 06:56:01 pm »

There are three options if compiling a Holbrooke catalogue: by opus number, by date of composition, or by genre. The first is of very little use to the run of listeners since the numbers seem to bear little relationship to the dates of composition. My list on here of the orchestral music is chronological but very messy because of Holbrooke's practice of renaming works, revising works or chopping them up and reusing chunks.

The list on Wikipedia, arranged by genre, compiled by John is absolutely the best way to approach the compositions and try to make sense of the nomenclature. I borrowed from it in compiling my list. It is as definitive as John could make it and is a superb piece of research!
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« Reply #92 on: March 29, 2019, 07:00:01 pm »

The Wikipedia very good,actually! A model of it's kind! Grin Smiley Considering Holbrooke is a relatively obscure figure! And not to be confused with a certain,jazz trio;which,sometimes comes up,if you search for this composer & (according to Wikipedia) was named in his honour! (I suppose I should give them a listen,but I'm not really into jazz! At least,not the more modern kind!) Just reading Gareth's response;I think I'd like to hear the Sixth,now! (And why,wouldn't I?!! Grin) The only other brass/band music,I listen to is by Holst. I love his Suites. Although,I recently acquired the Conifer cd,Arnold on Brass,and thought it was fantastic! Yes,I like Holbrooke's use of wind instruments. One of the best Holbrooke cd's I have heard,which seems to have been largely overlooked (judging by the lack of online reviews) is the Cpo cd of Clarinet Chamber music. Some of the music on it has a refined,haunting,slightly,otherwordly,quality. I would recommend the cd to anyone who believes the lie that Holbrooke's just composed vast,barely performable works for huge orchestras. It is also superbly performed and recorded!
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« Reply #93 on: March 29, 2019, 07:40:36 pm »

John's Wikipedia list of Jo's works is a superb job. I don't think it could be bettered. I use it often as reference. I find it invaluable.
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« Reply #94 on: March 30, 2019, 01:13:42 pm »

Yes,it is excellent! I don't know why I used the 'grin' Grin emoticon? I think it was because some Wikipedia articles aren't?! Of course,years go I would have had to go to the library and look all these things up. Incidentally,I never saw the Groves entry for Holbrooke. I'm not sure if they publish the books anymore? Did they say much about Holbrooke,I wonder? I think my first encounter with his name was in a book of stories from the operas? It included some (or all of) Holbrooke's Cauldron of Annwn cycle and The Enchanter! Also the stories of some other British operas by Boughton and Smyth (which are currently being revived) Holst's The Perfect Fool (for which a cd release is way,overdue,imo) and some potted biographies,or details,about the composers at the end. I remember wishing I could hear some of the operas!

Incidentally,I went back to the library (a couple of months ago) when my pc broke down! I was expecting to see the old counter there,and helpful librarians. Alas! The librarians had been (largely) replaced by self service machines. The nice,cosy niches,I used to sit in,with my book,by the window,had been replaced by pc's. The librarians all seemed to be talking to each other in very loud voices,as did most of the other users (apparently,a quiet library puts people off!). And apart from the noise of a kids computer game,in the background;my nostrils were constantly assailed by the smell of a meat pie (with onions,I think?! Shocked Grin) which someone was eating!! Now,I know I'm an old duffer,and it's progress (and the meat pie did smell tasty!) but I'm afraid that,unless my internet connection goes down again,this old duffer will be doing his research from home!! Grin
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« Reply #95 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.

Sorry!
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« Reply #96 on: March 30, 2019, 05:47:48 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.

Sorry!
Dear Dundonnell
I agree on Boughton,Gordon Jacob,Bliss and Lloyd (also IMHO he reached maturity as symphonist with n4).But i will add C.A.Gibbs Odysseus Symphony that reminds RVW "Sea" and E.J.Moeran First and Bainton Second
Best
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« Reply #97 on: March 30, 2019, 06:16:51 pm »

Dear Toby,

How could I forget Moeran's Symphony in G minor Roll Eyes

I omitted the Gibbs Odysseus because it is a large-scale choral work (like Holst's Choral Symphony) and the Bainton Symphony No.2 because it was completed in 1940.
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« Reply #98 on: March 30, 2019, 06:36:53 pm »

Dear Toby,

How could I forget Moeran's Symphony in G minor Roll Eyes

I omitted the Gibbs Odysseus because it is a large-scale choral work (like Holst's Choral Symphony) and the Bainton Symphony No.2 because it was completed in 1940.
Dear Dundonnell
I forgot Dyson Symphony in G
Best
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« Reply #99 on: March 30, 2019, 07:21:08 pm »

As did I Roll Eyes
However let's return to Holbrooke😉
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« Reply #100 on: March 30, 2019, 08:49:21 pm »

I think you are looking for too much in "Ships", if I may say so, Dundonnell - at least if you are expecting symphonic argument. That's not what Holbrooke is about (to be honest, he wasn't very good at it - and probably knew it!). That's why, with the exception of the Choral Symphony "Homage to E.A. Poe" and possibly "Apollo and the Seaman" everything Joseph called a "symphony" is really more of a "suite". He was a very accomplished orchestrator (IMHO) and excelled at the symphonic poem, the mood painting: so if you think of "Ships" as a series of portraits I hope you will be less disappointed. Having read the score and listened to the CPO recording, both the unedited takes and the final version, many times, I must say I do rather like this work.
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« Reply #101 on: March 30, 2019, 11:54:37 pm »

I have a little question about Holbrooke.Why was he so hostile towards RVW?Yes their style was opposite,but at last RVW succedeed creating an English National school that was the goal of Holbrooke.
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« Reply #102 on: March 31, 2019, 01:10:24 am »

I have a little question about Holbrooke.Why was he so hostile towards RVW?

Only reference I can Google with this slant ("Joseph Holbrooke: Composer, Critic, and Musical Patriot") suggests some bitterness on the relative lack of success. Particularly in the later years. This is not an uncommon thing for those who know they are falling into obscurity. However, I'd need more references to verify
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« Reply #103 on: March 31, 2019, 02:36:49 am »

Joseph was not opposed to RVW but he became very bitter on his latter years because his music was shamefully neglected by the BBC and other outlets. And he and VW were close contemporaries. He hit out in frustration at a lot of people. But it is worth remembering that Joseph was a great champion of younger a British composers in his day.
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« Reply #104 on: April 01, 2019, 01:37:16 am »

Obviously I shall need to listen to "Ships" several times before reaching a more considered opinion. I was not looking for symphonic argument but rather for some "sense of occasion", some power, something which would strike me as distinctive. Treated as a Suite rather than a Symphony might be a better approach, I concede, but Holbrooke's earlier works (ie those written before WW1) and those inspired by Poe have a particular brooding intensity which appeals to me.

However........after listening several times I shall see if my initial impressions change (as I hope they will!)
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