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Lyrita futures


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Author Topic: Lyrita futures  (Read 1892 times)
Dundonnell
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« Reply #45 on: September 16, 2017, 01:58:41 am »

I also feel that Edward Downes is a better advocate for Georg Lloyd, than the composer himself.
The 7th is my favourite Lloyd symphony.



The ability to compose a really "good tune" is a wonderful blessing! British composers like Parry, Elgar and Holst gave us such marvellous "big tunes". In the slow movement of his Symphony No.7 George Lloyd gives us another. The Lento opens with the tune on the lower strings before the woodwind join in. The music is beautiful, still and moving but when the tune returns 9 minutes into the movement it is richer, broader and gloriously melodic. It is the sort of music I cannot listen to without wondering at Lloyd's gift and feeling quite emotional.

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kyjo
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« Reply #46 on: September 17, 2017, 10:43:01 pm »

Completely agree with you, Colin, about many British composers' natural ability to write great "big tunes". In addition to Lloyd, I would single out Malcolm Arnold as another talented writer of "big tunes". The most affecting of these is that of the slow movement of his Fifth Symphony, which has an almost Mahlerian poignancy. The theme returns near the end of the finale in grandiose, Hollywoodesque fashion, before a shattering E minor chord plunges the music into the abyss (one of the most astonishing endings in all of classical music, IMO). There are also great big tunes in his First (near the end), Fourth (second theme of first movement), and Seventh (second theme of first movement) Symphonies. Also, there are some examples of great "big tunes" in Alwyn's output, notably near the end of his Second Symphony and in the first movement of his Piano Concerto no. 2.
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« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2017, 12:53:08 am »

I also feel that Edward Downes is a better advocate for Georg Lloyd, than the composer himself.
The 7th is my favourite Lloyd symphony.



The ability to compose a really "good tune" is a wonderful blessing! British composers like Parry, Elgar and Holst gave us such marvellous "big tunes". In the slow movement of his Symphony No.7 George Lloyd gives us another. The Lento opens with the tune on the lower strings before the woodwind join in. The music is beautiful, still and moving but when the tune returns 9 minutes into the movement it is richer, broader and gloriously melodic. It is the sort of music I cannot listen to without wondering at Lloyd's gift and feeling quite emotional.



Some composers believe the "good tune" can't be taught.  There isn't a single lesson in music school about how to do it.  It is somewhat instinctive.  One of my teachers and former employers said he writes tunes all the time, but he'd give anything for that "great tune" that you just can't get out of your head.  Though he is quite accomplished, he doesn't know how to do it.  I would wager George Lloyd as masterful as he was at writing memorable themes, never had a lesson on that topic.  The same could be said about harmony.  Though we are taught harmony, there is harmony that goes beyond the books in how it affects mood and the structure of the piece. Yes the rudiments are taught but a great harmonist (one of my favorites is John Williams) really transcends what harmony does emotionally. 
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« Reply #48 on: September 18, 2017, 09:30:51 am »

You are absolutely right. After all, I suppose, if there was a method that could be taught for writing "memorable" tunes every composer would be able to write them. But therein lies inspiration. Elgar (who was quite good at writing tunes) said of one of his greatest (the Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1) that the big tune came into his head when he was out trout fishing!
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« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2017, 01:00:27 pm »

Then you have the case of Haydn's "Emperor hymn", a really "big" tune. I understand that the composer really had to chisel away at it over many iterations to get it into the form we know it today. Perspiration rather than inspiration.
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« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2017, 03:18:41 pm »

You are absolutely right. After all, I suppose, if there was a method that could be taught for writing "memorable" tunes every composer would be able to write them. But therein lies inspiration. Elgar (who was quite good at writing tunes) said of one of his greatest (the Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1) that the big tune came into his head when he was out trout fishing!

No, not really.  Many composers hate the very concept of a theme.  Few composers would want to write this way because it is "quaint" and not a style in vogue.  George Lloyd's slow acceptance is proof of that. 
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« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2017, 06:53:53 pm »

I was careful to write "would be able to write them" NOT "would write them".
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2017, 09:47:31 pm »

There isn't a single lesson in music school about how to do it.

Hmmm, but there are some rules-of-thumb you can use (and which I was taught during my BMus course, many decades ago now...)
  • it has to be singable, so the compass should not be much over an octave, ideally
  • the early part of the melody should explore an even smaller range, such a fourth, or fifth
  • the tune should slowly expand to its full compass range in the penultimate section
  • and conclude with a modified version of the start, to give a sense of completion

Haydn's melody (cited above) fits all these rules admirably :-)  So does Holst's I Vow To Thee, My Country
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Grandenorm
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« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2017, 09:56:17 pm »

Very interesting, Neil. Thank you. I was not aware of those "rules of thumb".
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« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2017, 09:58:21 pm »

I don't think a theme is the same as a melody, though many are. But what I equally admire are - especially mid-20th century - symphonists capable of developing themes that may look rather uncompromising at first sight, and then start to reveal their full potential, melody included.
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… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.  RVW, 1948
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« Reply #55 on: September 19, 2017, 02:14:31 am »

Completely agree with you, Colin, about many British composers' natural ability to write great "big tunes". In addition to Lloyd, I would single out Malcolm Arnold as another talented writer of "big tunes". The most affecting of these is that of the slow movement of his Fifth Symphony, which has an almost Mahlerian poignancy. The theme returns near the end of the finale in grandiose, Hollywoodesque fashion, before a shattering E minor chord plunges the music into the abyss (one of the most astonishing endings in all of classical music, IMO). There are also great big tunes in his First (near the end), Fourth (second theme of first movement), and Seventh (second theme of first movement) Symphonies. Also, there are some examples of great "big tunes" in Alwyn's output, notably near the end of his Second Symphony and in the first movement of his Piano Concerto no. 2.

You are quite right, Kyle, to instance Malcolm Arnold and William Alwyn as British composers who wrote marvellous "big tunes". You highlight a number of examples of their work. I would add the third of Malcolm Arnold's Scottish Dances which has the most sublimely beautiful melody/tune (call it what you will). It is such a feature of Arnold's music and the tragic unhappiness of much of the composer's later life adds a particular poignancy to his boundless capacity to compose music of such beauty.

Another British composer with that ability was the late Richard Arnell. Arnell's rich, romantic music is full of wonderful melodies but one of the richest and most moving is in the last movement of his Symphony No.7. This is the symphony Arnell could not complete because of his growing blindness but which was realised through the devotion of the conductor Martin Yates. Like the Sixth Symphony Arnell's 7th is less overtly romantic than the first five symphonies, a more angry, dissonant work. But Arnell insisted that the work should end in a mood of radiant melody and the "Tune" is (certainly to my ears) a most moving farewell by the composer to the musical world he had inhabited for most of his career.

I was also delighted that Neil mentioned "I Vow To Thee, My Country" which is, of course, the "big tune" at the centre of 'Jupiter' from 'The Planets'.  When sung as a "patriotic" hymn I find it extraordinarily moving. (And in fact the words are not "patriotic", nationalistic tub-thumping bombast.....as some would claim!).

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Dundonnell
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« Reply #56 on: September 19, 2017, 02:29:35 am »

........and although he was not British ( Grin) who could deny the incredible gift of the Portugese composer Joly Braga Sanos to write "big tunes".

The "big tune" in the finale of the Symphony No.4 (starting at around 46 minutes in is so life-affirmingly gorgeous it sweeps me away every time I hear it Smiley Smiley



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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #57 on: September 19, 2017, 12:03:43 pm »

I was also delighted that Neil mentioned "I Vow To Thee, My Country"

I'm happy to have brightened your day, Mr D.  Holst's personal dislike for the tubthumping you mention didn't prevent him producing an inspiring melody now and again :-)
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #58 on: September 19, 2017, 03:49:40 pm »

I wonder if Lyrita have a better recording of Arnold's premiere performance of his Fourth Symphony,with the BBC Symphony orchestra? I recorded it off Youtube,along with his performances of No 6 and No 5,with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra;for my own use,I might add. They make for some very interesting listening,and comparisons with his commercial recordings of No's 4 & 5,on Lyrita and emi. The 1960 recording of the Fourth is in poor sound,though. Albeit,perfectly listenable (add a little bass via the hi-fi remote). I think some of these could make an interesting Lyrita release. I listened to Arnold's performance of the Seventh recently;after being alerted to it by Christo. Without checking the timings on the cd-r I made,Arnold manages to make the symphony last about twice as long as Rumon Gamba (whose performance,I do like) is admittedly on the manic side! The recording uploaded here,for which I am very grateful,includes some bizarre intrusions from what sounds like a Scottish police officer,via his walkie-talkie (?)!! Not that I minded that much. I used to love fiddling with radios as a youngster,picking up all kinds of odd messages from various places and radio stations in distant countries, So,a bit of nostalgia for me!! Grin I wonder if Richard Itter made a better quality recording,though? I recently bought the Lyrita cd of Arnold conducting his Fourth symphony. I got rid of my original cd some years ago. Listening to it again,after a gap of several years,I don't know why I didn't like it. The slow tempi,I suppose? I also seem to recall thinking that those intrusions in the final movement didn't work for me. Now listening to the performance I feel Arnold's slow tempi are what is so good about the performance. The percussion in the first movement sounding more ominous,the slow tempi adding to the tensions below the surface. I actually now regard this as my first choice for a recording of this symphony. I think his 1960 performance would come second. Not sure about his snail paced Seventh,though? Maybe too slow for a symphony like that? Handley and Gamba's tempi seem more appropriate. A cleaner recording,without strange interpolations,might help make up my mind?!!

Any thoughts here,I wonder on Arnold's earlier recordings of No's 4 & 5 and his recordings of No's 6 & 7? I certainly enjoyed the experience of listening to his 60's performances of 4,5 & 6. Not sure about No 7,though. Is it too slow?!! Also,the wisdom of a commercial release (on Lyrita?) of some,or all,of these performances?
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #59 on: September 19, 2017, 04:00:07 pm »

I was also delighted that Neil mentioned "I Vow To Thee, My Country"

I'm happy to have brightened your day, Mr D.  Holst's personal dislike for the tubthumping you mention didn't prevent him producing an inspiring melody now and again :-)

In the same way that Elgar, if I recall correctly, found it increasingly irksome that Pomp and Circumstance No.1 should always be associated with "Land of Hope and Glory". Although since Elgar had written so much that was directly associated with "Imperial grandeur" one has less sympathy with him than for Holst who was not so associated.
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