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Alun Hoddinott Symphonies on Lyrita ??


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Author Topic: Alun Hoddinott Symphonies on Lyrita ??  (Read 403 times)
Dundonnell
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« on: June 20, 2017, 01:16:49 am »

It is purely speculative and therefore a bit naughty to post this thread here!

I suppose that the four finest and certainly best known Welsh composers of the 20th century would be Grace Williams (1906-77), Daniel Jones (1912-93), Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008) and William Mathias (1934-92).

It is splendid that Lyrita has committed to issuing all thirteen Jones symphonies (that is if they have reached agreement with the BBC on the final symphony)-the first twelve in the series of broacasts made in the 1990 by the BBC Welsh Symphony under Bryden Thomson. The three Mathias symphonies were recorded some time ago by Nimbus. Grace Williams wrote only two symphonies. No.2 is on a Lyrita cd;  No.1 was withdrawn by the composer but, in its 1952 revised version as "Symphonic Impressions" lives on, and a BBC recording is in our archive and on the composer's website.

I hope that the symphonies of Alun Hoddinott can get the full Lyrita "treatment" in due course.

Hoddinott wrote ten numbered symphonies:

No.1, op.7 (1954-55) was (probably) withdrawn by the composer for a revision which may never have happened.

No.2, op.29 (1962) is already on a Lyrita cd, coupled with
No.3, op. 61 (1968), and
No.5, op. 81 (1972)

No.6, op. 116 (1984) is on a Chandos cd


that leaves:

No.4, op. 70 (1970)....broadcast by the BBC in 1970 with the Halle Orchestra under Maurice Handford

No.7 for organ and orchestra, op.137 (1989)....broadcast in 1989 with Jane Watts and the B.B.C. Welsh Symphony Orchestra under Richard Hickox (there is also
           available a broadcast with Thomas Trotter and the B.B.C. National Orchestra of wales under Tadaaki Otaka from 2005)

No.8 for brass and percussion, op. 142 (1989)...broadcast in 1992 with the National Youth Brass Band of Wales conducted either by Edward Gregson or Ray Farr (there seems
            a dispute amongst the sources about who the conductor was for the premiere)

No.9 "A Vision of Eternity" for soprano and orchestra, op.145....broadcast in 1993 with Gwyneth Jones and the B.B.C. National Orchestra of Wales under Tadaaki Otaka

No.10, op. 172 (1999)....broadcast in 1999 with the B.B.C. National Orchestra of Wales under Tadaaki Otaka (as with these other broadcasts this was the premiere of the work,
                            the BBC broadcast in 2007 may have been a repeat of the original)


Of these five symphonies Nos. 4, 7, 8 and 9 were certainly broadcast during the period in which Richard Itter was actively recording onto the tapes now being used by Lyrita for its releases in the Itter Archive collection. IF they were indeed recorded by Itter then Lyrita should certainly release them in the same way as the Jones symphonies and attempt to add No.10 in agrreement with the BBC.  That would be a fitting tribute to the composer whose name adorns the BBC National Orchestra of Wales's concert hall in Cardiff.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2017, 03:15:15 pm »

Tad surprised that there have been no comments on this Embarrassed

Are there no other Hoddinott fans out there Huh

(There is of course no obligation on anyone to comment if not so inclined Grin)
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M. Yaskovsky
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2017, 08:16:52 pm »

What can I say? I agree completely. I'm surprised there's no complete survey of his orchestral output available. In the 1990s? I thought Chandos was going to do the job, but only one volume appeared. So, whenever Lyrita will release some of the not yet available symphonies I'm one of the buyers. (and probably one of the few over here in Holland Roll Eyes
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2017, 08:26:51 pm »

What can I say? I agree completely. I'm surprised there's no complete survey of his orchestral output available. In the 1990s? I thought Chandos was going to do the job, but only one volume appeared. So, whenever Lyrita will release some of the not yet available symphonies I'm one of the buyers. (and probably one of the few over here in Holland Roll Eyes

Thanks for your comment (and agreement Grin) Smiley
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relm1
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2017, 02:09:21 am »

Yeah, you aren't going to get many replies on a thread everyone is in agreement with the first post.  We need more.
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Gauk
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2017, 10:08:57 am »

I'm not familiar with the Hoddinott symphonies at all, but I believe I have the complete piano sonatas on CD. There's also a very nice CD set of the complete Jones string quartets, which my wife bought for me. Well, I suppose it's cheaper to record sonatas and quartets than orchestral works.
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BrianA
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2017, 01:39:24 am »

I am something of a British music enthusiast and (eventually) buy about 75% of everything Lyrita puts out, Colin, so I am also a VERY good prospect as a potential purchaser of any Hoddinott symphonies that Lyrita may see fit to release.

I'm with you on this one.   Cheesy

Brian
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2017, 02:13:42 pm »

I am restraining myself from posting yet another of my lists on here ( Grin) but I have a note of 34 British composers of note born within the 20th century and who composed three or more symphonies. Exactly half of these have all of their symphonies on disc. Several others have half or more of their symphonies recorded.

The composers who stand out from the remainder are Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (one of three), Peter Racine Fricker (two of five), Iain Hamilton (none of four), Alun Hoddinott (four of ten), John McCabe (three of seven), Anthony Milner (one of three), Robin Orr (one of three), John Veale (one of three) and Thomas Wilson (none of four).  The most deserving cases therefore-in my opinion only of course-are Fricker, Hamilton, Hoddinott and McCabe. Of these four McCabe's later symphonies were broadcast after Richard Itter stopped making his off-air recordings. So it would be the symphonies of Fricker, Hamilton and Hoddinott I would be very keen to see Lyrita going for. The symphonies of these three composers would not be to everyone's taste but they are "easier" than, say, those of Humphrey Searle.

.....and, yes, I know that I am leaving Derek Bourgeois aside again but, honestly, I just cannot cope with the incredible number! (Which does NOT mean that I would not like to see some recorded and IF Itter did record any then that would be fine!)
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2017, 02:28:03 pm »

Funnily enough,once I got used to Fricker's soundworld (for want of a more techical description,not being a musician) I have found him fairly 'easy' to listen to. His music is a bit 'grey' on first encounter,but subsequent listening reveals some quite surprising 'colour' to his orchestration. Pianos,harps,percussion,exciting drum thwacks. His slow movements are also suprising lyrical,and quite beautiful,in their own way. His music is also very exciting at times,in a visceral kind of way. It's just crying out for state of the art sound to reveal it's splendours. Hoddinott,conversely,is a composer that I do find quite thorny to listen to. You really have to be in the right mood. At least I do. Which is funny really,considering that his orchestration is quite obviously far more,conventionally,colourful than Fricker's. Unlike Fricker's I find I have to concentrate on Hoddinott's music very hard to follow the twists and turns of his thought processes. Fricker I can leave on in the background. I mean,okay it's not restaurant music Grin.but I don't have to think,"Right,I'm going to put some Hoddinott on now,grit my teeth,and brace myself for a tough listening session. Hiis Sixth is probably the sole exception!
Incidentally,I downloaded some of Fricker's shorter works and concertos from the 'music library' here. I put some of them ono a cd-r,and have found most of them just as satisfying and rewarding to listen to as his symphonies. Surely,the recording labels could record something,now they've 'used up' all the unrecorded York Bowen (well,nearly?!!). You won't hum Fricker in the shower;but come on.....he's not that difficult!!

NB: Shock horror! I might have some York Bowen in my collection,again,before long! I've got an EM Records cd of Walford Davies and Bliss Sonatas for Vln & Pno in the post. It's coupled with a 20
      min Sonata by Bowen. I bought it for the Walford Davies mainly,because I enjoyed his Violin Sonata No 2 on a Dutton cd. Who knows? I might even enjoy it?!!! Shocked Grin
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 03:05:17 pm »

There is so much I agree with in your thoughtful analysis A problem-or so it is often said to be a problem-with Hoddinott is that he wrote so much (too much?) and that his music is too "nocturnal". I happen to like that particular sound and, you are right, in the Sixth Symphony his earlier "abrasive modernism" is replaced by music which I find hauntingly beautiful and deeply impressive.

Personally.....I want both composers to get much more representation on disc
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2017, 04:43:41 pm »

Abrasive modernism is a good way of describing some of his music. I think he is the most 'difficult' of the 'big four' Welsh composers. Although,David Wynne probably gets that accolade,from what little I've heard. Unlike Hoddinott,I'm afraid I haven't really found anything that interesting,that I've wanted to try again. Although,I must admit I have. Wynne's music seems to inhabit a soundworld typical of a certain period c 1960's,particularly,that I find unappealing. All the more disappointing,as his music had been on my 'want to hear list' for years! (Maybe the quality of the sound files doesn't help,however;and he was prolific. Maybe there's something in his  output I might like?) Alun Hoddinott,on the other hand uses allot of very colourful orchestration in his music,indeed. There is also a dark,sometimes quite rich,lyricism there which is genuinely appealing and approachable. But disconcertingly in the same work,of which the Fourth Symphony is a prime example,the abrasive modernism you speak of!!

Of course,there's always Karl Jenkins;who allot of people (judging by his sales) seem to find extremely approachable!! Grin
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Alex Bozman
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2017, 09:29:21 pm »

David Wynne, there is a composer who disappeared off the radar. Really liked the 3rd symphony and curious what the other two sound like, the first apparently never performed Found it harder to penetrate the two pieces on Lyrita but there was another record I had of the 5th string quartet and a work for 2 pianos and percussion, which were easier to get a handle on. Relatively little of his music featured in concert by contrast with other Welsh contemporaries when I lived in Swansea in the early 80s though Prelude was played at the Brangwyn. 
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2017, 11:58:13 pm »

I really am going to have to have another listen now,aren't I?! Indeed! You hear of Mathias,Williams,Hoddinott and Jones;even though their music doesn't get quite the attention it deserves. David Wynne's reputation,however,and his music,appears to have slipped away into obscurity. Bryden Thomson,no less,conducts the recording of his third symphony. Inspired by Caerphilly Castle. It's structure is based on it's concentric design!
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relm1
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2017, 01:45:52 am »

Abrasive modernism is a good way of describing some of his music. I think he is the most 'difficult' of the 'big four' Welsh composers. Although,David Wynne probably gets that accolade,from what little I've heard. Unlike Hoddinott,I'm afraid I haven't really found anything that interesting,that I've wanted to try again. Although,I must admit I have. Wynne's music seems to inhabit a soundworld typical of a certain period c 1960's,particularly,that I find unappealing. All the more disappointing,as his music had been on my 'want to hear list' for years! (Maybe the quality of the sound files doesn't help,however;and he was prolific. Maybe there's something in his  output I might like?) Alun Hoddinott,on the other hand uses allot of very colourful orchestration in his music,indeed. There is also a dark,sometimes quite rich,lyricism there which is genuinely appealing and approachable. But disconcertingly in the same work,of which the Fourth Symphony is a prime example,the abrasive modernism you speak of!!

Of course,there's always Karl Jenkins;who allot of people (judging by his sales) seem to find extremely approachable!! Grin

But I don't think he is difficult.  There is a lot of tone painting too. That Chandos Symphony No. 6 cd is more gorgeous than difficult, no?  What am I missing?  The Lyrita recording of 2, 3, and 5 is dynamic but not difficult.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2017, 02:11:12 am »

I used the word "difficult" only because that might be the opinion of those who find such music less to their tastes than romantic neo-romantic or more obviously lyrical music. I do not myself find Hoddinott "difficult" (as I confess I do find the later music of Humphrey Searle).

....and I agree totally that the 6th Symphony is "gorgeous".
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