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SOME unrecorded British Piano Concertos, 1934-94


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Author Topic: SOME unrecorded British Piano Concertos, 1934-94  (Read 816 times)
Dundonnell
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« on: May 30, 2019, 05:04:12 pm »

The forthcoming release of the William Wordsworth Piano Concerto sent me back to my lists. I would offer the following 19 as worthy of a first recording:

1937: Alan Bush
1940: Arnold Cooke
1941: Franz Reizenstein No.1
1944: Humphrey Searle No.1
1952: Stanley Bate No.3
1954: Peter Racine Fricker
1955: Humphrey Searle No.2
1957:  Gordon Jacob No.2
1958:  Lennox Berkeley Concerto for Piano and Strings
1959:  Malcolm Lipkin
1960:  Kenneth Leighton No.2
1965:  Wilfred Josephs No.1
1966:  Alun Hoddinott No.3
1970:  John McCabe No.2
           Robert Still
1976:  John McCabe No.3
1977:  Wilfred Josephs No.2
1987:  Iain Hamilton No.2
1994:  Wilfred Josephs No.3

Of course there are others: Denis ApIvor (1948), Francis Chagrin (1948), Ian Parrott (1949), Richard Hall (1951), David Ellis (1962), David Gow (1980)...for example but I have kept to the better known names.
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jonah
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2019, 10:12:16 am »

In the main, I agree with your list and would like the chance to hear those not available elsewhere.
Slightly off topic, I think that there should be a modern recording of Rubbra's Piano Concerto in G.  This a memorable work which I had hoped would have been included in the Chandos Rubbra series.
There was also information given in one of the record review magazines some years ago that John Lill had recorded it for Conifer, but that has never appeared, if it was actually recorded.
Naxos seem to have given up on their British Piano Concertos series, so could Dutton, Hyperion or Lyrita be persuaded?
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2019, 09:20:55 pm »

I could not agree more about the need for a modern recording of the Rubbra. John Pickard told me recently that there were rumours of a recording being made in the USA but I know no more about such a possibility.
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Gauk
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2019, 10:03:38 am »

The Rubbra concerto is a great work - I suppose it suffers from the lack of bravura in the first movement.
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Amphissa
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2019, 03:33:32 am »

So, this is just out of curiosity/interest, why not all the unrecorded concertos by composers from Russia, Italy, France, USA, Germany, China, Japan, etc?

I don't have a list. I'm sure it would be long. Just asking.

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Dundonnell
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 03:52:26 pm »

So, this is just out of curiosity/interest, why not all the unrecorded concertos by composers from Russia, Italy, France, USA, Germany, China, Japan, etc?

I don't have a list. I'm sure it would be long. Just asking.


The answer to your question is because there is only so much any one person can do. I have a particular interest in British music and hope that others might be interested in my list.

If others wish to work on similar lists of music from other countries then that would be just fine.

Regarding the USA however, there does not appear to be a huge body of American piano concertos written by well-known or relatively well-known composers. I might point out five which have not been recorded:

1944: Roy Harris No.1
1949: Paul Creston
1950: David Diamond
1953: Roy Harris No.2
2006: Benjamin Lees No.3
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relm1
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2019, 01:53:43 am »

So, this is just out of curiosity/interest, why not all the unrecorded concertos by composers from Russia, Italy, France, USA, Germany, China, Japan, etc?

I don't have a list. I'm sure it would be long. Just asking.


The answer to your question is because there is only so much any one person can do. I have a particular interest in British music and hope that others might be interested in my list.

If others wish to work on similar lists of music from other countries then that would be just fine.

Regarding the USA however, there does not appear to be a huge body of American piano concertos written by well-known or relatively well-known composers. I might point out five which have not been recorded:

1944: Roy Harris No.1
1949: Paul Creston
1950: David Diamond
1953: Roy Harris No.2
2006: Benjamin Lees No.3

I think the point of your lists is that you are listing composers that YOU care about.  I think that is totally valid.  But when you define a composer as less well known, well...less well known to who?  You!  I can name some very famous composers who are not in your list but that is because you don't know about them.  So this whole topic is subjective and should just be considered as your personal opinion rather than anything definitive which some can interpret this thread as representing. 
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2019, 05:52:29 am »

So, this is just out of curiosity/interest, why not all the unrecorded concertos by composers from Russia, Italy, France, USA, Germany, China, Japan, etc?

I don't have a list. I'm sure it would be long. Just asking.


The answer to your question is because there is only so much any one person can do. I have a particular interest in British music and hope that others might be interested in my list.

If others wish to work on similar lists of music from other countries then that would be just fine.

Regarding the USA however, there does not appear to be a huge body of American piano concertos written by well-known or relatively well-known composers. I might point out five which have not been recorded:

1944: Roy Harris No.1
1949: Paul Creston
1950: David Diamond
1953: Roy Harris No.2
2006: Benjamin Lees No.3

I think the point of your lists is that you are listing composers that YOU care about.  I think that is totally valid.  But when you define a composer as less well known, well...less well known to who?  You!  I can name some very famous composers who are not in your list but that is because you don't know about them.  So this whole topic is subjective and should just be considered as your personal opinion rather than anything definitive which some can interpret this thread as representing. 

I think his musical preferences command much more respect, good heavens, musical opinions will NEVER be objective..
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2019, 02:59:17 pm »

Although I read relm1's post last night I decided to sleep on it before responding. My initial reaction-which has only marginally altered-was that it was both offensive and ignorant.

Let me now patiently reply to the points made.

"the point of your lists is that you are listing composers that YOU care about".
No. The "point" of my lists is to highlight particular musical "issues" and, hopefully, inform others who may share my interests. No more than that. They will be of no interest to those who do not....and I accept that. On any forum members will have diverse tastes and areas of interest.
Nor do I simply list composers that I "CARE" about....whatever that may mean.

"when you define a composer as less well-known"
I was not aware that I have ever explicitly done so. I have, very obviously, highlighted composers who are well-known or relatively well-known and omitted others, not, as you suggest, because I "don't know about them" but because any list has to be manageable rather than excessively lengthy and the composers I have included are reasonably well-represented on disc at present.

I quite deliberately and explicitly headed this thread "SOME" unrecorded British Piano Concertos. The choice I made was from composers whose music is reasonably well-represented on disc. I clearly stated that there were other concertos not included in my list of 19. It was-and still is-clearly open to other members to add to the list. Indeed I would have been-and still would be-delighted if others did so. I would thereby learn more myself.

"I can name some very famous composers who are not on your list because you don't know about them".
Really? That is an assumption on your part which is pure assertion. The invitation to identify these very famous composers is very much open. I have always apologised in advance if I omit composers from my lists. I am bound to do so for the reasons given above.

"So this whole topic is subjective and should just be considered as your personal opinion rather than anything definitive which some can interpret this thread as representing"

This is the most damaging and insulting of your statements. Of course my contributions are subjective. Most posts on this forum represent the personal opinions of members. But, more importantly, I have repeatedly stated, in the most emphatic terms, that nothing I write, and certainly no list I have compiled, can ever be regarded by anyone (including myself) as "definitive". I am not so arrogant and I would be utterly appalled if any member regarded any list I have ever compiled as "definitive".

I deeply regret the tone of your post. Over the years I have contributed to this forum I have received nothing but encouragement from others for my contributions and, in particular, for the lists posted. I have never made extravagant claims for them. It is very sad to find myself accused of, apparently, having done so.
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relm1
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2019, 03:34:11 pm »

Although I read relm1's post last night I decided to sleep on it before responding. My initial reaction-which has only marginally altered-was that it was both offensive and ignorant.

Let me now patiently reply to the points made.

"the point of your lists is that you are listing composers that YOU care about".
No. The "point" of my lists is to highlight particular musical "issues" and, hopefully, inform others who may share my interests. No more than that. They will be of no interest to those who do not....and I accept that. On any forum members will have diverse tastes and areas of interest.
Nor do I simply list composers that I "CARE" about....whatever that may mean.

"when you define a composer as less well-known"
I was not aware that I have ever explicitly done so. I have, very obviously, highlighted composers who are well-known or relatively well-known and omitted others, not, as you suggest, because I "don't know about them" but because any list has to be manageable rather than excessively lengthy and the composers I have included are reasonably well-represented on disc at present.

I quite deliberately and explicitly headed this thread "SOME" unrecorded British Piano Concertos. The choice I made was from composers whose music is reasonably well-represented on disc. I clearly stated that there were other concertos not included in my list of 19. It was-and still is-clearly open to other members to add to the list. Indeed I would have been-and still would be-delighted if others did so. I would thereby learn more myself.

"I can name some very famous composers who are not on your list because you don't know about them".
Really? That is an assumption on your part which is pure assertion. The invitation to identify these very famous composers is very much open. I have always apologised in advance if I omit composers from my lists. I am bound to do so for the reasons given above.

"So this whole topic is subjective and should just be considered as your personal opinion rather than anything definitive which some can interpret this thread as representing"

This is the most damaging and insulting of your statements. Of course my contributions are subjective. Most posts on this forum represent the personal opinions of members. But, more importantly, I have repeatedly stated, in the most emphatic terms, that nothing I write, and certainly no list I have compiled, can ever be regarded by anyone (including myself) as "definitive". I am not so arrogant and I would be utterly appalled if any member regarded any list I have ever compiled as "definitive".

I deeply regret the tone of your post. Over the years I have contributed to this forum I have received nothing but encouragement from others for my contributions and, in particular, for the lists posted. I have never made extravagant claims for them. It is very sad to find myself accused of, apparently, having done so.

Perhaps you should have sat on your response a bit longer if you thought my stating your lists and approach are "totally valid" was offensive and ignorant.  I was defending your lists and acknowledging their are omissions that are subjective. *cough* Derek Bourgeois *cough* 
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Amphissa
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2019, 12:03:51 am »

I was not intending to criticize or even question Dundonnell's original post, and I was satisfied with his reply to my question. He clearly expressed his opinion and offered up his personally chosen list. It's his list. If someone else wants to make a different list, well, do it.

As to whether or not the concertos listed deserve to be commercially recorded, that's a matter of personal opinion. Obviously, Dundonnell believes they do. As to whether labels would consider the investment commercially sound, that's another issue entirely.

I'm not as expert as Dundonnell, of course, but I've heard some of the concertos listed, and I've heard other works by most of the composers. I liked a few of the concertos well enough to listen more than once. Others I disliked intensely and am not happy that Dundonnell reminded me that I wasted hours of my life listening to them.  Undecided

Would I actually buy CDs of any of these concertos? Would anyone other than a completist buy CDs of any of these concertos? Of course, those questions have ZERO relevance to Dundonnell's original post. He would. What is there to argue about?





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Dundonnell
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2019, 11:59:12 pm »

My apologies for taking so long to respond to the last two posts. I have been very busy preparing for a visit to London and for the (non-musical) research I will be conducting at a museum in the city.

I shall not bore members by re-stating my position. I have already done so at considerable length. I apologise if I misinterpreted what was written by relm1 and by Amphissa.

With regard to the music of Derek Bourgeois, I have in previous posts acknowledged both the neglect suffered by Bourgeois and the need to record at least some of his music. As far as I am aware-and I may of course be wrong- Bourgeois did not actually write a Piano Concerto. As far as his symphonies are concerned any list of neglected or unrecorded music which included Bourgeois's compositions would, perforce, spread over several separate posts. Such a list would be "unmanageably" long. That is the only reason why I omitted him-with sincere regret-from any lists I have posted.

Amphissa makes some valid points regarding both personal taste and subjective judgment. I would point out however that the composers on my Piano Concerto list are all, to varying extents, already represented on disc. Indeed, of the fifteen composers listed eight have already had one or more of their piano concertos recorded.
No one would argue-and I certainly would not-that these concertos are all "undiscovered masterpieces". But the fact that record labels have actually already invested in putting some of these composers' music on disc does suggest that there is a market (albeit a small market) for that music.

However it would probably be better if we left it at that and agreed to disagree (if or where we do Smiley).
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Vandermolen
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2019, 02:23:13 pm »

I was not intending to criticize or even question Dundonnell's original post, and I was satisfied with his reply to my question. He clearly expressed his opinion and offered up his personally chosen list. It's his list. If someone else wants to make a different list, well, do it.

As to whether or not the concertos listed deserve to be commercially recorded, that's a matter of personal opinion. Obviously, Dundonnell believes they do. As to whether labels would consider the investment commercially sound, that's another issue entirely.

I'm not as expert as Dundonnell, of course, but I've heard some of the concertos listed, and I've heard other works by most of the composers. I liked a few of the concertos well enough to listen more than once. Others I disliked intensely and am not happy that Dundonnell reminded me that I wasted hours of my life listening to them.  Undecided

Would I actually buy CDs of any of these concertos? Would anyone other than a completist buy CDs of any of these concertos? Of course, those questions have ZERO relevance to Dundonnell's original post. He would. What is there to argue about?







Oh, I'd buy any concerto by Bate, Josephs, Jacob or Leighton. Also why is Jacob's very engaging Concerto for Two Pianos not on CD? It was on LP however. One of the great 'missing' CDs along with Gruner Hegge's recording of Klaus Egge's terrific First Symphony, Sir Edward Downes's recording of Bax's Third Symphony, Janis Ivanovs's 11th Symphony (possibly his finest one) and Richard Rodney Bennett's wonderfully atmospheric score for 'Nicholas and Alexandra'.
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M. Yaskovsky
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2019, 09:38:14 pm »

A recording of Reizenstein piano concerto nr.2 is underway on cpo records. Due out in Germany end of june 2019
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Grandenorm
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2019, 11:32:15 pm »

There already is an excellent recording of the Reizenstein PC 2 available on Dutton Epoch, released in 2011, with Victor Sangiorgio (piano) and Martin Yates conducting the RSNO. It is coupled with the PC 2 of Stanley Bates.
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