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Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989)


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cilgwyn
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« on: June 01, 2022, 02:34:18 pm »

A Lennox Berkeley Centenary Album:   Horn Trio,op.44 (Dennis Brain/Colin Horsley/Manoug Parikian),Six Preludes (Horsley),Four Poems of St Teresa of Avila (Pamela Bowden: Contralto) Minchinton/ Collegium musicum (London) etc  emi

     

This arrived today! I have no Lennox Berkeley in my collection;but I was aware that some fans of British music enjoy some of his music. The Concerto for Two Pianos seems to be the most popular of his orchestral works. Symphony No 1 or 2 seem to be the next in the (level of) popularity charts! Although,while some prefer No 2 other's prefer No 1! Albeit,in some instances it could more a case of admire than enjoy! Reading that he was the most 'French' of British composers was what piqued my interest,however! And,perhaps more than that,the vintage emi recordings collected on this emi centenary compilation. Dennis Brain,no less! Cyril Smith & Phllis Sellick,Sir David Wilcocks,who conducted some truly,classic recordings of British choral works. Also,Pamela Bowden & Colin Horsley who I have encountered via some Lyrita & emi compilations. I also have a Pearl cd with Katherine Ferrier as the soloist in the 'Four poems of St Teresa of Avila (Kathleen Ferrier & Friends) which also features a hilarious,private recording of Kathleen Ferrier playing the piano & doing comedy,impersonation's at a New York Party!  The Lyrita cd of Mont Juic,Symphony No (et al) is on the way! The other two Lyrita cd's of Symphonies 1 & 2 and the Piano Concertos will have to wait until the price drops several pounds &/or if I like what I hear on the Lyrita cd (that includes Sym 3),anyway? Needless to say,I was pretty sure I would enjoy (or appreciate?) some of the vintage recordings on this emi cd (in glorious mono,I might add?!).

Update!The 'Polka' & two final choral tracks are in stereo! I thought they would be,but it was in tiny print!

Update 2! All the music on the cd is pleasant & predominantly lyrical in expression (as opposed to tuneful!). Nothing gritty or thorny! None of that tortuousness you get in Tippett. The choral pieces really are rather lovely,in the best English tradition. If you like Howells or Dyson,you should enjoy them! The Five Poems for baritone and piano are in a similair vein to those of his friend,Benjamin Britten!
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2022, 02:14:41 pm »

Lennox Berkeley: Mont Juic,Serenade for Strings,Divertimento,Partita for Chamber Orchestra,Symphony No 3  Lpo/Sir Lennox Berkeley  Lyrita

   

This arrived today! Well,I never thought I would enjoy the music of Lennox Berkeley this much! A very enjoyable music program of music. All very lyrical & approachable. I can now understand people who say that there is a French quality (or feel) to some of his music. A composer like Poulenc does,indeed,spring to mind,at times when listening to this music. (Albeit,I don't mean he sounds,literally,like Poulenc! I'm merely referring to the elegance,economy and polish of the orchestration!) The Mont Juic is rather lovely (and tuneful)!. Berkeley composed the first two movements and Britten the last two. This is Britten in his lighter vein and shows off his mastery of orchestration. This is a lovely piece and should be more popular. I haven't had time to digest all the pieces on this cd yet,but all the music on this cd is very enjoyable. I liked the symphony,too. I'm not a musician,so I can't get into technical details,but it's lyrical,with just the right degree of astringency (less severe than,say,Fricker or Cooke and none of the tortuous string writing you find in allot of Tippett,thank g**!) In fact,listening to this and the emi collected I posted about previously, makes me all the more eager to hear the first two symphonies and and the Concerto for Two Pianos,which appears to be a favourite with people who like LB's music.

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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2022, 05:23:00 pm »

Lennox Berkeley: Symphony No 3 in one movement op.74 (1969)       Lyrita



I've listened to the Symphony No 3 several times now. It's only around fifteen minutes in duration,so it doesn't take long. This is a more serious piece and I don't think anyone would think of Poulenc or any other French composer listening to it. I find it an impressive,powerful piece. All the more so in that it's all so compact. There is an astringency to the writing,but again,not as severe as Cooke or Fricker,and there's none of the anger & ferocity you get in allot of Fricker. And,again,thankfully,none of that tortuousness to the string writing that leaves my Tippet cd's gathering dust. The orchestration is also less monotone than Fricker ,Cooke or Wordsworth. Although,I wouldn't go so far as to describe it as colourful,but I heard a harp glissando in one passage and the textures are lighter. There are some thrilling climaxes & all in all,I'm impressed,by what I've been hearing! I had some idea a Lennox Berkely symphony would be tough going! How wrong I was! (If symphonies 1 and 2 and the Concerto for Two Pianos are as good as this,or better,as some post's at the GMG forum seem to suggest?!!) :) The sound quality of these recordings is excellent,as one might expect from this label,which is,obviously,an added plus!
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2022, 10:02:19 pm »

The short,less boring & time consuming to read version!

Lennox Berkeley: Mont Juic,Serenade for Strings,Divertimento,Partita for Chamber Orchestra,Symphony No 3  Lpo/Sir Lennox Berkeley  Lyrita



Great stuff! :)
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Fanny Dango
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2022, 02:21:16 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)
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Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2022, 02:35:41 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)

To be fair to Berkeley, the vast majority of composers were inconsistent. Even Beethoven wrote some fearful tripe: does anyone know his Two Preludes through all twelve major keys op 39? No? I thought not, since nobody ever plays them (for good reason).
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2022, 02:42:28 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)

To be fair to Berkeley, the vast majority of composers were inconsistent. Even Beethoven wrote some fearful tripe: does anyone know his Two Preludes through all twelve major keys op 39? No? I thought not, since nobody ever plays them (for good reason).

Nope, never heard of it! Blimey, how did Beethoven traverse all the major keys in just two preludes - must have taken some pretty creative modulation? Much of Haydn's chamber/ instrumental music is just tedium with a capital T, and as for Vivaldi concertos...

 ::)
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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." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2022, 02:48:05 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)

To be fair to Berkeley, the vast majority of composers were inconsistent. Even Beethoven wrote some fearful tripe: does anyone know his Two Preludes through all twelve major keys op 39? No? I thought not, since nobody ever plays them (for good reason).

Nope, never heard of it! Blimey, how did Beethoven traverse all the major keys in just two preludes - must have taken some pretty creative modulation? Much of Haydn's chamber/ instrumental music is just tedium with a capital T, and as for Vivaldi concertos...

 ::)

I fondly recall an exchange in one of my seminar groups at Edinburgh. We were tasked by Prof. Tilmouth one week with writing an essay on some aspect of Vivaldi concertos. One of my Scottish class-mates offered a trenchant observation: "Och, away, they're all the same!" to which Prof Tilmouth shot back "You mean they have stylistic consistency?" Hoots of laughter all round.
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2022, 03:01:47 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)

To be fair to Berkeley, the vast majority of composers were inconsistent. Even Beethoven wrote some fearful tripe: does anyone know his Two Preludes through all twelve major keys op 39? No? I thought not, since nobody ever plays them (for good reason).

Nope, never heard of it! Blimey, how did Beethoven traverse all the major keys in just two preludes - must have taken some pretty creative modulation? Much of Haydn's chamber/ instrumental music is just tedium with a capital T, and as for Vivaldi concertos...

 ::)

I fondly recall an exchange in one of my seminar groups at Edinburgh. We were tasked by Prof. Tilmouth one week with writing an essay on some aspect of Vivaldi concertos. One of my Scottish class-mates offered a trenchant observation: "Och, away, they're all the same!" to which Prof Tilmouth shot back "You mean they have stylistic consistency?" Hoots of laughter all round.

 :D

And the Diabelli Variations are definitely music to nod off to methinks, but their sheer boredom pales into insignificance compared with Beethoven's other variation sets...

 ::)
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Fanny Dango
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2022, 03:06:18 pm »

And the Diabelli Variations are definitely music to nod off to methinks, but their sheer boredom pales into insignificance compared with Beethoven's other variation sets...

 ::)

Sheer ignorant heresy! I play them frequently and never cease to find delight even as my fingering goes awry.

 >:(
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Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2022, 03:15:12 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)

To be fair to Berkeley, the vast majority of composers were inconsistent. Even Beethoven wrote some fearful tripe: does anyone know his Two Preludes through all twelve major keys op 39? No? I thought not, since nobody ever plays them (for good reason).

Nope, never heard of it! Blimey, how did Beethoven traverse all the major keys in just two preludes - must have taken some pretty creative modulation? Much of Haydn's chamber/ instrumental music is just tedium with a capital T, and as for Vivaldi concertos...

 ::)

I fondly recall an exchange in one of my seminar groups at Edinburgh. We were tasked by Prof. Tilmouth one week with writing an essay on some aspect of Vivaldi concertos. One of my Scottish class-mates offered a trenchant observation: "Och, away, they're all the same!" to which Prof Tilmouth shot back "You mean they have stylistic consistency?" Hoots of laughter all round.

 :D

And the Diabelli Variations are definitely music to nod off to methinks, but their sheer boredom pales into insignificance compared with Beethoven's other variation sets...

 ::)

Agreed, with the possible exception of the C Minor Variations WoO 80 (especially as played by Rachmaninov, albeit truncated).

And the Diabelli Variations are definitely music to nod off to methinks, but their sheer boredom pales into insignificance compared with Beethoven's other variation sets...

 ::)

Sheer ignorant heresy! I play them frequently and never cease to find delight even as my fingering goes awry.

 >:(

But as my old mother used to say, "It wouldn't do if we were all the same!"

On the subject of heresy, I find the Goldberg Variations a bore too. And I love Bach (usually)
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2022, 03:19:34 pm »

And the Diabelli Variations are definitely music to nod off to methinks, but their sheer boredom pales into insignificance compared with Beethoven's other variation sets...

 ::)

Sheer ignorant heresy! I play them frequently and never cease to find delight even as my fingering goes awry.

 >:(

Hooray!



 :D
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Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2022, 03:35:36 pm »

And the Diabelli Variations are definitely music to nod off to methinks, but their sheer boredom pales into insignificance compared with Beethoven's other variation sets...

 ::)

Sheer ignorant heresy! I play them frequently and never cease to find delight even as my fingering goes awry.

 >:(

Hooray!



 :D

Ooops.  It looks as though the engine driver's fingering went awry!
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2022, 04:32:34 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)

To be fair to Berkeley, the vast majority of composers were inconsistent. Even Beethoven wrote some fearful tripe: does anyone know his Two Preludes through all twelve major keys op 39? No? I thought not, since nobody ever plays them (for good reason).
Not wanting to go off-topic,but,just out of interest,have you ever consumed tripe,Lionel? As in eating it! (Not Rufinatscha! ;D) I've heard allot about it,but never had the pleasure (?) of tucking into it!!
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Albion
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2022, 04:46:09 pm »

I think Berkeley was pretty inconsistent - there is certainly some lovely stuff including the Four Poems of Saint Teresa, but sometimes the symphonies sit quite static and Nelson is a total bore. What else is in the British and Irish Music Archive? I can't seem to find it.

 ::)

To be fair to Berkeley, the vast majority of composers were inconsistent. Even Beethoven wrote some fearful tripe: does anyone know his Two Preludes through all twelve major keys op 39? No? I thought not, since nobody ever plays them (for good reason).
Not wanting to go off-topic,but,just out of interest,have you ever consumed tripe,Lionel? As in eating it! (Not Rufinatscha! ;D) I've heard allot about it,but never had the pleasure (?) of tucking into it!!

 :D

My maternal grandmother used to serve me and my late sister tripe and vinegar as a lunchtime treat (it had the texture of rubber but without the flavour), followed by some truly hideous slop which she rather optimistically referred to as a "trifle"...



...more than a trifle disgusting methinks.

 :P
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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." (Sydney Grew, 1922)

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