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MUSIC OF ALL ERAS => Individual composers => Topic started by: Albion on March 14, 2014, 12:19:53 pm



Title: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 14, 2014, 12:19:53 pm
Having just started reading the excellent 2007 biography Malcolm Williamson: a Mischievous Muse by Anthony Meredith and Paul Harris, I thought that it might be timely to give this grossly neglected composer his own thread. In many ways his self-destructive streak mirrored that of Malcolm Arnold.

We now have a considerable number of his works in our Archive, one of my favourites being the tremendous 1966 cantata for female voices The Brilliant and the Dark, using a text by Ursula Vaughan Williams.

A serious omission from our archive is the large-scale Mass of Christ the King, which Williamson infamously failed to complete in time for the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations. There were two broadcasts - I wonder if any member has either or both:

the incomplete version, broadcast from the 1977 Gloucester Three Choirs Festival, conducted by John Sanders (25/8/1977);

the completed version, conducted by Charles Groves (broadcast 3/11/1978)

 ???


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: christopher on March 14, 2014, 01:01:01 pm
I have put in the Downloads section (under British AND Australian music, to keep the peace...!) his Cassation for Audience and Orchestra "The Stone Wall", a recording from the Proms in 1971 (its premiere).  It is such an enjoyable piece, and so I would be really interested to know if his other Cassations have ever been recorded.  They are as follows (information from Wikipedia):

A "cassation" is a miniature opera including audience participation. Williamson wrote ten cassations, of varying complexity and duration. His primary intention was to teach children the mechanics of putting on an opera, and the idea for the pieces first came to Williamson while teaching his own children about music. Williamson had a great deal of success with these cassations, which have had performances in Britain, Australia, France, the USA, and in hospitals in Tanzania and Zambia.

    - The Moonrakers (1967), premiered at the Trinity College of Music, London.
    - Knights in Shining Armour (1968), for Peirs Russell-Cobb
    - The Snow Wolf (1968)
    - Genesis (1971), premièred by the Children's Choir Camp in the Diocese of Western North Carolina
    - The Stone Wall (1971), commissioned by the BBC Proms. Premiered at the Last Night of the Proms on 18 September 1971 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis, in the Royal Albert Hall, London
    - The Winter Star (1973), commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain. Premiered on 19 June 1973 at the Holm Cultram Festival, directed by Andrew Seivewright
     - The Glitter Gang (1974), commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Premiered at Sydney Town Hall on 23 February 1974 by children's choirs and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Hopkins.
     - The Terrain of Kings (1974), commissioned by, and dedicated to, Jeunesses Musicales. Premiered in spring, 1975 in France.
     - The Valley and the Hill (1977), commissioned by the Liverpool Education Authority. Premiered in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Hope Street Cathedral on 21 June 1977, by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and a cast of 18,000 children.
     - The Devil's Bridge (1982), premiered in Angoulême, France.


With regard to other Williamson works - there's a CD called "Colours" in which a number of composers were asked to write a piece after their favourite colour. Williamson wrote "Azure" and it's a great piece, I highly recommend it. Very serene.  I can't post it up here as it's commercially available.  Vic Lewis conducts The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 14, 2014, 01:09:39 pm
I completely agree with you, John :)

Williamson was a strange choice for Master of the Queen's Music when Arthur Bliss died in 1975. We know the famous comment by William Walton: "They picked the wrong Malcolm!!" As you say however, both Malcolms had a tragic self-destructive streak and Malcolm Arnold would have been a more obvious but, probably, less appropriate choice-given his decline in the 1980s.

It is sad that so many of Malcolm Williamson's music is still unavailable (or, indeed, unheard); I am not aware that the Symphony No.4 "Jubilee"-another Royal commission has ever been played ::) The rapid termination of the "Malcolm Williamson Series" by Chandos (as so too the abortion of their Richard Rodney Bennett Series), after only 2 cd releases does that company no favours :(

Williamson's music is uneven. He was not immune to being influenced by some rather offbeat notions in the 70s and 80s. We are fortunate to have quite a few compositions available in our Archive and I was rather impressed by the recent addition (via You Tube) of the Josip Broz Tito Tribute. I suppose also that Williamson is one of these composers who falls between two national stools: is he a British composer because he was domiiciled in the UK for most of his adult life (like Arthur Benjamin) or do we regard him as an Australian ??? Australia seems to have largely forgotten his existence.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Paulp on March 15, 2014, 01:57:40 am
I believe there were some reasons as to why those Chandos series hit the buffers - The Williamson series owing to Iceland's financial collapse a few years back (and consequently affecting the Iceland SO used for the sessions) and the Bennett series because of Richard Hickox's death.
As for Williamson himself, what I've heard of his has always left me wanting more, and with as big an output as his, there's plenty of his stuff out tehre waiting to be discovered.
Having acquired Piers Lane's new set of the Piano Concertos I can report that there's a great deal to enjoy - no.2 is an especially infectious creation. The late no.4 has a rather wonderful tune in the central movt., too.
First review I read was (alas) Norman Lebrecht on the Sinfini site - a typically condescending, damning-with-faint-praise piece which tends to be the sort of thing he does for any composer who has the temerity to spell his name something other than M-A-H-L-E-R. And as such, best ignored. The music, naturally, is another matter entirely!  :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 15, 2014, 06:29:15 am
Yes...the reasons given for the abrupt curtailment of the two Chandos series do make sense. It is however still sad that Chandos did not get Rumon Gamba, who had conducted the two Williamson discs, to record more with another orchestra and equally sad that they have not used him or any number of other young and upcoming conductors to tackle more Bennett. Instead they are using Andrew Davis to re-record Elgar, Delius and Holst-with mixed results (his Delius has certainly attracted rave reviews) and Edward Gardner to record mainstream or fairly mainstream repertoire.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Gauk on March 16, 2014, 01:16:44 pm
I think it was Richard Baker who was sent to interview Malcolm Williamson after his appointment as Master of the Queen's Music, and managed to address him as "Malcolm Arnold" live on air. Williamson was very unhappy about it.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Jolly Roger on March 17, 2014, 04:17:54 am
I think it was Richard Baker who was sent to interview Malcolm Williamson after his appointment as Master of the Queen's Music, and managed to address him as "Malcolm Arnold" live on air. Williamson was very unhappy about it.
Williamson was an Aussie, just wondered how he bumped someone equally (if not more) talented and obviously better-known who was home grown?


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Jolly Roger on March 17, 2014, 04:28:13 am
I think it was Richard Baker who was sent to interview Malcolm Williamson after his appointment as Master of the Queen's Music, and managed to address him as "Malcolm Arnold" live on air. Williamson was very unhappy about it.
Williamson was an Aussie, just wondered how he bumped someone equally (if not more) talented and obviously better-known who was home grown?

this is what some Australians thought of him, a mixed bag would be very appropriate.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/book-reviews/malcolm-williamson-a-mischievous-muse/2008/01/18/1200620198853.html


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 17, 2014, 01:16:56 pm
I think it was Richard Baker who was sent to interview Malcolm Williamson after his appointment as Master of the Queen's Music, and managed to address him as "Malcolm Arnold" live on air. Williamson was very unhappy about it.
Williamson was an Aussie, just wondered how he bumped someone equally (if not more) talented and obviously better-known who was home grown?


Well the Queen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland is also the Queen of Australia (and New Zealand, and Canada...... :)) so Williamson was not an "improper" choice.

The fact was that the appointment was made in 1975 on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Had Bliss died two years earlier then the Prime Minister at the time would have been Edward Heath-who was passionate about classical music. Heath's successors have shown no such interest :( :(

The possible candidates in 1975-apart from Williamson-would have been Herbert Howells(at 83 too old), Gordon Jacob(80 and probably not taken seriously enough), Alan Bush(75 and probably politically unacceptable ;D), Sir William Walton(73, living in Ischia and would probably have refused the job), Edmund Rubbra(74), Lennox Berkeley(72), Michael Tippett (70), William Alwyn(70) and a whole group of British composers in their 50s or 60s almost completely unknown to "the general public" and, generally speaking, little performed publicly or recorded commercially. The exception was, clearly, Malcolm Arnold. By 1975 however it was well-known that Arnold was "in a bad place" mentally, his music was becoming unpredictable, his behaviour even more unpredictable and often downright appalling. What was probably not evident (or was not sufficiently investigated) was that Williamson himself was or would soon prove to be similarly -although to a lesser extent-unpredictable and erratic and that this would lead to royal commissions not being delivered on time.

Frankly, no one really wants the job of Master of the Queen's Music ;D The holders of the post pre-Edward Elgar were nonentities. Elgar took it as the pre-eminent British composer of his time. He could hardly refuse (even if he had wanted to -and my guess is that he was proud of this further sign of his recognition). Vaughan Williams is believed to have refused the appointment in 1934 when Elgar died. Arnold Bax was a strange choice as Elgar's successor since his music was unsuited to royal occasions and he composed very little suitable music whilst in the post.

Maxwell Davies accepted the job with serious reservations, imposed conditions and will resign in any case this year.  His successor ??? ??? Now there IS a question ;D ;D
Sir Paul McCartney ??? ??? ??? ::) ::) For all the interest David Cameron takes in classical music it could be anybody :(


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: tappell on March 17, 2014, 04:51:25 pm
Although I read this forum avidly, I do not usually venture to write, primarily because there are much better informed people than I here, and many of you seem to know each other well, no doubt through long association. However Malcolm Williamson, his music and life are a particular passion of mine.

I was particularly disappointed when Chandos abandoned their series of Williamson's music after Volumes 1 and 2. There were rumours that they were to record his opera 'The Violins Of St. Jacques'. Listening to the download from the library here, it is a very approachable piece, with some beautiful music particularly the aria "How can I explain to you?", recorded separately by Cheryl Barker. Williamson wrote in various styles, and my own view was instinctively a romantic pulled around somewhat by twelve tone techniques, training with Elizabeth Luytens, the BBC and the musical establishment. He also spent time working with Benjamin Britten, but listening to an interview by Williamson on Britten, he seemed to have been discarded for daring to question Britten. I would believe that could be sour grapes, were it not for the fact that I have read Imogen Holsts life story, who devoted much of her life to helping Britten, and wouldn't hear a word against him, but the way they parted company leaves a bitter taste.

He sometimes used one of my favourite techniques dissonance leading to beauty. You only have to listen to his 'Lento For Strings', 'Our Man In Havana', and Overture 'Santiago de Espada' to realise he was more than capable of writing accessible music.

Hyperion have just recorded and released his complete Piano Concertos, so at least one enterprising record company is testing the water in a substantial way.

Which leads me to express my gratitude to those who have worked tirelessly on this forum, and has enabled me to hear works by Williamson I would never otherwise have heard.

Thank you.





Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 17, 2014, 05:27:30 pm
Although I read this forum avidly, I do not usually venture to write, primarily because there are much better informed people than I here, and many of you seem to know each other well, no doubt through long association. However Malcolm Williamson, his music and life are a particular passion of mine.

Which leads me to express my gratitude to those who have worked tirelessly on this forum, and has enabled me to hear works by Williamson I would never otherwise have heard.

Thank you.

Welcome, tappell - please feel free to contribute to the forum on any relevant topic, any friend of Malcolm Williamson's music is more than welcome here!

 ;D


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 17, 2014, 05:37:08 pm
Although I read this forum avidly, I do not usually venture to write,primarily because there are much better informed people here than I and many of you seem to know each other well, no doubt through long association. However Malcolm Williamson, his music and life are a particular passion of mine.

I was particularly disappointed when Chandos abandoned their series of Williamson's music after Volumes 1 and 2. There were rumours that they were to record his opera 'The Violins Of St. Jacques'. Listening to the download from the library here, it is a very approachable piece, with some beautiful music particularly the aria "How can I explain to you?", recorded separately by Cheryl Barker. Williamson wrote in various styles, and my own view was instinctively a romantic pulled around somewhat by twelve tone techniques, training with Elizabeth Luytens, the BBC and the musical establishment. He also spent time working with Benjamin Britten, but listening to an interview by Williamson on Britten, he seemed to have been discarded for daring to question Britten. I would believe that could be sour grapes, were it not for the fact that I have read Imogen Holsts life story, who devoted much of her life to helping Britten, and wouldn't hear a word against him, but the way they parted company leaves a bitter taste.

He sometimes used one of my favourite techniques dissonance leading to beauty. You only have to listen to his 'Lento For Strings', 'Our Man In Havana', and Overture 'Santiago de Espada' to realise he was more than capable of writing accessible music.

Hyperion have just recorded and released his complete Piano Concertos, so at least one enterprising record company is testing the water in a substantial way.

Which leads me to express my gratitude to those who have worked tirelessly on this forum, and has enabled me to hear works by Williamson I would never otherwise have heard.

Thank you.




I admire your modesty;but if I worried too much about things like that (and I do! :() I'd never write anything here!! ??? :( ;D The brazen know-it-all types are what bother me! ::) No one like that here,thank goodness!

Write more,tappell!!!


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 17, 2014, 05:43:54 pm
I am afraid that it is an inevitable aspect to internet forums that those members who have been involved for quite a long time and have, as a result, got to know each other well, will often "chat away" in an informal and friendly fashion. That can make a new member feel rather strange and a bit "out of the loop".

We certainly don't bite here (unlike in some other forums I could-but won't- mention) so do feel free to join in :)

As for being "better informed"....speaking entirely personally, my knowledge of the orchestral repertoire of the last 100 hundred years is pretty broad (I would claim ;D) but how deep it is..... ??? That is an entirely different matter. I know almost nothing of the technical aspects of music :( I can recognise a fugue and, probably, a passacaglia when I hear it but that is about as far as it goes. If there is a very obvious change of key I can pick up on that. But which key ::) Ah...now we are getting beyond me.

So don't be fooled ;D ;D


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Gauk on March 17, 2014, 05:55:32 pm
The possible candidates in 1975-apart from Williamson-would have been Herbert Howells(at 83 too old), Gordon Jacob(80 and probably not taken seriously enough), Alan Bush(75 and probably politically unacceptable ;D), Sir William Walton(73, living in Ischia and would probably have refused the job), Edmund Rubbra(74), Lennox Berkeley(72), Michael Tippett (70), William Alwyn(70) and a whole group of British composers in their 50s or 60s almost completely unknown to "the general public" and, generally speaking, little performed publicly or recorded commercially.

Jones? Hoddinott?


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 17, 2014, 06:13:36 pm
Daniel Jones would certainly have refused the post. He loathed the whole London "music scene" and was perfectly happy to live and work in South Wales (Swansea).

Now, you might say, Maxwell Davies has somewhat renounced the metropolitan south to live and work in Orkney...but that sort of "eccentricity" (as it might be perceived) or individuality is more acceptable today.

Jones was also almost completely unknown to the general musical public; a couple of Lyrita cds only ???

Hoddinott ??? Well, despite his image as the composer of dark, nocturnal, a trifle complex music, Hoddinott could compose in a lighter vein (the Welsh Dances, for example) and might have made a decent fist of it. But, again, he was Welsh and was not based in London-which Williamson was.

Anyway....the powers that be did not consult those of us who were around at the time and opted for Williamson-who, at the time, had a growing reputation and was "in favour" with the establishment and the critics............from which he, very rapidly, fell out of favour again :(


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: jimfin on March 18, 2014, 01:44:19 am
I read 'A Mischievous Muse' a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it! It led me to rediscover a lot more of Williamson's wonderful music, which I've been listening too ever since. It was also a pretty well-written book, I thought, which one can't always guarantee with some recent musical biographies (and biographies of composers like this tend to be one-offs, so one doesn't get a lot of choice).


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 20, 2014, 05:59:32 pm
Yes, Anthony Meredith and Paul Harris produced a page-turner in Mischievous Muse. I'm just getting to grips with the excellent new Hyperion set of all four piano concertos, plus the concerto for two pianos and strings (1971) and the Sinfonietta Concertante (1958-62). A mandatory purchase - the music is by turns brilliant and haunting -

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_cd_review.php?id=11778 (http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_cd_review.php?id=11778)

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Mar14/Williamson_PCs_CDA68011.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Mar14/Williamson_PCs_CDA68011.htm)

 :)

What we really need are new recordings or good-quality broadcasts of the best of Williamson's stage works, plus (of course) The Mass of Christ the King, in particular the operas

Our Man in Havana (1963), English Eccentrics (1964) and The Violins of Saint-Jacques (1966) - we are very lucky to have the last of these in the archive, but the BBC also broadcast Our Man in Havana live from Sadler's Wells (there is a tape copy at Harvard)

and the ballets

The Display (1963) and Sun into Darkness (1966).

BBC Radio 3 broadcast all six of his ballets in 1988 under the highly imaginative series-title Williamson's Ballets - it would be wonderful to have access to any or all of these, together with the 1995 Proms premiere of the Iris Murdoch song-cycle A Year of Birds. The last of the ballets, Have Steps Will Travel (1988) was based on the third piano concerto.

If any member can help, please get in touch! For anyone interested in Williamson's music, the following is very useful -

http://www.josef-weinberger.com/downloads/Williamson_Catalogue_(Josef_Weinberger)_(reduced).pdf (http://www.josef-weinberger.com/downloads/Williamson_Catalogue_(Josef_Weinberger)_(reduced).pdf)

 ;)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: tappell on March 21, 2014, 03:53:14 pm
Thank you for your "welcoming" comments earlier in this thread. It is inevitable and encouraging that contributors become familiar with each other which makes for an easy atmosphere.

Sticking to the thread., there is an interesting thesis available on Malcolm Williamson here: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/10819/, and a discussion of his cassations including examples here: http://www.composerhome.com/resources/more/analysis.html. I have found similar articles on Cowen and Mackenzie.

Reading back my first post, I see I must brush up on my typing skills!

I first became interested in lesser known composers, when back in the 70's I discovered a shop off Charing Cross Road, selling Melodyia imports including Kalinnikov, Medtner, Glazunov, Myaskovsky, Krein and so on. Little did I know that last year I would stumble across a forum like this. For those of long standing, and I have no idea how long this forum has existed, it is probably difficult to recall the excitement of such a treasure trove, on a subject that so much engages me.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 21, 2014, 04:34:43 pm
Many thanks for supplying the links to the thesis and article. I'm hoping that we will at some point be able to expand Williamson's representation in the broadcasts archive with those I mentioned in the earlier post - these things have a habit of turning up eventually ...

 :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 22, 2014, 12:47:30 pm
Finally getting round to listening to the 1974 half-hour ballet Perisynthion - what a wonderfully vivid and 'alive' score, challenging but highly accessible. Let's hope that those other ballet broadcasts from 1988 will be forthcoming ...

 :D


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 23, 2014, 11:49:05 am
I have just uploaded five mp3 excerpts from Malcolm Williamson's 1963 ballet The Display. These are taken from Youtube flash videos of a vintage televised performance by the Australian ballet. In lieu of the 1988 BBC radio broadcast of the complete work, this is at least a chance to hear some of the score.

 :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 23, 2014, 01:22:12 pm
I wonder - does any member have the EMI Australia double-LP set SLS 5085? This contains the Violin Concerto (Menuhin/ LPO/ Boult) and the Concert Suite from The Display (Sydney SO/ Hopkins) ...

 8)

... oh dear, the concerto is in fact available on CD but only as part of the massive 50-disc EMI Artists Menuhin box!

 :o ::)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: tappell on March 23, 2014, 05:40:56 pm
I do have the CD of the Berkeley; Williamson; Panufnik: Violin Concertos, but I am not sure of copyright issues?


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 23, 2014, 08:50:46 pm
As it is currently commercially available (albeit in this unwieldy Menuhin collection) from EMI, a copy can't be provided on this site. However, if anyone has the orchestral suite from The Display on LP and could transfer it to mp3, I will put that in the archive for private study purposes as it has never had a CD release.

 :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on March 28, 2014, 04:44:28 pm
A very welcome forthcoming release from Toccata, including the mighty Symphony for Organ -

(http://www.toccataclassics.com/cms/tmp/thumbs/TOCC0246-jc-cover-225x-D004E9C0.jpg)

http://www.toccataclassics.com/cddetail.php?CN=TOCC0246 (http://www.toccataclassics.com/cddetail.php?CN=TOCC0246)

 :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Elroel on March 28, 2014, 07:48:42 pm
For those of long standing, and I have no idea how long this forum has existed, it is probably difficult to recall the excitement of such a treasure trove, on a subject that so much engages me.

I remember very well the moment I entered a forum like this: So many unbelievable works I found, and so many "freaks" (positivley meant), like me existed!. Many of us here "know" eachother from another forum. When that forum closed I felt lost. When it re-opened a few days later a second disappointment emerged: the music that has my masin interest was no longer allowed there.
Then we found a place in this forum. We, meaning many members from the old forum.

Have a good time here with us!



Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: jimfin on March 29, 2014, 01:36:00 am
Oh, the Organ Music release is most welcome. I wish they'd titled it differently, though: a record saying "Organ Music" suggests a few minor fugues and stuff, the sort of thing I'd only order when I had little else left on the shopping list. If they had titled it "Symphony for Organ and other works", it would have immediately have told me that this was something I needed as soon as possible.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Vandermolen on March 31, 2014, 06:57:11 pm
Nice to see a Williamson thread. My favourite is definitely the Symphony No. 1 'Elevamini' which I have greatly admired since finding it on a double EMI LP set in my youth. This fine recording under Charles Groves has reappeared on a Lyrita CD. It is a shame that Menuhin's recording of the Violin Concerto has disappeared - the last movement is intensely moving as is the fine Lento for Strings on Chandos. The Sinfonia Concertante, originally planned as the second symphony has a beautiful central movement. Also, memorable is the 'Watership Down' Prologue and main titles, although this was another unfinished project as the main score was composed (very effectively) by Angela Morley at short notice (reminiscent of the Walton/Goodwin 'Battle of Britain' fiasco - although for different reasons.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Vandermolen on March 31, 2014, 07:07:08 pm
Thank you for your "welcoming" comments earlier in this thread. It is inevitable and encouraging that contributors become familiar with each other which makes for an easy atmosphere.

Sticking to the thread., there is an interesting thesis available on Malcolm Williamson here: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/10819/, and a discussion of his cassations including examples here: http://www.composerhome.com/resources/more/analysis.html. I have found similar articles on Cowen and Mackenzie.

Reading back my first post, I see I must brush up on my typing skills!

I first became interested in lesser known composers, when back in the 70's I discovered a shop off Charing Cross Road, selling Melodyia imports including Kalinnikov, Medtner, Glazunov, Myaskovsky, Krein and so on. Little did I know that last year I would stumble across a forum like this. For those of long standing, and I have no idea how long this forum has existed, it is probably difficult to recall the excitement of such a treasure trove, on a subject that so much engages me.

I knew that shop very well! It was near to Foyles. I also discovered much Miaskovsky in that shop and books on Soviet Art etc. Happy memories!


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: jimfin on April 01, 2014, 01:04:59 am
I've been listening to the new CD set of the complete piano concerti. Absolutely wonderful, so many of these!


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on April 01, 2014, 06:32:57 pm
I quite agree with you, Jamie. This is a stunning and most welcome release - the third concerto is possibly the finest of the lot, but all works on these two discs are enormously attractive and thought-provoking attention-grabbers.

Chandos really should pick up their Williamson series again and look at some of the ballets and the remaining symphonies. In response to my post on the Chandos (classicalshop) forum Ralph Couzens replied that

Sales figures were not that great which made the Iceland Symphony Orchestra nervous.
The more recent series of Vincent D'Indy from that source has been more successful.
However, as you have pointed out there is much more Malcolm Williamson that needs our attention and I am certain Rumon Gamba will be eager to continue the series, but perhaps not in Iceland.


So there may be a glimmer of hope there.

 :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: jimfin on April 02, 2014, 07:27:08 am
Yes, possible good news! Come on, Chandos, remember your roots!


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: tappell on April 02, 2014, 12:06:06 pm
"I knew that shop very well! It was near to Foyles. I also discovered much Miaskovsky in that shop and books on Soviet Art etc. Happy memories!"

Yes happy memories indeed. I am pretty sure it was in Manette Street, and was a veritable treasure trove.


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: cilgwyn on April 02, 2014, 06:27:34 pm
Yo,Chandos!! ;D


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Dundonnell on April 02, 2014, 09:36:37 pm
Hmmmm!

I wouldn't get your hopes up too much.

Sorry if my pessimism demonstrates my general cynicism :(


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on April 08, 2014, 04:38:56 pm
A serious omission from our archive is the large-scale Mass of Christ the King, which Williamson infamously failed to complete in time for the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations. There were two [sic] broadcasts - I wonder if any member has either or both:

the incomplete version, broadcast from the 1977 Gloucester Three Choirs Festival, conducted by John Sanders (25/8/1977);

the completed version, conducted by Charles Groves (broadcast 3/11/1978)

Cross-post to alert members:

After some remedial work, I have at last been able to add not one, but two broadcasts of Malcolm Williamson's monumental Mass of Christ the King (1970-78) to the archive - the premiere of the complete score under Charles Groves (1978) and the splendid performance at the Perth (Scotland) Festival (1981) under John Currie. Full performance details are in the catalogue.

Here is the structure of the score:

PART ONE:

Introductory Rite

1. Hymnus Primus [Hymn I] - Andante
2. Introitus [Introit] - Andante moderato
3. Kyrie - Andante largo
4. Gloria - Allegro giocoso

Liturgy of the Word

5. Psalmus Responsorius [Responsorial Psalm] - Moderato
6. Alleluia - Allegro vivo
7. Credo - Allegro con moto

PART TWO:

Liturgy of the Eucharist

8. Hymnus Secundus [Hymn II] - Andante allegretto
9. Offertorium - Poco adagio
10. Sanctus - Andante lento
11. Benedictus - Andante lento

Rite of Communion

12. Pater Noster [The Lord's Prayer] - Largo ma non troppo
13. Agnus Dei - Andantino
14. Psalmus Communionis [Communion Psalm] - Maestoso

Concluding Rite

15. lte Missa Est [The Dismissal] - Allegro
16. Hymnus Tertius [Hymn III] - Adagio molto


I have organised the files into the two main subdivisions of the work.

 :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: cilgwyn on July 31, 2017, 04:31:05 pm
After enjoying Malcolm Williamson's opera,Our Man in Havana (well,the first part of it. I only finished editing my recording of the remainder onto a cd-r,yesterday!) I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on his Symphony No 6,which is available as an upload here? Billed (I believe?) as,"the world’s first ‘transcontinental’ symphony".


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Jolly Roger on August 25, 2017, 05:26:40 pm
Daniel Jones would certainly have refused the post. He loathed the whole London "music scene" and was perfectly happy to live and work in South Wales (Swansea).

Now, you might say, Maxwell Davies has somewhat renounced the metropolitan south to live and work in Orkney...but that sort of "eccentricity" (as it might be perceived) or individuality is more acceptable today.

Jones was also almost completely unknown to the general musical public; a couple of Lyrita cds only ???

Hoddinott ??? Well, despite his image as the composer of dark, nocturnal, a trifle complex music, Hoddinott could compose in a lighter vein (the Welsh Dances, for example) and might have made a decent fist of it. But, again, he was Welsh and was not based in London-which Williamson was.

Anyway....the powers that be did not consult those of us who were around at the time and opted for Williamson-who, at the time, had a growing reputation and was "in favour" with the establishment and the critics............from which he, very rapidly, fell out of favour again :(
Jones is a gifted prolific composer..
BTW..does anyone have Daniel Jones 6th symphony, it is the only missing tooth in my set of 13!!


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 26, 2018, 03:56:31 pm
On the way through town today,listening to my Tecsun PL- 310ET pocket radio ;which uses a very advanced chip,by the way (meaning it locks onto weak FM,even when reception is patchy!) I tuned into Radio 4. "Oh no,not another boring Drama!",I thought. Suddenly,one of the characters revealed (to another) that his name was Malcolm Williamson. "That Malcolm Williamson?",I thought. Then,the character mentioned,wearily, that 1977 was a very bad year,and "it had been in all the papers". Of course,he was referring to his failiure to complete the Jubilee Symphony.The play (or Drama!) is called "1977",and,actually,concerns his failure to complete a score for the film,Watership Down (I remember every kid in the school seemed to be jabbering on about the book,at the time!) I didn't know he'd composed any music for that! I was quite relieved to find that he didn't compose,it's hit (No 1,for six weeks) song,Bright eyes (Burning like fire.....etc,etc!! ;D) I did actually watch the cartoon about a year,or two back,while at a loose end. I remember being amused when it emerged that there had been complaints,from some viewers, about the level of graphic violence in the film,after it was shown! Bunnies beating each other up! Whatever next?!! Disgusting!! >:( ;D

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06r8gms (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06r8gms)

https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2016/mar/31/watership-down-bbfc-ratings-easter-sunday-comment (https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2016/mar/31/watership-down-bbfc-ratings-easter-sunday-comment)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Dundonnell on March 26, 2018, 05:49:36 pm
Sadly Williamson had a serious drinking problem

He was, of course, not the only composer of whom that could be said. Malcolm Arnold's problems are well-documented but there were a number of others whose lives were shortened by drink (although Sibelius was not one it appears!)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 26, 2018, 09:15:04 pm
yes,sad! I might have a listen to that Drama,while it's still on the 'Listen again',on the Radio 4 website. Bad luck on Williamson,too,for being less than perfect!! ::) :(


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 27, 2018, 09:34:49 am
Re Sibelius and the bottle, in the 1950s Robert Simpson eagerly asked some of Nielsen's family members and friends whether they could remember any of Nielsen and Sibelius's conversations about music when Sibelius used to stay with the Nielsens in Copenhagen. 'No', they replied, 'Sibelius was always drunk!'


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Vandermolen on April 04, 2018, 07:41:27 am
Greetings all!
I haven't posted here for a while but am also a refugee from GMG Forum. Good to see old friends Dundonnell (whose posts I miss at GMG Forum) and cilgwyn here.
Back to Williamson. I was very,pleased to catch the drama '1977' on the radio the other day. The saga of the Watership Down soundtrack is quite a story in itself, featuring the work of three composers. All credit to Angela Morley for stepping in at the last moment to complete the score after MW bottled out (no pun intended). I was interested to discover that Angela Morley was once 'Wally Stott' the composer of the famous tuba theme music for 'Hancock's Half-Hour'. I love the Watership Down score which has recently been remastered by Dutton. Williamson's opening title and prologue are very atmospheric and Morley's pastoral score is memorable. I have no objection to 'Bright Eyes' which I associate with a brief and disastrous romance!
Williamson is an underrated composer - there is an excellent biography 'The Mischievous Muse'. He had a rather trouble life. I especially like his 'Elevamini' (Symphony 1) and have both the recordings by Groves and Gamba, which are both excellent. A pity that Chandos only recorded two CDs of his music.
Anyway, nice to be back in circulation here.  :)


Title: Re: Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)
Post by: Albion on November 22, 2021, 10:28:03 am
Listening again to the piano concertos as recorded on Hyperion I'm struck by just how attractive and inventive these are - strongly melodic, suitably virtuosic and superbly orchestrated. These are stunning performances...

(https://th.bing.com/th/id/R.a0b364281a38927a30f0f5ba63df030e?rik=BsGXON7c9FiXTw&pid=ImgRaw&r=0)

...and there is a good representation of his music in the archive:

Piano Concerto No.2 (1960)+++
Malcolm Williamson, piano/ BBC CO/ Ashley Lawrence

Piano Concerto No.2 (1960)<>
Malcolm Williamson, piano/ The Francis Chagrin O/ Francis Chagrin

The Happy Prince (1965)~~~~
Pauline Stevens, alto (Prince); April Cantelo, sop (Swallow); Sheila Rex, alto (Mayor); Jean Allister, mezzo (Seamstress); Maureen Lehane, mezzo (Author); Iris Kells, sop (Match-girl); Margaret Humphrey-Clark, sop (Son); Doreen Price, sop (Rich Girl)/ Guildhall Chamber Choir/ Malcolm Williamson and Richard Rodney Bennett, pianos/ Neville Marriner and Anthony Howard, violins/ Stephen Shingles, viola/ Joy Hall, cello/ John Gray, double-bass/ James Holland and Tristan Fry, percussion/ Marcus Dods (Argo LP ZNF5, 1966)

Serenade and Aubade for Strings (1965)+++
BBC CO/ Vilem Tausky

Symphonic Variations (1965)<>
RPO/ Charles Groves

Julius Caesar Jones (1965-66)~~~~
David Pinto, alto (Julius Caesar Jones); April Cantelo, sop (Mrs Everett); Marcel Maurel, bar (Mr Everett); Norma Procter, alto (Nora Whyley); Michael Gingold, treble (John Everett); Elizabeth Eatwell, sop (Elizabeth Everett); Nigel Dant, treble (Ambrose Everett); Hilary Ann Salinger, sop (Susan Whyley); Richard Kahn, treble (Harvey Tooley Savidge); Bruce Webb, alto (Silas Gapteeth); Chandrika Angadi, sop (Aloma); Marie-Therese Pinto, sop (Babs); Sonya Levett, sop (Babs); Helen Rosenthal, mezzo (Leopard); Peter Lovett, treble (Toomie); Geoffrey Seaman, treble (Bimbo)/ Finchley Children’s Music Group/ David Seaman, piano/ Neville Marriner and Diane Cummings, violins/ Stephen Shingles, viola/ Kenneth Heath, cello/
John Gray, double-bass/ William Bennett, flute/ Michael Dobson, oboe/ Thea King, clarinet/ Martin Gatt, bassoon/ Douglas Moore, horn/ Maria Korchinska, harp/ James Holland, percussion/ Jon Andrewes (Argo LP ZRG 529)

The Brilliant and the Dark (1966)*
April Cantelo, sop; Sally Lesage, sop; Alfreda Hodgson, alto; Norma Procter, alto/ Avalon Singers/ Llewellyn Singers/ English Chamber O/ Antony Hopkins (Readers Digest LP RDS 9351/2, 1977)

The Violins of Saint Jacques (1966)****
Brian O'Keeffe, ten (Basket Man/ Gontran); James Singleton, bar (Old Fisherman); Peter Janssen, ten (Oarsman); Handel Thomas, bass (Oarsman); Peter Tracey, bar (Netman); Michael Chattin, bass (Netman); April Cantelo, sop (Berthe); David Hillman, ten (Sosthene); Shirley Chapman, mezzo (Josephine); Tom McDonnell, bar (Sciocca); Raimund Herincx, bar (Agenor); James Singleton, bar (Gentilien); Jennifer Vyvyan, sop (Mathilde); Emile Belcourt, ten (Joubert); Frances Reid, sop (Madame Sciocca); Peter Tracey, bar (Governor Sciocca); Noel Drennan, ten (Francois); Ann Robson, mezzo (Maman Zelie)/ Chorus of Sadler's Wells/ O of Sadler's Wells/ John Barker (5/12/1968, br. 5/6/1969)

The Stone Wall (1971)≈≈≈
BBC Chorus/ BBC Choral Society/ BBC SO/ Colin Davis (br. 18/9/1971)

Concerto for Two Pianos and String Orchestra (1972)+++
Gwenneth Pryor and Malcolm Williamson, pianos/ BBC SSO/ Yuval Zaliuk (br. 4/5/1974)

Perisynthion, ballet (1974)<>
BBC CO/ Christopher Austin

Hammarskjold Portrait for Soprano and Strings(1974)+++
April Cantelo, sop/ BBC CO/ Ashley Lawrence

Mass of Christ the King (1970-78)
Eilene Hannan, sop; Elizabeth Connell, mezzo; Philip Langridge, ten; Brian Rayner Cook, bar/ Three Choirs Festival Chorus/ Goldsmith's Choral Union/ RPO/ Charles Groves (3/11/1978)

Mass of Christ the King (1970-78)
Helen Walker, sop; Eilene Hannan, sop; Neil Mackie, ten; Brian Rayner Cook, bar/ Scottish National Opera Chorus/ BBC SSO/ John Currie (20/5/1981)

Symphony No.5, Aquero (1979-80)+++
BBC Welsh SO/ Norman Del Mar (br. 6/1/1982)

Josip Broz Tito, a Tribute in Music (1981)<>
Brian Rayner Cook, bar/ BBC PO/ Vernon Handley

Symphony No.6, Liturgy of Hommage (1982)<>
Adelaide SO, Melbourne SO, Queensland O, Sydney SO, Tasmanian SO, West Australian SO and Darwin SO, all linked electronically/ Paul McDermott

With Proud Thanksgiving (1995)<>
BBC CO/ Christopher Austin


 :)