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1  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Individual composers / Re: George Lloyd (1913-1998) on: June 16, 2022, 07:12:26 pm
I fully agree - the Mass is absolutely stunning, his finest contribution to the choral repertoire with so many memorable tunes and glorious orchestration. It's also well worth seeking out the operas Iernin and John Socman as well: the first was issued on CD from a BBC studio recording and the latter is in the the British and Music Archive, like wise from a studio broadcast. I so wish that Albany would issue a box set of the symphonies as recorded under the composer's baton...


Glad to hear you're also an admirer of the Symphonic Mass! I've yet to hear any of Lloyd's operas or his choral/orchestral work The Vigil of Venus - do you know it? And yes - totally agree that those Albany recordings of the symphonies (and concerti and other works!) should be reissued and boxed up, as many of them are now out of print. Not only would be convenient, but it should attract some renewed interest in this magnificent composer who has become one of my very favorites, and not just amongst British composers! Lloyd was undoubtedly one of the greatest tunesmiths and orchestrators of the second half of the 20th century IMO.
2  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Individual composers / Re: George Lloyd (1913-1998) on: June 12, 2022, 08:31:34 pm
Recently I revisited the blazing masterpiece that is A Symphonic Mass (1992):

I say this without any hyperbole: This is one of the most magnificent, epic, and awe-inspiring pieces of music known to me!!! Great as his symphonies are, I think A Symphonic Mass may very well be Lloyd's masterwork. I can say with great confidence that it is my single favorite work composed in the last 50 or so years, and perhaps even my favorite work for chorus and orchestra. What makes this work so compelling to me is its constant struggle between light (radiant lyricism/consonance) and dark (threatening chromaticism/dissonance). Especially powerful are the Credo and Sanctus/Benedictus movements - simply witness the great climax of the former (beginning around 8:45 in the video below). Absolutely spine-tinglingly thrilling doesn't even begin to describe it:

Another aspect of the work that I find appealing is its lack of vocal soloists - it's simply for chorus and orchestra, and Lloyd's writing for both is superbly virtuosic and inventive. It's a magnificent summation of this ever-endearing composer's career, and I urge anyone who hasn't heard it yet to please give it a try!
3  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Individual composers / Re: Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) on: June 12, 2022, 08:28:30 pm
The composing career of Vaughan Williams was incredibly long and incredibly prolific. Many listeners are fully acquainted with the wonderful early works such as Toward the Unknown Region (1907), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and A Sea Symphony (1910) but are possibly unaware just how rich the earliest period is. Thankfully this repertoire has been covered by splendid modern recordings -

Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra (1896-1904) - Somm
A Cambridge Mass (1897-99) - Albion
String Quartet in C minor (1898) - Hyperion
Serenade in A minor (1898) - Dutton*
Quintet in D (1898) - Hyperion
Bucolic Suite (1900-01) - Dutton
The Garden of Proserpine (1901) - Albion
Heroic Elegy and Triumphal Epilogue (1901-02) - Dutton*
Willow-Wood (1903) - Naxos*
Piano Quintet in C minor (1903) - Hyperion*
The Solent (1903) - Albion

I would strongly recommend those marked with an asterisk, but all are well worth a hearing. Stanford was incredibly lucky with the pupils that came before him in the 1890s (whether or not they regarded themselves as quite so lucky is a moot point): Vaughan Williams, Holst, Coleridge-Taylor and Hurlstone were all quick out of the block and rapidly established their own musical personalities. Of these, the least known today is William Hurlstone, but he was as talented as the best of them, tragically dying at the age of thirty in 1906 (with Coleridge-Taylor dying in 1912 at the age of thirty-seven). The 1890s generation graduating from the Royal College of Music was quite astonishing. Vaughan Williams' output maintained its superlative quality right up until the end in 1958, but I hope that in this celebratory year his earliest-period music gets due recognition.


Completely agree - there's some real gems hidden in RVW's early output, especially the Piano Quintet with its sublimely beautiful slow movement. There are many moments - particularly in the slow movement - that foreshadow RVW's mature modal language. This, combined with a youthful passion and vigor, make the work simply irresistible!
4  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Your Discovery of the Year on: December 31, 2018, 04:57:57 pm
Honegger was one of the finest 20th century composers but-it seems to me-is still under-rated and, particularly recently, appears to have rather dropped off the radar. My impression is that his music is not performed often in the concert hall and that there have been fewer recordings of his music. It does not of course help that France does not have an equivalent of Dutton, Lyrita and Chandos in the UK, or CPO in Germany, or Dux in Poland or BIS in Sweden and does less than many other countries to disseminate its own music. Yes, I am aware of the Timpani record label but its output is rather limited (not a single disc of any music by Landowski, for example).

Kyle and Jim have referred to some of Honegger's symphonic and choral music. The symphonies are all in their different ways exceptionally fine works and the Christmas Cantata is a gorgeous piece of music. But there are so many shorter orchestral pieces I have heard which are also extremely impressive.

Honegger repays anyone who explores his music!

You are quite right about Honegger, Colin - his status in the music world is not as high as it should be - but then again the same could be said about many composers. If one of his works is performed in the US, it’s most likely to be ‘Pacific 231’, which IMHO isn’t one of his strongest works. I’d be very lucky to come across a performance of one of his other works. Concerning other fine Honegger works, I love his gorgeously lyrical and witty Cello Concerto, as well as the all-too-brief ‘Pastorale d’été’, which conveys the heat of a summer’s day better than any work I know.
5  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Your Discovery of the Year on: December 31, 2018, 01:37:48 am
Welcome back Kyle (I had an unfinished Atterberg thread when you left). I concur with you re this piece, thanks for the recommendation. As a long time devotee of Honegger symphonies from the 70s supraphon vinyl days, I warmed to it right away. There is something of the care-fee quality of S4, 'Deliciae Basilienses', the chorale that is the summation of S2, and the sunlight breaking through the clouds towards the end of 'Cantate de Noel' (composed 52/53!) that is akin to the spirit of the end of the first movement of this Damase Symphonie. As well as other French composers, interestingly, I hear a touch of Honegger's pupil Ned Rorem.

Great to hear from you, Jim! :) I was just listening to Honegger's 'Cantate de Noel' around Christmastime and was also struck by the similarities in spirit with the contemporaneous Damase Symphonie - both compositions begin ominously but conclude on a note of uplifting radiance. Honegger had a real knack for effective "darkness-to-light" progressions in his compositions - not only in the "Cantate de Noel' and 2nd Symphony, but in the terribly moving coda of the 3rd Symphony, which serves as a benediction after all the darkness and anger that has come before it. Interesting that you mention Rorem - I see the stylistic connection now that you mention it! I really like his three symphonies, especially no. 1 which has a Gallic elegance suffused with a quintessentially American spirit.
6  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Your Discovery of the Year on: December 30, 2018, 04:54:50 am
Welcome back, Kyle :)

I cannot quite share your enormous enthusiasm for the Damase Symphony. It is certainly a most attractive and appealing work-a match of Faure and Poulenc-but I am afraid that it doesn't quite grip me in the way it obviously does you.

However, given your evident enthusiasm, I did go back to the Dutton cd and listen to the work again. And that is what such a recommendation should do!!

I find that beneath its Gallic elegance, the Damase Symphonie is a work of some depth and eloquence, not least in the struggle between light and dark in the first movement (when the light finally breaks through around 8 minutes in with the horn entrance it is such a glorious moment!!) and in the poignant lyricism of the second. I am occasionally reminded of Poulenc in the work, but more often of Honegger (in less abrasive mode) and some English composers (RVW, Bax, Rubbra), but, like I mentioned before, Damase has his own voice. BTW, it was Jeffrey (vandermolen) who initially recommended the work to me, so major hat tip to him! :)
7  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Your Discovery of the Year on: December 30, 2018, 04:43:36 am
I have only just realised that you have posted a link to the actual Dutton recording of the Damase symphony, Kyle.

Please remove it!! We went through the mill with this issue a few months back (as you may not realise!). The Dutton recording can be purchased.....and should be purchased. We cannot prevent those interested in sampling it from going to You Tube but we do not post such entire recordings on here.

My apologies Colin! I did not realize that was a policy here. I will remove it right away and replace it with an Amazon link instead. :)
8  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Your Discovery of the Year on: December 28, 2018, 04:48:07 pm
Hi all, I'm finally on break now so I'll have some time to post here! Anyway, I’ve made many great musical discoveries this year, but I think the finest of all them has been the Symphonie (1952) by Jean-Michel Damase (1928-2013). Its language is resolutely tonal, sharing some stylistic similarities with, say, Honegger, but possessing a compellingly individual voice. It’s a deeply uplifting and memorable work that begins ominously, but eventually the opening mysterious, chromatic theme is transformed into a radiant C major with the horn entrance around 8 minutes in. The final few minutes of the first movement have become one of my very favorite passages in music - a gloriously ecstatic musical "sunset" that lingers in the memory. The slow movement is haunting and soulful, and the finale is rhythmically energetic and ends with a triumphant reminiscence of the first movement. In short, this is a superbly life-affirming and memorable work that will make you want to shout from the rooftops! Despite the work’s greatness, it has only received one recording (on Dutton Epoch with the BBC Concert Orchestra under Martin Yates - fortunately a very fine performance) and is unknown to most listeners. It is pretty unfathomable to me that orchestras will continue to churn out their 1000th performances of Beethoven’s 5th and Tchaikovsky’s 4th yet completely neglect such a great work as this.
9  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: (Some) Twentieth Century American Symphonies Not on CD (again!) on: June 04, 2018, 08:26:50 pm
Puts is also a very good public representative of contemporary music.  The public adores him and he is frequently commissioned by patrons.  Despite his academic skills (he has a doctorate in composition and studied at the finest music conservatories in America), he is tall and athletic and friendly.  Basically, doesn't fit the old loner weirdo stereotypes of what some think a composer would be.  I've been fortunate to hang out with him on occasions including rehearsals of some of his premieres.  We went for a walk after the rehearsal and he had absolutely no ego, was fully curious in my musical experiences and very engaging.  I'm a huge fan of the person as well as the music he creates.  I met him for the first time back in 2002 when he was quite unknown but his music was searing and powerfully moving.  Marin Alsop was a huge fan of his already and he taught at the school I graduated from.  He was quite young (I believe 30 years old back then) and brilliant and I love everything he's written. 

Great to read - thanks for sharing. I heard Puts’ Lento assai for string quartet (based on the slow movement of Beethoven’s op. 135) performed live a couple years ago - a very moving work. I see he has written a cello concerto which I’d very much like to hear!
10  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: What are you listening to today? on: April 03, 2018, 11:12:58 pm
Swiss composer, Volkmar Andreae (1879-1962) Symphony in C Op. 31 (1919); a masterpiece, 'discovered' thanks to Kyjo.

So glad you enjoyed it, Johan! :) It is indeed a deeply impressive work and I feel many other members of this forum might feel the same.
11  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Commercial recordings (vintage, new and forthcoming) / Caspar Diethelm (1926-1997) Symphonies etc. from Guild on: January 28, 2018, 10:44:39 pm
I had never heard of the Swiss composer Caspar Diethelm before coming across this new 3-disc set of his symphonies and other orchestral works from Guild while browsing MusicWeb International. Reviewer Marc Rochester was very enthusiastic about this release, nominating it for Recording of the Month. He mentions Sibelius, Hindemith, Nielsen, Martinu, and Bartok as passing influences on Diethelm's style, but asserts that he has an individual style. It sounds quite tantalizing to say the least!

Caspar DIETHELM (1926-1997)
Symphony No.1, Op.35 [30:32]
Symphony No.3, Op.76 [21:49]
Symphony No.4 “Homage to Joseph Haydn”, Op.100 [24:57]
Symphony No.5 “Mandala”, Op.180 [48:24]
Symphonic Suite “Saturnalia”, op.200 [41:56]
Symphonic Prologue, Op.125 [7:32]
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Rainer Held
rec. 2016, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
GUILD GM3CD7808 [3 CDs: 175:18]
12  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Commercial recordings (vintage, new and forthcoming) / Re: Unknown Martinu on: January 22, 2018, 11:44:18 pm
I listened to Vanishing Midnight last night and can say that it is a discovery of the highest rank! Its language of dark impressionism is quite different from the composer's mature, folk music-influenced style. The final movement, Shadows, is particularly impressive and is genuinely frightening in spots!
13  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: A Symphonies Game on: January 22, 2018, 10:17:48 pm
I just discovered this forum, so here goes:
Only - Von Hausegger (disregarding Barbarossa, which really should be termed a symphony as well. But allow me this loophole please).

1 - Furtwängler or
2 - Weingartner
3 - Langgaard
4 - Braga Santos
5 - Sibelius (the 1915 version)
6 - Tournemire
7 - Hamerik
8 - Rautavaara
9 - Von Klenau
10 - None
11 - Raff

Welcome to the forum, Ilja! :) Interesting list, and great to see another lover of the great Braga Santos 4th!
14  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Commercial recordings (vintage, new and forthcoming) / Re: Urspruch Symphony and Piano concerto on: December 24, 2017, 12:30:50 am
Great news! I listened to Urspruch's PC on YT and it was lovely.
15  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Concerts / Re: Joseph Marx - Eine Herbstsinfonie on: November 24, 2017, 01:50:04 am
As you may know, we already have a recording of Feste im Herbst, which is an independent version of the symphony's final movement:

Oh yes, I know that recording - Feste im Herbst is a wonderful work :)
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