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Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975)

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Author Topic: Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975)  (Read 362 times)
Lionel Harrison
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« on: August 02, 2021, 11:22:25 am »

Bliss is IMO among this country's finest composers. His music is always inventive and imaginative and yes what a superb orchestrator. His chamber music is especially fine and always a very rewarding experience, in the Clarinet and Oboe Quintets are IMO amongst the very finest chamber works written by British composers. He maintained a high standard throughout his composing career, one just has to listen to the Cello Concerto composed in his late 70's. His neglect in the concert hall and on radio is puzzling.

I thought I'd revive this thread, given that the old boy's 130 today: I fully concur with the opinion above. His music never seems to get an airing in concert and yet most of his music has been recorded - a similar situation to Arnold Bax's. Naxos made some excellent recordings with David Lloyd-Jones and Christopher Lyndon-Gee (mainly focusing on the wonderful ballet scores but including great pieces like A Colour Symphony and Meditations on a Theme by John Blow) and Chandos has given us excellent recordings of Morning Heroes, The Beatitudes and Mary of Magdala. Just like Walton, he started out as an enfant terrible and gradually became "Establishment" - nothing wrong with that! A new complete recording of his opera The Olympians (1949) would be very welcome (excerpts are in BIMA).


I'm reasonably well-acquainted with the orchestral and concertante scores of Bliss and I agree with the sentiments expressed. But suffolkcastal's remarks alert me to the fact that, I don't know the chamber music at all; I must investigate pdq!
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