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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 4787 times)
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« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2019, 03:24:34 pm »

I too hope that Bourgeois's day will come. You mention Havergal Brian and Rued Langgaard. As far as Brian is concerned the rediscovery of his music began towards the end of his very long life and was inspired by the promotion of the music by his passionate advocate the composer Robert Simpson. Simpson was, at that time, a BBC Music Producer and used that position to get Brian's symphonies performed and broadcast. Since then the dedicated support and financial power of the Havergal Brian Society has enormously facilitated the recording of the music.

What is required to revive a neglected composer's music is a combination of factors. It helps if the music is broacast. In the UK that means that the BBC has to demonstrate an interest. BBC music producers have to be aware of the composer's existence and willing to push for broadcast performances. There have to be conductors willing to learn the music. This is less likely nowadays when there are fewer British conductors regularly conducting regional orchestras.

Record companies are also crucial. The reality again nowadays is that companies like to record a series of a composer's music. This is where the sheer number of Bourgeois's symphonies works to his disadvantage. Had he composed a dozen or so then he would have more appeal to a label which might show some interest.

It is, sadly, not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the music but is more to do with the interest/support of those who have the required influence. This is the difficulty Bourgeois faces.

Harsh reality......but never give up!

I agree with all you said.  He is actually quite popular and well performed in the concert wind world and especially Asia (which came as a surprise to him).  His first 7 symphonies were all broadcast by the BBC which was the point where he retired and moved to Mallorca and became explosively productive.  You don't think it will be more like Weinberg (I forget how many symphonies he composed) but there are so many that no single record company records would record it but a few symphonies show up here and there in a variety of labels and in time we get all of them?  Also working against him, some of these very prolific composers like Brian and Langgaard also wrote some quite short symphonies so it's not unusual to see four symphonies in a single release.  With Bourgeois, they are long symphonies with very few short ones.  Still, I hold out that a musicologist or someone will investigate the wealth of his oeuvre and put together a reasonable first orchestral project which could build up interest in conductors, broadcasters, public.   I get that this is a bit of a chicken and egg problem.  Till then, I will have hope.
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« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2019, 04:47:49 pm »

Weinberg completed twenty one numbered symphonies (No.22 was unfinished by the composer but has been completed and recorded) and four chamber symphonies.  Some of the symphonies were issued by Olympia from recordings made by the state-owned Melodiya company in the former USSR. Since then Chandos and Naxos have between them recorded most of the symphonies.

The general consensus however is that Weinberg was one of the most distinguished of the immediate post-Shostakovich generation of symphonists. There are many neglected composers who have been ignored by both Chandos and Naxos. "Selling" Bourgeois to either would be a difficult task, I am afraid.
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« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2019, 10:09:39 am »

I was delighted to see that Gordon Jacob's very engaging 'Concerto for Three Hands' is now on You Tube. It was, sadly, never released on CD, unlike its LP companions by Bliss and Arnold. I hope that we get a new recording one day or at least a CD release of Sellick/Smith/Arnold version, which has given me much pleasure. It is my favourite work by Gordon Jacob along with the moving slow movement from his First Symphony.
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« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2020, 09:40:04 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
This post is dated and perhaps been responded to, however I am hopng it may still be relevant.

Thankfully, back to the subject at hand,Both Harris 1 and 2 are on Utube as well as one for amplified piano(which I do not embrace). This is a playlist for Harris concertos, PERHAPS some things of interest are here(MAYBE for some of us).

David Diamonds premier of 1966 is here:

another later performance is here:

Paul Creston's First is here:
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