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British and Irish Music


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Author Topic: British and Irish Music  (Read 35862 times)
cjvinthechair
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« Reply #420 on: September 21, 2017, 02:40:06 pm »

Had no idea of the extent of this work (with or without M'ment 5) - much appreciated, thanks !
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« Reply #421 on: September 21, 2017, 02:52:44 pm »

You are welcome.  Here is the review of the premiere which explains the missing movement:
http://www.sfgate.com/music/article/Big-audio-dynamite-Holloway-a-huge-undertaking-2652122.php

Let's say you go on eBay and plunk down a pile of cash for a beautiful antique credenza. Now the truck rolls up, and the piece turns out to be just as attractive as the pictures suggested, but bigger -- much, much bigger.

Too big, in fact, to fit through your front door.

That was the dilemma facing Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony when they took delivery on composer Robin Holloway's huge, splendiferous new Fourth Concerto for Orchestra. This was the third and by far the most substantial in a series of pieces the Symphony has commissioned from Holloway, and it left Thomas and the orchestra with far more music than they could easily accommodate.

How much more? Well, Thursday's premiere in Davies Symphony Hall ran 65 minutes -- and that's because the orchestra only played five of the work's six movements.

But what music it is! Holloway writes as though all the harmonic fluidity and orchestral virtuosity of Strauss, Mahler, Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakov were at his fingertips -- as no doubt they are -- and he uses those resources to craft a narrative journey that is endlessly compelling and always accessible. 


My commentary: Still frustrating.  I say someone needs to record the entire work.  The second half of the concert was the 45 minute long Brahms Violin Concerto.  This would indeed be a very long concert and I assume the decision to excise a movement came as disappointing to composer and conductor. 
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« Reply #422 on: September 21, 2017, 02:54:51 pm »

You're right it makes no sense at all to omit the 5th movement.  Apart from the obviously bogus rationale given, is there any even conceivable rationale for doing so?

The San Francisco Chronicle review quoted on the website of Holloway's publisher, Boosey and Hawkes, does say that the fifth movement was dropped "reluctantly" to fit into the planned programme, the reviewer expressed the hope that the work would be performed again "soon" and "in full" and Holloway himself on his own website describes the decision to drop the fifth movement as "painful" but "necessary".

Mahler's Ninth is around 82-84 minutes long. Oh dear, that's too long to "fit into the planned programme; let's cut a movement" Roll Eyes Tilson Thomas-who, after all, has surely considerable power as Music Director of the SFO, should simply have said to the management "well, the concert will last nine minutes longer".

.......or perhaps the orchestra will only play for a certain specified time and not a minute longer Huh Wouldn't surprise me Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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« Reply #423 on: September 21, 2017, 03:02:27 pm »

I note relm1's comments but I remain unconvinced.

Ok, the work turns out to be longer than expected. So what? Accommodate that fact, don't cut the work, thereby imperilling its musical integrity.

And if I was Holloway I would either remove the movement as superfluous (if it actually is???) or say "no, you can reschedule it for next year and perform it in toto!".

http://www.boosey.com/cr/news/Holloway-reviews-of-Fourth-Concerto-in-San-Francisco/11438&LangID=1
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« Reply #424 on: September 21, 2017, 05:12:10 pm »

You're right it makes no sense at all to omit the 5th movement.  Apart from the obviously bogus rationale given, is there any even conceivable rationale for doing so?

.......or perhaps the orchestra will only play for a certain specified time and not a minute longer Huh Wouldn't surprise me Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

Is this sort of thing specified in player contracts?  I'm sure it is in regards to rehearsals, but that actual concert performances would be truncated over such scruples leaves one aghast, - though that's probably the correct explanation.  Playing in a top flight Symphony Orchestra is after all just a job, and no one likes to be late for dinner (ten extra minutes of artistic commitment be damned).
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« Reply #425 on: September 21, 2017, 06:30:20 pm »

I don't want to make a meal of this but -

the second half of the concert was the Brahms Violin Concerto? What odd programme planning!  But, ok, the Brahms can be played in 38 minutes not 45 (Udagawa on Chandos); so there are 7 of the 9 minutes needed for the full Holloway and if conductors stopped wasting time with the frequent interminable pause before coming onto the podium....
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relm1
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« Reply #426 on: September 22, 2017, 02:04:58 am »

I note relm1's comments but I remain unconvinced.

Ok, the work turns out to be longer than expected. So what? Accommodate that fact, don't cut the work, thereby imperilling its musical integrity.

And if I was Holloway I would either remove the movement as superfluous (if it actually is???) or say "no, you can reschedule it for next year and perform it in toto!".

http://www.boosey.com/cr/news/Holloway-reviews-of-Fourth-Concerto-in-San-Francisco/11438&LangID=1

I have inquired to RH of this detail and we shall see if there is further detail but as a composer myself, commissions have demands and if the demands aren't met, there are absolutely concessions met but lets see if he responds and gives his take.  I do believe MTT hated the idea of having to cut 9 minutes but lets hear from someone involved.  Removing the movement certainty doesn't imply it is superfluous but rather impractical given the other constraints.  That is my take at least.  I truly wished MTT could have included it.  But there is a point where having it would overall be detrimental.  I think of it like this.  As a commissioned composer sometimes you envision an instrument that is impractical.  Such as an organ for just a few notes.  Well, the venue doesn't allow that.  So the composer retains the intent but the instrument is omitted from the premiere performance.  The composer should not remove this instrumentation however it is not part of the premiere. 
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« Reply #427 on: September 23, 2017, 06:36:46 pm »

What exactly are the "constraints" and "detriment" you allude to (even if only in a speculative way)?  Could you be more clear?  Fine if we eventually "hear from someone involved", but let's discuss the possibilities while we wait for that.  You apparently have some knowledge and experience of what can occur in these circumstances.  Why not share more precisely the thing(s) you have in mind?
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relm1
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« Reply #428 on: September 24, 2017, 04:20:05 pm »

What exactly are the "constraints" and "detriment" you allude to (even if only in a speculative way)?  Could you be more clear?  Fine if we eventually "hear from someone involved", but let's discuss the possibilities while we wait for that.  You apparently have some knowledge and experience of what can occur in these circumstances.  Why not share more precisely the thing(s) you have in mind?


Well, what I meant is that in music school we were told if you have only 20 minutes to work with the orchestra and wrote a piece that would require 30 minutes to properly execute it, you failed in meeting the constraints you had.  The result is subpar or incomplete performance which does not reflect well on your intention or the quality of your work.  That is the detriment.  Perhaps the schedule would not allow all the music to be properly rehearsed so jettisoning a movement would be preferential than a disastrous complete performance.   That was what I was speculating on. 
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« Reply #429 on: September 24, 2017, 05:20:08 pm »

Holloway himself seems to indicate on his website that the "commission" (?) from Michael Tilson Thomas was for "half a concert", then whittled down to "half an hour". In rehearsal the work clocked in "at an hour and a half". In fact Holloway's publishers time the work at 75 minutes, ie an hour and a quarter!

Now....you are not telling me that an examination of the score does not rapidly convey the difference between a work lasting 30 minutes and one lasting 90 minutes Huh Roll Eyes Surely it does not need a full rehearsal to expose that very, very substantial difference Huh

The (very sad) bottom line is that the performance of the work in San Francisco was in February 2007. (Apparently there were three performances, according to Holloway's own website!). That is ten years ago!!

But I am not aware that the work has ever been performed in the UK. If it had I am sure we would have had a recording of the broadcast from one of our so-generous members! It has, as I did say earlier, never been recorded.

I do not want to be overly pessimistic (which is my habitual default position Grin) but the chances of hearing the work in full do not seem particularly bright Sad
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« Reply #430 on: September 24, 2017, 06:12:29 pm »

Parry: Judith

I was stunned to find this on You Tube. It is an historical document, and performed rather well by the Corpus Christi College Choir of Toronto Canada.  On first hearing this is some of the best Parry that I've heard.

I have uploaded it here because, if it is removed from You Tube, it could be be lost forever.
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« Reply #431 on: September 25, 2017, 12:04:35 am »

Parry: Judith

I was stunned to find this on You Tube. It is an historical document, and performed rather well by the Corpus Christi College Choir of Toronto Canada.  On first hearing this is some of the best Parry that I've heard.

I have uploaded it here because, if it is removed from You Tube, it could be be lost forever.

Considering the vast amount of choral music Parry composed, including so many Oratorios and Cantatas- most of which have remained unheard since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this is indeed a most unexpected and extremely welcome addition and I hope will be added to our Archive on here!

Thank you very much indeed Smiley
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cjvinthechair
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« Reply #432 on: September 25, 2017, 07:49:46 pm »

Parry: Judith

I was stunned to find this on You Tube. It is an historical document, and performed rather well by the Corpus Christi College Choir of Toronto Canada.  On first hearing this is some of the best Parry that I've heard.

I have uploaded it here because, if it is removed from You Tube, it could be be lost forever.

These are lovely videos on the Pax Christi site - apart from Parry, a stirring Elijah, & a fine Apostles!
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Clive
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« Reply #433 on: September 26, 2017, 12:38:58 am »

Thanks for the lead, I must confess I haven't ventured into the magnificent British choral works much, but had always known I wanted to, so this is a new and welcome push in that direction. At the risk of blasphemy I also must confess I really don't like Elgar's symphonies but I like his incidental music and the oratorios a lot, and even (maybe as a philistine blasphemist)--wait for it---Pomp and Circumstance marches!!. As to Parry I have never heard anything of his I didn't like. Always back to the "oldies" for me it seems like, try to keep up with the contemporaries but wind up going back to the 19th and early 20th centuries or Bach for the soul-soothing needs.
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« Reply #434 on: September 26, 2017, 04:54:38 am »

Thanks for the lead, I must confess I haven't ventured into the magnificent British choral works much, but had always known I wanted to, so this is a new and welcome push in that direction. At the risk of blasphemy I also must confess I really don't like Elgar's symphonies but I like his incidental music and the oratorios a lot, and even (maybe as a philistine blasphemist)--wait for it---Pomp and Circumstance marches!!. As to Parry I have never heard anything of his I didn't like. Always back to the "oldies" for me it seems like, try to keep up with the contemporaries but wind up going back to the 19th and early 20th centuries or Bach for the soul-soothing needs.
Then you must hear Sanctus Civitas by Vaughn Williams..a marvelous work.
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