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British and Irish Music


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Author Topic: British and Irish Music  (Read 35209 times)
calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #600 on: September 20, 2021, 11:54:31 pm »

I have uploaded a link to my MIDI transcription of Simpson's Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano to Downloads.

This work was written in 1967, the year before the well-known Quintet for Clarinet and Strings. It is completely different from that work, although like the later work it has enormous energy and passages of serious beauty.

When I was transcribing it I listened to it section by section as I completed each section and I interpreted it as a work of extreme musical energy like the Symphony No.5. However on listening to it all the way through I revised my opinion, because I had missed the fun and good humour of the piece. In my interpretation now the work is a sort of written-down improvisation between the piano on the one hand and the clarinet in A and cello on the other. I say this because the clarinet and cello usually play together in unison or close imitation (the cello often playing high in its register) whereas the piano part is more different in its material. I imagined Simpson imagining a clarinettist and a cellist who are very good friends and understand each other very well meeting up for the first time with a pianist who is a little more jazzy and outgoing than they are and the Trio is the result of their first improvisations together.

The piece begins with a slow, mysterious introduction in Eflat minor, where it sounds as though the players are testing their tuning. Suddenly an Allegro non troppo section begins led by the piano. The first stretch of fast music is a little bit tentative and is full of figurations that are played with and then quickly dropped. The music isnít particularly dissonant, but it is modulating constantly (Simpson, as usual, uses no key signatures, and every bar is full of accidentals, throughout the piece).

Quite soon the music drops away in volume and tempo and a slower section ♩= 72 begins. This is seriously beautiful, but doesnít last long, almost as though the musicians have suddenly discovered the profundity of their music-making and are a little embarrassed about it. It fades away, there is a pause, and then an Allegro molto e furioso section begins. This is faster than the first fast section and two-in-a-bar, not triple time. Its energy is incredible (in some bars every note has an accent and sfs and sffs abound). But I donít hear any anger (despite the furioso) or angst, perhaps occasionally the clarinet sounds a little irritated with the piano, and the cello sounds as if it is straining to keep up, high on the fingerboard.

The music again is full of figurations and patterns that are tried out and then dropped, and picked up again at a later stage in different combinations. There are quieter passages, but the music carries on and on (this last section is in fact the same length as the first fast section but has more notes and sounds more substantial) until quite suddenly the players seem to realise that itís time to stop. The music just seems to end mid-flow, with a quick concluding few bars where the clarinet plays a sustained f# fading to niente, seemingly the note where proceedings had got up to, but the pianist (remembering they began in Eflat minor) realises that the clarinet note can be reinterpreted as a gflat and so plays a quiet chord of Eflat minor to round the session off.

00.00 Largo Molto
00.54 Allegro non troppo
08.55 ♩= 72
14.08 Allegro molto e furioso (tt 22.00)

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Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #601 on: September 26, 2021, 09:35:48 am »

Many thanks to PJ for sending the broadcast of a ballet score by Dorothy Howell (1898-1982). There is now an MP3 in BIMA -

Koong Shee (1921, revised 1933)
Basel Sinfonietta/ Jessica Horsley (7/6/2021)

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #602 on: October 21, 2021, 12:49:00 pm »

In view of their scarcity of performance, I've added the following broadcasts of Arnold's ballets to the archive as MP3 files:

Homage to the Queen, Op.42 (1953)
BBC CO/ Barry Wordsworth (br. 7/12/1993)

Rinaldo and Armida, Op.49 (1954)
BBC Northern SO/ Malcolm Arnold (br. 6/11/1971)

Sweeney Todd, Op.68 (1959) - Suite
BBC CO/ Barry Wordsworth (br. 6/11/1991)

Electra, Op.79 (1962)
BBC CO/ Barry Wordsworth (br. 5/11/2004)

 Smiley

I have also added an MP3 of

Song of Freedom, Op.109 (1973)
Chetham's School of Music Choir/ IMI Yorkshire Imperial Band/ John Pryce-Jones (br. 17/9/1987)
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #603 on: October 21, 2021, 06:41:48 pm »

I have added the following less-familiar Malcolm Arnold works as MP3s to the broadcast archive -

Oboe Concerto, Op.39 (1952)
Gordon Hunt (oboe)/ Bournemouth Sinfonietta/ Harold Farberman (br. 10/2/1987)

Harmonica Concerto, Op.46 (1954)
Tommy Reilly, harmonica/ BBC SSO/ Ole Schmidt (br. 25/7/1983)

Commonwealth Christmas Overture, Op.64 (1957)
LPO/ Alexander Gibson

Philharmonic Concerto, Op.120 (1976)
BBC PO/ Edward Downes (br. 21/10/1986)

Trumpet Concerto, Op.125 (1982)
John Wallace (trumpet)/ BBC PO/ Edward Downes (br. 21/10/1986)

Recorder Concerto, op.133 (1988)
Michala Petri (recorder)/ Scottish CO/ Jaime Laredo (br. 3/3/1990)


- safety in numbers.

 Smiley
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #604 on: October 21, 2021, 09:17:25 pm »

As a final gesture to Sir Malcolm on his 100th I've uploaded MP3s to BIMA of

Concerto for Piano Duet and Strings, Op.32 (1951)
Rhonda Gillespie, Robert Wetherburn (piano)/ BBC CO/ Barry Wordsworth (br. 6/11/1991)

Concerto for Two Pianos (Three Hands), Op.104 (1969)
David Nettle, Richard Markham (pianos)/ BBC CO/ Barry Wordsworth (BBC Radio 2, br. 26/10/1991)


Broadcast to celebrate his 70th birthday, these are fabulous performance of key Arnold concertos.

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #605 on: October 22, 2021, 11:44:18 am »

Left over from yesterday, I've added an MP3 of Arnold's astonishing Symphony No.7, Op.113 (1973) with the National Youth Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley - I don't think that the first movement has ever received a more blistering performance, surpassing his Conifer recording.
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #606 on: Today at 04:50:58 pm »

Will this pleasure never end? As you can't have too much of a good thing (unless it's prunes), I have just added the further Malcolm Arnold broadcasts as MP3s:

Symphony No.2, Op.40 (1953)
LSO/ George Hurst (br. early 1960s)

Symphony No.5, Op.74 (1961)
BBC SSO/ Malcolm Arnold (br. 23/10/1971)

Symphony No.7, Op.113 (1973)
BBC PO/ Edward Downes (br. 21/10/1986)

Symphony No.7, Op.113 (1973)
BBC PO/ Charles Groves (br. 19/11/1991)

Symphony No.8, Op.124 (1978)
BBC Northern SO/ Charles Groves (br. 2/10/1981)

Symphony No.8, Op.124 (1978)
BBC SSO/ Vernon Handley (17/3/1984, br. 28/4/1984)


Regarding the first movement of the 7th, which I think is one of the most astonishing contributions to British symphonism: Downes is a bit slack, Groves is better but nothing beats Vernon Handley and the NYO. Go on, explore them all, and then listen to Handley on Conifer, Gamba on Chandos and Penny on Naxos!

 Smiley

No wonder the archive is running out of storage space.

 Roll Eyes
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)
Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #607 on: Today at 06:40:35 pm »

I have uploaded a link to my MIDI transcription of Simpson's Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano to Downloads.

This work was written in 1967, the year before the well-known Quintet for Clarinet and Strings. It is completely different from that work, although like the later work it has enormous energy and passages of serious beauty.

Judging from the symphonies (which, to be honest, are the only works which I'm acquainted with so far), Simpson was an outstanding talent and is nowadays incredibly neglected. I can only begin to imagine the trouble you have taken over this transcription - very many thanks for this!

 Smiley
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"A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it." (Sydney Grew, 1922)

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