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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)


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Author Topic: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)  (Read 1618 times)
Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #105 on: August 21, 2021, 11:51:54 am »

Thanks, Lionel! I always think it's a pity that Coleridge-Taylor never essayed a piano concerto. Admittedly, the soloist involved may have had to give some input in terms of technical possibilities and improvements, as Paderewski did with Cowen's Concertstuck and Sarasate did with Mackenzie's violin concerto (and no doubt innumerable other concertante compositions were subject to "collaboration").

 Smiley

Undoubtedly so. As we have discussed before, SC-T was not a first-study pianist and his piano writing can be distictly unpianistic! He had a tendency to write arm-fulls of block chords which, while awkward in solo music where you have to keep a bass-line going. as well as internal figurations, suit a concerto texture much better, as the orchestra could be assigned the subsidiaary stuff. With his great gift for orchestration, I'm sure he'd have done that job brilliantly. However, it wasn't to be, sadly.

Incidentally, I've always thought that the 1896 piano concerto by Coleridge-Taylor's great friend William Hurlstone (1876-1906) is quite lovely. Thankfully, Lyrita recorded it along with most of his other major orchestral scores (he was a master of the variation form). Equally precocious and even more tragically short-lived - another of the great might-have-beens (along with today's birthday girl).

 Sad

I agree, and I think his chamber music is also especially fine. The only thing I think he's missing, in comparison with SC-T, is the gift for really memorable melody. Of course, Stanford regarded the pair of them as probably the most naturally gifted students he ever taught, which is saying something!

It certainly is, considering that he also taught RVW and Holst - who knows what the subsequent landscape of British music may have looked like? Likewise, Sullivan's teachers in Leipzig thought that he was more naturally gifted than Brahms - who am I to argue?

 Wink
Yes, I remember reading that remark. Wasn't it Julius Rietz who allegedly made it? Again my memory could be playing tricks on me there, too.
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« Reply #106 on: August 21, 2021, 11:55:46 am »

Yes, I remember reading that quote. Wasn't it Julius Rietz who allegedly made it? Again my memory could be playing tricks on me there, too.

Yes, I think it was.

 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)
Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #107 on: August 21, 2021, 12:05:44 pm »

Yes, I remember reading that quote. Wasn't it Julius Rietz who allegedly made it? Again my memory could be playing tricks on me there, too.

Yes, I think it was.

 Smiley

At the risk of shooting off on a tangent, it's worth saying that Rietz wrote some good music too. Many years ago I bought an LP of Bruch's Second Symphony played by the Louisville Orchestra under Jorg Mester, the filler to which was Rietz's Concert Overture in A Major op 7, as charming a piece as you could wish to encounter. At around the same time, I bought an LP of Heinz Holliger playing a collection of concertante works for oboe which included a lovely little Konzertstuck in F Minor op 33 for oboe and orchestra by Rietz. Mind you, I haven't listened to either of them in upwards of thirty years! Roll Eyes
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« Reply #108 on: August 21, 2021, 12:15:46 pm »

Yes, I remember reading that quote. Wasn't it Julius Rietz who allegedly made it? Again my memory could be playing tricks on me there, too.

Yes, I think it was.

 Smiley

At the risk of shooting off on a tangent, it's worth saying that Rietz wrote some good music too. Many years ago I bought an LP of Bruch's Second Symphony played by the Louisville Orchestra under Jorg Mester, the filler to which was Rietz's Concert Overture in A Major op 7, as charming a piece as you could wish to encounter. At around the same time, I bought an LP of Heinz Holliger playing a collection of concertante works for oboe which included a lovely little Konzertstuck in F Minor op 33 for oboe and orchestra by Rietz. Mind you, I haven't listened to either of them in upwards of thirty years! Roll Eyes

Hallelujah!
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« Reply #109 on: August 21, 2021, 02:20:31 pm »

I doubt whether either Coleridge-Taylor or Hurlstone would have changed stylistically to the extent that RVW (Tallis Fantasia to Symphony No.6) and Holst (Somerset Rhapsody to Egdon Heath) did throughout their careers. Perhaps they would have adopted Frederic Cowen's/ Frederic Cliffe's/ Edward German's stance and simply withdrawn from the "new musical landscape"...



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« Reply #110 on: August 21, 2021, 02:42:58 pm »

I doubt whether either Coleridge-Taylor or Hurlstone would have changed stylistically to the extent that RVW (Tallis Fantasia to Symphony No.6) and Holst (Somerset Rhapsody to Egdon Heath) did throughout their careers. Perhaps they would have adopted Frederic Cowen's/ Edward German's stance and simply withdrawn from the "new musical landscape"...




A very interesting thought. I'm sure you are correct in reckoning that SC-T would not have changed stylistically as RVW and Holst did, and you're probably right about Hurlstone too but I'm not as familiar with his psyche as I am with Coleridge's and so I'm not really qualified to comment. I doubt that Coleridge would have withdrawn, though. He composed because he couldn't help it, bless 'im. Music just poured out of him like a tap and I don't think he could have just turned it off. He may have taken a leaf out of Eric Coates's book and stuck to producing lighter music in the vein of the Petite Suite de Concert, and more songs, with the occasional foray into African-influenced territory. I can't see him doing a Fred Cliffe and just shuttng up shop. But who knows?

(It's strange but I feel I've spent so much time with SC-T over the last twenty or so years that I have become a member of his inner circle and feel entitled to call him 'Coleridge' as his famly (and even his children, apparently) did. Of course, my first encounter with him was back in the 1970s when I was asked to conduct Hiawatha's Wedding Feast (with a big choir, full orchestra and good tenor soloist) after which I was utterly hooked!)
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« Reply #111 on: August 21, 2021, 04:26:35 pm »

I doubt whether either Coleridge-Taylor or Hurlstone would have changed stylistically to the extent that RVW (Tallis Fantasia to Symphony No.6) and Holst (Somerset Rhapsody to Egdon Heath) did throughout their careers. Perhaps they would have adopted Frederic Cowen's/ Edward German's stance and simply withdrawn from the "new musical landscape"...




A very interesting thought. I'm sure you are correct in reckoning that SC-T would not have changed stylistically as RVW and Holst did, and you're probably right about Hurlstone too but I'm not as familiiar with his psyche as I am with Coleridge's and so I'm not really qualified to comment. I doubt that Coleridge would have withdrawn, though. He composed because he couldn't help it, bless 'im. Music just poured out of him like a tap and I don't think he could have just turned it off. He may have taken a leaf out of Eric Coates's book and stuck to producing lighter music in the vein of the Petite Suite de Concert, and more songs, with the occasional foray into African-influenced territory. I can't see him doing a Fred Cliffe and just shuttng up shop. But who knows?

Coleridge-Taylor's idiom was rooted in Dvorak, and remained so to the end of his life. Absolutely beautiful - earthy tunes, clear orchestration and solid choral writing. No idiom could have been built on better foundations. Whether or not the audiences would have been there post-WWI is a moot point. Bantock and Elgar suffered neglect, Holbrooke and Scott were junked, Cowen and Mackenzie were completely forgotten. But hey, it's the "Roaring 20s", so...



..."oh, me poor knees, knick-knock 24/7". Stravinsky endorses

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« Reply #112 on: August 21, 2021, 05:42:17 pm »

I doubt whether either Coleridge-Taylor or Hurlstone would have changed stylistically to the extent that RVW (Tallis Fantasia to Symphony No.6) and Holst (Somerset Rhapsody to Egdon Heath) did throughout their careers. Perhaps they would have adopted Frederic Cowen's/ Edward German's stance and simply withdrawn from the "new musical landscape"...




A very interesting thought. I'm sure you are correct in reckoning that SC-T would not have changed stylistically as RVW and Holst did, and you're probably right about Hurlstone too but I'm not as familiiar with his psyche as I am with Coleridge's and so I'm not really qualified to comment. I doubt that Coleridge would have withdrawn, though. He composed because he couldn't help it, bless 'im. Music just poured out of him like a tap and I don't think he could have just turned it off. He may have taken a leaf out of Eric Coates's book and stuck to producing lighter music in the vein of the Petite Suite de Concert, and more songs, with the occasional foray into African-influenced territory. I can't see him doing a Fred Cliffe and just shuttng up shop. But who knows?

Coleridge-Taylor's idiom was rooted in Dvorak, and remained so to the end of his life. Absolutely beautiful - earthy tunes, clear orchestration and solid choral writing. No idiom could have been built on better foundations. Whether or not the audiences would have been there post-WWI is a moot point. Bantock and Elgar suffered neglect, Holbrooke and Scott were junked, Cowen and Mackenzie were completely forgotten. But hey, it's the "Roaring 20s", so...



..."oh, me poor knees, knick-knock 24/7". Stravinsky endorses



I wonder if Coleridge was a special case, in that his appeal was always wider and more 'populist' than that of Bantock, Cowen et al, and even of Elgar (except in his Pomp and Circumstance or Salut d'amour modes). After all, the audiences were certainly there for Sargent's Hiawatha jamborees at the Albert Hall until 1939 (and may have continued beyond that if not for that ghastly little twerp with the toothbrush moustache). You are quite right in what you say about Coleridge-Taylor's idiom being "rooted in Dvořák", and that "it couldn't have been built on better foundations" and, of course, Dvořák never went out of fashion. It's an interesting discussion but very sadly we'll never know, given Coleridge's untimely demise.

I lilke the idea of Igor rubbing Wild Thera Bruise Away Balm into his knees but in my opinion he'd have done better to rub it into his ears, certainly after 1913.  Wink
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« Reply #113 on: September 24, 2021, 06:49:43 pm »

Lionel may well disagree, but to me the real greatness of Coleridge-Taylor lies in

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, Op.30 No.1 (1898)
Ballade in A minor, Op.33 (1898)
The Death of Minnehaha, Op.30. No.2 (1899)
Five Choral Ballads, Op.54 (1904-05)
Symphonic Variations on an African Air, op.63 (1906)
The Bamboula, Op.75 (1910)
A Tale of Old Japan, Op.76 (1911)
Petite Suite de Concert, Op.77 (1911)
Violin Concerto, Op.80 (1912)


Many other scores are absolutely lovely (recent additions to the BIMA of the African Suite and Four Novelleten, etc.), but I still think that the above are essential listening. Having lived with vocal and piano scores for decades I wish that more was recorded, of course, but works like Meg Blane (1902) and Kubla Khan (1905) will probably never be on the radar.

 Roll Eyes
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Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #114 on: September 24, 2021, 08:03:44 pm »

Lionel may well disagree, but to me the real greatness of Coleridge-Taylor lies in

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, Op.30 No.1 (1898)
Ballade in A minor, Op.33 (1898)
The Death of Minnehaha, Op.30. No.2 (1899)
Five Choral Ballads, Op.54 (1904-05)
Symphonic Variations on an African Air, op.63 (1906)
The Bamboula, Op.75 (1910)
A Tale of Old Japan, Op.76 (1911)
Petite Suite de Concert, Op.77 (1911)
Violin Concerto, Op.80 (1912)


Many other scores are absolutely lovely (recent additions to the BIMA of the African Suite and Four Novelleten, etc.), but I still think that the above are essential listening. Having lived with vocal and piano scores for decades I wish that more was recorded, of course, but works like Meg Blane (1902) and Kubla Khan (1905) will probably never be on the radar.

 Roll Eyes

No, I wouldn't disagree (I wouldn't dare Grin) but I would certainly add the Clarinet Quintet!
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Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #115 on: September 24, 2021, 08:18:19 pm »

Lionel may well disagree, but to me the real greatness of Coleridge-Taylor lies in

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, Op.30 No.1 (1898)
Ballade in A minor, Op.33 (1898)
The Death of Minnehaha, Op.30. No.2 (1899)
Five Choral Ballads, Op.54 (1904-05)
Symphonic Variations on an African Air, op.63 (1906)
The Bamboula, Op.75 (1910)
A Tale of Old Japan, Op.76 (1911)
Petite Suite de Concert, Op.77 (1911)
Violin Concerto, Op.80 (1912)


Many other scores are absolutely lovely (recent additions to the BIMA of the African Suite and Four Novelleten, etc.), but I still think that the above are essential listening. Having lived with vocal and piano scores for decades I wish that more was recorded, of course, but works like Meg Blane (1902) and Kubla Khan (1905) will probably never be on the radar.

 Roll Eyes

No, I wouldn't disagree (I wouldn't dare Grin) but I would certainly add the Clarinet Quintet!

Yerra bloody tinker, y'are!

 Cheesy
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« Reply #116 on: September 24, 2021, 08:59:53 pm »

Lionel may well disagree, but to me the real greatness of Coleridge-Taylor lies in

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, Op.30 No.1 (1898)
Ballade in A minor, Op.33 (1898)
The Death of Minnehaha, Op.30. No.2 (1899)
Five Choral Ballads, Op.54 (1904-05)
Symphonic Variations on an African Air, op.63 (1906)
The Bamboula, Op.75 (1910)
A Tale of Old Japan, Op.76 (1911)
Petite Suite de Concert, Op.77 (1911)
Violin Concerto, Op.80 (1912)


Many other scores are absolutely lovely (recent additions to the BIMA of the African Suite and Four Novelleten, etc.), but I still think that the above are essential listening. Having lived with vocal and piano scores for decades I wish that more was recorded, of course, but works like Meg Blane (1902) and Kubla Khan (1905) will probably never be on the radar.

 Roll Eyes

No, I wouldn't disagree (I wouldn't dare Grin) but I would certainly add the Clarinet Quintet!

Yerra bloody tinker, y'are!

 Cheesy

Unsurprisingly, I've been called worse! Wink Grin
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