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Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)


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Author Topic: Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)  (Read 120 times)
Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« on: July 23, 2021, 10:59:21 pm »

Cross-posting from another thread:

Member Chris Howell has alerted us to his series of extremely valuable articles on Charles Villiers Stanford:

1. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/May/Stanfordian_thoughts_1.pdf

2. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Jun/Stanfordian_thoughts_2.pdf

3. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Jul/Stanfordian_3_VC2.pdf

4. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Jul/Stanfordian_thoughts_4.pdf

5. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Aug/Stanfordian_thoughts_5.pdf

6. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Sep/Stanfordian_thoughts_6.pdf

7. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Nov/Stanfordian_thoughts_7.pdf

8. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Dec/Stanfordian_thoughts_8.pdf

9. http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2019/Jan/Stanfordian_thoughts_9.pdf
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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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Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2021, 11:26:41 pm »

Blessed as we are with two complete Stanford symphonic cycles on disc (Vernon Handley on Chandos and David-Lloyd Jones on Naxos), which is preferable? In some cases Handley's pioneering series takes precedent, but in Nos. 5 and 6 (possibly the best of the seven) the Naxos recording wins out: No.5 has more energy (especially in the finale) under Lloyd-Jones and No.6 is also tauter, with a much cleaner recorded balance which gives the important harp part due prominence. Handley is superior in the Irish (No.3), covering the structural joins much more successfully. As for the others - swings and roundabouts. Better be on the safe side and acquire both sets!



, etc.

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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 #2 on: July 24, 2021, 10:36:36 am »

Blessed as we are with two complete Stanford symphonic cycles on disc (Vernon Handley on Chandos and David-Lloyd Jones on Naxos), which is preferable? In some cases Handley's pioneering series takes precedent, but in Nos. 5 and 6 (possibly the best of the seven) the Naxos recording wins out: No.5 has more energy (especially in the finale) under Lloyd-Jones and No.6 is also tauter, with a much cleaner recorded balance which gives the important harp part due prominence. Handley is superior in the Irish (No.3), covering the structural joins much more successfully. As for the others - swings and roundabouts. Better be on the safe side and acquire both sets!

 Wink

I have the Handley set; I've not heard any of the Lloyd-Jones and so I can't make any comparisons but your 'swings and roundabouts' point goes to emphasise that, as with any great piece of music, there can be innumerable valid interpretations of these symphonies.

That's not to say there can't be even more invalid ones, of course, but that's a different argument! I was always intrigued by Ravel's comment to the effect that "I want no interpretation, it is enough to play what is written".  His own piano recordings give the lie to that, of course; I'm sure he was merely objecting to those invalid interpretations. The eternal challenge for performers is to be able to distinguish the one from t'other!  Wink
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Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2021, 11:08:38 am »

I've not heard any of the Lloyd-Jones and so I can't make any comparisons

I'd definitely recommend Lloyd-Jones in Nos. 5 and 6 - whether you can download these individually I don't know...

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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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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2021, 11:20:08 am »

I've not heard any of the Lloyd-Jones and so I can't make any comparisons

I'd definitely recommend Lloyd-Jones in Nos. 5 and 6 - whether you can download these individually I don't know...

 Huh

Thank you. I shall do some snooping. Wink
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Albion
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)


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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2022, 02:39:47 pm »

Have you duly snooped? Both sets are wonderful, but with Handley you get the six Irish Rhapsodies (now issued idependantly) and several other works. Naxos has "cleaner" recordings which allow for more orchestral detail to be heard, whereas Handley has a pioneering zeal on Chandos. We are lucky to have both cycles...

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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2022, 08:11:10 pm »

Just to complicate matters, in no.5 the broadcast performances under Maurice Handford and Tuomas Ollila-Hannikainen make the work sound like a masterpiece in a way neither Handley nor Lloyd-Jones quite succeed in doing, though I prefer Lloyd-Jones over Handley here and in most of the others too. The Handford is an expansive affair such as his mentor Barbirolli might have given.
In no.3, the broadcast by the Pittsburgh SO under Galway is worth seeking out. The recent (2020) broadcast under George Jackson was impressive in movements 2, 3, and 4. The first movement seems the hardest to bring off. Of commercial recordings, I haven't heard the Bostock, but of the others I tend to go back to Del Mar, while wishing EMI gave him a proper sized symphony orchestra instead of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta.
Neither recording of no.4 is acceptable because both treat the Allegretto agitato intermezzo as a lugubrious slow movement, so the symphony appears to have two slow movements and falls apart in the middle. There was a broadcast under Maurice Handford that I've never heard - I wonder what he did with that movement.

In Rhapsody no.1, you only have to compare the first part which Stanford recorded himself with Handley to realize the latter's jig-like treatment (the melody appears in Songs of Erin as a war song) is radically wrong. A 2019 broadcast under Simon Gaudenz considerably better         
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