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George Lloyd (1913-1998)

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Author Topic: George Lloyd (1913-1998)  (Read 242 times)
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Frederic Cowen (1852-1935)

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« on: June 12, 2022, 08:48:22 pm »

Recently I revisited the blazing masterpiece that is A Symphonic Mass (1992): I say this without any hyperbole: This is one of the most magnificent, epic, and awe-inspiring pieces of music known to me!!! Great as his symphonies are, I think A Symphonic Mass may very well be Lloyd's masterwork. I can say with great confidence that it is my single favorite work composed in the last 50 or so years, and perhaps even my favorite work for chorus and orchestra. What makes this work so compelling to me is its constant struggle between light (radiant lyricism/consonance) and dark (threatening chromaticism/dissonance). Especially powerful are the Credo and Sanctus/Benedictus movements - simply witness the great climax of the former (beginning around 8:45 in the video below). Absolutely spine-tinglingly thrilling doesn't even begin to describe it...

Another aspect of the work that I find appealing is its lack of vocal soloists - it's simply for chorus and orchestra, and Lloyd's writing for both is superbly virtuosic and inventive. It's a magnificent summation of this ever-endearing composer's career, and I urge anyone who hasn't heard it yet to please give it a try!

I fully agree - the Mass is absolutely stunning, his finest contribution to the choral repertoire with so many memorable tunes and glorious orchestration. It's also well worth seeking out the operas Iernin and John Socman as well: the first was issued on CD from a BBC studio recording and the latter is in the the British and Music Archive, like wise from a studio broadcast. I so wish that Albany would issue a box set of the symphonies as recorded under the composer's baton...

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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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