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Holbrooke late piano works


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jonah
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« on: August 21, 2021, 08:35:52 pm »

Due from Lyrita (SRCS395) on 1st October - Josef Holbrooke late piano works played by Simon Callaghan.
The works are Fantasies-Sonatas 1 and 2, Cambrian Ballade 4 and 8 Nocturnes.
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2021, 08:42:47 pm »

And more! Shocked Perhaps Simon Callghan will give us a recording of,Piano Concerto No.2, L'Orient,eventually? !
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jonah
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2021, 08:46:19 pm »

If only!
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2021, 08:54:12 pm »

Well,he's,obviously,keen on neglected repertory, ie his recordings of Roger Sacheverell Coke,for instance! So,he could be the man for the job?

There's a great photo of Holbrooke on the front of theb Lyrita cd on Amazon! (and on the back) Can anyone post it here?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Josef-Holbrooke-Late-Piano-Music/dp/B09B28PX5W/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=simon+callaghan&qid=1629575539&s=music&sr=1-15
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2021, 09:39:22 pm »

I wrote the booklet notes for this CD. Simon plays all the music absolutely beautifully. I hope there will be a second volume.
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Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2021, 10:01:53 pm »

I wrote the booklet notes for this CD. Simon plays all the music absolutely beautifully. I hope there will be a second volume.

I expected you would have done, Gareth! I, too, hope there will be a second volume. Simon is a very fine pianist; I have quite a few of his recordings as both soloist and accompanist and he never disappoints in either role.

You have at least half-a-dozen customers here for certain! Smiley
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Albion
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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2021, 07:45:48 am »

Well,he's,obviously,keen on neglected repertory, ie his recordings of Roger Sacheverell Coke,for instance! So,he could be the man for the job?

There's a great photo of Holbrooke on the front of theb Lyrita cd on Amazon! (and on the back) Can anyone post it here?



The music on this disc dates from the composer’s later years, and are largely based on themes from his earlier successes. The inspiration for Holbrooke’s music was almost always literary; hence, the large number of symphonic poems and pieces with literary titles or subtitles in his work list. Almost all the 8 Nocturnes, Op. 121 employ material from some of Holbrooke’s most successful and popular earlier works. The music critic Ernest Newman, in an often quoted appreciation of the composer written in 1902, wrote that “…Holbrooke can do quite easily and unconsciously what [Richard] Strauss has only done half a dozen times in his career – he can write a big, heartfelt melody that searches us to the very bone…”, and these Nocturnes display Josef’s gift for lyricism. The two Fantasie-Sonatas, Opp. 124 & 128 respectively, are important and substantial works from Holbrooke’s later years. The first is closely based on the opening movement of the Dramatic Choral Symphony ‘Homage to E.A. Poe’, Op. 48 (1902-1907), but skilfully adapted for pianistic effectiveness. The second Fantasie-Sonata, ‘Destiny’, does not recycle earlier material: it is an entirely original composition of two movements. Based on the slow movement of the fine Horn Trio, Op. 28 (1902), Cambrian Ballade No. 4 Op. 104 Maentrog commences in the lilting character of a berceuse. A more animated central section leads to an ardent reprise of the opening theme and a coda like a sudden shower of rain. It is tempting to think that in this composition the composer looked back wistfully to a period when his creative fires burned brightly and his talents were recognised by the musical world. [Gareth Vaughan]

 Smiley
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2021, 08:03:57 am »

Thanks,Albion! What a great photo! And the one on the back! And smiling! Smiley Smiley Smiley This is a surprise release from Lyrita. There were cd's of his piano music from Cameo Classics,but the reviews & often high prices asked put me off. Which was a pity,as,judging by reviews ,the music sounded interesting.
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Albion
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2021, 08:28:27 am »

Thanks,Albion! What a great photo! And the one on the back! And smiling! Smiley Smiley Smiley This is a surprise release from Lyrita. There were cd's of his piano music from Cameo Classics,but the reviews & often high prices asked put me off. Which was a pity,as,judging by reviews ,the music sounded interesting.

Yes, it is. Volume 2 on Cameo is better-recorded than volume 1 and on a superior piano but both discs are a good introduction to Holbrooke's piano style. I have put an MP3 of Bogey Beasts, Op.89a (1923) into the archive with Sime's verses recited over the piano music which Holbrooke provided to illustrate them.

Devotees of Sime’s art will be familiar with a little book 'Bogey Beasts' published in 1923 by Goodwin & Tabb.  It comprised 15 full-page black and white drawings of fantastic but harmless beasts reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, each accompanied by a 'jingle' - a descriptive verse - and a complementary musical score composed by Sime's friend and fellow devotee of Edgar Allen Poe, Joseph Holbrooke.  Although little heard now, Holbrooke was a talented musician, renowned in the 1920s for his adventurous and modernistic music;  these pieces have a haunting sound reminiscent of Ravel. In 'Bogey Beasts' their talents combined well to produce an ephemeral blend of images and sounds that was at once morbid, bizarre and humorous.

Many drawings were modified reproductions of a series which appeared in The Sketch in 1905 called 'Sime Zoology - Beasts That Might Have Been' - with the jingles added later.

Narrator:  Nick Higham
Piano:  Professor Francis Pott
Tenor:  Nigel Evans-Thompson


 Smiley
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Albion
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2021, 04:36:07 pm »

Yes, an innovative release from Lyrita in prospect, which will bring Holbrooke's piano music to a much wider audience. The choice of repertoire is imaginative too, interleaving the Nocturnes with other works. The track-listing is

1-3. Nocturnes Gulnare, Donegal and Juliet
4. Fantasie-Sonate No.1, The Haunted Castle
5-7. Nocturnes Elan, Bridal Ballad and Bronwen
8-9. Fantasie-Sonate No.2, Destiny
10. Cambrian Ballad No.4, Maentrog
11-12. Nocturnes Ariel and Ulalume


As Gareth says, this is essentially Holbrooke in the late 1930s looking back on his career and reminiscing about early successes, refashioning some of his best material for a (by then) largely indifferent audience - shame on them!

 Shocked

As the wonderful three volumes of orchestral music on CPO under Howard Griffiths have shown, Holbrooke's name should still be known in our concert halls: The Raven, Ulalume, Three Blind Mice or the Grasshopper Violin Concerto would not disgrace any programme.
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Albion
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2021, 09:49:10 am »

Thanks,Albion! What a great photo! And the one on the back! And smiling! Smiley Smiley Smiley This is a surprise release from Lyrita. There were cd's of his piano music from Cameo Classics,but the reviews & often high prices asked put me off. Which was a pity,as,judging by reviews ,the music sounded interesting.

Until we get that warts-and-all copiously illustrated biography, there are very few photos of Joe looking anything even vaguely resembling cheerful...



...talk about Ulagloom.

 Sad
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Lionel Harrison
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2021, 10:26:35 am »

Thanks,Albion! What a great photo! And the one on the back! And smiling! Smiley Smiley Smiley This is a surprise release from Lyrita. There were cd's of his piano music from Cameo Classics,but the reviews & often high prices asked put me off. Which was a pity,as,judging by reviews ,the music sounded interesting.

Until we get that warts-and-all copiously illustrated biography, there are very few photos of Joe looking anything even vaguely resembling cheerful...



...talk about Ulagloom.

 Sad

Is that what they mean by "Poe-faced"? Wink
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Albion
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2021, 10:30:01 am »

Is that what they mean by "Poe-faced"? Wink

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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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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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2021, 09:21:32 am »

Until we get that warts-and-all copiously illustrated biography, there are very few photos of Joe looking anything even vaguely resembling cheerful...

I'd love to hear some of his 1920s dance music, Op.86 (or 86a, depending on which MML catalogue of works you goggle at) -

The Penguin's Walk, foxtrot (1923)
Let's brighten Bognor, foxtrot (1922)
Let's brighten London, foxtrot (1923)
In Old Wales, foxtrot (1925)
Do It Now, foxtrot (1925)
Toc H, valse (1924)
Let's brighten everything, valse (1923)
British Legion, valse (1925)
Broken China, valse (1925)
Tell No Tales, charleston (1925)

Do these still exist? Or, as George V allegedly opined on his death-bed, is it a case of Bugger Bognor...



...When you're smiling, When you're smiling The whole world smiles with you. Perhaps not.

 Undecided
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Albion
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2021, 11:32:18 am »

A review - http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2021/Oct/Holbrooke-piano-SRCD395.htm

This is the disc to go to for Holbrooke’s later works and I do hope that Lyrita have taped him – or will tape him – in the earlier solo piano music. If you imagine that these piano pieces are merely skeletal abstractions, watered down versions of pieces like Queen Mab, Ulalume and other large-scale pieces on which they are based, I think you are in for a surprise. These are strong works in their own right and deserve a good hearing and in Callaghan’s expert performances that is precisely what they receive.

 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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