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Stanford sacred choral music from Hyperion


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Author Topic: Stanford sacred choral music from Hyperion  (Read 1625 times)
cilgwyn
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2012, 06:53:55 pm »

Cilgwyn, do you have either the Requiem (1897) or the Stabat mater (1907)? These are very Italianate in idiom, beautiful and ultimately satisfying settings which should be heard much more often. Stanford could be very uneven, but certainly these two, and the Songs of the Fleet (preferably the Benjamin Luxon recording), are very immediate in their appeal.

Despite its reputation, and the fine Chandos recording, I don't much care for The Revenge (which sounds a bit stilted to me) and wish that they had taken the bull by the horns and tackled The Voyage of Maeldune (which is quite lovely) instead ...

 Roll Eyes
Actually,see previous post,Albion! Grin Actually,no I the only choral music I have by Stanford is 'The Songs of the Fleet/Sea' Chandos cd. I'm glad you said you prefer the earlier Luxon cd. I did not enjoy the Chandos cd,but I DID have seem to have some idea that Luxon was more stirring,and a more distinctive voice! But it's so long since I heard the cd (Lp in my case!). I shall have to hear the works you mention. I must admit I have struggled a bit with Stanford. Very crafty of Chandos to put that Irish Rhapsody on as the first item. Even if you're not sure of Stanford,his inclusion of that tune & it's familiarity seems to put you in a more than receptive mood for whatever follows. As it happens,the Sixth has a very stirring opening & I am enjoying this now. And listening to this lovely slow movement,why wouldn't I?
The trouble is as soon as I start going through the complete cycle,the doubts begin to set in! Sad
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Albion
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2012, 07:11:23 pm »

Very crafty of Chandos to put that Irish Rhapsody on as the first item. Even if you're not sure of Stanford,his inclusion of that tune & it's familiarity seems to put you in a more than receptive mood for whatever follows. As it happens,the Sixth has a very stirring opening & I am enjoying this now. And listening to this lovely slow movement,why wouldn't I?
The trouble is as soon as I start going through the complete cycle,the doubts begin to set in! Sad

I can certainly understand - Stanford had a fatal fluency which sometimes leads to 'note-spinning', but at his best there is a real passion and beauty in his music. For me, the best (recorded) orchestral Stanford is found in the Irish Rhapsodies 3 and 4, Piano Concerto No.2 and Symphonies 5 and 6 (that slow movement is sublime). Nevertheless, we are lucky that there are two complete symphony cycles (Naxos, Chandos) plus the EMI Irish.

 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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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2012, 10:26:06 pm »

I find the Violin Concerto an absolute joy, and am looking forward to the alleged recording of the VC no. 2. I also find some of the chamber music lovely, especially the piano quintet. I wish so much that we could hear more of the operas. So far as I know, the only currently available commercial recording is the pitifully short selection from "The Veiled Prophet". Thank goodness for the bits that made it onto the downloads here, especially the lovely "The Travelling Companion".
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2012, 01:05:36 am »

Very crafty of Chandos to put that Irish Rhapsody on as the first item. Even if you're not sure of Stanford,his inclusion of that tune & it's familiarity seems to put you in a more than receptive mood for whatever follows. As it happens,the Sixth has a very stirring opening & I am enjoying this now. And listening to this lovely slow movement,why wouldn't I?
The trouble is as soon as I start going through the complete cycle,the doubts begin to set in! Sad

I can certainly understand - Stanford had a fatal fluency which sometimes leads to 'note-spinning', but at his best there is a real passion and beauty in his music. For me, the best (recorded) orchestral Stanford is found in the Irish Rhapsodies 3 and 4, Piano Concerto No.2 and Symphonies 5 and 6 (that slow movement is sublime). Nevertheless, we are lucky that there are two complete symphony cycles (Naxos, Chandos) plus the EMI Irish.

 Smiley
Despite my earlier,rather negative comments,I AM actually enjoying Stanford! So far,I have listened to No 5 & 6 & I don't want this to sound like a back handed compliment,but they make lovely background music. I think one problem I have had in the past with Stanford's orchestral music is that it just didn't sound 'British' enough (and I know he's Irish!). I don't know why,but underneath the Brahmsian 'veneer' Parry sounded more British (or English!). Why,I don't know! He just DID! While Stanford sounded like a lesser version of Brahms,with maybe a bit of Dvorak thrown in,as well!
 Listening now,I am beginning to feel that,even if some of this is true, this is more than compensated for by Stanford's orchestration,which even if it isn't terribly British,or Irish,is beautifully scored. The textures are always clear,with a lightness of touch. No one could ever accuse him of over scoring.There is a transluscence,bouyancy,a gracefulness. The faster passages just seem to dance,effortlessly along. He also is a dab hand at gorgeous sounding slow movements. And I'm starting to feel that there is something English,or Irish,about his music,after all. Goodness knows what it is. I'm not a musician;but I'm starting to hear it now!

I'm on No3,now! This one is great fun with all those irish jigs & reels (?) although,I get the feeling it lacks the depth (if that's the right word) of No's 5 & 6! I just hope No 4 isn't such a big let down,that I end up avoiding Stanford again! The problem is I'm a bit of a sucker for symphonic cycles. I find myself working my way through the entire cycle,even if I only intended to listen to one or two(say?). And when a composer is as,seemingly,uneven as Stanford,I tend to get cold feet. If memory serves me correctly,No's 1,2 & 7 are a case in point! Sad

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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2012, 11:57:45 am »

 Shocked Sad Embarrassed Dear oh dear! This is what comes of trying to analyse your responses to a composer when you really should be asleep in bed! Shocked

Ok,enjoyed No's 3,5 & 6,bung No 4 on & hope to enjoy as much! Grin
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2012, 02:10:42 pm »

I find the Violin Concerto an absolute joy, and am looking forward to the alleged recording of the VC no. 2. I also find some of the chamber music lovely, especially the piano quintet. I wish so much that we could hear more of the operas. So far as I know, the only currently available commercial recording is the pitifully short selection from "The Veiled Prophet". Thank goodness for the bits that made it onto the downloads here, especially the lovely "The Travelling Companion".
I notice that 'Scion7' doesn't seem to think much of his VC,on the gmg forum HB thread. Describing it as "pretty music" that "I don't think goes anywhere" and "long winded!" Interesting how two people can have such different responses. I haven't heard it & I can't help wondering what I would think?!
Ok,now to make a cdr of some of that choral music! Smiley His String Qts sound interesting,too & they've had good reviews.
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2012, 09:51:40 pm »

His String Qts sound interesting,too & they've had good reviews.

Stanford's chamber music is certainly well worth exploring, but if you can find room for only one disc in your collection it should be this one -



Both are superb, large-scale works which show off Stanford's impeccable technique, but also the passion which underlies the best of his music.

 Smiley
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2012, 11:40:34 pm »

His String Qts sound interesting,too & they've had good reviews.

Stanford's chamber music is certainly well worth exploring, but if you can find room for only one disc in your collection it should be this one -



Both are superb, large-scale works which show off Stanford's impeccable technique, but also the passion which underlies the best of his music.

 Smiley
Thank you for your recommendation,Albion. I DO like chamber music,now I'm an old-ish Grin fogey & the fact that they are large scale,ambitious sounding works makes them even more tempting. This cd is definately going on my 'list!' Smiley
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2012, 01:31:55 pm »

Well,you've got a Charles Stanford convert here! Smiley Symphony No 4,far from being a let down after No's 3,5 & 6 was actually,imho,one of the best. The 3rd movement rising to a particularly majestic climax! Wow! Pretty good stuff for a supposedly second rank composer!! Well,I was impressed!
I played the Seventh Symphony last. I feared the worst! Fortunately,my fears were unfounded. The booklet notes observe that at the time of it's composition there was a fashion for mammoth sized symphonies & Stanford in composing such a concise & lightly scored gem was somewhat bucking the trend! So,maybe Stanford wasn't such a 'throw-back',after all?!! The fill-ups on this particular cd are particularly lovely. Aside from the beautiful Irish Rhapsody No3;my ear was particularly captivated by the Concert Piece for Organ & Orchestra. Marvellous! It should be popular! Smiley
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Albion
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« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2012, 03:56:17 pm »

Well,you've got a Charles Stanford convert here!

Jolly good - if you haven't heard it, do try the splendid Requiem as well (Marco Polo, reissued on Naxos) -



 Smiley
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2012, 05:06:27 pm »

As soon as I've finished busking outside Tesco,Albion! Sad Grin So now I officially like Stanford.....which is funny,considering how long I've had those cds & unfortunately,too late for Symphonies 1 & 2,which got carted off to the charity shop,along with Wetz! Apparently,they're stacked between Max Bygraves & Ken Dodd! Shocked Luckily,I had the foresight to load them onto my pc,before I packed them off! Smiley (The Stanford symphonies not MB & Ken Dodd! Shocked)
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« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2012, 02:01:27 am »

So glad to see another convert! I too had terrible prejudices about Stanford, due to George Bernard Shaw and Elgar biographers, but he (CVS) won me over heart and soul. Sad too that his strongly unionist sympathies mean that he is not much feted in Ireland, unlike Balfe and Wallace (neither of whom were exactly nationalists either: both on occasion referred to themselves as 'Englishmen').
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« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2012, 02:57:38 pm »

As I read this thread I have a score of the Mass in G on my desk!

A Stanfordian myself I have conducted quite a few items with amateurs - Songs of he Fleet, Songs of the Sea, The Revenge, Phaudrig Crohoore, Irish Rhapsody No. 1, Mag and Nunc in Bb with orchestra, Requiem with only an electronic keyboard (after organ failure) and presently Stabat Mater with Piano. Too good not to get an airing just because orchestra hire is unaffordable.

I note the omission of the late Mass 'via victrix' Op.173 from Albion's 'Urgently Needed' - or have I missed a recording?
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2012, 03:33:12 pm »

So glad to see another convert! I too had terrible prejudices about Stanford, due to George Bernard Shaw and Elgar biographers, but he (CVS) won me over heart and soul. Sad too that his strongly unionist sympathies mean that he is not much feted in Ireland, unlike Balfe and Wallace (neither of whom were exactly nationalists either: both on occasion referred to themselves as 'Englishmen').
Smiley Actually,I wasn't prejudiced by Shaw or Elgar biographies,as I haven't read any! I did dip into a bit of Shaw as a teenager,but found him verbose and dry!! I just couldn't get into his music for some reason. It all seemed very pretty & well orchestrated,but the kind of music you forget about quickly. Then suddenly,a few weeks ago it 'clicked' with me! Just in time,actually. I'd put them on one side for the charity shop. I was looking around,desperately,thinking 'Oh no!'. And you can't really ask to have them back,can you? (Well,you could,I suppose!!! Grin). Luckily I lost only the first two & they're on my pc! Smiley
  I've always liked parry,though! Why Parry and not Stanford,I don't quite know. And it's not just because of 'Jerusalem!' For years,one of my favourite recordings was the Forlane Lp of his third symphony! Stanford sounded too germanic. Despite the Brahmsian influence,Parry,for some reason,sounded more re-assuringly English. Now,listening to Stanford,I'm thinking,even if that is true,with orchestration as beautiful & uplifting as this,why worry?!
(So,maybe a little prejudice there,after all! Roll Eyes)
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« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2012, 02:49:17 am »

Do you know, I was the opposite: I found Parry a lot harder to 'get' than Stanford, but recently have managed to like Parry a good deal more. I have had the recording of 'Job' (also much slated by GBS) and thought it tedious in the extreme, but now I think it is marvellous and 'thrill to its magnificence', as Vaughan Williams said. Mackenzie is also proving a joy: hope for more of him on record!
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