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Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance


Launch of renewed Winterreise resource

As an integral element of the developer’s ongoing research into interpretations of arguably the greatest song-cycle ever written, the website was recently launched by Iain C. Phillips. This site d’hommage to Schubert’s Winterreise presents and will maintain a comprehensive and accurate overview of commercially available recordings with timings and relevant data, films, books, online videos, articles, translations, artworks and links to scholastic sources and other websites. In addition, an up-to-date listing of upcoming performances of Winterreise around the globe is available: please feel free to comment and/or contribute with tips and dates!  

Contributions and suggestions are always welcome, essential even. The developer needs your help to make and keep this website the go-to resource for all things Winterreise: be critical, be thorough, but above all ― be forthcoming! Do let Iain know what you feel about the website in general, what it could benefit from, anything else you would like to find on such a resource, if you encounter any errors or omissions; in short: get and stay in touch! Please use the contact form on the website or send e-mail to Iain via mail(at)diewinterreise(dot)net.  

Please note: the website is very image-rich, so although the website has a responsive design, your best viewing experience would be on a desk- or laptop, or a tablet in landscape mode.

Roy Budd's Phantom of the Opera

In the summer of 1993 renowned composer and jazz pianist Roy Budd’s score for Rupert Julian’s classic 1920s silent film The Phantom of the Opera was to set be performed in London. Then he had a brain haemorrhage. Nearly a quarter of a century later his widow, Sylvia, fulfilled his dream and Budd’s masterpiece score to the 1925 Phantom of the Opera was performed at the London Coliseum on 8 October 2017, featuring the 77-piece orchestra. The performance received a resoundingly positive response from critics and audience alike.  

Today the producers are delighted to announce that another one-off performance of Roy Budd’s masterpiece will be performed at the Barbican on 18 March 2019 - the very same venue it was originally meant to be screened at 25 years ago. It will once again be performed by the magnificent Docklands Sinfonia orchestra and led by Conductor Spencer Down. Since its formation, the orchestra has enjoyed incredible success with performances at Buckingham Palace for the Queen and with world-renowned classical artists such as Alison Balsom, Leonard Elschenbroich and Elin Manahan-Thomas.  

The Phantom of the Opera represents the apex of the career of a man who not only bought the last surviving 35mm negative of the film he adored since the age of 11, but who made his debut at the Coliseum aged 6 and went on to compose the score of the seminal 1971 gangster movie Get Carter, starring Michael Caine. The music budget was a mere £450, but Budd, along with a bassist and a percussionist, recorded a spine-tingling harpsichord motif which is now iconic. Among more than 50 other films scored by Budd were Paper Tiger, The Sea Wolves, Who Dares Wins and the 1971 version of Kidnapped.  

Adapted from Gaston Leroux’s gothic novel, Rupert Julian’s The Phantom of the Opera tells the twisted tale of a mysterious recluse (Lon Chaney) who tutors a soprano at Paris’s Palais Garnier opera house while hiding a nocturnal penchant for chandelier-related slaughter. The film has been digitised and very subtle colour added throughout, with one critic noting last year that the restored film is a work of art.  

As for the music, to call last year’s rendition a triumph is an understatement. Budd’s score was played with perfect timing and huge energy, intensifying the audience’s connection to a film which remains as unsettling and emotive as ever. This is a truly unique and original spectacle that is not to be missed.   

Producer Nick Hocart says; “I am excited to work with Spencer Down and Dockland Sinfonia again, and to be presenting Roy's work in the Barbican where it was due to premiere 25 years ago is history in the making.”  

All the proceeds from the production will be going to the Rotary Club Foundation UK; specifically, the Purple for Polio initiative. Furthermore, for every pound raised, the Gates Foundation will donate a further two pounds, whilst producers Sylvia Budd and Nick Hocart are waiving production fees and donating their time for this event.

Any information about Colin Evans?

After a long search in the internet for some facts about the composer Colin Evans I finally got to your page I'm a German music teacher for flute and recorder, and my students love to play and to perform the music of Colin Evans. I can't hardly find anything about him for the moderation of my students' concerts. Can you help me?  Is he the drummer of the Shadows? Is he still alive? Where was/is he living? I wonder what the titles of his Sun Dance Suite want to say? "Ikranian Dream" for example. Does there exist any information about this composer?

Brunhild Maxa

Opera on Video - a new website resource

On December 1, Opera on Video launched a new website with the intention of eventually providing a complete overview of opera recorded on video. Each recording is shown with an excerpt to watch and extensive information about the performance (venue, opera company, singers, orchestra, stage director and designer and much more) and the recording. If a recording is commercially or publicly available on DVD/BD, streaming or download information and a link is provided too.

Rare Delius opera in performance

Two rare Delius operas live in 2019 and 2020.

Northern Opera Group production of Irmelin in May 2019. Two performances planned, in Leeds and Bradford. This will be only the second staging of Irmelin (after Beecham’s).

Investec Opera Holland Park will present a double bill of Delius' Margot la Rouge and Le Villi in 2020. Set in the seedy Paris underworld, Delius’s only verismo opera Margot la Rouge was composed for the Sonzogno competition. This will be performed in its original orchestration. Intended five public performances.

Recording Dame Ethyl Smyth's The Prison

The Experiential Orchestra is in the process of putting together funding for the first recording of Smth's final work, including a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. For more information, download the press release here.


Copland House announces CULTIVATE 2019, an annual, intensive creative workshop and mentoring program for composers in the initial stages of their professional careers.

Six Fellowships are awarded to American citizens or permanent residents to participate in this week-long emerging composers’ institute, which takes place June 3-9, 2019 at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home and its satellite venue at the historic Merestead estate, near New York City. Fellows each compose one 5- to 7-minute, small-ensemble composition (any combination of clarinet, violin, cello, and/or piano), which serves as the core of their work at the institute.

The week consists of daily individual and collective sessions exploring and refining the new works with composer-clarinetist and CULTIVATE Director Derek Bermel and the Music from Copland House ensemble; informal discussion sessions with prominent music executives and arts leaders about practical, professional, and career matters; and a final public concert and live recording premiering all the Fellows’ new compositions written for CULTIVATE.

All expenses (round-trip transportation within the continental U.S., session participation, accommodations, food) are covered.  All composers must submit a CULTIVATE application form (PDF), three representative works and recordings, and a 1- to 2-page resume. Deadline is December 1, 2018.
For program guidelines, application form, and further information, please contact:  
Copland House P.O. Box 2177 Peekskill, NY  10566
Ph. (914) 788-4659

John Ansell's Innisfail Suite - any recordings?

For many years, I've tried in vain to find a recording anywhere of John Ansell's "Innisfail" Suite, with absolutely no luck, save for a MIDI recording of the Andante from this work.  I've checked through iTunes as well as You Tube, and have just about given up, as it would be delightful to hear the full work played by an orchestra, although I suspect this could be a "lost cause". 

I have found the very well-detailed notes about this composer on MWI, and thought I'd try one more time, to see if perhaps someone who cares enough to list John Ansell's works so thoroughly, might know of a recording somewhere. Thank you so much for any word, even if it is not to be - the andante is beautiful in itself, and I will simply have to imagine the other movements.  I also checked IMSLP in case some written music of his could be found there, but I see he isn't listed at all. Such a loss, truly. I appreciate any help, if possible.

Sincere wishes,
Christine Dugdale, Montreal, Canada

Highgate International Chamber Music Festival, November 20-25

Full details here, and includes a free concert (bookings necessary): November 22 at 10 pm - Bax Viola sonata.

Film, Youtube and Computer Games Introduce a New Generation to Orchestral Music

The following summarises the results of a 2018 survey commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic about the experiences of children with classical music.

Four in five children (80%) aged under 16 have experienced orchestral music – and 76% from as young as the age of six - although the classroom is no longer the home of music education, with many children saying their school does not even encourage them to learn to play a musical instrument.

With growing numbers of young people attending its matinee concerts, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned nationwide research to better understand how a representative sample of 586 children aged 6-15 were being introduced to orchestral music. The findings show film, gaming and online media are replacing the classroom in nurturing an early interest in the world of orchestral music.

Film has become the biggest single influence for introducing children to orchestral music (41%), followed by soundtracks to television programmes (34%). Children as young as six cite film (44%) and television (34%) as introducing them to the orchestral genre with YouTube also emerging as a growing influence on children of all ages (16%).

Only 29% of children said they had listened to orchestral music at school. In fact around a third of children aged 6-15 (32%) said their school did not encourage them to learn a musical instrument, a feeling that rose (44%) the closer children got to their GCSEs (ages 14-15). Children that felt their school did not encourage them to learn a musical instrument were more than twice as likely to say they had never experienced orchestral music at all (23% Vs. 10%). Further, they were more than twice as likely to express no interest whatsoever in discovering any genre of music in their own time (13%, compared to 6% that say their school encourages them to learn an instrument).

Despite the feeling that schools could do more to nurture children’s interest in music, the survey suggested that everyday home life encouraged children to experience orchestral music. One in four children (25%) said they had been introduced to the genre during a car journey and 17% said they had heard it on the radio when at home with their parents.

Computer games also look set to be a new source of cultural influence for children. Overall, 15% of children said they had discovered orchestral music as a soundtrack to a computer game they had played. Boys were more than twice as likely to mention computer games as a source for hearing orchestral music (21% Vs. 9% of girls) - and the influence of games starts early: As young as the age of seven, around 18% of children say computer games introduced them to orchestral music. At this age, it seems that gaming is more influential than music lessons (17%) in giving young people a connection to the genre.

Attending live performances from a young age also emerged as integral to children’s engagement with the orchestral genre. Overall, 15% of children said they had been introduced to orchestral music when visiting the theatre and 11% mentioned attending a music concert.

Yaltah Menuhin Award for Leeds Piano Competition

The Leeds International Piano Competition is delighted to announce that The Yaltah Menuhin Award will be presented to the 2018 Competition pianist who demonstrates the greatest collaborative and empathetic qualities in the chamber performance of the semi-final.

Concert pianist Yaltah was the youngest sister of Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin. An early part of her career was spent as a recitalist, performing with leading violinists, violists and cellists including George Neikrug, Guy Fallot, Israel Baker and Michael Mann. Towards the end of her career she performed with the then very young rising star Nicola Benedetti.

After Yaltah's death in June 2001, a memorial fund was created in her name by Charlotte and Iain Phillips. The primary objective of the Yaltah Menuhin Memorial Fund is to help develop the talents of young pianists who have already demonstrated proof of their outstanding musical ability and promise in the practice of their art, by means of awards and bursaries. Current alumni are all in the process of growing their international careers and the distinguished French pianist Cecile Ousset is Honorary Patron of the Fund. Further information about Yaltah’s life and career can be found on   

The Leeds International Piano Competition, founded in 1963 by Dame Fanny Waterman, is one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world. The Competition is held every three years and brings the best young talent from all over the world to Leeds. Many of the greatest pianists of the past half-century came through ‘The Leeds’, including Murray Perahia, Mitsuko Uchida and Andras Schiff.

The next Competition will be held in September 2018 with Co-Artistic Directors Adam Gatehouse and Paul Lewis at the helm. The Yaltah Menuhin Award is part of a revamped prize package for the Competition which includes the winner opening up for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's 2018/2019 season and an opportunity to be managed by artist management group Askonas Holt. The Competition’s Patron is Murray Perahia, and their Global Ambassador is Lang Lang.

Please contact Jade Verbick for further information - | 0113 831 4107

Website celebrating stage designer Johan Engels

On what would have been his 66th birthday, a new website was launched on April 4 to celebrate the extraordinary visionary talent of the late stage designer Johan Engels. An ongoing project, the website aims to record and present a comprehensive overview of Engels’ body of work around the globe and provide a source for research and inspiration to future generations.

One of the most remarkable stage designers of his generation, Engels’ design was hugely influential in productions ranging from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Vienna State Opera, Opéra de Marseille, National Theatre of Norway, Bregenzer Festspiele, and innumerable Broadway shows.   He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Costume Design in 1994, recognised for his imaginative work in Tamburlaine The Great, which starred Antony Sher as Tamburlaine and Tracy-Ann Oberman as Olympia; for The Boys in the Photograph, he was awarded the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Set Design in 2010.

Anybody with any material that might be of interest (photographs, costumes drawings, clippings, personal reminiscences – anything at all!) and who would be happy to contribute to the further development of the website: please contact the developer of the website, Iain C. Phillips via”

Recital of William Busch songs

We have been contacted by Julia Busch, daughter of the British composer, William Busch, to advise that there will be a recital of her father's songs for the London Song Festival. It is titled The Life and Times of William Busch and will include the song-cycle There Have Been Happy Days.  The concert will also include songs by Finzi, Ireland, Tippett, Poston and Van Dieren. 

Diana Moore, the mezzo-soprano, has contacted the granddaughter of Wilfrid Gibson who wrote the poems that William put to music in the cycle, and she may well be attending.

The recital will be on Saturday 20th October 2018 at 2.00 pm at the Hinde Street Church, Marylebone.   Julia is very excited at last to get William's songs and music performed as nothing really has happened since John Amis did a programme for the BBC in 1989.

MWI has articles on the composer by Julia Busch and Sinclair Logan as well as some reviews (Lyrita ~ Naxos). Julia's was originally written for the British Music Society Newsletter. She has high hopes that this recital will be a sell out; she can be contacted at

Clifton Johns - Information needed

I am interested in finding out any information possible about the South Australian composer Clifton Johns - both about him and his work.

He was active in the field of light orchestral music, at least, probably around the 1950s to 1960s: a composition of his, "Holiday Bound", is included on a recording of various music under the same title, as well as on another called "Here's to Holidays".  Another work of his that used to be broadcast occasionally in Australia was an orchestral medley  called "International Journey".  And that is all the work of his that I have ever heard of.

I have a slight personal connection with him, in that, as a young  boy, I lived next-door-but-one to him in the Adelaide hills in South Australia in the early 1960s, where I grew up, and knew his family casually, if not closely - hence my interest. I would like to know of any works he composed, and to hear them if I can locate them anywhere, or to learn about any other musical activity of his, or any other details about his life.  I don't even know if he is still alive, but he would have to be well into his 90s now if he is.  That he served in World War II  would also set his age at not less than his 90s.

Any details anyone knows would be gratefully appreciated.  Thank you.

Michael Edwards

Margaret Kitchin website

A new website dedicated to this British pianist has been set up. Visitors and contributors are welcomed.

Reviving Cellier’s lost light opera "Dorothy"

From time to time Victorian Opera Northwest receive comments and letters making suggestions for resurrecting forgotten British operas and musicals. Our full opera recordings have featured Balfe, W V Wallace (both Irish) G Macfarren, Sullivan as well as a collection of overtures from 1834-1893 by Balfe, Barnett, Benedict, Loder, Macfarren, Goring Thomas, Wallace, and now Cellier.

These composers had clearly learnt their theatre skills and the orchestration demonstrates that they have learnt their craft to a very high standard despite a sometimes lack of higher education. Over the last year we have had requests for a lighter vein of operetta, the most interesting of which is Alfred Cellier. An Englishman of French parentage he was a chorister with Sullivan at the Chapel Royal before acquiring formal musical education. A notable musical director of a theatre orchestra he composed six operettas/musicals. When he became Sullivan’s musical director for the Savoy Operas in London and New York  premières he wrote 10 curtain-raisers to accompany the Gilbert & Sullivan operas.

A few of Cellier’s curtain raisers and light operas have become of 21st century interest. His first three operas were written when musical director at the Theatre Royal, Manchester. Of them,The Sultan of Mocha written in 1874 reached New York. Others failed to interest the wider theatre public yet he persevered. His Nell Gwynne was written to a book by H B Farnie. The librettist blamed the composer for its failure while the composer blamed the librettist. Both replaced their partnerships; Cellier decided to revise Nell Gwynne by inviting B C Stevenson (a librettist of Sullivan’s The Zoo) to write the new book. Dorothy was the result and became a tremendous West End success that out-shone the popular Mikado, which was playing concurrently.

A project is underway by Victorian Opera to record this forgotten comic opera, Dorothy. With no autograph and the music presumed lost, extensive research eventually uncovered the band parts. From them a full score has been prepared by Michael Harris and matched to the extant vocal score. It is proposed to record the work to discover the secret of its fascinating, unbridled success. The project will be carried out in conjunction with the excellent student musicians and singers of the Royal Northern College of Music under guest musical director, Richard Bonynge.

To be able to accomplish this task we need to attract the support of sponsors and subscribers who have an interest in helping revive our British Musical Heritage. More information on the project and composer, Cellier can be obtained from  We hope to welcome you.

Raymond Walker, Chairman, Victorian Opera

MWI needs your help

MusicWeb International needs some extra help. We are looking for someone to join the team who prepares the review pages.

While these are done in html, it is not necessary that you are familiar with this language. The process is quite simple and anyone who uses Microsoft Word to a reasonable level (e.g working with hyperlinks) would be able to do this with guidance and a little practice.

You would start with a half batch of reviews (five) each week. We estimate that this would take about an hour at the start, getitng less with practice.

For PC users, there is a program developed by Microsoft (Expression Web) which is easy to learn, and free to download. Mac users would need to find a similar program, eg Komodo Edit.

Please contact Len Mullenger if you think you can help.

Crowdfunding to record the music of Graham Whettam

Graham Whettam (1927–2007) was a largely self-taught composer who occupies a place in the English symphonic tradition. His works include five symphonies – among them the 'Sinfonia Contra Timore' and the 'Promethean Symphony' – and a wealth of chamber works, including four string quartets, various trios and a series of works for solo instruments.

In 2016, I was approached by Christine Talbot-Cooper, Chairman of the Gloucester Music Society and a Vice-President and Administrator of the Piano Trio Society, about the solo-violin music of Graham Whettam. Christine has been an admirer and champion of Whettam's music for many years, encouraging, for instance, the Carducci Quartet to perform his first String Quartet, a work which they later recorded, alongside the String Quartet no.4, on their own label, Carducci Classics (CSQ5847). I myself attended, several years ago, a memorable performance by Yossi Zivoni at the Cheltenham Music Festival of Whettam's third solo-violin sonata; and this vivid experience meant that, with Christine's approach, my enthusiasm was immediately kindled. Once the works' scores had been reissued by Edition Peters, I had the opportunity to examine them in full and was struck by their detail and depth, as well as by the strongly idiomatic writing, a response that was heightened still further when I performed the first solo sonata at a recital for the Gloucester Music Society in Gloucester Cathedral earlier this year.

Spanning a period of over 40 years, Whettam's works for solo violin are informed and directed by compositional rigour, technical assurance and an analytical musical grammar but, at the same time, are full of vivid colour, dramatic inventiveness and, above all, a sense of deep humanity. Christine and I firmly believe these works, with their passion, sincerity and integrity, are deserving of a wider audience than they have enjoyed hitherto, and we are therefore working with the acclaimed label EM Records to present their World Première recordings for release worldwide on audio CD and digital download. It is our hope that this planned recording will help to reawaken musicians' and audiences' interest in Graham Whettam's work, and lead to more opportunities for performances and recordings of his music generally.

A crowdfunding campaign is currently in place to raise funds for the recording (a further £4,200 is needed, following financial support from the RVW Trust and from individual donors). If you would like to support this project, please visit – benefits include a free copy of the disc upon its release, an invitation to the CD launch event, and the opportunity to attend the recording sessions.

Thank you very much!

Rupert G. Marshall-Luck 

BRIT Awards Apprentice Scheme

Monmouth based Nimbus Records are one of ten companies selected to pioneer the new BRIT Awards Apprentice Scheme. Talented young people from England and Wales will now get the chance to kick start their careers in the music industry.

Each Apprentice will be taught all aspects of the record industry, receive practical ‘hands on’ experience, develop relevant skills, make key contacts, earn a salary of £15,000 and receive specialist training in either business administration or digital marketing.

The BRITs Apprentice Scheme will start in January 2018 and last 14 months up to the end of February 2019, and it is hoped will then lead to further employment opportunities in the industry.  The successful candidates will also have an opportunity to experience working at The BRIT Awards. The scheme was devised by UK record labels association the BPI, which owns and runs The BRIT Awards and which also developed its charitable arm, The BRIT Trust, which was set up in 1989.

Apprenticeships are an important way to help bring in new and diverse talent into the industry and are in line with the Government’s commitment to education, skills and training. It is open to individuals aged 18 and over and the deadline for applications is 17th November 2017, apply on-line at

Antony Smith, Business Director Nimbus Records, said: We are delighted to partner the BRITS and BPI in this new Apprentice Scheme and feel it is a positive opportunity for Nimbus and for the successful candidate. We are involved in every aspect of the record industry. From producing, engineering and editing recordings through to design, legitimising, PR, sales and marketing. We have our own studio, CD and DVD manufacturing, printing, music publishing and distribution in both physical and digital domains. This is a great opportunity for someone to learn everything about the music industry and a great opportunity for us to learn more about the music buying habits of the next generation."

For more information visit, telephone 0203 189 1784 or email The deadline for applications is 17th November 2017, apply on-line at

Frank Merrick - can anyone help?

Nimbus (through Adrian Farmer) is working with the Merrick family and Bristol University Special Collections towards what may emerge as a Frank Merrick Edition.

To date there are three LPs they have been unable to locate. Can you help please? No one would be expected to 'donate' their LPs; just to let Nimbus borrow them for copying.

The missing titles are:
1. Merrick Society, FMS14. Repertoire unknown
2. Rare Recorded Edition, SRRE 139. Field Edition Volume 9. Repertoire believed to be Piano Concerto No. 6
3. Rare Recorded Edition, SRRE 156. Repertoire believed to be Merrick Piano Concerto No. 1 & Tomlinson 'An English Suite'  

If you are able to help please contact Nimbus at and mention MusicWeb

Carol Competition

Nantwich Choral Society, based in Cheshire, are sponsoring a competition to compose a Christmas carol for SATB chorus and children’s choir. The three winning compositions will be performed live in a Christmas concert this year. More information at their website.

Bulgarian composer Konstantin Iliev

Commercially unrecorded, his first symphony is available via a radio broadcast and is available to download along with three other works by this composer including his fascinating Moments Musicaux from Spanish Radio free of charge. Link

Basil Cameron CD

I wonder if any of you out there can help me track down this Basil Cameron set (2CDs) seemingly issued on a small scale in the early 2000s. It was only available from Audiosonic in Gloucester.

Auber The Crown Diamonds – Overture
Grieg Lyric Suite
Handel arr. Harty Water Music – Suite
Hérold Zampa – Overture
Kodály Dances of Galánta
Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio espagnol, Op.34
Rossini William Tell – Ballet Music
Schubert Rosamunde – Ballet Music in B flat and G
Sibelius Symphony No.2 in D, Op.43 Tapiola, Op.112

Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra/Basil Cameron
rec. 1943-1952
Catalogue No: BC 101

Rob Barnett
Replies please to

A Celebration of Howard Blake

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Howard Blake at Cadogan Hall, London, Thursday 7 September 2017, 7.30pm.

Sleepwalking (for soprano vocalise & strings)
Piano Concerto
Diversions for Cello and Orchestra
Elegia Stravagante (Duo Concertante)

Geoffrey Blackmore

I have in my possession his original hand-written manuscripts of Blackmore's 'The Maid of the Midnight Sun' - all the orchestra parts plus the script. Plus another musical and some individual songs. I don’t know if they might be of interest to anyone? They are in excellent condition and make fascinating reading, but I am not sure what to do with them. The material is so dated, I’m not sure anyone would want to stage it any more, but do you know if it would be of interest to a museum or library? Is there any value in old manuscripts?

Jill Stevens (

Samuel Barber Documentary

H. Paul Moon has just finished a feature-length documentary about Samuel Barber who was born on March 9, 1910.   His 3-minute trailer (see below) lines up some famous people with their insights on Barber:  William Schuman, Thomas Hampson, biographer Barbara Heyman, Leonard Slatkin and Leonard Bernstein.  

This project is self-distributing, independent, without compromise -- it's not commercially viable, and it won't recover expenses he tells us.

TWITTER:  @hpmoon

Can You Help?

Can anyone help me with answers to the following:-
a)  When and where was the composer, arranger and songwriter PETER AKISTER born and when did he die?  My researches suggest that he wrote the signature tune to the classic BBC radio comedy series Take It From Here, which ran from 1948 to 1960;  arranged the music for the 1939 film Discoveries;  his quintet played on a few episodes of the TV series Saturday Special, which ran from 1951 to 1953;   he composed the music for two 1956 British comedy films, Dry Rot and Sailor, Beware! (both starring Peggy Mount);   he orchestrated the music for a couple of episodes of the 1961 BBC TV series Charlie Chester on Laughter Service;  and  arranged the music for the 1963 TV film Dick Whittington.

b)  Where was songwriter  RALPH BUTLER (1886-1969) born?  He wrote words or music or both for  All by yourself in the moonlight,  Give yourself a pat on the back,  There’s a good time coming,  I’m happy when I’m hiking,  Let’s all go to the music-hall, and with Noel Gay Round the Marble Arch, The sun has got his hat on, Run, rabbit, run, Hey, little hen and We don’t know where we’re going, not forgetting that Butler and Peter Hart won an Ivor Novello award in 1956 for Nellie the elephant!

c)   When and where was  ROGER ECKERSLEY  born and when did he die?  He was  Director of Programmes at the BBC and in 1932 wrote the music with Eric Little’s words for It’s just the time for dancing, the signature tune of the BBC Dance Orchestra directed by Henry Hall.  

Replies please to

Loder Update

You may be aware of the Loder celebrations that took place in Bath in October 2015, and also of the book Musicians of Bath and Beyond: Edward Loder (1809-1865) and His Family edited by Nicholas Temperley (The Boydell Press, 2016). 

However, you may not know of the number of recordings of Edward Loder's music that can now be accessed.   Thanks to Professor Temperley's efforts, the online audio supplement referred to on page 5 of his book now contains much piano music and several songs by Edward Loder, as well as excerpts from his operas The Night Dancers (with piano accompaniment) and Raymond and Agnes (with orchestra, in Professor Temperley's 1966 revision), plus Loder's Flute Sonata and the sole surviving movement from his six string quartets.  There is also a song by each of Edward's cousins George and Kate Loder.   Commercially there is a CD of Ian Hobson playing Edward Loder's piano works on Toccata Classics (TOCC0322), and a companion CD of Hobson playing Kate Loder's piano music (TOCC0321) is due for release on 1 March 2017.  In addition, a recording of Edward Loder's 'Original Theme with Variations for the Flute' can be found in a collection 'British Flute Music in the Early Nineteenth Century' played by Gilberto Fornito and Christopher Howell on the Italian Sheva label (SH156 - review).

I would add that sheet music of many of Edward Loder's instrumental and vocal compositions can be downloaded from the ISMLP/Petrucci Music Library.  The site also has some violin music by Edward's father John David Loder.   For the future we can look forward excitedly to Retrospect Opera's planned recording of the original version of the opera Raymond and Agnes, now firmly scheduled for October 2017.  The recording is to be conducted by Richard Bonynge, who has already included the overture to The Night Dancers in his collection 'Victorian Opera Overtures' (SOMMCD0123).  Financial support for this Raymond and Agnes recording is still sought, and full details on this can be found on the Retrospect Opera website (  

Altogether these various enterprises represent a very gratifying outcome to the Loder Project initiated in 2012.  

All good wishes
Andrew Lamb

Transfer of analogue recordings

In retirement I now have the time to pursue various projects.

One of these is transferring cassettes and tape reel-to-reels of off-radio broadcasts and private recordings to CDR.

There is a sad history of valuable and occasionally irreplaceable recordings on cassettes and reels ending up in landfill when the music enthusiast dies. Other enthusiasts have these tapes and reels but lack the equipment to play them.

On a friendly, amateur, voluntary and non-commercial basis I have been transferring interesting recordings to CDR for friends and colleagues. I have on occasion travelled to the enthusiast's home (in the UK) and collected the reels and/or cassettes. I then take these home and make the transfers onto CDR. I keep one copy for myself and return the original reels/cassettes with a CDR to the enthusiast. No charge is made. Obviously large numbers take a long time but I hope that this might be helpful to people and would also extend the life of these recordings and my knowledge of the repertoire and of performances.

I would invite people to contact me at

Rob Barnett

Ida Gardner question

I have a early Edison Diamond Disc 80424 (thick record) from about 1917-18 of George Clutsam's Ma Curly-Headed Babby. The singer on it is Ida Gardner.  Does anyone know if she was an African-American singer?  I know she was known as "the Georgia nightingale"  If anyone has any additional info on her, please contact me at

Medtner Newsletter

Those interested in being kept up to date with Medtner news should email Wendelin Bitzan to register their interest:

Gaze Cooper website

Sarah Bradwell has written to us about her grandfather, the English, Nottingham-based composer, Walter Gaze Cooper (1895-1981). She would like to promote interest in his music and his life story. A recently established website for the composer and a performance in Nottingham of his Oboe Concertino all justify fresh attention.

There was a small interview on Radio Nottingham in June 2016, with some fascinating photographs.

Gaze Cooper's scores are housed in the Nottinghamshire Archive. The family hold a cuttings book from the orchestra with many news cuttings and programmes. They also hold letters which are going to be put into presentation wallets and eventually kept in  the archive so that as much information as possible is in one place. There is also a comments book which guest performers who played with the orchestra wrote in; fascinating reading.

Malcolm Arnold

Several interesting, historic radio recordings have recently been placed on YouTube by James Stuart (who has previously uploaded many other recordings of Arnold, including film music, and other 20th century British composers). These include:

Symphony No 1. Rumon Gamba/BBC Philharmonic. 80th birthday performance, Oct 2011
Symphony No 2. George Hurst/London Symphony Orchestra. BBC transcription disc-early 1960s
Symphony No 3. John Pritchard/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. 1st broadcast performance, 1958
Symphony No 4. Malcolm Arnold/BBC Symphony Orchestra. Premiere, 2 Nov 1960
Symphony No 5. Malcolm Arnold/BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. Broadcast premiere, 1 May 1966
Symphony No 6. Malcolm Arnold/BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. Premiere, 28 June 1968
Symphony No 7. Edward Downes/BBC Philharmonic. 21 Oct 1986
Symphony No 7. Charles Groves/BBC Philharmonic. 19 Nov 1991, Manchester
Symphony No 8. Charles Groves/BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. UK premiere 2 Oct 1981
Symphony No 8. Julius Hegyi/Albany Symphony Orchestra. World Premiere, May 1979
Symphony No 9. Charles Groves/BBC Philharmonic. Premiere, 20 Jan 1992
Symphony for Brass. Jerzy Maksymiuk/brass section of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Commonwealth Christmas Overture. Alexander Gibson/London Philharmonic Orchestra. Broadcast early 1960s
Barry Wordsworth/BBC Concert Orchestra.
Fantasy on a Theme of John Field. Edward Downes/BBC Philharmonic/Martin Roscoe. 21 Oct 1986
Harmonica Concerto. Ole Schmidt/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Tommy Reilly. 25 July 1983
Homage to the Queen. Malcolm Arnold/BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. 10 Oct 1969
Philharmonic Concerto. Edward Downes/BBC Philharmonic. 21 Oct 1986
Rinaldo & Armida. Malcolm Arnold/BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. 6 Nov 1971

David Dunstan
for Malcolm Arnold Society

Elsie April

I am undertaking some research into the life and works of “Elsie April” (1885-1950), composer, pianist, accompanist and musical “secretary” to Noel Coward in the 1930s.  The BMS ran an article about Elsie in 2010 submitted by Pat Jacob, her granddaughter. I wondered if anyone would be able to help me with the following:

1. I am trying to track down a photograph of Elsie. Can anyone assist?

2. I would very much like to make contact with Pat Jacob. Is there anyone out there who knows where she or other members of the family can be contacted. If so please get in touch with me or please pass my email address to her or them.

3. Further information about Elsie April.

I firmly believe that Elsie’s work merits wider recognition, hence my research. Any assistance in this is very much appreciated.

Yours truly

Tony Castro

Obituaries of classical musicians at The Independent

The Independent newspaper has ceased its print version, and will now only exist online.  It will apparently no longer continue to publish obituaries, but its archive remains freely available, and there is a significant number of obituaries, many of classical musicians available here.

British Library Sound Archives

A treasure trove of recordings.  Examples include:
So much Matyas Seiber in one place
Vintage artists - chamber music
116 recordings made by the violinist Derek Collier (1927-2008) - some intriguing things here including Swedish, British and Italian repertoire

Can anyone help me find out who the critic 'Capriccio' was?  He was writing in Musical Opinion and Music Trade Review during the First World War.  I have a review 'Concert Notices' by him dated June 1915 pp604/5.

Regards and thanks
John France

Nystroem broadcast help

Can anyone help our Editor, Rob Barnett with a off-air recording of Gosta Nystroem's Sinfonia del mare with soprano Ailish Tynan and the BBC SO/John Storgards, broadcast on 30 June 2008 It's a work I have reviewed twice for MWI and have my fingers crossed that someone will be able to help. Anyone who might be able to help can contact me at the usual email address:

Violin concertante ebook

The second and revised edition of Tobias Broeker's free ebook "The 20th century violin concertante" is now online and available from his website Tobias has also expanded his research from information and recordings to rare scores and manuscripts, and has started to typeset the manuscripts into a scorewriting program and make the pdfs available for interested persons. The first few pdfs are online, but more will follow soon.

Sibelius Violin Concerto - US Premiere

The Maud Powell Society has a substantial article on her performance of the Sibelius concerto in New York in 1906 - read it here.

Searching for the music for Eleanor Farjeon's Sussex Alphabet

This concerns a project that I am developing with South Downs National Park. As I am sure you are aware this is the newest of the National Parks to be created in the UK, though in terms of the time it took, it's almost the oldest! As part of the celebration of its existence we are planning both to republish Eleanor Farjeon's Sussex Alphabet - a series of poems characterised by fantasy, humour and deep love of the county. At the same time we will produce a new set of poems which we hope the school children in the Park will write - and publish these as A Southdowns Alphabet.

Beside these lovely poems and, of course, Morning Has Broken - set to music by Cat Stevens - Eleanor also wrote a poem On The Road to Alfriston which is, in fact, the village where I live.

Though her original Sussex Alphabet was published by Pear Tree Press in 1939 she actually wrote the poems in 1924 and these were set to music by her brother, Harry.

My colleague Peter Robinson has a copy of both the Pear Tree publication and the musical poems.

However, as Peter wrote: It seems my scarce copy of the Sussex Alphabet set to brother Harry Farjeon's music, is only Vol. 1 of 2. It takes us up to 'N': Nightingales. However, for our purposes it has the all important 'D': Downs poem. Incidentally, you will see that this was in fact Harry Farjeon's own copy -it is signed bottom right on the front cover.

We are trying urgently to do four things and this led us to Mr Scowcroft's web site and your name. We would like to try to find the two volumes of this music and, if possible, get everything in a form so that a pianist and and eventually a school choir could sing these poems again - and eventually sing our new poems too. So this will require another composer, but we'll deal with the first problem at the moment.

Thank you for your advice and help. I can be reached on 01323 870073 or at

June Goodfield

Julian Lloyd Webber’s last ever filmed performance as a cellist available to watch now

On 3 April 2014, Julian Lloyd Webber, along with wife Jiaxin and accompanist Pam Chowhan, launched Rhinegold LIVE with music from their recent Tale of Two Cellos tour. Just a few weeks later Julian announced his retirement from performance due to a herniated disc in his neck.

The concert was filmed, and four videos are now available to watch at Rheingold UK. The four videos represent Julian’s last ever filmed performance as a cellist:
- Summer Sunset, by Roger Quilter
- Moon Silver, by William Lloyd Webber
- Prelude from ‘The Gadfly’, by Dmitri Shostakovich
- All I Have to Do Is Dream, The Everly Brothers

The videos are available as part of Rhinegold LIVE’s commitment to offering accessible and affordable music to all. Also available is a live audio recording of the informal Q&A that followed their recital, in which the trio discuss stories from their most recent tour, William Lloyd Webber’s centenary year, the differences between playing classical and rock, Julian’s passion for Leyton Orient and the importance of music education.

All Rhinegold LIVE material is recorded using the AKG C414, and Pam plays a Schimmel Konzert Grand kindly donated by Peregrine’s Pianos.

This concert was sponsored by Teacher Stern solicitors.

Online Polish music resource

I would like to draw your attention to the new project dedicated to Polish renowned composers Witold Lutoslawski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki. The aim of the project is to make works of these composers avaiable to the wider public. It is a venture of the National Audiovisual Institute of Poland, a government agency under the Ministry of Culture with a mission to digitize, archive, record, share and promote Polish audiovisual heritage.

To celebrate the jubilee anniversary of the birth of Lutoslawski, Gorecki and Penderecki we have launched an on-line music collection containing almost all the works by Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. The recordings, at full lenght, have been carefully selected for the highest artistic level or their special historical value.

The whole content of the collection is available to the public all over the world for free.

The collection comprises nearly 300 pieces composed since 1924 up to present (in at least one audio recording), which have been enriched with 950 articles in Polish and English language version, concerning genesis or the circumstances of creating a given composition. This service have been developed by a team of experts - musicologists and music critics. Moreover, the collection consists of a number of additional contextual, iconographic and film materials, providing information on the life and works of the artists. Over 70 per cent of the collection comprises recordings from the archives of Polish Radio, digitized at our initiative.

Among the recordings available, one can listen to performances of the world-renowned instrumentalists and bands, including inter alia Anne-Sophie Mutter performing Lutosławski’s "Chain II. Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra", conducted by Jan Krenz; Krystian Zimmerman performing for the very first time in Poland Lutosławski’s "Piano Concerto" dedicated to him, under the baton of the composer; Mstislav Rostropovich in Penderecki's "II. Concerto for Cello” or the Kronos Quartet in registrations of string quartets of the Three Composers.

On some recordings, the great composers also perform as instrumentalists, for example Witold Lutosławski playing his "Folk Melodies", "Bucolics" and "Three Pieces for youth" on the piano; Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, accompanies Wanda Warska at the piano, who sings "Three fragments to the words of Wyspiański" and Krzysztof Penderecki, also playing the piano (!), accompanies Eugenia Umińska while she performs "Three miniatures for violin and piano".

Moreover, at the website one can find recordings that had never before been recorded for commercial purposes, such as Penderecki’s opera "Black Mask" performed at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw (September 1988) directed by Robert Satanowski; and the world premiere records of such works as Lutosławski’s "String Overture " from 1949 recorded in Prague under the direction of Grzegorz Fitelberg.

The collection includes also some very rare musical "gems" such as a two-minute fanfare "Wratislaviae gloria" composed by Górecki in 1968 for Andrzej Markowski, the then head of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, or electronic "Aulodia" by Penderecki - the first proposal of a piece that was supposed to dignify the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.

Agnieszka Wolak
National Audiovisual Institute of Poland

Help required!

My name is Steve Pazin and I am a member of the Clovis Community Band of Clovis, California. The band is going to play a selection named “Normandy Veterans March” by Chris North. I can not find any performance notes regarding this selection. I know that he was born around 1910 and died around 1949. I assume he composed this march recognizing the Veteran’s who were part of the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944.

I would appreciate any information you or any of your colleagues could pass along to me. We’re going to perform this march this weekend.

Thank you,
Steve Pazin

Anyone who can help, please email Rob Barnett.

And all the trumpets sounded by Ronald Corp

Commissioned by the Highgate Choral Society and completed in 1989, the cantata is a setting of verses from the Latin poem Dies irae and war poems by Charles Hamilton Sorley, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, and Edward Thomas. The central section is a setting of Vigil Strange by Walt Whitman which tells of the death of a young comrade in battle.

And all the
trumpets sounded was intended as a companion piece to Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem and owes a debt to Britten’s War Requiem.

Reviews after the first performance in Highgate:-
‘......a major work which should find a place in our great choral repertory’ (The Hampstead and Highgate Express)
‘Even after a single hearing there is no doubt that And all the trumpets sounded deserves to find a place in the programme of our choral societies, and I recommend it to the Three Choirs Festival. (Musical Opinion)
Now on CD - Dutton Epoch CDLX7280 Mark Stone (baritone); New London Children’s Choir: The London Chorus: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Ronald Corp

CD reviews:-
International Record Review - April 2012
‘the shadow of Britten may inevitably loom, and with textures dominated, as you would expect from the title (drawn from John Bunyan, not otherwise set here) by trumpets and bass drum, there is no avoiding the fact. All the same Corp is his own man, for the most part steering clear, or so it seems to me, of Britten’s sometimes biting astringency’ (Piers Burton-Page)
Fanfare July/August 2012
‘this is first class music of a sort sorely needed’......’from the first bar to the last this is a moving, powerful piece’ (James A Altena)
The work is scored for baritone soloist, SATB choir with optional children’s choir (or soprano solo) and modest orchestra - 2222.2300. timp perc (2) and strings.

Duration 38 - 40 minutes
Published by Stainer and Bell
Web site:

March 1st 2013
I am presently researching the late Victorian / Edwardian composer, arranger and teacher, Wilfred Ellington Bendall (1850-1920), who was friend and secretary to Sir Arthur Sullivan, and professor of piano at the recently formed Guildhall School of Music (from c.1888-c.1905). I shall be interested to hear anything that anybody has to tell me about Bendall, particularly anything relating to autograph manuscripts of his music, or the whereabouts of band parts, vocal score material etc for any of his stage shows.

I am especially keen to find photographs of Wilfred Bendall, and would also be thrilled to discover any living relations.

Please contact me directly at

Questions concerning Bliss’s Things to Come (TTC) film score and concert suite:-

1. According to the BBC John Curwen & Sons Ltd. provided the orchestral parts for the Proms premiere Sept 12 1935. Why Curwen and not Chappell & Co? Did Chappell outsource parts to Curwen and was this common with Bliss’s scores?
2. Given the above, have Curwen ever been contacted about Bliss’s TTC score? What happened to Curwen’s archive and music plates?
3. I own a rare score, the full symphonic edition of the March by Novello. The year of publication is 1939 (Lewis Foreman catalogue lists 1937?). The remaining five movements of Bliss’s definitive concert suite are copyright dated 1940. Why the difference in years? Also, the back cover of the March Novello full score lists seven movements including World in Ruin and Machines . As the definitive suite does not include World in Ruin was this simply a typo error by Novello? If not, could Novello still hold a plate for World in Ruin? Altogether I have counted four different versions of the concert suite: Proms 1935, Proms 1936, the Novello full symphonic edition from 1939/40 and Bliss’s recording 1957.
4. A letter (April 6 1938) from Doris Silver, London Films to Basil Gray, BBC lists eight movements to the film score but for some reason omits completely the March. Any views why and is there any possible connection here with the year 1939 mentioned above and transfer of the rights for the March from Chappell to Novello?
5. Following on from this, what exactly was the arrangement over the score rights between Chappell & Co. and Novello?
6. With regard to the Idyll movement, is there any physical evidence this music was later recycled by the composer?
7. Does anyone own a copy of Decca matrix TA 1734 (untitled, possibly Bliss’s abandoned Idyll music).
8. Have any BMS members spoken to Bliss in person about the missing film score and why only Attack on the Moon Gun survived?
9. Did Bliss sanction use of his No.1 of 3 Jubilant Fanfares (or a variant thereof) in the film?
10. Does anyone have knowledge of the so-called Utopian Hymn recorded & discarded by Denham Film Studios (78 rpm recording owned by the late John Huntley).
Thank you for any help or suggestions you are able to offer
Bill Snedden


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