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English Music Festival - update

Just to remind you that today is the last day for purchasing tickets for The George’s pre-concert buffet evening meals at the English Music Festival (online only; postal booking has now closed for this). Tickets for all other events (including the EMF Lunch) will remain on sale at the online box office until 9pm on Wednesday 25th May. After this date, they will be available only at the EMF Box Office in Dorchester Abbey (open from 11.30am on Friday 27th May onwards for the duration of the Festival) or on the door of the individual events. We very much hope that you will come and join us to enjoy the superb and inspirational musical offerings that we are bringing to our audiences this year.

We are delighted to announce that the EMF is this year launching its very own online radio station.  This will be broadcasting during the four days of the Festival, beginning on Friday 27th May, and will include programmes about music performed at the EMF and documentaries by EM Records’ artists about the works with which they are associated through the Festival’s label.  This promises to provide a stimulating, invigorating and enjoyable perspective on the EMF’s work and activities, as well as offering entertaining and thought-provoking insights into the repertoire it presents.  We hope also to be able to make selected programmes available on a ‘listen-again’ service after the Festival. Please tune in through the EMF website.

If we attract enough listeners, we expect to be able to continue and expand this enterprise in future years, perhaps also incorporating the broadcast of selected concerts – so your support this year will encourage us to make this happen!

Broadcasting 27th–30th May from 12.45pm until 2.00pm, from 4.30pm until 5.15pm, and from 9.45pm until 10.45pm.

Finally, just to alert our loyal EM Records supporters to the forthcoming releases of two important EM Records discs; one of which is something of a flagship recording for us. This is Now Comes Beauty, a disc of works commissioned by or premièred at the EMF over the past nine years, with music by David Matthews, Richard Blackford, John Pickard, Paul Carr, Paul Lewis, David Owen Norris, Christopher Wright, Matthew Curtis and Philip Lane. We are proud that the BBC Concert Orchestra performs on this disc, along with Roderick Williams, David Owen Norris and Rupert Marshall-Luck, and the conductors Gavin Sutherland and Owain Arwel Hughes. To my mind, this is one of the most important releases we have ever made, and all the works featured offer the listener tremendous beauty, whilst ranging in styles from the lighter to the most intensely powerful. I urge all our supporters to purchase this disc for themselves – from us directly, please, if you can (either at the EMF or through the EM Records website), as each direct sale we make enables us to plough income straight into making the next recordings.

Our second, also seminal, release, Heracleitus, features the Bridge Quartet with pianist Michael Dussek and tenor Charles Daniels in a programme of works by Butterworth, Gurney and Warlock, including the world première performances of several songs and chamber works. Again, I highly recommend this wonderful disc – please buy it from us direct if you can!

Em Marshall-Luck Founder-Director, The English Music Festival

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.

Forthcoming CD of British music for brass

A top brass ensemble are recording a new CD of brass music from 20th century composers which hasn't been recorded and, in some cases, hasn't been published. They have unearthed some real treasures from composers such as Arnold, Bliss, Tippett, Bax, Imogen Holst, Coates, Bantock, Ketelbey, Haydn Wood and others.  If anyone is aware of any other British music for brass (although not Brass Band) which as yet hasn't been recorded, please do let me know and I will pass this on to them as suggestions.

Karen Fletcher
Archery Promotions

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

In 2016 the English Music Festival (EMF) celebrates its tenth anniversary. The programme for the forthcoming Festival can be viewed here.

As ever, booking will open to the general public from 15th March 2016. The EMF's other activities throughout the year are also detailed on the website.

For general enquiries, please contact Sue Parker at the EMF Information Line 01535 272054 or

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:

Fundraising for British Opera Recordings

In the last 14 months Valerie Langfield and I have set up a new charitable company to make recordings of British operas: Our first project is to record Ethel Smyth’s very funny and very English “The Boatswain’s Mate” (to be released next year, marking the centenary); our second, is to do another of those great Victorian ballad operas, Edward Loder’s “Raymond and Agnes.”

We’re collecting donations, large and small, to make these projects possible and all profits will be fed back into making more recordings of British operas (a second Smyth one is already being seriously considered and we’re keen to hear what operas supporters would most like to see recorded). We are a registered charity.

I wonder if any MWI readers would be interested in supporting one of these efforts? Anyone who donates £30 or more gets their name on our website (see under “Visionaries”), plus a copy of the recording (on CD, with scholarly booklet etc.) upon release.

David Chandler

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.

Parry’s forgotten chamber music
Parry is a familiar and well-loved name to us all for his gloriously uplifting choral music, but he is less well-known as a chamber composer – a balance that EM Records is trying to rectify through its recordings. You may well be acquainted with our recording of his early String Quartet no.3 and String Quintet in E-flat major (EMR CD016) – and now we would like to invite you to help us make another seminal recording take place. Our proposed recording of the complete music for violin and piano is a conspectus that ranges the duration of Parry’s life, thus charting his development as a composer – and will include the world première recordings of a number of significant works.

There are two ways by which you could subscribe and thus directly facilitate the making of this disc – which can’t be done without the support of music lovers such as yourself! Firstly, you could subscribe directly at EM Records, or alternatively, you could join our crowdfunding campaign. Please visit Rockethub to view this, and to watch our fundraising video about Parry and his chamber music, which also features Parry’s great-granddaughter, the Hon. Laura Ponsonby, who champions this project.

If you are unable to donate, could you help us nevertheless by forwarding the crowd-funding link to friends, family and colleagues, and encouraging them to visit it, spread the word, and donate if they can? Your assistance in this way would be absolutely invaluable and most hugely appreciated. Please help us to get this wonderful music out there!

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.

Kickstarter campaign for Bax project

I have created a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to commission a new set of orchestral parts and a conductor's score for Sir Arnold Bax's Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra. The score of the Symphonic Variations has never been printed and exists only in hand-written form that is virtually impossible for orchestral players, conductors and pianists to read. Concert performances of the Symphonic Variations are almost impossible due to the illegible and damaged parts. Bax's publisher Warner/Chappell has given this Project permission to raise funds to create a new edition of the score. The completed parts and conductor's score will be given back to Warner/Chappell and made available by them to any individual or organization who wishes to study or perform this score. Bax scholar Graham Parlett has agreed to input and edit the score using Sibelius software but it is a Herculean task to input a large 40-minute orchestral work and requires huge amounts of time and effort and therefore is costly. I have set a goal of raising €3,200 to commission the new edition of Symphonic Variations to include printed orchestral parts and a full conductor's score. If the response to this Project is positive, I will follow up with another project to raise funds for new parts and scores for Bax's Seventh Symphony and Violin Concerto -- two works also in need of newly edited and printed editions.

Please make a contribution to insure that this masterwork by Bax is made available in an edition that will ensure its availability and encourage future performances and recordings. Go here for more information and to make a donation.

Thank you
Richard R. Adams

The Loder Family of Bath

I offer the latest on the project to commemorate the Loders of Bath during 2015.

Progress during 2014 has very largely been on two fronts. Firstly Nicholas Temperley's book The Loder Family: Musicians in Nineteenth Century Bath is now progressing through the editing stage and is scheduled for publication by Boydell & Brewer during 2015.

Secondly Valerie Langfield, assisted by Andy King, has virtually completed her modern performing edition of Edward Loder's opera Raymond and Agnes. In Nicholas Temperley's version with rewritten libretto this opera excited considerable praise from critics in 1966, and has done so subsequently. Now that the original libretto has come to light, the plan is for Retrospect Opera to record a fully authentic performance of the opera. For this, however, funds are required. Anyone interested is asked to make what contributions they can through Retrospect Opera's website. They are also asked to pass on this message to any contacts who may equally be able to support the recording project.

We look forward to a successful outcome of this plan to revive this outstanding English romantic opera during 2015

Thanks in anticipation.

Andrew Lamb

Ethyl Smyth's The Boatswain's Mate

The redoubtable Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) was known for the range of her compositional talents; she contributed to every musical genre, most notably, opera. Smyth's The Boatswain's Mate, in two parts, is a witty comedy, written in 1914 and produced two years later. It was very popular at the time, and remains very accessible, with folk tunes, nursery rhymes and even a quote from Beethoven's 5th! Its theme, the question of whether a woman is better off with or without a man, is timeless. The Boatswain's Mate has been described as the feminist Smyth's most feminist work - its Overture even features Smyth's own 'March of the Women'.

In recent years, The Boatswain's Mate has had several performances, yet no recording has been made of the complete opera. Conductor Odaline de la Martinez has consistently championed Smyth's work; her recording of The Wreckers is especially renowned. So it's a cause for celebration that de la Martinez will record The Boatswain's Mate early in 2015, under the auspices of Retrospect Opera. The Boatswain's Mate will be performed using Smyth's arrangement for chamber ensemble. Smyth recognised that the work would have an even greater appeal if scored for a smaller resources. It was given in this version at the Luzerner Theater in February 2014, to great acclaim.

Please donate! - we must raise substantial funds for this fully professional recording to take place. You can find more details about The Boatswain's Mate and about Retrospect Opera and its other projects on our website. We'll be very grateful for any amount you send, however we can't afford to give you a copy unless you can donate £30 or more.

Donate at least £30, and you become a Retrospect Supporter. You'll get the CD, your name on the website and you'll receive regular email updates on the progress of the recording, pictures of the rehearsals once they start, and pictures taken at the recording sessions too.

Donate at least £75, and you become a Retrospect Sponsor. You get everything a Supporter gets, plus your name in the CD liner notes.

Donate £150, and become a Bosun's Mate! You'll get all the above, plus a second CD, your name highlighted in the CD liner notes, and the chance to attend the recording sessions in London, England.

Donate £250 or more, and become a Retrospect Friend. You'll get all the above, plus a copy of every future CD we produce as well.

Donations in sterling made via BACS, or by cheque or money-order, will help our not-for-profit organisation minimise bank charges. Please visit our web-page, click the Donate link, and download a pdf which gives our
bank details and our postal address. You can also donate via PayPal, for other currencies.

Please join us at Retrospect Opera in this splendid venture!

Valerie Langfield

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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