Stanford's Much Ado Abut Nothing
The Northern Opera Group is performing Stanford's opera on Thursday
4 August 2016 at Left Bank Leeds - detials and ticket sales
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).
Symphony No 1. Rumon Gamba/BBC Philharmonic. 80th birthday performance,
Symphony No 2. George Hurst/London Symphony Orchestra. BBC transcription
Symphony No 3. John Pritchard/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
1st broadcast performance, 1958
Symphony No 4. Malcolm Arnold/BBC Symphony Orchestra. Premiere, 2 Nov
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,
Symphony No 9. Charles Groves/BBC Philharmonic. Premiere, 20 Jan 1992
Symphony for Brass. Jerzy Maksymiuk/brass section of the BBC Scottish
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
for Malcolm Arnold Society
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
I firmly believe that Elsie’s work merits wider
recognition, hence my research. Any assistance in this is very much
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
Forthcoming CD of British music for brass
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
British Library Sound Archives
A treasure trove of recordings. Examples include:
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
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
In 2016 the English Music Festival (EMF) celebrates its tenth
anniversary. The programme for the forthcoming Festival can be
ever, booking will open to the general public from 15th March 2016.
The EMF's other activities throughout the year are also detailed on
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:
http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/ 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
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.
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 www.tobias-broeker.de.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 www.threecomposers.pl 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.
National Audiovisual Institute of Poland
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.
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
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: www.ronaldcorp.com
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 email@example.com
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