I entirely agree, Magnus Opus. Prokofiev was a unique combination of Bartók and Tchaikovsky: most of his music is unremittingly modern, structurally complex, and richly melodic to boot. His status as a great symphonist, for one thing, has never been acknowledged, and his output, though generally admired and well represented in recordings, is considered inferior to those of, say, Stravinsky and Shostakovich (Pierre Boulez goes so far as to say that Prokofiev was second to Szymanowski). I consider Prokofiev one of the fantastic geniuses in musical history, but alas, I'm in a minority here...
I'm glad, fw, that, in this thread, "anything goes" and rules are "loose".
So, if you wish to explore a composer, who is more than "forgotten" and at the same time worthy of our attention, keep note of this name: Anton Urspruch (1850-1907). Mostly, a great pianist in the tradition of Brahms and Liszt and a composer of fantastic, virtuoso, suggestive music. In the same vein, search for Mme Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850-1927), an almost completely forgotten, definitely underrated and mostly neglected Romantic German composer in the form of Liszt, Schumann and Brahms. However, as a woman, her music is more on the delightful side of music. Two discoveries after the Pleyels (which, apparently, you have explored or you know them very well).
As for your beloved Schubert, I believe his most underrated (but definitely not neglected or forgotten) masterwork is his Mass in A flat (living in the shadow of the Great one in E flat). Check it out.
Magnus, Prokofiev is underrated, but also uneven. However, his masterpieces are unbeatable, unrivalled, second to none.
Please Parla just shut up!" However, as a woman, her music is more on the delightful side of music." - so if I ever want to hear delightful music I should only listen to women composers? I guess you didn't forget/neglect Le Beau, but the reason she is forgotten and neglected is because of sexist, insufferable bores such as yourself.
Mr. "V", you jump to incoherent and inconsequent conclusions that, eventually, bother only you!
My statements are clear and ready to read and be evaluated, not necessarily... misunderstood. (However, in an open forum, it's quite understandable).
Prokofiev's first violin sonata, sixth piano sonata and second piano concerto are three of the greatest works ih the last 100 years. They put him right up there with Beethoven.
What about Enescu's Thrid Symphony? I've been listening to it again and again recently, I think it's amazing, and I don't suppose it's that well known. Not judging by the number of recorded versions, anyway - I count two. (I have Rozhdestvensky's)
Also, many thanks for the Ligeti suggestions. Must have a look at those.
Finzi - Dies Natalis. Definately deserve to be heard more. Great music and poetry. The Intrada is a warm and gorgeous piece of writing.
Might as well add his Requiem da Camera too.....sublime.
Pause for thought.
György Ligeti: Melodien (1971) a very interesting work - check it out
There's an article in January Gramophone about the demise of British music including fairly popular composers such as RVW. After a burst of interest in the 80s and 90s from the likes of Chandos, Hyperion, and pioneering bands such as the Ulster Orchestra, interest seems to have ground to a halt. The Gothic symphony was good - but it was just a one-off; and I'm not going to go along with the usual Labourconservativeliberal policy of slagging off the BBC !!
It needs some thought.
Perhaps some connection (?) with the demise of those two great exponents of 20th century British music, Vernon Handley & Richard Hickox who in turn took over the mantle from Boult, Barbirolli & Beecham. Who will do it now; Martyn Brabbins perhaps?
Handley & Hickox were both very sad losses, particularly Hickox at such a relatively young age. Not forgetting also the late Bryden Thomson, who should be rembered for his Bax symphony cycle if nothing else.
As for neglected / forgotten composers, I would throw William Alwyn into the mix. I'm not sure he wrote any 'masterpieces' (whatever they are?) but his music is well worth a listen - including his fim music!
As the year goes by, I cannot but remember a great composer of towering proportions, who technically is not completely forgotten, or that much underrated, but his works tend to be neglected, while all (or most) of them are true masterworks. The composer is the Belgian Cesar Franck and some of his greatest masterpieces: he composed The Violin Sonata, a magnificent String Quartet and an amazing Piano Quintet. His Symphony in d minor is performed seldom, despite it is a superb symphonic work, while his almost neglected Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra is a brilliant virtuosic work, let alone his second to none Organ and Piano works.
In the same league, Ernest Chausson created a smaller but equally magnificent work: his greatest, probably, is his stunning Piano Quartet, followed by his Symphony of Wagnerian proportion. Finally, in the same Belgian field, Lekeu wrote some Chamber Music masterworks, almost totally neglected and almost underrated (but not technically forgotten).
Not forgetting also the late Bryden Thomson, who should be rembered for his Bax symphony cycle if nothing else.
Yes, Chris, absolutely agree!
Parla, Franck seems to be one of those composers who appear to be distinctly unfashionable these days. I'm sure there must have been some recent recordings but don't recall reading any reviews of his symphony or symphonic vars in Gramophone for ages. Nor does he seem to get performed live. I did hear Charles Groves & the RLPO play the symphony once in the dim distant past and I suppose the symphonic vars suffer in concert because of their length but there are many other shortish concertante works it could be programmed with. BBC Music Mag gave a pretty fair performance of the violin sonata with Ibragimova & Tierbergen on their CD a while back but a Coup d'Archet LP of a radio station recording by Johanna Marzty is one of my favourites.
Belshazzar's Feast by Sir William Walton
This may not be quite as obscure as some of the works mentioned, however, I think it is vastly underperformed given the brilliance of the work. I am a member of a university choir that is currently rehearsing the work for a performance in the end of April and I am just astounded by the piece everytime we are working on it. I think the musical writing (not to mention very colorful orchestration) is particularly effective at conveying the text in a meaningful, narrative fashion- this includes embodying everything from the desparation of the Israelites in captivity in Babylon to the lavish, sinful extravagance of King Belshazzar's bacchanalian orgy to the simultaneous rejoicing and lament for Babylon's destruction in the end. Of course the work is fiendishly difficult and requires all sorts of extra additions to the standard orchestra (a massive and competent choir, 2 antiphonal brass bands, alto sax, 2 harps, piano, and organ) and this may be a reason for the lack of performances. While many top tier, larges professional symphonies have these resources at their disposal, smaller ensembles may not and likewise non-professional groups may find the difficulty and instrumentation prohibitive. Nevertheless, this piece is now very much one of my favorite works of classical/orchestral music. The music is very cinematic (Walton did go on to score several films) and to me sounds as though it could easily function as score music for one of the many Old Testament biblical epics of the mid 20th century (like Cecil B. DeMilles Ten Commandments). Yet, the piece is perfectly suited for concert performance and there is something still intrinsically and charmingly British about the work that puts it in the same canon as pieces by Elgar, Parry, Vaughn Williams, and Britten. All in all, a fantastic and certainly underperformed work.
I have created a Spotify list with some of the suggestions here