I find some pop music very moving for various, usually nostalgic, reasons but I recognise it for what it is.
As for Wordsworth, I would say, easily forgotten after hearing.
I'm reminded of other "worthy" British composers that I would have thought unknown, generally, to our American cousins who seem to have a down on Elgar, from my experience, for reasons one will need to ask them.
I am contemplating opening a thread on John Foulds when I get my thoughts together, by the way (you did not mention him) and, frankly, I'd pack all this lot of minor "English" notespinners off on the Titanic, if I could, for a full appreciation of Malcolm Arnold. His symphonies are deceptively accessible but hide a darkness that only becomes fully tangible after repeated listening.
As I keep on posting, the 9th has a tune that will be with you for days if you have a heart.
That is true Elgar for the most part,is not appreciated at all across the pond.Vaughan Williams on the other hand is,which I find puzzling.
Both composers music is English but in different ways.I would have thought the sense of history and tradition inherent in Elgar's music would appeal, but as you say the Americans don't get Elgar.
I just love those statements such as Elgar is a no-no in the US, while VW is accepted. Has there been a survey on the subject? If so, I'd like to know how each scored on the popularity chart.
As to Arnold and Foulds, I can't speak for anyone else but I enjoy them both. And thank you troyen1 for pointing out Arnold's 9th Symphony. I do have it, still in its factory shrink wrap, but, like the Wordworth symphonies 2 & 3, will now listen to it. And speaking of Arnold, BBC Radio Classics put out a 2 CD set honoring his 75th birthday. All the works are conducted by Arnold. It's quite a tribute but no doubt not easily attainable now (issued in 1996).
I don't think that I, or anyone else, although they can speak for themselves, is saying Elgar is a no-go area for Americans it is just that I base my opinions on what the Americans I come across state.
It might not be methological but it is, at least, consistent.
I am glad to see that some of them are venturing further into the 20th century repertoire. Today Roussel, tomorrow, who knows, post-war composers, perhaps, or is that expecting too much?
It is a perception how could it be anything else?
It is a fact that one of the best RVW symphony cycles was recorded by an American so that may of contributed to his popularity (compared to Elgar) over there.
Slatkin has certainly championed Elgar.
The British music press hasn't always been kind to performances of home-grown music by non-British performers. Previn was a break-through, starting with the Walton Symphony 1, and his VW cycle got good press but then he was conducting the LSO by that time.
It's true, Previn's recording of the Walton 1st has, according to consensus, never been bettered, let alone matched. I wouldn't know because I have no appreciation of the piece or Walton in general.
However, I think that you will find on listening again to Previn's VW that it is not a patch on Barbirolli, Handley, Haitink and, especially, Boult. I think some have allowed their pleasure at a non-Brit performing and recording the composer to dull their judgement.
As for Slatkin's Elgar (as for Slatkin, come to think of it), my benchmark is the 2nd symphony and he completely cocks it!
Agreed. I find the Previn VW cycle doesn't wear well. In fact, I can't think of a single Previn that does outside Walton 1. His Rachmaninov sucks. The line of argument in Rachmaninov isn't easy to follow at the best of times and Previn loses it inside 3 bars.
Hey, quit talking about Foulds and let's see some action! After falling in love with his Quartetto Intimo back in vinyl days I couldn't wait to hear some of his orchestral stuff. Now that we have it, I'm underwhelmed. I need someone who appreciates him to relight the fire.
By "some of them" are you speaking of Americans? The SF Symphony just sold out a series of concerts in Carnegie Hall called "American Mavericks." They previewed it here in SF and among the composers we have Copland, Ruggles, Partch, Del Tredici, Subotnick, Harrison, Ives, Brant, Foss, Cowell, Cage, Bates, Adams, Feldman and Varese. Soloists included Jessye Norman, Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk and Jeremy Denk. The conductor of course was Michael Tilson Thomas. Music Web International reviewed on April 10th the New York concerts. You can read it on their web site.
On your list of Americans you have run across you can count me as on the Elgar side. What's the score now? I think that we must also remember that Elgar's major orchestral output pales in comparison to VW,but what's not to like in his first two symphonies, the cello and violin concerto, Enigma Variations and the overtures., etc. Vasily Petrenko recently conducted the SF Symphony in Elgar's 1st. No one walked out. Next season Charles Dutoit conducts the Enigma Variations. We also get Britten's Double Concerto, by the way. Have you Brits heard it recently? My, but I've gotten testy, haven't I? Sorry.
I still like his Shostakovich 5th, formerly on RCA, and his old EMI 8th, if only because the orchestra nearly fall over under the tempo Previn applies in the two scherzos.
As for Foulds, I dug out my Oramo discs for a new listening and need to play them again.
Right again. I forgot about his Shostakovich 8. I talked about the trumpet solo in the scherzo on some thread recently. On that recording the LSO first trumpet is amazing. Would that be the same guy in the recording of Bernstein's On the Town? First trumpet, in fact the whole brass section, is phenomenal in that.
That EMI recording of the Shostakovich 8 is demonstration class. I used to take it with me as a test record when I was in the market for new grear, until some hole-on-the-behind shop assistant dropped his fag ash all over it and left a big blip.
Previn's Shostakovich 5 on RCA is far too slow in the first movement. He doesn't seem to be a conductor who is wearing well. Vaughan Williams 2nd, Rachmaninov's 3rd with Ashkenazy and Shostakovich 6/Rachmaninov 3 symphonies are now all that remain with me. Previn was once put forward by the record companies and the press as 'the bee's knees'. Does he have no defenders left.
Ashkenazy is better accompanied by Fistoulari in the 3rd. Previn and Ashkenazy could never seem to get this concerto right between them.
Previn makes what ever he does with the 5th work, imo. It is what drew attention to him in the first place as I remember. Up until then he was an Oscar winning composer of musicals and film music.
I do not think as badly of him as you as I have his Romeo and Juliet and owned a delicious LP of A Midsummers Night Dream and a disc of Berlioz overtures.
I can fully agree with your last paragraph, Troyen. I have these three recordings on CDs and they sound most convincingly and beautifully.
I appreciate some of Previn's recordings, in impressive sound, on Telarc, particularly some of his R. Strauss, but I guess you won't agree...possibly. By the way, some of the recent ones in DG were stunning, like the one with Beethoven's String Quartet op. 131 and Verdi's String Quartet, for String Orchestra, with the VPO.