Nothing at the moment as I am writing this, but earlier I listened to Rubbra's Fifth Symphony, a deeply moving work in my opinion. The version I have is played by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hans-Hubert Schonzeler on a 30-year-old Chandos LP. If anyone has recommendations for alternative recordings they would be gladly appreciated, thank you.
There's the Hickox version on Chandos. I wouldn't say the performance adds a whole lot to what you've got out of the Schonzeler but the recording is more refined and there's a better coupling. You've got the Bliss Checkmate on yours, the Hickox has a very fine performance of symphony #8, significantly better than the old Lyrita in my opinion.
Thanks, I'll to try to get my hands on the Hickox. By the way, I've been reading over some older contributions, and I saw you mention a work I know nothing about, Robert Still's Third Symphony. I'm always intigued by English symphonists (I'm presuming he's English), is this work available?
Sorry, I should have checked myself before asking, I've just found it on a Lyrita CD with Searle's Second, sounds like one I'll have to hear.
Robert Still was indeed English, descended from the 16th century Bishop Still, master of both Trinity and John's, Cambridge.
I originally had symphony 3 on Saga in a performance by the LSO under Goossens. Saga records, as you'll see from other comments I've posted, were a listening trial, so I immediately snapped up a re-issue of #3, along with symphony 4, on Lyrita. That was on vinyl. Since Lyrita seem to be re-releasing their catalogue on cd it may become available again, if it hasn't already done so.
It isn't the greatest work you've ever heard but there's an original voice and I do find it lodges in the memory.
The whole topic of minor composers is a fascinating one and worthy of a separate thread. Perhaps the word 'minor' is relative - many would say Rubbra fits into that category but, like you, I find his work very rewarding and totally under-rated. I've spent much time, and money, exploring musical (British in particular) byways and long ago came to the conclusion that most neglected composers are neglected for a good reason. But the exception proves the rule and one hidden gem makes it all worthwhile.
Woops, we crossed responses there. That's a good coupling. #3 is far more interesting than #4, and Searle's one of the few serialists I enjoy.
I completey agree with you, but I don't like the word minor as so much of what we talk about is subjecive. Harold C. Schonberg described Sibelius (ludicrous as it sems) as a minor composer, which is reason enough to hate the word.
There's already a page here called Composers who deserve to be heard more in Concert, which surprisingly for me hasn't really taken off, not that I believe any composer deserves anything by rights, it just would be nice to hear different things. When I use the word marginal, I only intend it to mean lesser known, and not what would be considered standard repertoire, but I do find a lot of this music incredibly rewarding I think it's because it feels more personal as if you are the only one who knows it, not this stops me for one moment wanting to share it with others.
earlier I listened to Rubbra's Fifth Symphony, a deeply moving work in my opinion. The version I have is played by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hans-Hubert Schonzeler on a 30-year-old Chandos LP. If anyone has recommendations for alternative recordings they would be gladly appreciated, thank you.
There's the venerable Hallé / Barbarolli version from 1951/52, which is available on EMI -- but the BBC Welsh SO / Hickox on Chandos may be a better choice, and may actually be the best overall performance of the work. (That said, it's a while since I heard them.)
"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"
- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.
Last three recordings I've sat and listened to:
Mahler 8 - BRSO/Kubelik - Audite. SACD of a live performance from 1970; the ending of the first part sent shivers running up and down my spine! The sound is quite good and the performance seems to be unedited so it combines the thrills and spills you'd expect. (Minor digression: I read an article in Punch many decades ago by a singer in a London choir who'd been rehearsing for this piece and described it, in comparison to Mozart's Requiem, which she described as a perfectly formed cathedral, as being like a boiler factory with steam hissing out of pipes and buckets and ladders falling over all over the place... that seems so apt!)
Sibelius 1 - Lahti SO/Vanska - BIS. Thrilling and reminds me why I fell in love with this piece (originally, from a crude cassette recording off-air of Colin Davis conducting a London orchestra with it... despite, or because of, that format, it was a performance of thrilling immediacy). Hey, I used thrilling twice here!
Prokofiev 2 - LSO/Gergiev - Philips. I have all the Järvi recordings and am not convinced yet that I like the Gerviev ones as much - but too early to say perhaps. I love this piece for all its enfant terrible audaciousness... and he still manages to make it sound like a fairy tale at times!
I have the July 2010 number of "The Gramophone" beside me and, on page 100, there is a review of the Second Edition of the Brilliant Classics "Alexander Gauk" set. That prompted me to fetch the original Brilliant Classics set from our gramophone library and, from this set, I selected the Suite from "Spartacus", by Aram Khachaturian.
Poul Ruders second Piano Sonata played by Thomas Ades on Bridge, simply mesmerising.
Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus.
The Körnerscher Sing-Verein Dresden, Dresdner Instrumental-Concert, Peter Kopp recording on DG/Archiv.
Have you by any chance also heard the version on "Poul Ruders: Piano Works" by Rolf Hind, on DaCapo? If so, how does it compare?
I ask, as that's the version eMusic has, rather than the Ades/Bridge.
Sorry Spider I only know the Ades rendition.
Sibelius, Symphony No.4, Lahti SO, Osmo Vänskä (on BIS).
"Sibelius' Fourth Symphony is like the Bible. We approach it with great respect and devotion. In this work Sibelius had seen the unfathomable tragedy of life's inconsistency, and given it expression boldly, by new means and in a new musical language."
- Jussi Jala, Sibelius's son-in-law.
Schoenberg - String Quartets 1, 2, 3 & 4 - New Vienna String Quartet (on Philips).
I was put off anything by Schoenberg for very long time after hearing Pierrot Lunaire, but am very glad I overcome my phobia, as his string quartets are excellent. (I can even bear the third and fourth movements of no.2, with the added soprano, although I'm relieved they're not all like that.)