Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

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Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

Folks, I'm looking for anyone who has knowledge of recordings by the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra (probably under Vernon Handley) between early 1970s and late 1990's in order to find a recording containing my late father Roger Blair who was principle Timpanist for best part of 30 years. 

Any help anyone can give would be gladly received. 

Thanks

Andy

RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

Hi Andy,

Try this Lyrita recording:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000M5B6LU/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music

The Finzi dates from 1975, so might include your father, reviewed in Gramophone here:

http://www.exacteditions.com/browse/345/365/31641/3/96/0/Handley%20finzi...

Hope this helps!

James

James McCarthy, Online Content Editor for Gramophone, Songlines and Jazzwise

RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

There's the 1983 recording of the Bax Symphonic Variations featuring Joyce Hatto (possibly). I have it as a Concert Artist/Fidelio tape but I believe it has been available, on and off, on cd.

RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

I have the Bax variations on LP, which I bought from a 2nd hand record shop in Howarth a few years ago. It is still in good condition.

Given the publicity this recording might have generated over the Christmas period with a drama based on Joyce Hatto's life (with a conspiracy unearthed by a certain magazine), I'm surprised nobody thought to re-issue it.

Despite the conspiracy, I assume that this is a genuine performance as it is rarely played anyway. It belongs firmly in the land of off-beat romantic Piano concertos; again, another recent article in Gramophone (but concentrating on the 19th Century).

 

DSM

RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

To the best of my knowledge by far the majority of the Guildford Orch's recordings appeared on the Concert Artist, Fidelio & Revolution LP labels of Barrington Coupe but I don't know if there's a complete listing of them anywhere. I know there was a Bax Sym 4 & a Bax Pine Trees. The symphony & the genuine Hatto Bax have appeared on Concert Artist CDs but I don't know anything of their current availability. Following DSM's comment one might have thought this was now an opporunity for BC to cash in!

According to Lewis Foreman's Bax biography The symphony was played live & subsequently recorded in 1964. He says Handley & the Orch played the Symphonic Vars in 1970 but he doesn't state the pianist. I assume it was Hatto & the recording (to which Foreman gives positive comments) was made subsequent to the concert.

The only Guildford recording I have is on one of the Sergio Fiorentino CDs put out by APR with Liszt's second concerto & Chopin's Polish Airs Variations. The date is given as 1966. The sound is very dry; a characteristic of Guildford Civic Hall? According to Brian Crimp's notes the Polish Airs are transferred from the mastertape but the Liszt concerto & most solo items are taken from LPs as the masters are lost or damaged. The sound in the Liszt is utterly "dead", not helped by excessive processing to remove the LP surface noise.  

RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

At the risk of duplication of some of the above comments, I'll post this:

Revolution Records of 490A Old Kent Road, London, issued in 1970 (through RCA) three Guildford Philharmonic - Vernon Handley LPs. RCF.001 featured Joyce Hatto (real) performing the Bax Symphonic Variations for Piano & Orchestra; RCF.002 was the Bax 4th Symphony; and RCF.003 Bax's Tale The Pine Trees Knew and E.J. Moeran's Serenade. The latter was not the complete version as recently issued (I forget by whom). All three LPs have extensive notes by Burnett James. The sound on RCF.001 is quite acceptable, not so much the others (could be wrong there with the Symphony but I'm too lazy to put it on to find out).

Handley became Musical Director of the GPO in 1962. He and the GPO & Choir (the town supposedly had three choirs and Handley was responsible for them all) are to be found on a Lyrita recording of music by Hadley and Finzi (as another poster already mentioned).

Bliss
RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

People might like to know that this orchestra's long history has just come to an end, as the local (and appalling) council has closed it down.

RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

Andy

 

A locally (Guildford) circulated recording I have is a CD entitled "Artists appearing in the first Guildford International Music Festival". Most of the 15 tracks were recorded at The Music Department, University of Surrey at their PATS in Dec 1990 or Jan 1991. Track 1 is 'Overture: The Marriage of Figaro' by the GPO conducted by Sir Charles Groves. Bags of timps. Could well be Blair senior.

Disc is BMP CD 9101 and was a (Ken) Blair Music Production, sponsored by Canon.

You may be able to track a copy down from BMP or the PATS at the University.

 

Good hunting.

Mike

RE: Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra

Just to say that I attended every GPO concert in the early 1970’s and I remember Roger Blair very well indeed. Not only was he an excellent musician but he smiled Often and appeared to be a delightful person.

Your Dad

Andy - Your Father was a friend of mine (and my teacher lol). Would love to hear from you

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