The "greatest" British/Irish composer (and why?)

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The "greatest" British/Irish composer (and why?)

Post by piston » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:33 pm

Show your true colors! Who would you single out as the most sublime, inspired, creative, masterful, OUTSTANDING, composer from the British Isles?

composer must be of British/Irish birth;
(composer cannot have been born in Germany/Austria)
composer cannot be stereotyped because of his national origin;
composer cannot be dismissed because he/she did not follow the German/Austrian model of greatness;
composer does not have to belong to your 6-10 big-fish composers.
(all other commercial/physical/chemical restrictions apply)

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Post by Ralph » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:39 pm

There's more than one. Definitely Vaughan Williams but ELgar deserves much attention beyond his best known pieces. Also, Stanford composed excellent symphonies.
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Re: The "greatest" British/Irish composer (and why

Post by Yi-Peng » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:43 pm

I think I would probably vote either for Sullivan, Elgar and Vaughan Williams. Although Sullivan was most-known for the G&S operettas, his serious music also helped him to get noticed in the ranks of British composers. He was like the equivalent of Mozart and Mendelssohn, with that distinctive British flavouring in his music.
But if I had one choice I'd probably like to mention Elgar. While his music was for the most part accessible, there are times when it veers into unexpected harmonic territory, in the unfinished Third Symphony and in Gerontius. It does not do that all the time. I think that outside of the ceremonial pieces, he can be seen at the top of his game in such works as the Enigma Variations and the incidental music for The Starlight Express.
And as for Vaughan Williams, there is a deep, pastoral character that captures that sense of yearning we all share.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:46 pm

Tallis or Ferneyhough

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Post by piston » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:50 pm

And as for Vaughan Williams, there is a deep, pastoral character that captures that sense of yearning we all share.
Bravo! So well stated. My top is VW for symphonies, Holst for evocative short pieces (including some of the planets), Britten for opera, and Elgar for musique concertante.

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Post by some guy » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:12 pm

Ferneyhough's good. Nice to see his name up there.

But Cardew deserves a mention, too, as do Hodgkinson and Cutler and Hobbs and Rowe for sure.

For the more orchestral minded, there's always Corcoran.

I'm partial to Jonty Harrison, too.
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Post by Opus132 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:16 pm

Handel.

Ok, Byrd maybe. Not big in English composers.

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Post by piston » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:18 pm

Handel does not qualify./ Sorry.......................

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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:19 pm

So in terms of "historical importance" it is clearly Dunstable, who plays the same role in terms of Renaissance music that Monteverdi plays in regard to Baroque

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Post by IcedNote » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:31 pm

Britten...because he wrote Nocturnal for guitar.

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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:38 pm

Does anyone really want to go back to the Renaissance, where Tallis and Byrd were as great composers as there were? England/Britain has not had an important native composer since, though I'm not going to argue the issue to death. (Very obviously Elgar wrote some really good stuff and a a few others are not awful.) Brahms refused to accept an honorary degree from Oxford not because he got seasick, as Jan Swafford in her otherwise excellent biography states, but because "England is a country without music."

Obviously, they make it up in being uniquely gifted in performing forces. There is nothing in the world to match an English boy choir.

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Post by Opus132 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:53 pm

piston wrote:Handel does not qualify./ Sorry.......................
Really?

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Post by Opus132 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:55 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:So in terms of "historical importance" it is clearly Dunstable, who plays the same role in terms of Renaissance music that Monteverdi plays in regard to Baroque
I think that honor goes to Dufay. Monteverdi didn't invent the Baroque idiom after all.

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Post by slofstra » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:29 pm

Vaughan Williams, unquestionably. I've been listening recently to Sullivan's "Golden Legend" and it sounds like a great composer is struggling to get out.

The only strike against Vaughan Williams is that he wrote little for the piano. He's also typecast as a 'pastoral' composer, but he wrote much else. Early on he was successful with work in the 'pastoral' vein, and that created an expectation within his audience. But he wrote much that went against that particular grain, including Flos Campi, Dona Nobis Pacem, and the Symphony No. 4. He excelled in symphonic and choral work. And there are few pieces more eloquent and heart-stabbing than the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis; it's one of the very great ones. My personal favourite is 'Dona Nobis Pacem' which often moves me to tears. Written in 1936, the piece anticipates artistically the suffering and hardship of the years to come.

So that's my vote. Elgar would have to be second, but I think he's much more a composer of his time, and his star has fallen along with notions of Empire, the white man's burden, and the stiff upper lip.

And piston, you should pick one.
Last edited by slofstra on Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by piston » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:46 pm

Okay. Same as yours, slofstra. I have been warming up to Elgar but my F.C. side long kept me frigid cold to his "imperialistic" sound. I do wish though that good friends VW and Holst could have merged into one composer. :wink:

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Post by slofstra » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:53 pm

piston wrote:Okay. Same as yours, slofstra. I have been warming up to Elgar but my F.C. side long kept me frigid cold to his "imperialistic" sound. I do wish though that good friends VW and Holst could have merged into one composer. :wink:
You probably know that they were very good friends. I've been trying to warm up to more of Holst's work aside from the Planets, but it's difficult - the rest of his work is much less accessible. 'Egdon Heath' has been growing on me, and it fits right in with my recent reading of 'The Return of the Native', which is set on that particular brooding, forbidding, but fictional heath.

Is there any thing else of Holst's that you particularly like?

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Post by DavidRoss » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:56 pm

RVW, because of the breadth, depth, and uniformly high quality of his output. Runners up for me would be Britten, Bax, Alwyn, and Elgar. Bliss and Bridge, Holst and Moeran, Dring and Finzi, Walton and Rubbra and even Delius all wrote some very fine music, but not quite enough to unseat dear old Ralph.
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Post by piston » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:03 pm

slofstra wrote:
piston wrote:Okay. Same as yours, slofstra. I have been warming up to Elgar but my F.C. side long kept me frigid cold to his "imperialistic" sound. I do wish though that good friends VW and Holst could have merged into one composer. :wink:
You probably know that they were very good friends. I've been trying to warm up to more of Holst's work aside from the Planets, but it's difficult - the rest of his work is much less accessible. 'Egdon Heath' has been growing on me, and it fits right in with my recent reading of 'The Return of the Native', which is set on that particular brooding, forbidding, but fictional heath.

Is there any thing else of Holst's that you particularly like?
Egdon Heath is a great favorite (and not just because it was his favorite piece). Both VW and Holst wrote "historical" pastoral music, i.e., pastoral music with a historical memory: VW's symphony no.3 and Holst Egdon Heath. Beni Mora (oriental suite) includes an astonishing "impressionistic" piece called "finale: in the street of the Ouled Nails." The Fugal Overture, St.Paul's Suite and In the Bleak Midwinter also display his tremendous versatility, a great quality in my view.

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Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:55 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Does anyone really want to go back to the Renaissance, where Tallis and Byrd were as great composers as there were?
I would, living in big castles with no plumbing, harsh winters etc, but to have heard Tallis, or Byrd, Taverner, Phillips, Sheppard, Tye, Tomkins, Browne, Fayrfax and Whyte etc. in person, I'd be there in a heartbeat...
England/Britain has not had an important native composer since, though I'm not going to argue the issue to death.
This weeks dismissals, only a day after Faure...sad, very sad, and from an Early Music Fan no less...
(Very obviously Elgar wrote some really good stuff and a a few others are not awful.)
Many people (especially Brit's) seem to think so...
Brahms refused to accept an honorary degree from Oxford not because he got seasick, as Jan Swafford in her otherwise excellent biography states, but because "England is a country without music."

And you John, are a man without taste...
Obviously, they make it up in being uniquely gifted in performing forces. There is nothing in the world to match an English boy choir.
Agreed...

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Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:06 pm

slofstra wrote:Is there any thing else of Holst's that you particularly like?
When I was a kid I lived in Cheltenham, Holst's birthplace, and no, I don't think he wrote much else that is good, a one hit wonder, as the saying goes... :wink:

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Post by Opus132 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:12 pm

Chalkperson wrote: And you John, are a man without taste...
When everything that was ever inked on a sheet of music is considered great, then nothing is. You call that taste?

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Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:25 pm

Opus132 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote: And you John, are a man without taste...
When everything that was ever inked on a sheet of music is considered great, then nothing is. You call that taste?
Not at all, there is no accounting for taste...I have an open mind, John does not...my comment (made in jest) was in response to his statement about Brahms and England, of course only he would know something Jan Swoffard does not, but I forgot that John is Brahms's Official Oracle...

i'm just so sick of his dismissals, everytime I ask him who taught him these theories he holds so dear he refrains from responding...if he gave a response that is plausable and explanatory I would be happy to drop the subject, and get off his case...

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:19 am

Has there been even ONE vote for England's greatest musician of all time---Henry Purcell?

His originality, melodic and harmonic genius, the dramatic (for his time!) scenes, choruses, dances and arias of his operas and odes are poetic, sublime and technically among the finest every composed for the human voice.

Next to Purcell, I'll take Elgar. Many of his most important works need to be more widely performed and recorded, especially here in Germany. His palette of emotional power, sublimity and depth of feeling stretches beyond all other late 19th- and early 20th-century Irish/British masters, although I love Standofrd, Vaughan Williams and others very much.

George Bernard Shaw claimed Elgar was the "only" composer who could write great symphonies after Beethoven (a comment which allows him to be postumously nominated for the BJBAOS ("British John Buck Award for Outlandish Statement"). :D

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Post by Ken » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:58 am

If I said Lennon/McCartney, would it spoil the mood of the thread? ;)

But, in all honesty, like many others who have posted already, I don't listen to very much music by British composers. I've a liking for Vaughan Williams' miniatures, Stanford's symphonies (this has already been mentioned), and Elgar's orchestral numbers. This thread might inspire me to expand upon my measly collection of Brit works!
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Post by RebLem » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:03 am

I'd have to say Benjamin Britten. He was productive all his adult life, and in many forms--solo instrumental music, chamber music, chamber orchestras, symphonies, concerti, operas, and other stage pieces.

Runners up--Henry Purcell, Arthur Sullivan, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax, and, to mention three for the first time in this thread, Malcolm Arnold, Havergal Brian, and Charles Hubert H Parry.

I have expressed my love for William Byrd here before, especially for his Mass for 4 Voices, but his ouvre seems to me too small for him to be regarded as a truly great composer.
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Post by moldyoldie » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:10 am

Vaughan Williams is at the pinnacle; it's his symphonies and other orchestral and choral works that compel duplication in my collection. When I think Vaughan Williams, whether in pastoral romantic or modernist mode, I think quintessentially British and the first half of the 20th century -- the counterpart of Prokofiev. Of course, there's always a bad apple in every bunch, and that would be Epithalamion -- well-nigh unlistenable with sap dripping from every pore! (BTW and overall, I like Previn in the symphonies over Boult, Haitink, and Thomson. I've yet to hear Handley, Hickox, et al.)

Britten comes in second with his modernist British aesthetic and deep psychological probing. Peter Grimes is a personal favorite, but I appreciate most all his operas and instrumental works I've heard thus far. I'm preparing to delve into his quartets.

Elgar never struck an immediate chord with me, though like Brahms, he might be an acquired taste.

Delius is perfect for a lazy Sunday morning in the spring...and rarely elsewhen.

I've found Bax's symphonies intriguing, but fairly hit-or-miss. The same with Stanford and Parry, though for different reasons which I can't rightly quantify. All three are eminently listenable, however.

I'm sorry to say I've not explored Arnold to the extent that I've wanted. The same with Moeran.

Sure, what's not to like about Gilbert & Sullivan? Should Sullivan even be considered here? Isn't that something of a given?

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Post by absinthe » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:28 am

Of the names here, many do not meet a consensus view of sublime or outstanding. I'd like to include Ferneyhough as he was born in Coventry but he seems to think himself nationality-free as a composer.

Trouble is there are so many brit composers of the last 150 years that have just fallen to neglect. We aren't generally the greatest supporters of our home-grown produce. So if I named one (or two or three) they'd just be my favourites.

Vaughan Williams is popular and had the good sense to pass on before the 1960s when the serial craze slammed so many of our more traditional composers. He isn't outstanding or sublime IMO but was probably the first in an outburst of brit composers stemming from the late 1800s so he got in first, so to speak.

I'd agree about Elgar meeting most of Piston's criteria though he isn't my favourite. Stanford, roughly his contemporary, wrote some magnificent works but he's Irish. Bantock was accomplished, very sweet-toothed. Delius was a symbolist but people here don't like his work though I'd put him up as a contender in recognition for the fight he faced to do music at all. He was surely the most original of our lot in his day. Shame he had to snub Britain in the interests of getting peace and quiet.
Britten is too ordinary. He enjoyed fame in his lifetime. Deserves if for the Serenade but enthusiasm is limited to just a few fans. He did nothing new. I recall a remark in a musical textbook where the reference for Peter Pears said "See under Benjamin Britten" - not the best choice of words but...

Elgar, Stanford or Vaughan Williams, then - for earlier composers, Byrd.
But many brit composers, given the fads of their times etc, were as competent.

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Post by James » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:02 am

I am extremely partial to early music ... (not especially chant & plainsong) as in late medieval European Court music.
It is very touching & endearing. Without any bombast. Paler tones & less or nil vibrato. Dowland, Byrd etc and many others.
I'm no expert cause there's so much else to hear and be getting on with.
Baroque ... love it. Purcell ...i like what i've heard..
Elgar ... very variable ... some I love. Very Wagner influenced but forged his own way with those musical materials.
Not too exposed to Vaughan Williams, though I love the famous works I've heard.
Holst.. I like, especially the quite refined & modest chamber stuff that nobody seems to know
Bax ... symphonies ... not my kind of thing from what I heard ... which isn't too much.
Walton ... good stuff for those war films.
Britten was a very accomplished & clever composer who I just don't get ... generally leaves me cold.
Michael Tippett.. love what i've heard, like the Piano Concerto...
Harrison Birtwistle is great...things like Secret Theatre, Earth Dances...
Brian Ferneyhough .. an astonishing composer of the 'complex' school, the String Quartets etc..
and I like what I've heard from James Dillon too...

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:52 am

RebLem wrote:I'd have to say Benjamin Britten. He was productive all his adult life, and in many forms--solo instrumental music, chamber music, chamber orchestras, symphonies, concerti, operas, and other stage pieces.
Definitely a strong case to be made. On the lines of "how do you weigh them one against another?" . . . I couldn't choose between Britten and Vaughan Williams for The Best slot. I've been really impressed with a lot of the Tippett I've been listening to, but his work is Mixed (and his pretensions to librettistdom don't help him out, there). Having just revisited the first movement of the Elgar Second Symphony yesterday, and found it exasperatingly rambly, I could not in good conscience put him in the first rank, notwithstanding his obvious importance as a model for later British composers.

Finally, I have not heard any Holst which I did not like; and I think The Planets a really fine piece in its entirety, on whose greatness we should all probably agree, if it did not sag under the weight of its current, disproportionate popularity (itself partly a produce of it being one of John Williams's many models for bits of his Star Wars music).

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Post by absinthe » Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:13 am

Holst wrote a couple of memorable pieces - the Choral Symphony and Planets Suite (though he was dealing with Mystical planets and missed the sun and moon). He also wrote loads of run-of-the-mill music. I have a couple of his CD ramblers (Lyrita) but they're gathering dust.

As for Britten, he was hopelessly conservative - Peter Pears couldn't sing atonal music. He did help keep Britain on the musical map though. My one-and-only musical textbook comments:
"Britten wrote the kind of music that always sounds as if it is going to break out into a tune but doesn't...."
The article ends with: "His musical emotional world has been summed up as 'a deep nostalgia for the innocence of childhood' (A liking for boys' choirs), a 'mercurial sense of humour' (obsession with death and war), and 'a passionate sympathy with the victims of prejudice or misunderstanding' (Peter Pears).

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:32 am

absinthe wrote:As for Britten, he was hopelessly conservative - Peter Pears couldn't sing atonal music.
But that is an interesting question: for Britten to have been great (in your view), would he have had to write atonal music? If so, why?

(BTW, he wrote a lot of Anglican liturgical music, and church choirs have a rough time with atonal music, too.)

This is reminding me, though, that Herbert Howells wrote much that is excellent.

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Post by Chalkperson » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:04 pm

Although I don't really like his Operas I think Britten gets my vote, with Purcell a close second..I love Stamfords Vocal Music, and lets not forget the Wesley's...

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Post by lmpower » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:56 pm

Elgar moves me more deeply than any other British composer.

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Post by absinthe » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:53 pm

karlhenning wrote:
absinthe wrote:As for Britten, he was hopelessly conservative - Peter Pears couldn't sing atonal music.
But that is an interesting question: for Britten to have been great (in your view), would he have had to write atonal music? If so, why?
Not really. Greatness doesn't have to be atonal, IMO but didn't advance any musical boundaries.
karlhenning wrote: This is reminding me, though, that Herbert Howells wrote much that is excellent.
Yes. He seemed to concentrate on ecclesiastical themes...Hymnus Paradisi.... He was also an examiner at the Associated Boards. He knew the Lloyd-Webber family (I'm thinking of William who wrote some pleasant music - nothing to put him in the "outstanding" category but easy to listen to (and a b------ sight easier to listen to than the frippery of one of his sons)!

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:56 pm

absinthe wrote:
karlhenning wrote:But that is an interesting question: for Britten to have been great (in your view), would he have had to write atonal music? If so, why?
Not really. He was popular but didn't advance any musical boundaries.
"Advancing musical boundaries" is only one mode of potential greatness. Otherwise, what, shall we not consider Bach, Chopin, Prokofiev or Shostakovich "great"?

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Post by pizza » Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:52 pm

jbuck919 wrote: Brahms refused to accept an honorary degree from Oxford not because he got seasick, as Jan Swafford in her otherwise excellent biography states, but because "England is a country without music."
Jan Swafford is a man. Did you read the bio?

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Post by some guy » Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:53 pm

I'm listening to Tim Hodgkinson's Sang as I review the posts to this thread. And it does seem to me that the living U.K. creative musicians have contributed to improvisation more than to any other area. Ferneyhough and Dillon and Birtwhistle (and Davies and Corcoran, too, eh?) are all fine composers, as are Trevor Wishart and Jonty Harrison and Diana Simpson over in the electroacoustic world.

And there's the late, great experimentalist Cornelius Cardew, whose The Great Learning is one of those legendary scores that seems to remake the whole world, and whose Scratch Orchestra redefined what an ensemble could be. And Chris Hobbs is still carrying on the experimental tradition. (Funny words to put together!)

But it does seem that for "sublime and outstanding" as well as for "advancing musical boundaries," the place where the U.K. really shines is in live music, that is, music that's made live, on the spot. (Cardew was also known as an improviser, by the way.)

Starting with Derek Bailey, whose book on improvisation is the book on improvisation.

Continuing with Keith Rowe (whom I've seen live--sublime and outstanding for certain) and Tim Hodgkinson (ditto) and Chris Cutler (only recordings, but what an impressive body of work).

The U.K. may have lagged in the past. No more, for sure.

(N.B.-The list of names above is a SHORT list. Choice but short. As in woefully incomplete.)
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:12 pm

piston wrote:
And as for Vaughan Williams, there is a deep, pastoral character that captures that sense of yearning we all share.
Bravo! So well stated. My top is VW for symphonies, Holst for evocative short pieces (including some of the planets), Britten for opera, and Elgar for musique concertante.
I second both the above. I'd throw in Byrd, Tallis, and Purcell as well for their choral work. If the Brits do anything worthy of note, it's choral music.
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Post by slofstra » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:41 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
piston wrote:
And as for Vaughan Williams, there is a deep, pastoral character that captures that sense of yearning we all share.
Bravo! So well stated. My top is VW for symphonies, Holst for evocative short pieces (including some of the planets), Britten for opera, and Elgar for musique concertante.
I second both the above. I'd throw in Byrd, Tallis, and Purcell as well for their choral work. If the Brits do anything worthy of note, it's choral music.
Can't you pick one? I thought piston was bad choosing 4, although he laudably settled on VW. You've upped the count to 7!

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Post by absinthe » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:57 pm

some guy wrote: The U.K. may have lagged in the past. No more, for sure.
I think we've been out-front for a fair while partly through the policies of radio 3 in the 1960s that were an important force for composers of the then-avant garde. A couple of my teachers came from among them.

I also agree that improvising flourishes here - I can't claim that audiences seem to prefer live musicians to live electroacoustic composers but having been to a few of each, audiences do seem more responsive to live acoustic musicians. My bunch have done a few - one even in the Club Revenge, Brighton (even though I'm none of GLBT) because a semi-serious pupil of mine is a partner in the place. It wasn't specially successful but we were trying a new way of semi-improvising. What was so annoying was that we were too late to get into the Soundwaves festival in said town though we heard many works including some good and some bad improvisation.

Yes, I'll stand up for the UK - maybe because we're a small island we never seem far from musical facilities or chances to stage amateur things. The problem is finding an audience rather than a place to play.

And we have a few names: Smalley, Finnissey, Skempton, Birtwistle, Lutyens, Musgrave, Ferneyhough and quite some more. Alas, Cornelius Cardew died well before his time. I hear anecdotes from a friend who played in the Scratch Orchestra at Morleys. Cardew may not have worried about consecutive fifths but he did raise much thought about widening the scope of music.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:19 pm

slofstra wrote:Can't you pick one? I thought piston was bad choosing 4, although he laudably settled on VW. You've upped the count to 7!
No. You can't sum up a national musical character in one composer. I resist the temptation to do so. Remember what I PMd you about EM.
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Post by piston » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:25 pm

Why couldn't I answer that way :?: Right on the money, Corlyss.

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Post by jserraglio » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:33 pm

Not to put them in the same "sublime" class as V-W, Holst, Britten, and Elgar . . . and V-W & Britten would be my choices too for the very top of the heap . . .

but I would like to mention a few 'lesser' composers I admire: Eugene Goossens, the so-called "Scottish Romantics" (Hamish MacCunn, John McEwen, Alexander Mackenzie), Rutland Boughton, and Robert Simpson.

Add in Nicholas Maw, Alan Rawsthorne, Grace Williams, and Daniel Jones.

There are so many excellent, if not great composers from the British isles I just cant keep up with them.
Last edited by jserraglio on Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:39 pm

jserraglio wrote:but I would like to mention a few 'lesser' composers I admire: Eugene Goossens, the so-called "Scottish Romantics" (Hamish MacCunn, John McEwen, Alexander Mackenzie), Rutland Boughton, and Robert Simpson.

And Nicholas Maw and Alan Rawsthorne.

There are so many excellent, if not great composers from the British isles I just cant keep up with them.
I'm sorry. Composers I've never heard of are not eligible for mention . . . :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Post by jserraglio » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:48 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:I'm sorry. Composers I've never heard of are not eligible for mention . . .
Me neither, but I'm a sucker for Hyperion, Chandos and Naxos (cheap via BRO) issues of the Brits and that's how I got to know them.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:59 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:I'm sorry. Composers I've never heard of are not eligible for mention . . .
Me neither, but I'm a sucker for Hyperion, Chandos and Naxos (cheap via BRO) issues of the Brits and that's how I got to know them.
How about a list of things you think we would enjoy? (I don't mean to make you work, but I want to get to know these guys and Hyperion is on sale at BROINC.)
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Post by anasazi » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:39 pm

Vaughan Williams has, for some years, challenged to be not just my favorite 'British' or 'English' composer, but simply my all-time favorite. This after eventually hearing pretty much heard all of his recorded works. It is not easily explained. Much to do with the fact that I am nearly always ready to listen to a work by RVW. Only JS Bach is so constantly engaging to me, but for different reasons probably.

I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that VW composed little for my own instrument (piano). What can one expect from a violist though? ;-)
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Post by slofstra » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:43 pm

piston wrote:Why couldn't I answer that way :?: Right on the money, Corlyss.
Hey, she doesn't need any encouragement! :D Corlyss, no-one asked you to "sum up the national character in one composer". You only need to say three letters, RVW.

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Post by slofstra » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:47 pm

And after all that, and unless I missed something - no-one has mentioned Peter Maxwell-Davies. And as we are speaking of the national character, I nominate Maxwell-Davies for best classical composer featuring bagpipes in the world not just England.

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Post by Bösendorfer » Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:04 pm

For me it would be Elgar. But I have not spent too much time on any other British composer so far. What I heard of RVW some time ago didn't engage me, what I've heard of Britten on the radio more recently makes me want to hear more.

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