Friday, January 29, 2016

Birthdays & Events for January 29th

A few of the notable birthdays for today include Frederick Delius, Havergal Brian, Ludolf Nielsen, Luigi Nono, and Ferdinand Ries (Ries remains an underrated exceptional composer; he was not only Beethoven's pupil as a child but also a close friend and served as Beethoven's secretary for a period of time. I first heard his music on a Crystal Records disc of music for horn & piano in the late 90's and soon after bought up everything I could find on Naxos and CPO especially. If the classical era is your thing, then Ries will be your overflowing cup of tea)

1703 - Carlmann Kolb
1711 - Giuseppi Bonno
1715 - Georg Christoph Wagenseil
1782 - Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber
1782 - Franciszek Ścigalski,
1784 - Ferdinand Ries

Ferdinand Ries

1801 - Johannes Bernardus van Bree, Dutch violinist/composer
1824 - Karl von Perfall
1852 - Frederic Hymen Cowen
1862 - Frederick Delius
1864 - Adolf Philipp
1869 - Andrey Vladimirovich Scherbachov
1871 - Eduardo Lopez-Chavarri y Marco
1874 - Robert Lach
1876 - Carl Henrik Ludolf Nielsen
1876 - Havergal Brian
1884 - Juhan Aavic
1887 - Albert Conti
1889 - Francisco Santiago
1889 - Rudolf Mauersberger
1890 - Marguerite Canal
1893 - Edric Cundell
1893 - Martian Negrea
1898 - Fernand Quinet, Belgian cellist/composer/conductor
1900 - Marco Tajcevic
1924 - Luigi Nono
1928 - Bengt Hambraeus
1931 - Leslie Bricuse
1934 - Paul Gutama Soegijo
1936 - Malcolm Binns, concert pianist
1943 - Timothy Andrew James Souster


1728 John Gays's "Beggar's Opera" premieres in London
1781 Mozart's opera "Idomeneo" premieres in Munich
1954 Arnold Schoenberg's "De Profundis" premieres in Cologne
1996 La Fenice, Venice's opera house, is destroyed by fire.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Music of Ukraine: Rheinhold Gliere - Taras Bulba, Ballet Suite - Yevhen Stankovych - Rasputin, Ballet Suite - Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra, Hobart Earle - ASV 1997

Colorful music from the Ukraine, Gliere's lovely Suite from the ballet "Taras Bulba" is rooted firmly within the realm of Borodin. Yehven Stankovch's "Rasputin" Suite from 1990 is a work packed with original ideas and forward drive, in an idiom that is generally tonal yet clearly modern. The second movement is especially memorable with it's satirical, circus-like atmosphere which stylistically reminds me of Ervin Schulhoff in his earlier dadaist-influenced years. Delicious, swirling "prankster" music! 

The evolution of Ukrainian symphonic thought is a dynamic and continuing process which has deep historical roots. At first glance Gliere and Stankovych may seem worlds apart, but a hereditary link exists between them which transcends both space and time. 

Rheinhold Gliere is a worthy representative of late 19th century symphonic tradition, and I cannot think of a single score that does not enchant. 

*I will add a proper amount of information on this disc late tonight, I must run for now!

*And thank you to everyone who has left comments the last couple days! I will go through them tonight, I look forward to this greatly as always :-)

Enjoy everyone!


Birthdays and Events for January 28

1627 - Alfonso Marsh
1645 - Gottfried Vopelius
1691 - Johann Balthasar Konig
1693 - Gregor Joseph Werner
1722 - Johann Ernst Bach
1756 - Hans Adolf Friedrich von Eschstruth
1757 - Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni
1832 - Franz Wullner
1841 - Viktor Ernst Nessler
1868 - Frederick Archibald Lamond
1868 - Julian Aguirre
1875 - Julian Antonio Carillo-Trujillo
1878 - Walter Kollo (Kollodziepski)
1887 - Artur Rubinstein, pianist
1887 - Lily Theresa Strickland
1891 - Karel Boleslav Jirak
1893 - Elliot Griffis
1898 - Vittorio Rieti
1900 - Michael Dewar Head
1907 - Constantin Regamey
1908 - Paul Misraki, French composer and songwriter
1913 - Jan Masseus
1916 - Peter Crossley-Holland
1930 - Luis de Pablo
1935 - Leonid Grabovsky
1936 - Robert Suderburg
1944 - John Tavener
1959 - Burkhard Dallwitz

One of the greatest pianists of all time: Artur Rubinstein.


1830 Daniel Auber's opera "Fra Diavolo" premieres in Paris
1916 Enrique Granados's opera "Goyescas" premieres (NYC)
1936 Pravda (the Soviet newspaper) criticizes Shostakovitch's "Lady Macbeth" opera

To read the original 1936 Pravda article:

Not sure how much is lost in translation, but it gives one a glance of what DSCH had to deal with under the regime.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Birthdays for January 27th

Jan 27th:

Today's mvc (most valuable composer?) birthday-boy is obvious. Question is, do I bother posting anything in his honor? I simply *love* the Requiem and the Clarinet Concerto, among some others..but I'm sure that if one searches most other blogs there's likely 100+ posts dedicated to 'Wolfie' on each one..

I just might have to watch "Amadeus" after work tonight at least; what a magnificent film! The superb Tom Hulce plays the composer as a fiery, passionate and somewhat eccentric person..not to mention likely the goofiest portrayal of any artistic genius in the history of cinema. Mozart was not quite that boyish and impetuous in reality, from what I know anyway; but that's part of the charm and great fun of it all! Oh, and Salieri didn't actually poison the maestro folks, nor did he in any way have anything to do with helping the ailing composer with his last score: the Requiem (although Franz Xaver Süssmayr 'tinkered' with portions of it as it remained unfinished at the time of Mozart's death). But damn.. F. Murray Abraham gives such a knock-out performance!

1592 - Pierre de La Barre
1715 - Vaclav Kalous
1756 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1775 - Manuel del Popolo Vicente Rodriguez Garcia, Spanish tenor/composer
1784 - Martin-Joseph Mengal

1806 - Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga (I believe Arriaga would have been one of the -greatest- composers of his time had his life not been cut so tragically short. Something perhaps of the "Basque Mozart", he died at the age of 19. Check out his three string quartets if you haven't already. Or his only Symphony, or better yet everything that is recorded (he wrote I think 30 or so works, yet I don't think all of them are commercially available.

1823 - Edouard-Victoire-Antoine Lalo

1828 - Louis Schubert
1830 - Georg Hellmesberger
1867 - Claude Antoine Terrasse
1868 - Cato Engelen-Sewing, Dutch soprano prima donna
1869 - Will Marion Cook
1885 - Jerome Kern, Broadway composer
1885 - Eduard Künneke
1892 - Mitya Stillman
1895 - Claudio Carneyro
1895 - Joseph Rosenstock, Kraków Poland, conductor
1895 - Harry Ruby
1899 - Granville English
1906 - Radames Gnattali
1913 - Milton Adolphus
1913 - Valery Viktorovich Zhelobinsky
1918 - Skitch Henderson, orchestra leader
1919 - Nina Milkina, pianist
1920 - Helmut Zacharias, German violinist
1924 - Alexander Georgiyevich Chugayev
1928 - Jean-Michel Damase, composer
1937 - John Ogdon, Manchester England, pianist/composer
1939 - Tigran Yegiayi Mansuryan (Mansurian)
1942 - Petr Kotik
1948 - Mikhail Baryshnikov, ballet dancer
1952 - Peter Garland


1778 - Piccinni's opera "Roland" premieres in Paris

Birthdays for January 26th

Jan 26th:

1613 Johann Jakob Wolleb
1708 William Hayes
1742 Johann Friedrich Ludwig Sievers
1748 Emmanuel Aloys Forster
1852 Frederick Corder
1855 Arthur Hervey
1900 Karl Ristenpart, German conductor 
1901 Ervin Major
1905 Maria Augusta von Trapp, Austria, singer
1907 Eddie Ballantine, orchestra leader
1908 Stephane Grappelli, French jazz/violinist
1910 Marijan Lipovsek
1911 Norbert Schultze
1916 Lothar Jensch
1921 Frantisek Chaun
1921 Johannes Driessler
1924 Warren Frank Benson
1935 Peter Ronnefeld
1935 Zbigniew Penherski
1943 Peter Kenton Winkler, composer
1945 Jacqueline du Pré, cellist


1790 - Mozart's opera "Cosi Fan Tutte" premieres in Vienna
1833 - Gaetano Dinozetti's opera "Lucrezia Borgia" premieres in Milan
1905 - Arnold Schoenberg's "Pelleas und Melissande" premieres in Vienna
1911 - Richard Strauss's opera "Die Rosenkavalier" premieres, Dresden
1922 - Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Pastoral Symphony" premieres in London
1957 - Poulenc's opera "Dialogue des Carmelites" premieres at La Scala in Milan
1962 - David Diamond's Symphony No. 7 premieres in Philadelphia

Monday, January 25, 2016

George Lloyd - Piano Concerto No. 1 "Scapegoat" - Piano Concerto No. 2 - Martin Roscoe, Piano - BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, George Lloyd - Albany Records 1991

**This post (and the onto follow) is a "special delivery" for my good friend Doctor T!!! I finally went through the correct hard drive :) 

"George Lloyd" according to the critic Harry Farjeon, writing in 1939 "gets into his music something of the soil and nothing of the carpet: he writes as though on the moors of Cornwall or Yorkshire, not as though in a walled-in study." Indeed there is an earthy, unmistakeably English quality to Lloyd's music, which by the late 30s had made the young composer a phenomenon: in 1938, London greeted with astonishment and acclaim the 25 year old Lloyd, who had composed two operas - Iernin at the Lyceum and The Serf at Covent Garden - seemingly from nowhere.

It is telling that George's third opera, John Socman, was one of three commissioned for the Festival of Britain in 1951, alongside works by Britten and Vaughan Williams. However, World War II had left Lloyd physically and psychologically scarred: whilst serving in the Royal Marines - where his long and fruitful association with Band Music began - Lloyd was among the lucky few Bandsmen to survive when his cruiser HMS Trinidad was torpedoed on the Arctic convoys.

By the time he could return productively to work, the musical and critical tides had changed dramatically: his former reputation disregarded, George strove alone to continue his work, finding no recognition from an establishment which now saw his work as regressive. It is a credit to George's devotion to his art, and his strong self-belief, that in the last years of his life, following several commissions from the Albany Symphony Orchestra (bringing the number of symphonies to 12!) and the runaway success of his Symphonic Mass, Lloyd's music once again started to reach a larger audience, and receive the critical appreciation it deserved.

This can in part be attributed to the enduring appetite of modern audiences for music which is unapologetically melodic - Lloyd's writing is tuneful and easily accessible - but its appeal is more sophisticated than that: his music invites us, unabashed, to share a heartfelt and consuming passion, delivered with exceptional technique in orchestration and clarity of expression.

Lloyd's is deeply personal music, the triumphant product of a life marred by personal tragedy, and a joyfully defiant response to an increasingly cynical world. As Richard Morrison, writing in BBC Music Magazine shortly before George's death in 1998 put it, "how many could say 'I write what I have to write' with such conviction?".

George lloyd, a young lad.

George Lloyd, decades later and one of the greatest British composers.

George Lloyd was once told his music had "no contemporary significance'.  But things are different now, says Richard Morrison.

GEORGE LLOYD?  Isn't he the modern composer who writes tunes? And is ridiculed constantly for this strange occupation?  'A lot of people hate my guts and think I'm a complete anachronism,' confirms the man. 'Only a few weeks ago a composer laid into me in The Spectator. He attacked me viciously, as someone who really should not exist.'

Lloyd is 80 at the end of this month, and well accustomed to dealing with verbal abuse. Being attacked is, he reckons, probably better than being cold-shouldered. Through most of the Fifties and Sixties, Lloyd and his melodious, ripely Romantic symphonies (12 of them now) were simply ignored by the musical establishment. Those responsible for programming new music in that doctrinaire era tended to believe that if it wasn't 1 2-tone, it wasn't worth the time of day. 'If I sent the BBC a score in the Fifties,' claims Lloyd, 'they sent it back unread. In fairness, they've made it up to me since.' Why did Lloyd stick to writing in his gorgeously old fashioned style? 'I never wrote 12-tone music, because I didn't like the theory. I did study the blessed thing in the early Thirties. I thought it was a cock-eyed idea that produced horrible sounds. It made composers forget how to sing.'

Whatever else may be said about Lloyd, his symphonies certainly sing. Nor has he ever forgotten about that other small matter: the audience. 'So many people have no religion, no spiritual outlet. So they go for music. You can see it in their eyes when they listen: they are searching desperately for something to feed their souls. Twelve-tone music gave them nothing. Whereas I often get letters from people who tell me that they have had trouble, even tragedy, in their lives - and that when they play my music they feel better.'

That, perhaps, is easily understood. Lloyd has had his share of trouble, and it would be remarkable if his music did not speak strongly to others in distress. He was, however, successful astonishingly early on: three symphonies before he was 20, not bad for a Cornish boy who had hardly gone to school (rheumatic fever struck in his childhood). Then in 1934, he wrote an opera called Iernin, with a libretto by his father. It was staged in Penzance by a mixture of good local amateurs and London professionals. By chance. Frank Howes, music critic of The Times came to hear it 'and wrote a fantastic report in The Times,' remembers Lloyd. 'It was so flattering that people said: "This opera must be put on in London." '

So it was, at the Lyceum. Another opera followed, called The Serf. this time written for Covent Garden. It was not a triumph. 'Albert Coates, who had been a great conductor, was deteriorating rapidly and he made a frightful mess of it,' says Lloyd. 'It drove me out of the theatre, actually. Then the war came, and that was the end of everything for me.'

Lloyd served in a cruiser, accompanying the bleak Arctic convoys to Murmansk. In 1942, the cruiser was blown up. 'I was at the bottom of the ship. Most of the people down there were drowned in oil. I got out, but my whole nervous system seemed burnt out.' They called it shellshock, or PTSD, and many never recover. Lloyd was lucky; his Swiss wife nursed him slowly back to health. 'Even so, it took me 20 years to learn to hold my hand out straight without shaking.' His Fourth Symphony, a strange, haunting work, was written as he recuperated. The work ends with a series of brittle little marches - all forced cheerfulness. 'When the funeral is over the band plays quick cheerful tunes,' is how Lloyd explains it.

Professionally, it must have seemed as if Lloyd was attending his own funeral. He had been commissioned to write an opera for the Festival of Britain 'I was very ill, but I delivered the opera, John Socman, on time, and the Carl Rosa Company performed it. But everybody was fighting everybody else, and I hadn't got the strength to sort it out. The conductor and producer wouldn't talk. Edward Downes, in his first job in opera, had to act as go-between. When I finally heard a performance, it was a shambles. I said 'I'll never go in an opera house as long as I live. In fact I didn't for 17 years.'

Lloyd's life fell apart. 'My health went skew-whiff again. My father died. And I realised that nobody wanted to hear my music.' He stopped composing, and started growing produce: first carnations, then mushrooms. Tucked away in obscurity in Dorset for 20 years, he prospered as a market gardener. His health recovered, and he picked up the threads of his composing career, getting up at dawn to write before the horticulture called. Ebullient works, such as the Ninth Symphony with its 'merry-go-round' finale, date from this period.

Then, miraculously, people started to take notice of his music once more. The pianist John Ogdon championed his piano concertos; Edward Downes his symphonies; Lyrita and Conifer began to record his music; an American orchestra, the Albany Symphony, commissioned him to write several works. 'All of a sudden, buckets of dollars! I couldn't believe it.' The wheel had turned full circle: tonality was back, and Lloyd was in vogue again.

So is his anti-progressive stance vindicated? What of the perfectly rational belief that new music should say something new? 'Well, those who believe that have been proved wrong, haven't they?' says Lloyd 'The new trend is a return to simpler things.'

In fact, Lloyd denies that his unquestionably English sounding music merely reproduces the idiom of Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Delius. 'I was never influenced by all those English late Romantics. The only one I admired at all was Elgar.  I couldn't stand Vaughan Williams. But quite honestly it doesn't worry me who I am compared with. I just write what I have to write.

Try Lloyd's music. You may love it for its ardour, or hate it for its complacent retrospection. Either way, it will challenge your assumptions about how 'modem music' should sound. Fellow composers will probably continue to laugh at him. But how many could say 'I write what I have to write' with such conviction?  -BBC Music Magazine

Enjoy everyone!!


George Lloyd - Third Piano Concerto - Kathryn Stott, Piano - BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, George Lloyd - 1989 Albany Records

If Lloyd is a new name for you, after listening to his music you will be puzzled as to why that should be! He is a composer of powerful, original music that is brilliantly crafted and extremely moving. Why record labels are not all over his music is just baffling. Extremely baffling. Superb releases do exist however, on Albany (his greatest champion; Lloyd had a close relationship with the co.) including this disc, as well as on the defunct Conifer Classics and a couple others. 

I have to say I forgot just how magnificent and monumental the 3rd Piano Concerto is. A knockout..

George Lloyd was born in St. Ives, Cornwall, in1913. After early successes with operas and symphonies he was badly shell-shocked during World War II and as a result he spent many years in the country growing carnations and mushrooms and only composing intermittently. Eventually his health improved and more works were written. In 1977 his Eighth Symphony was broadcast by the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra. This event marked the beginning of the public's increasing interest in his music.

George Lloyd writes: "Apart from the Fourth Symphony, my first three piano concertos are the only works in which I consciously took the Second World War period as a starting point in my mind. This may lead the listener to expect nothing but brutality and other of our nasty characteristics; he would be wrong; there was also gaiety, love and all the gentler sides of humanity as well as the horror." 

Enjoy everyone!

Birthdays for January 24-25

Jan 24th:

1758 - Johann Chrysostomus Drexel
1774 - Karl Moser
1776 - Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann
1828 - Karol Studzinski
1829 - William Mason
1859 - Alexander Alexandrovich Il'yinsky
1909 - Tiny Winters, musician
1913 - Norman Dello Joio
1915 - Vitezslava Kapralova
1918 - Gottfried von Einem
1919 - Leon Kirchner
1923 - Simeon ten Holt
1924 - David Craighead
1924 - Klaus George Roy
1931 - Ib Norholm
1932 - Werner Steger
1936 - Daniel Goode
1944 - Klaus Nomi, German singer and musician (non-classical occasionally too!)
1972 - Naoshi Mizuta


1874 - Mussorgsky's opera "Boris Godunov" premieres in St. Petersburg
1914 - Victor Herbert's one-act opera "Madeleine" premieres in NYC
1936 - Benny Goodman & orchestra record "Stompin' at the Savoy" on Victor Records

Jan 25th:

1750 - Johann Gottfried Vierling
1834 - Pablo Hernandez Salces
1844 - Frederick E Kitziger
1851 - Jan Blockx
1858 - Giuseppi Radiciotti
1880 - Francis George Scott
1881 - Gustave Frederic Soderlund
1884 - Edward Kilenyi
1886 - Wilhelm Furtwängler, conductor
1889 - Vladimir Vladimirovich Scherbachov
1910 - Hendrik Willem Hans Osieck
1911 - Julia Frances Smith
1921 - Alfred Reed
1927 - Antonio Carlos Jobim
1938 - Etta James (Jamesette Hawkins), singer (Roll with Me, At Last etc..)


1817 - Rossini's opera "La Cenerentola" premieres in Rome
1835 - Vincenzo Bellini's opera "I Puritani" premieres in Paris
1902 - Alexander Scriabin's Symphony No. 2 in C premieres in St. Petersburg
1908 - John Blockx's opera "Baldie" premieres in Antwerp
1915 - Giordano, Sardou & Moreau's opera "Madame Sans Gêne" premieres in NYC

Friday, January 22, 2016

Birthdays for January 20th to 23rd

Jan 20th:

1586 - Johann Hermann Schein
1681 - Francesco Bartolomeo Conti
1703 - Joseph-Hector Fiocco
1743 - Pascal Boyer
1761 - Giovanni Domenico Perotti
1762 - Jerome-Joseph de Momigny
1783 - Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer, cellist and composer
1809 - Sebastian de Iradier
1844 - Johan Peter Selmer
1855 - Ernest Chausson
1870 - Guillaume Jean Joseph Nicolas Lekeu
1876 - Józef Hofmann, Polish pianist
1888 - Lead Belly (THE original blues man and 12-string him.)
1891 - Mischa Elman, violinist
1894 - Walter (Hamor) Piston
1896 - Elmer R Diktonius, Finnish musicologist/author
1899 - Alexander Tcherepnin
1900 - Boris Semyonovich Shekhter
1908 - Wilfred Conwell Bain
1910 - Ennio Porrino
1919 - Royalton Kisch, conductor
1919 - Stepan Lucky
1922 - Ray Anthony, American orchestra leader
1924 - Yvonne Loriod, pianist
1926 - David Eugene Tudor
1931 - Hachidai Nakamura, Japanese songwriter and pianist
1940 - Jorge Peixinho
1951 - Ivan Fischer, conductor

Jan 21st:

1735 - Johann Gottfried Eckard
1751 - Josephus Andreas Fodor
1762 - Giuseppe Antonio Silvani
1775 - Manuel Garcia
1801 - Ramon Vilanova y Barrera
1814 - Thomas Attwood Walmisley
1823 - Alexandre Edouard Goria
1848 - Henri Duparc
1859 - Antoni Wincenty Rutkowski
1887 - Alfred Henry Ackley
1891 - Nikolay Semyonovich Golovanov
1891 - Timothy Mather Spelman
1898 - Avery Claflin
1909 - Todor Skalovski
1910 - Eua Sunthornsanan, Thai composer and bandleader
1920 - Torsten Nilsson
1921 - Todor Popov
1926 - Franco Evangelisti
1926 - Brian Brockless, organist
1941 - Placido Domingo, tenor
1944 - Neely Bruce
1947 - Michel Jonasz, French singer and composer
1972 - Yasunori Mitsuda
1988 - William Johansson


1904 - Leos Janacek's opera "Jenufa" premieres in Brno
1927 - 1st national opera broadcast from a US opera house ("Faust", Chicago)
1947 - Arthur Honegger's 4th Symphony premieres in Basel

Jan 22nd:

1649 - Pascal Collasse
1707 - Carl Hockh
1709 - Joseph Reipel
1727 - Claude-Benigne Balbastre
1729 - Giuseppe Luigi Tibaldi
1748 - Lewis Edson
1753 - Peter Fuchs
1756 - Vincenzo Righini
1779 - Stefano Pavesi
1781 - Francois-Antoine Habeneck
1815 - Ferdinand Christian Wilhelm Praeger
1824 - Josef Leopold Zvonar
1842 - Charles Henri Marechal
1855 - Ernst Kullak
1861 - Karel Stecker
1870 - Charles Arnold Tournemire
1871 - Leon Jessel
1882 - Theodore Kosloff, Russian-born actor, ballet dancer and choreographer
1886 - John Joseph Becker
1890 - Vinko Zganec, Croatian ethnomusicologist
1897 - Josef Stanislav
1897 - Rosa Ponselle, opera diva
1898 - Alexander Abramsky
1898 - Gustaf Paulson
1900 - Franz Salmhofer
1901 - Hans-Erich Apostel
1903 - Robin Humphrey Milford
1904 - Ballet Choreographer George Balanchine (Giorgi Balanchivadze)
1911 - Roberto Garcia Morillo
1911 - Suzanne Danco, Belgian opera singer
1913 - Verdina Shlonsky
1914 - Dimitri Dragatakis
1916 - Henri Dutilleux
1921 - Andre Hodeir
1923 - Friedrich Zehm
1923 - Leslie Bassett
1924 - J J Johnson, composer/jazz trombonist
1940 - Tilo Medek
1948 - Gilbert Levine, conductor
1953 - Myung-Whun Chung, Seoul South Korea, pianist/conductor (Chung Trio)


1575 - Queen Elizabeth I grants Thomas Tallis & William Byrd music press monopoly
1910 - Alberto Franchetti's opera "Germania" premieres in NYC
1934 - Dmitri Shostakovitch's opera "Lady MacBeth of the Mtsensk District" premieres in Leningrad

Jan 23rd:

1752 - Muzio Clementi
1813 - Franz Commer
1820 - Alexander Nikoleyevich Serov
1843 - Hans Heinrich XIV Hochberg
1867 - Herbert Bedford
1868 - Juventino Rosas
1869 - Carlo Felice Boghen
1878 - Rutland Boughton
1885 - Boleslaw Wallek-Walewski
1900 - William Ifor Jones, Welsh conductor and organist
1902 - Benny Waters, saxophonist
1904 - Theodor Schaefer
1909 - Norman Fulton
1910 - Django Reinhardt,  jazz guitarist and composer
1925 - Marty Paich, orchestra leader
1933 - Joel Spiegelman
1950 - John Greaves, English musician


1940 - Pianist and composer Ignaz Paderewski, in exile becomes head of the National Council of Poland, a Polish parliament in London
1943 - Duke Ellington plays at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time.
1944 - Arnold Schoenberg's "Ode to Napoleon" premieres in NYC

That's all, folks.. I would love to post music but there's a blizzard about to hit so I'm heading to stay with family for the weekend!

Good weekend to all,


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Birthdays in Music, January 9th - January 18th

Here are all the days I have missed recently..

Jan 9th:

1574 - Christoph Buel
1620 - Johann Weichmann
1748 - Stefan Paluselli
1815 - William Jackson of Masham, English composer and organist
1820 - Pavel Krizkovsky
1839 - John Knowles Paine
1843 - Christiaan A Ulder, Curacao
1851 - Giuseppi Gallignani
1856 - Stevan Mokranjac
1867 - Jacques Urlus, Dutch tenor
1896 - Warwick Braithwaite, New Zealand-born British conductor
1897 - Luis Gianneo
1900 - Joseph Frederick Wagner
1902 - Rudolph Bing, opera manager (NY Metropolitan Opera)
1909 - Herva Nelli, soprano
1910 - Dick Henry Jurgen, bandleader
1914 - Kenny 'Klook' Clarke, jazz/drummer, composer
1916 - Vic Mizzy, American orchestra leader (Don Rickles Show), born in Brooklyn, New York
1921 - Seymour Barab
1940 - Barbara Buczek

Jan 10th:

1683 - Gasparo Visconti
1701 - Johann Caspar Simon
1760 - Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg
1766 - Louis Massonneau
1854 - Peter Gast
1884 - James Philip Dunn
1886 - Jose Antonio de Donostia
1888 - Emile van Bosch, Dutch revue/operetta-artist
1897 - Albert Moeschinger
1903 - Jean Morel, Abbeville France, conductor
1904 - Jesus Garcia Leoz
1909 - Rudolf Kubin
1910 - Jean Martinon, conductor/composer
1915 - Dean Dixon, Zug Switzerland, conductor
1924 - Ludmilla Chiraeff, ballet dancer
1928 - Wallace Berry
1929 - Derek Hammond-Stroud, English operatic baritone
1933 - Akira Miyoshi
1935 - Georg Katzer
1935 - Sherrill Milnes, Hinsdale Illinois, baritone
1948 - Mischa Maisky, Latvian cellist
1961 - Nadja Salerni-Sonnenberg, concert violinist

Jan 11th:

1703 - Columban Praelisauer
1727 - Franz Sebastian Haindl
1746 - Frantisek Adam Mica
1750 - Johann Jakob Walder
1801 - John Lodge Ellerton
1856 - Christian August Sinding
1872 - Paul Graener
1875 - Reinhold Gliere
1880 - Rudolf T Palm, Curacao, pianist/composer
1894 - Jaroslav Vogel, Czech composer and conductor
1902 - Maurice Durufle, French organist/composer
1906 - Johannes Paul Thilman
1909 - Gunnar Johnsen Berg
1910 - Izler Solomon, St Paul, Minn, conductor
1918 - Albert Weisser
1926 - Alexander Gibson, conductor
1929 - Wanda Wilkomirska, Warsaw, Poland, violinist
1940 - Mark DeVoto
1943 - William Albert Penn
1944 - York Georg Holler
1970 - Joy Nilo, Filipino Composer

Jan 12th:

1674 - Reinhard Keiser
1711 - Gaetano Latilla
1715 - Jacques Duphly
1730 - Johann Joachim Christoph Bode
1737 - Brizio Petrucci
1804 - Hippolyte Monpou
1821 - Nikolai Afanisev
1837 - Adolf Jensen
1837 - Carlos Troyer
1876 - Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
1884 - Louis Horst
1888 - Claude Delvincourt
1898 - Jose Forns y Cuadras
1899 - Pierre Bernac, French baritone
1900 - Vaino Hannikainen
1916 - William Pleeth, British cellist
1917 - Walter Hendl, West New York NJ, conductor
1921 - Leo Smit, pianist/composer
1925 - Laurentiu Profeta
1926 - Morton Feldman
1927 - Salvatore Martirano, composer
1937 - Vicente Sardinero, Spanish baritone
1944 - Viktoria Postnikova, pianist
1949 - Kentaro Haneda

Jan 13th:

1683 - Johann Christoph Graupner
1690 - Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel
1727 - Johann Christoph Schmugel
1734 - Luca Sorkocevic
1778 - Anton Fischer
1788 - Carl Ludwig Cornelius Westenholz
1824 - Ignacy Marceli Komorowski
1850 - Leon Francis Victor Caron
1866 - Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov
1870 - Henryk Opienski, Polish composer/conductor
1893 - Jan Evangelista Zelinka
1895 - Fortunio Bonanova, Palma de Mallorca Spain, opera singer
1898 - Carlo Tagliabue, Italian baritone
1900 - Yasuji Kiyose
1904 - Richard Addinsell
1906 - Maxime Jacob
1917 - Felix Guerro Diaz
1923 - Danil Shafran, cellist
1929 - Joseph Anthony Pass, guitarist
1936 - Ami Maayani
1936 - Renato Bruson, baritone
1938 - Paavo Johannes Heininen
1943 - William Duckworth
1980 - Krzysztof Czerwinski, Polish conductor and organist

*1945 - Prokofiev's 5th Symphony premieres in Moscow

Jan 14th:

1451 - Franchinus Gaffurius
1566 - Angelo Notari
1655 - Angelo Predieri
1722 - Friedrich Gottlob Fleischer
1751 - Corona Elizabeth Wilhelmine Schroter
1780 - Francois-Joseph Dizi
1800 - Ludwig Alois Ferdinand Köchel, Austrian musicologist
1804 - John Park
1812 - Carl Gradener
1814 - Johannes Josephus Viotta
1819 - Fabio Campana
1822 - Nicholas Mori
1824 - Vladimir Stasov, Russian art and music critic
1834 - William Cleaver Francis Robinson
1839 - Emil Bohn
1844 - Clara Kathleen Rogers
1850 - Jean de Reszke, (Jan Mieczyslaw), Polish tenor
1875 - Albert Schweitzer, doctor/humanitarian/organist
1889 - Vincenzo Davico
1906 - Walter Knape
1911 - George Amadee Tremblay
1911 - Helmut Degen
1921 - Mark Lawrence, pianist
1925 - Louis Quilico, Canadian baritone
1927 - Zuzana Ruzickova, Czech harpsichordist
1930 - Edgar Sergeyi Hovhanesyan (Hovhanessian)
1931 - Juraj Pospisil
1943 - Mariss Jansons, Latvian conductor
1972 - Predrag Gosta, Yugoslav-born conductor

1785 - Mozart completes "Dissonantenkwartet" (opus 10)
1900 - Giacomo Puccini's opera "Tosca" premieres in Rome
1925 - Alban Berg's opera "Wozzeck" premieres in Berlin
1955 - Heitor Villa-Lobos's 8th Symphony premieres in Philadelphia

Jan 15th:

1730 - John Malchair
1733 - Joseph Lederer
1742 - Eugene Godecharle
1845 - Heinrich Vogl
1871 - Bertram Shapleigh
1878 - Johanna Muller-Hermann
1892 - Frank Hutchens
1896 - Jacobo Ficher
1906 - Rezso Kokai
1908 - Roberta Bitgood
1909 - Elie Siegmeister
1909 - Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman's drummer
1913 - Miriam Hyde, Australian composer
1925 - Ruth Slenczynska, pianist
1927 - Francis Routh
1929 - Eva Badura-Skoda
1931 - Murad Kazhlayev
1932 - Enrique Raxach
1935 - Malcolm Frager, pianist
1939 - Charles Christopher Steel
1960 - Aaron Jay Kernis
1964 - Osmo Tapio Räihälä

1785 - Mozart's string quartet opus 10 premiere
1866 - Bedrich Smetana's opera "Branibori v Cechach" premieres in Prague
1895 - Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake" premieres in St. Petersburg

Jan 16th:

1672 - Francesco Mancini
1728 - Niccolo Piccinni
1804 - Karl August Krebs
1815 - Adolph Trube
1868 - Cyril Metodej Hrazdira
1872 - Henri-Paul Busser
1893 - Daisy Kennedy, Australian violinist
1902 - Evelyn Levine
1904 - Max Vredenburg
1905 - Ernesto Halffter, Spanish composer and conductor
1914 - Roger Wagner, American choral musician
1919 - Bob Boucher, Kent Ohio, orchestra leader
1928 - Ezra Sims
1928 - Pilar Lorengar, Spanish soprano
1929 - Tage Nielsen
1934 - Marilyn Horne, mezzo-soprano
1934 - Richard Wernick
1943 - Brian Ferneyhough
1943 - Gavin Bryars
1959 - Sade, Nigerian-born singer (have always loved Sade)

Jan 17th:

1517 - Antonio Scandello
1545 - Antonio Pace
1574 - Robert Fludd
1659 - Antonio Veracini
1712 - John Stanley
1719 - Jean-Joseph Vade
1728 - Johann Gottfried Muthel
1733 - Thomas Linley the elder, English composer and tenor
1734 - Francois-Joseph Gossec
1745 - Nicolas Roze
1769 - Ole Andreas Lindeman
1828 - Eduard Remenyi, Hungarian violinist
1835 - Johan Filip von Schantz
1836 - Jose Silvestre de los Dolores White Lafitte
1850 - Alexander Sergeyevich Taneyev
1857 - Wilhelm Kienzl
1863 - Henry Charles Tonking
1873 - Francois Rasse
1877 - Hans Jelmoli
1896 - Harry Reser, Ohio, orchestra leader
1901 - Vasily Petrovich Shirinsky
1907 - Henk H Badings
1911 - Hermann Pfrogner, Austria, musicologist
1912 - Orest Alexandrovich Evlahkov
1916 - Joel Herron, orchestra leader
1917 - Oskar Morawetz
1917 - Ulyses Simpson Kay
1925 - Annie Delorie, Dutch opera singer
1927 - Donald Erb
1928 - Jean Barraqué
1930 - Robert Ceely
1931 - Frederick Alfred Fox
1934 - Sydney Phillip Hodkinson
1941 - Dame Gillian Weir, New Zealand organist
1942 - Ulf Hoelscher, German violinist
1947 - Ulysses Dove, dancer/choreographer
1948 - Anne Queffélec, French pianist
1952 - Ryuichi Sakamoto
1953 - Sheila Hutchinson, rocker
1975 - Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher) *One of my absolute favorite electronic artists/musicians/composers/producers. He is one of the most brilliant electric
bass players and has released an album of music for solo electric bass.

*1962 - Roy Harris's 8th Symphony, premieres in San Francisco

Jan 18th:

1543 - Alfonso Ferrabosco
1732 - Jean-Guillain Cardon
1751 - Ferdinand Kauer
1793 - William Henry Havergal
1817 - Jacques Gregoir
1835 - Caesar A. Cui
1840 - Ernst Rudorff
1841 - Alexis-Emmanuel Chabrier
1856 - John Hyatt Brewer
1861 - Raymond Huntington Woodman
1893 - John Lawrence Seymour
1903 - Berthold Goldschmidt
1907 - Janos Ferencsik, Budapest Hungary, conductor (Budapest Opera)
1911 - Gabor Darvas
1915 - Vassilis Tsitsanis, Greek singer and songwriter
1918 - Bohuslav Jeremias, composer
1919 - Juan Antonio Orrego-Salas
1922 - Yehezkiel Braun

*1930 - Shostakovitch's opera "The Nose" premieres in Leningrad

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sergei Prokofiev - The Complete Symphonies - *Classic Melodiya Archival Reissue* - Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gennady Rozhdestvensky (recorded 1965-1967) - Melodiya 2014

Prokofiev's Haydn-esque (it was dedicated to Papa Haydn as well) Symphony No.1, which is a homage to the classical era and it's pristine symphonic structures, was one of the first pieces of classical music that I encountered at a young age. It blew me away, put a much needed bounce in my step with it's freshness and exuberance, and further fanned the already mighty flames of passion and curiosity that was growing inside my soul at the time. Yes Prokofiev was truly my "first love", And his symphonies I adore too much for words; like a parent loves their children. Symphony No. 1 the "Classical Symphony" is a rightly ubiquitous work in the repertoire yet at least four others are not-til this very day (Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 6) and it baffles me. I wish I could talk about each symphony now but I am rushing to post this for everyone before going to work :(

So, here is a review for now from musicweb that I feel is spot-on:

Melodiya, formerly the major state owned record label of the Soviet Union, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary year. Here Melodiya has reached into its massive archive and re-issued its 1965/67 analogue set of the Prokofiev symphonies.

Of the major twentieth-century composers Prokofiev doesn’t receive the attention he deserves for his symphonies. Herbert von Karajan, so prolific in the recording studio, only recorded the Classical Symphony and the Symphony No. 5. Sir Simon Rattle too has only released a recording of the Symphony No. 5 and that was with the CBSO over twenty years ago in 1992. In retrospect I had not given the Prokofiev symphonies sufficient attention until my eyes were opened by attending a stunning Berlin concert of the Symphony No. 3 by the visiting London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski at the Philharmonie in 2010.

The Ukrainian-born Prokofiev wrote seven symphonies which span the years 1916/1952 and inhabit a recognisably individual sound-world. Prokofiev tended to write music as an emotional response to the challenges created by significant world events. It has been said that his symphonies mirror the turbulent history of the twentieth century.

Melodiya has managed to fit this Rozhdestvensky set of the Prokofiev symphonies onto only three discs and placed them in order of composition. The Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 was written in 1917 with Prokofiev adopting a neo-classical style in the manner of Haydn and Mozart. Now universally known as the Classical Symphony it received its premièred in 1918 just a few months before Prokofiev emigrated from Russia to America. A much loved work I should think it is played more than all the other six symphonies put together. This is polished playing from the Moscow RSO under Rozhdestvensky that mainly feels vivacious with a youthful zest. Only a curiously leaden feel to the opening movement spoils the overall effect.

Composed in 1924 whilst living in Paris the two movement Symphony No. 2 was Prokofiev’s response to a Parisian audience looking to his progressivism as a composer. This symphony that Prokofiev designed to be “made of iron and steel” is given a lucid and compelling reading - brash and robust in the first movement and suitably engaging in the second movement, a theme and variations.

Prokofiev’s dramatic Symphony No. 3 was first heard under Pierre Monteux in 1929 in Paris. There is extensive reuse of material from his opera The Fiery Angel. The writing may be deficient in overall coherence but the committed Rozhdestvensky doesn’t shirk from the challenges and delivers a well-judged performance. The opening Moderato evokes a nocturnal winter scene that sends an icy chill down the spine and the final movement advances powerfully forward like an unstoppable war machine.

In 1936 Prokofiev had moved back to the Soviet Union. In 1947 he set about completing the Symphony No. 4 in C major, Op. 112. This is an extensive revision of the Symphony No. 4, Op. 47 written almost twenty years earlier. In the C major score Prokofiev recycles material from his ballet The Prodigal Son. Rozhdestvensky’s Moscow players revel in the wide-ranging moods with resilient, sure-footed playing. The opening movement is memorable for its energetic, brightly lit playing and the Andante tranquillo just overflows with passion.

Although its gestation period was whilst the Second World War was at its fiercest Prokofiev completed his Symphony No. 5 in just one month in 1945. Something of a connoisseur choice, this is a work that a number of eminent conductors have championed. Focused and exercising a firm grip Rozhdestvensky excels in this marvellous score with its sheer physical excitement. I especially admire the passionate and colourful opening movement with its cinematic air. In the passionate Adagio how expertly Rozhdestvensky tightens and loosens the intensity of the densely textured writing.

The Symphony No. 6 completed in 1947 is undoubtedly the composer’s reaction to the war years and to his own failing health. Falling foul of the Soviet anti-formalism policies the work was denounced by the authorities. Proving a faithful interpreter Rozhdestvensky supplies plenty of rhythmic clarity. I love the way the stern central Largo grinds its way menacingly forward and the raucous final Vivace has a surfeit of potent energy.

A triumph at its 1952 première in Moscow the Symphony No. 7 was the last of his works he would hear; he died some five months later. In indomitable form Rozhdestvensky captures that special Russian colouration infused in the writing. The opening movement is evocative of a swirling fantasy world with darkly mysterious low strings providing underpinning. A favourite movement is the songful Andante espressivo which is rich in romance and can easily be heard to evoke the innocent love of a fairy-tale Princess.

There are a number of fine sets of the Prokofiev symphonies and those most likely to be encountered are from: LSO/Gergiev, Berliner Philharmoniker/Ozawa, Orchestra National of Paris/Rostropovich, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln/Kitajenko, LSO/Weller and Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi. Overall this re-issued Melodiya set from Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra under Rozhdestvensky is hard to beat. Recorded nearly fifty years ago in Moscow the satisfactory sound quality is clear and decently balanced. Although there are a few rough edges the playing makes a striking impact and there is satisfying consistency of performance.     -Michael Cookson

-Enjoy these important recordings of some of the most original symphonies of the 20th century!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Adelphi Saxophone Quartet: "Simply Four Saxophones" - Jean-Philippe Rameu - Jean Francaix - Gabriel Grovlez - Astor Piazzolla - Béla Bartók - Jean Rivier - G.F. Handel - J.S. Bach - Ferenc Farkas - George Gershwin - EMI Classics 1998

Someone recently (in a comment I haven't responded to yet, only noticed it in my gmail) requested the music of Ferenc Farkas, a very good lesser-known Hungarian composer. This fine recording  of music for Saxophone Quartet was the first disc that surfaced. I have the Toccata discs and some others and frankly now I'm quite eager to hear them all again! I have no time to comment, although I will quickly say that the Adelphi Quartet are exceptional. And, everything here is a great listen (if you enjoy saxophones...and if for some reason you don't...well, it's really about time you did!!)

Needless to say the Bartok is a "perfect 10" (the wonderfully rustic Romanian Folk Dances would sound good played on a kazoo!) and while I enjoy everything here, the Francaix, Farkas, Gershwin and Piazzolla also stand out the most imo.. 

The audio files for this album = 159 mb and yet when I compressed them, and then uploaded
the file to zippy it's 128.43 mb.. I would have expected it to be around 145 to 150mb. So I d/l it myself to check, and it seems to be fine. I dunnnooooooo

Enjoy the sax appeal.

Birthdays for January 19th

Here we go. Smaller list for today (I'm sure I'm forgetting someone)

1613 - Jacques Huyn
1676 - John Weldon
1679 - Girolamo Chiti
1760 - Melchor Lopez Jimenez
1806 - Vaclav Jindrich Veit
1827 - Carlos Guido y Spano, Argentina, conductor
1832 - Ferdinand Laub
1832 - Salvador Giner y Vidal
1839 - Bohumil Pazdirek
1883 - Hermann Abendroth, German conductor
1884 - Albert Louis Wolff
1899 - [John] Herbert Whitton Sumsion, organist/composer
1906 - Lanny Ross, radio singer (Show Boat, The Swift Show), born in Seattle, Washington
1909 - Hans Hotter, German bass-baritone
1915 - Alvy West, American orchestra leader (Andy Williams Show), born in Brooklyn, New York
1917 - Rudolf Maros
1928 - Edward Gerard Schurmann
1936 - Elliott Schwartz
1938 - Eskil Hemberg
1943 - Janis Joplin, American rocker and blues singer-songwriter (I had to include Janis!)
1944 - Pehr Henrik Nordgren
1944 - Laurie London, English singer
1945 - Charles Amirkhanian
1955 - Simon Rattle, England, conductor
1973 - Antero Manninen, Finnish Cellist

*All individuals listed are composers unless their profession is listed ("conductor", "soprano", "violinist", Particle Collider Technician, balloon folder, Superstring theorist, pet psychiatrist etc.)

If anyone wants me to post/list the birthdays for all the days I wasn't online let me know.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kopylov - Symphony in C Minor - Scherzo in A - Concert Overture in D Minor - Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Antonio De Almeida - ASV Records 1998

Here is another prime example of musical gold-mining courtesy of ASV (Academy Sound & Vision), one of the finest labels during the 1990s. One of their specialties as you likely already know if you know ASV, and to my extreme delight, was music by lesser-known composers of the former Soviet Union. The recordings under the batons of Loris Tjeknavorian and Antonio de Almeida are all gems especially. If you love lush, Romantic Russian music that can recall composers such as Borodin, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, you are definitely in for a treat. Aleksandr Kopylov's (1854-1911) symphony is a substantial and sweeping work, really quite tuneful and entirely memorable. The "Concert Overture" is my favorite work here after the symphony, however the memorable 12 minute "Scherzo in A" too is also a delight - one instantly feels as if they have always known this work; it has a certain familiarity that is almost uncanny! This recording is just superb, and it seems to do everything right, however as Kopylov wrote such a small amount of music, all of which is of the highest quality - I do hope that other labels will take a stab at his colorful palette (CPO/Naxos, Toccata, Chandos....anyone??).

One of the few images of Kopylov, likely aged around 30 years

This disc actually offers all of the published orchestral works of Alexander/Aleksandr Kopylov. He was a contemporary of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov and indeed an eloquent exponent of late 19th century Russian Romanticism. 

Unlike the major figures in Russian music of the period, who were mostly associated with highly influential schools (the Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatories and Balakirev's Free Music School), Kopylov received his musical education at the Imperial Court Cappella. The Cappella was an important center for church music and provided singers for state and official occasions. It boasted the finest choir in Russia, and indeed it deeply moved Berlioz and Schumann during their visits to Russia. Kopylov entered the Cappella in 1862 at the age of eight. In addition to receiving training as a chorister he also took violin lessons with Mikhail Kremenetsky, who had himself been educated at the Cappella and had taught violin there since 1858. This training proved useful for in 1872 Kopylov became a violinist in the orchestra of the Aleksandrinsky Theater. Although he had failed to gain admission to the St. Petersburg Conservatory that year, he began taking lessons in harmony with one of his former teachers at the Cappella, the aging Czech-born Josef Hunke, and private lessons in composition from Rimsky-Korsakov and Liadov. Kopylov remained as a teacher at the Cappella for more than 20 years. 

Copy cover of the score for the Symphony, dedicated to Liadov.

In 1883 Balakirev was appointed administrator of the Imperial Cappella with Rimsky-Korsakov as his assistant. Rimsky-Korsakov wrote in his 'A Chronicle of my musical Life': "The four teachers - Smirnov, Azeyev, Syrbulov, and Kopylov were knowledgable and experienced people. Kopylov taught violin, piano, church singing and discipline". It was through Kopylov's professional association with Rimsky-Korsakov that he was drawn into the Belyayev Circle in the mid 1880s. (Mitrofan Belyayev was a wealthy timber merchant whose abiding passion for music led him to found the regular Russian Symphony Concerts and a publishing house for promoting the works of young Russian composers) Being an amateur viola player, he initiated weekly soirées of chamber music held on Fridays. Among the works played, and later published by Belyayev, were two books of short pieces for string quartet known as "Les Vendredis" which were composed by the members of the group. The last (seventh) piece of the second book was a Polka in C by Kopylov. In fact, Kopylov was drawn to chamber music and completed four string quartets, one of which was awarded the Belyayev prize in 1894. More Substantial and of greater interest, however, is the "Symphony in C Minor" Op. 14 (dedicated to Anatoly Liadov and published by Belyayev) and the other orchestral works recorded here. 

The actual cover, in earthy tones & text grey, black, and red.

The Symphony dates from the late 1880s and was first heard in St. Petersburg in a remarkable concert on Decemver 21st, 1889. In the first half Tchaikovsky conducted two of his own works and then handed over the baton to Rimsky-Korsakov who gave the first performance of two orchestral serenades by Glazunov and then the premiere of Kopylov's Symphony in C Minor. Some years later, Rimsky-Korsakov all but dismissed the work as "unimportant", finding as its only positive feature that it was "neat". Before we put too much trust in this assessment, however, it is worth remembering that in the same breath he was even more dismissive of Kalinnikov's First Symphony.

In their symphonies Kopylov and Kalinnikov owe an enormous debt to the earlier nationalist composers, and to Borodin in particular. Kopylov's orchestra, for example, is virtually identical to that employed by Borodin in his symphonies (double woodwind plus piccolo), and he begins his own work with an introduction based on the main subject in augmentation - a device clearly copied from Borodin's Symphony No. 1. The bold introduction bears all the hallmarks of the Russian school in the use of harmony, color, and orchestration; a feeling of anticipation is maintained throughout as the tempo is pressed forward urgently, and the main subject takes shape (Pesante. Allegro). The terse contours of the first subject are now properly revealed, its purely Russian qualities underscored by a certain similarity to the opening of theme of Mussorgsky's 'Intermezzo in B Minor'. One of the most appealing features of the music is the cleanness of the orchestral texture, and the engaging interplay between woodwind and strings (this is characteristic of Kopylov's work as a whole). The second subject, first presented by a solo clarinet, and later treated more expansively by the strings, is quite captivating. The Scherzo (Presto) is a ternary structure, whose bustling outer sections have unmistakable precedents in Russian symphonic music, and a central section (Allegretto) which again comes remarkably close to the sound world of Borodin (the scherzo of his Second Symphony). At the heart of the third movement (Andante) is a languorous theme which hovers intriguingly between sentimentality and nobility. The finale (Allegro), in the key of the tonic major, is optimistic in character and its themes are energetically worked out by the full orchestra.

The Scherzo in A, Op. 10 may have been intended as a preparatory study for the symphony, but in Liadov's 'Scherzo in D' Kopylov had a ready-made model for this independent orchestra piece. As with the symphony, the structure of the Scherzo is ABA, although here the presto outer sections are filled out by the addition of an enchanting second theme initially played cantabile by the cellos in a high register and a solo horn. The central trio (Moderato) presents a luscious melody announced first by the woodwind and then taken up by the strings against a decorative background provided by the woodwind and trumpets.

The style of the Concert Overture in D Minor is rather different from that of the Symphony or the Scherzo. It is dedicated to the orchestra of the Imperial Cappella, and the tone of the work is clearly quasi-religious. In the introduction (Andante) the first horn announces an arresting, solemn theme which is reiterated by the strings in imitation of a church chant. The lengthy and evocative introduction eventually gives way to an Allegro whose dramatic intensity and shifting accents recalls Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Easter Festival Overture'. The strings and woodwind respond to this restless music with a new theme in F major (meno mosso) of quiet but steadfast affirmation. What we have heard proves to be the exposition section of a sonata structure, and the themes are variously worked out in a development section of more than 150 bars. Finally the strings and brass again solemnly announce the opening theme and the recapitulation follows a slightly abridged form.              

Enjoy all!