Monday, 14 February 2011

Classic FM and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford

Three Cheers for Classic FM!!! I was delighted to hear the truly gorgeous third movement ‘andante tranquillo’ from Sir Charles Villiers Stanford Symphony No.1 in Bb major played on Sunday morning.

According to Charles V. Porte this early symphony did much to draw attention to Stanford as a musical composer. It was written for a competition organised by the Alexandra Palace in London in 1876. It was for the best two symphonies written by British composers with prizes of £20 and £5 pounds being awarded respectively. Porte notes that the judges were George MacFarren and Joachim. Apparently there were some 46 entries with the first prize being awarded to a certain Francis Davenport and second to Stanford. However the work had to wait until a performance at the Crystal Palace in 1879. This symphony was not given an ‘opus’ number’.

Let us hope that Classic FM will perhaps make a habit of excerpting movements from Stanford (and perhaps Parry too?) It would also be good if they could feature this Symphony as a part of their ‘Full Works’ series.

There are currently two versions of Charles Villiers Stanford’s First Symphony available:-
The Ulster Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley on Chandos CHAN9049
The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Lloyd Jones on NAXOS 8.570356

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