Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Lost Works No.3: Walford Davies' Holiday Tunes

Walford Davies’ Holiday Tunes which had impressed Henry Wood was a suite in some seven movements. It was written to “express the joyous feelings often associated with holidays, but not necessarily restricted to them.” In short this was a meditation on the ‘holiday spirit.’ It is worth quoting the Musical Times reviewer in full on this work:-
'The opening allegro energico starts with a violin solo announcing the principal theme which, since it is headed estatico, may be intended to express pleasurable anticipations. This at least accords with the spirit of the movement, which is developed at some length. The second number is delightfully humorous and dainty, and has for its chief subject quaint little tune of ingratiating character. A deeper note is struck in the third section and andante con moto of poetic expression, and having a finale of great beauty.’ Here the reviewer appears to have lost interest. The remaining four movements are quickly summed up as being of less importance, ‘consist[ing] of a Presto (in G) of gay character; a short peaceful andante tranquillo; a rocking tune which might be described as a lullaby, since it is based on the composer’s setting of George Wither’s poem ‘Sweet baby, sleep,’ and a bustling finale in march rhythm.’
Holiday Tunes is a work that appears to fall into the category of 'light’ music. Perhaps one of the CD companies that specialise in ‘light music discoveries’ could be tempted to revive this work. I guess it would sit well with Percy Whitlock’s Holiday Suite.

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