Thursday, 27 August 2015

Some Lost British Cantatas from the Edwardian Era

Just a list today. I was investigating a specific cantata by Rutland Boughton, when I turned up this list of ‘recently published works’ by Novello in the September 1910 issue of the Musical Times. I have only listed the British examples: there are also two, one each by Schubert and Gounod. Most of the composers are familiar names to British music enthusiasts, although I guess many would have to look up Messrs. William H. Speer, Bertram Luard-Selby and David Stephen.
How many of these works have survived into the 21st century? How many deserve to have survived?  Do any demand revival? Fortunately, the scores for a surprising number of them are available on line, so it is possible to assess. However, as I have found in investigating just one work, this does take much time and effort, and the problem of subjectivity is ever present. One person’s ‘high-flown twaddle’ is another’s lost masterpiece. Playing the score through on the piano is one thing: organising a performance with chorus, soloists and orchestra is another. Finally, maybe some of these works could be performed by a ‘Cantatas from Scratch’ group meeting for pleasure rather than profit?

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Bon-Bon Suite
Cyril B. Rootham: Andromeda
Ernest Walker: Ode to a Nightingale
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry: Beyond these voices there is peace.
Rutland Boughton: Midnight & The Invincible Armada
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Endymion’s Dream
Frederic H. Cowen: The Veil
Charles A. E. Harris: The Sands of Dee
Herbert Brewer: Sir Patrick Spens
Henry Walford Davies: Ode on Time
Alex. M. Maclean: The Annunciation
Rutland Boughton: The Skeleton in Armour
Bertram Luard-Selby: The Fakenham Ghost
Herbert Brewer: Summer Sports
Henry Walford Davies: Noble Numbers
William.H. Speer: The Lay of Cuthbert
Ivor Atkins: Hymn of Faith

David Stephen: The Laird O’ Cockpen. 


Mathias Richter said...

Ivor Atkins's Hymn of Faith has been performed and broadcast by BBC forces in 1995.
The Art Music Forum hosts an archive of many broadcast recordings where you can find this recording.

John France said...

Thanks for that info!


Dan Rootham said...

Just to mention that Cyril Rootham's cantata "Andromeda" is gradually being prepared for publication. The orchestral score has been completely typeset from the original manuscript by Alistair Jones, and the images of the printed proof vocal score are being cleaned up digitally.