A Happy and Prosperous New Year
To All Readers of
The Land of Lost Content
Significant British Composer Anniversaries for 2016:
Alfred Angel (1816-76)
William Sterndale Bennett (1816-75)
George J. Elvey (1816-93)
William L Phillips (1816-60)
Amanda Aldridge (1866-1956)
George H. Clutsum (1866-1951)
Learmont Drysdale (1866-1909)
William E Duncan (1866-1920)
Katherine Mary Adela Maddison (1866-1929)
Denis ApIvor (1916-2004)
Robert Atherton (1916-97)
Bernard G Stevens (1916-1983)
There are a number of ‘big’ commemorations this year. In particular it is 200 years since William Sterndale Bennett was born. He has been reappraised in recent year, with a number of CDs having been dedicated to his music. This has included symphonies, piano concertos, overtures, chamber works and piano music. However Sterndale Bennett has a considerable catalogue of music and there are plenty of opportunities to explore further, especially in the choral music genre.
I hope that Learmont Drysdale gets a mention in dispatches (he will from me). This interesting Scottish composer wrote a wide range of music including eleven operas, many cantatas, songs and choral music. Possibilities for revival include his Overture: Tam O’ Shanter, the cantata The Kelpie and his tone-poem ‘A Border Romance’.
The centenaries include two great, but largely ignored composer who have written a wide range of music. Denis ApIvor wrote five symphonies, a variety of concertos and much chamber music. The Arkiv Catalogue currently shows no recordings available, so it is very difficult to form an opinion of his music. However, he was originally a serialist composer who ‘returned’ to a more tonal language towards the end of his career.
Bernard G. Stevens, like Alan Bush, derived much of his musical aesthetic from Marxist theories. As the BMS British Composer Profiles point out, he was able to synthesise popular elements into his serious music. His works include two symphonies, a cello and a violin concerto, a deal of chamber music as well as film music. At present there are a few CDs dedicated to his work, including what may well be his masterpiece, A Symphony of Liberation composed at the end of the Second World War.
And finally Katherine Mary Adela Maddison surely deserves investigation. Internationalist, friend of Gabriel Fauré and Rutland Boughton, she composed operas and ballet music. Her life does seem to be interesting to say the least.