Archives for posts with tag: William Walton

Hound From 1917, the Carnegie Trust in the UK began a scheme to encourage the publication of large scale British musical works by asking composers to submit manuscripts. An anonymous panel chose up to six works per year for an award – publication at the expense of the Trust, in conjunction with Stainer and Bell. Unfortunately the war delayed things for the earliest prizewinners. The first to be published (in 1918) was the Piano Quartet in A minor by Herbert Howells. (It caught the attention of the young William Walton, who successfully submitted his own Piano Quartet six years later). By the end of 1920 some 13 works were available. 30 were out by the end of 1922, and when the scheme finally closed in 1928 some 60 substantial works that might not otherwise have seen the light of day had been issued under the Carnegie Collection of British Music imprint.

Today these scores with their distinctive covers aren’t all that easy to find – and they haven’t aged well. I recently bought a copy of Cyril Rootham’s Brown Earth on Ebay – this was once a very popular choral piece. Probably the most commercially successful of all the Carnegie works was Holst’s Hymn of Jesus, but it’s the hidden gems and almost forgotten composers that provide the fascination. Recently there’s been a successful revival of the W H Harris choral work Hound of Heaven, which might be followed up with a recording.

Finding out about this collection of scores isn’t easy today. A 2014 dissertation from the University of Iowa includes some very useful research, and a collection of most (over 50) or the scores is held at the Maughan Library (part of Kings College, London, on the Strand). I couldn’t find an accessible list anywhere on the Internet, so below is an alphabetical list of the holdings at Maughan Library.

Edgar Bainton (1880-1956). Concerto Fantasia: for piano and orchestra. Before Sunrise: a symphony for contralto solo, chorus, and orchestra.

Granville Bantock (1868-1946). Hebridean Symphony.

Herbert Bedford (1867-1945). Night Piece, The Shepherd: for voice (contralto or mezzo), flute, oboe, and piano.

Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960). Pastoral Fantasy: for string quartet.

Rutland Boughton (1878-1960). The Immortal Hour: music-drama.

York Bowen (1884-1961). String Quartet No 2 in D minor, op 41.

Ina Boyle (1889-1967). The Magic Harp: rhapsody for orchestra.

Sam Hartley Braithwaite (1883-1951). Elegy: for orchestra. Snow Picture: for orchestra.

Frank Bridge (1879-1941). The Sea: suite for orchestra.

Alan Bush (1900-1995). String Quartet in A minor, op 4.

Lawrence A Collingwood (1887-1982). Poeme Symphonique: for orchestra.

Learmont Drysdale (1866-1909). Tam o’Shanter: concert overture.

Thomas Dunhill (1877-1946). The Enchanted Garden: opera in one act, op 65.

George Dyson (1883-1964). Three Rhapsodies: for string quartet, op 7.

David Emlyn 1843-1913. Concerto for String Orchestra, op 7.

Harry Farjeon (1878-1948). Phantasy Concerto: for piano and chamber orchestra, op 64. St Dominic Mass: for choir, orchestra, solo soprano, tenor and solo violin, op 51.

Ernest Farrar (1885-1918). Three Spiritual Studies: for string orchestra, op 33. English Pastoral Impressions: suite for orchestra.

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956). A Severn Rhapsody: for chamber orchestra.

Nicholas Gatty (1874-1946). Prince Ferelon, or, The Princess’s Suitors: a musical extravaganza in one act.

Cecil Armstrong Gibbs. The Blue Peter: a comic opera in one act.

Ivor Gurney (1890-1937). The Western Playland: song-cycle for baritone voice, string quartet and piano. Ludlow and Teme: song-cycle for tenor voice, string quartet and piano.

W H Harris (1883-1973). The Hound of Heaven, for baritone solo, chorus & orchestra.

Edward Norman Hay (1889-1943). String Quartet in A major.

Victor Hely-Hutchinson (1901-1947). Variations, Intermezzo, Scherzo & Finale: for orchestra.

Gustav Holst (1874-1934). The Hymn of Jesus: for two choruses, semi-chorus and full orchestra, op 37.

Howells, Herbert (1892-1983). Piano Quartet in A minor, op 21. Rhapsodic Quintet: clarinet quintet, op 31.

John Blackwood McEwen (1868-1948). Solway Symphony.

Jeffrey Mark (1898-1965). Scottish Suite: for violins and piano.

Percy Hilder Miles (1878-1922). Sextet in G minor.

Robin Milford (1903-1959). Double Fugue for Orchestra, op 10.

Edward Mitchell. Fantasy Overture: for orchestra (with six horns).

R O Morris (1886-1948). Fantasy: for string quartet.

Cyril Rootham (1875-1938). Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, for soloists, chorus, semi chorus & orchestra. Brown Earth, for chorus, semi-chorus & orchestra.

Alec Rowley (1892-1958). The Princess Who Lost a Tune: ballet-mime.

Cyril Scott (1879-1970). Nativity Hymn: for chorus, soli and orchestra.

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924). Symphony No 5 in D major L’Allegro ed il Pensieroso, op 56. The Travelling Companion: opera in four acts, op 146.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). A London Symphony.

Alfred M Wall (1875 – ????). Quartet for Piano & Strings in C minor.

William Walton (1902-1983). Piano Quartet in A minor.

Peter Warlock (1894-1930). The Curlew: song cycle for tenor solo, flute, English horn, and string quartet.

Felix Harold White (1884-1945). The Nymph’s Complaint: poem for oboe (or violin), viola & piano.

W G Whittaker (1876-1944). A Lyke-Wake Dirge: for chorus and orchestra. Among the Northumbrian Hills: free variations on an original theme for piano and string quartet.

Stanley Wilson (1899-1953). A Skye Symphony, op 38.

Leslie Woodgate (1902-1961). A Hymn to the Virgin: for baritone solo, men’s voices, strings, piano and organ.


lambertI still find it incredible that Summers Last Will and Testament is now readily available (through a 1992 Hyperion recording). This piece was like the lost grail to me for years. Written in the dark days of 1933 to 1935, it is a melancholic work, obsessed with death, loss and the passing of time. That wasn’t what the public expected from Constant Lambert, a composer best known for the jazz-tinged brightness of Façade and The Rio Grande. And the first performance, in January 1936, took place only nine days after the death of King Geroge V. It sank almost without trace. However, reports of its worth continued to circulate – from Malcolm Arnold, for instance, who called it “one of the undiscovered treasures of the English choral repertoire”. Lambert himself, who died in 1951, thought of it as his best work. Summers Last Will and Testament is based on Elizabethan dance forms, setting words from Thomas Nashe’s masque of the same name, the subject of which is London during the plague years. Lambert’s friend, the composer Peter Warlock/Philip Heseltine, may have inspired him to look back to the Tudor era for inspiration. Warlock had committed suicide in 1930, and Lambert dedicated his dark Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments to Warlock.

In order to hear it I dug out the vocal score from the library – a massively oversized limited edition with two piano reduction. I visited the Institute of Recorded Sound (then in Kensington, near the Albert Hall) and listened to the 1965 BBC broadcast conducted by Malcolm Sargent, the music coming from the far distance somewhere beyond the coughing and shuffling of the audience. And eventually I saw two live performances, the first at the Brighton Festival (10 May 1986, conducted by Norman Del Mar) and then again in August 1991 at Leeds Town Hall, conducted by David Lloyd Jones. From that concert also came the Hyperion recording. I was almost sorry when it became better known – there was something exciting about being one of a very few who knew just how rich this music is. At 50 minutes long this is Lambert’s most ambitious work.

Intrata The work starts with a seven minute long section for orchestra alone, consisting of two parts: “pastorale” and “siciliana”. The mood is melancholy, but the pace and tension builds up until the expansive siciliana theme is introduced on solo oboe. Lambert has used the dotted 6/8 siciliana form before in his ballet scores (most notably in Pomona). Once again the music builds up to full orchestral treatment before returning at the end to the solo oboe. This is idealized pastoralism already tinged with sadness, preparing the mood for the darkness to come.