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 Post subject: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Out of all the impressionistic British composers that flourished in the mid-20th century, William Alywn isn't really as well-known as Bliss, Bowen, or Bax as he seemed more in tune with the film music genre. But this set of minatures (composed as ABRSM grade exam pieces) are really charming (No. 4 even has a bit of round-the-posey with it or something). Well, enjoy, and as usual, comments are much appreciated.

Alwyn - April Morn, No.1 "A Lost Lamb"

Alwyn - April Morn, 2. "April Showers"

Alwyn - April Morn, No. 3 "Bluebells"

Alwyn - April Morn, No. 4 "Violets"


Last edited by Affinity on Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:32 pm 
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You seem well-versed in the English composers. Alwyn is not a name that comes up often, even if, as you say, he wrote extensively for the cinema (The Red Pirate, for example). I have heard many of his works, mainly his symphonies, some chamber music and an opera, Miss Julie, which struck me as being a bit sordid.

But you have shown me another apect of this composer and you are quite right and these are charming pieces and even their shortness does not distract from their quality (the way that Rebikov's pieces do). The playing to me seems perfectly adapted to this genre and I have enjoyed them, Bluebells perhaps more than the others.

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:16 pm 
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I've not heard of William Alwyn before, but I really liked this music! Very nice harmonies and interesting rhythms. I loved the chord changes near the end of no.3! And no. 4 reminds me of Scriabin.
You played them well, Jonathan! I've put them in the 'various composer' table. If you plan on doing any more from the set, then we'll have to make a page for Alwyn. At least for now you don't have to write a bio... :wink:

One more thing - your title was a little turned around: you should put the name of the set first, followed by the name of the specific piece. Also, your name on the tags should show your whole name Jonathan Yeo, not the other way you had it. I fixed these things though (I'm procrastinating.....trying to do some recording of my own today, but I'm getting too frustrated :x ).

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:34 am 
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These short works are refreshing to the ears. Although I've not heard them previously, your playing is very convincing. Thanks for sharing these pieces with us.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Quote:
You seem well-versed in the English composers. Alwyn is not a name that comes up often, even if, as you say, he wrote extensively for the cinema (The Red Pirate, for example). I have heard many of his works, mainly his symphonies, some chamber music and an opera, Miss Julie, which struck me as being a bit sordid.


Well, actually, I only know a handful of their piano works, Bowen most of all. It's quite amazing that you managed to hear so many of his works though... do they perform them occasionally in Europe? Any recommendations for his chamber works?

Quote:
I've not heard of William Alwyn before, but I really liked this music! Very nice harmonies and interesting rhythms. I loved the chord changes near the end of no.3! And no. 4 reminds me of Scriabin.
You played them well, Jonathan! I've put them in the 'various composer' table. If you plan on doing any more from the set, then we'll have to make a page for Alwyn. At least for now you don't have to write a bio...


Thanks a lot for the comments. Yeah, there's a sort of mild, fragrant impressionism to the set which is really attractive. I like Bluebells a lot too, though I'm at a loss as to how No.4 could remind you of Scriabin. >_> As for the set, there are only 4 pieces; however, the second one is a rather tricky and elf-like presto piece which will take some time, don't think I'll be doing that any time soon! Will keep the tag thingy in mind next time.

Quote:
These short works are refreshing to the ears. Although I've not heard them previously, your playing is very convincing. Thanks for sharing these pieces with us.


Thanks for the comments. I'm quite amazed myself by the spiritual youthfulness of these pieces...


Last edited by Affinity on Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Affinity wrote:
Thanks a lot for the comments. Yeah, there's a sort of mild, fragrant impressionism to the set which is really attractive. I like Bluebells a lot too, though I'm at a loss as to how No.4 could remind you of Scriabin. >_>


That's because I meant Ravel...hehe

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:04 pm 
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Affinity wrote:
Well, actually, I only know a handful of their piano works, Bowen most of all. It's quite amazing that you managed to hear so many of his works though... do they perform them occasionally in Europe? Any recommendations for his chamber works?


That is because at home we had more recordings of English than German composers, just to give you an idea, so I know quite a lot of them.

I have a Naxos CD with his chamber music, but right offhand I cannot recommend anything, as I need to listen to it again.

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:33 am 
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Hi Jonathan,

I had a listen to your recordings, these sound good. I haven't heard of Alwyn until now, but think you do a good job of phrase-shaping and dynamics. Any plans to play the other pieces in April Morn?

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:19 am 
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Charming stuff, and very well played. Thanks for presenting some more British piano music, an area still woefully neglected. There are so many splendid composers out there. I like to tap into that rich vein now and then, and am glad some others do so now, too.
I'd love to hear some more substantial Alwin piano pieces though.

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:56 pm 
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These pieces remind me of the MacDowell Woodland Sketches. They are descriptive and very well crafted.

The playing is very good. There is a nice feeling of movement in the "Bluebells" and "Violets". The anxiety in "A Lost Lamb" is conveyed. My impression of the playing without knowing the score is that there is a lot of attention to dynamics, phrasing and pedaling.

Congratulations on such a well thought out recording

- Kaila

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:30 pm 
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This comes from one of my favorite periods of British music, and introduces me to a new composer. Once again, a confirmation of the vast richness of our musical heritage, and a validation that it is worth one's while digging into the crevices to pull out forgotten works.


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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:48 pm 
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Affinity,
Very well played!
Thanks for introducing me to this composer. I was intrigued enough to read his bio on Wikipedia, and the fact that he had turned "Miss Julie" into an opera jumped out at me.
richard66 said that it struck him as "sordid" - that's because it was probably the most sordid play written in the 19th century. (It's by Strindberg.) I wonder if this choice for one's only opera says something.
Beginning a suite entitled "April Morn" with that sad piece about a lost lamb might also be telling - as if the composer wants us to remember that many a bright day has a wicked lining.

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:20 pm 
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My piano is going to be changed pretty soon, so I thought to finish the remaining piece of the set as some sort of memorial. I've uploaded it in the opening post; do enjoy and comment if you can. It's sort of cute.

Also, thank you very much for all the comments from so long ago. A more impressionistic Woodland Sketches without the 'American-ness' does sound like an appropriate comparison. And as for more substantial Alwyn pieces, I believe Naxos has a couple of albums of his music played by Ashley Wass. Certainly worth a look, though they aren't as beguiling as these in general.


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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:08 pm 
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(After hearing #2).
Very cute piece and nicely played.
Picky: I'll tell you what I told someone else earlier today. I recommend that recordings have maybe a second of silence to begin, because you don't know what will be programmed before it. Perhaps the recording before yours will have no silence at the end, and the listener will be confused by the catenation.

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 Post subject: Re: Alwyn - April Morn
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:23 pm 
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Very nice indeed, if maybe a little shallow, and very competently played. Agree with Stu, there should always be 1-3 seconds of silence before and after a recording.
Now that the set is complete, I feel that we need an Alwyn page. Any volunteers ?

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