Geoffrey BUSH (1920–1998) and
Joseph HOROVITZ (b. 1926) - Songs
Susanna Fairbairn, Soprano
Matthew Schellhorn, Piano
BMS/Naxos DISC OF THE MONTH for July 2017 featured soprano Susanna Fairbairn and pianist Matthew Schellhorn in a delightful recital disc of songs by Geoffrey Bush and Joseph Horovitz. Bush made a significant contribution to English song, while Joseph Horovitz’s modest but equally varied contribution includes Lady Macbeth, a powerful, harmonically astringent scena, as well as witty cabaret items. Bush’s Cuisine Provençale has elements of an operatic drama, while the cycle Yesterday enshrines ballad simplicity and deft wordpainting.
Geoffrey Bush made a significant contribution to English song, while Joseph Horovitz’s modest but equally varied contribution includes Lady Macbeth, a powerful, harmonically astringent scena, as well as witty cabaret items and one song which, in its late-Romantic nostalgia, reveals his Viennese roots. Bush’s Cuisine Provençale has elements of an operatic drama, while the cycle Yesterday enshrines ballad simplicity and deft word-painting. Mirabile Misterium sets medieval texts which explore various types of ecstasy, and archy at the zoo demonstrates Bush’s zest and wit.
Born in Vienna, Joseph Horovitz moved to England in 1938. He is a prolific composer in many genres, from ballets and operas to concertos; and from musical scores for television plays to films including Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963). His interest in writing for the clarinet grew out of his friendship with Gervase de Peyer, whom he met when they were students at the Royal College of Music in London in 1948, and they later went on to study in Paris together.
Key Features: This is a British Music Society (BMS) recording and so will be especially targeted at those who love song music by these two near-contemporaries – Joseph Horovitz is still alive aged 90.
Soprano Susanna Fairbairn was a 2013 Park Lane Young Artist, and winner of the Selma D and Leon Fishbach Memorial Prize at the 2014 London Handel Singing Competition.
Pianist Matthew Schellhorn has given performances in major venues throughout the UK, including Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room, and has performed live numerous times on BBC Radio 3. He has also been featured on Classic FM.
Well-known soprano Susan Graham recorded Horovitz’s Lady Macbeth on Onyx but there are no other recordings available of the other Horovitz songs.
There are no competing versions of any of the Geoffrey Bush songs though there is at least one all-Bush song disc around, on Lyrita, released in 2014.
Many of these recordings are the first on CD and there are detailed booklet notes by Tom Winpenny and full organ specification.
Australian Malcolm Williamson settled in Britain and rose to the position of Master of the Queen’s Music in 1975. A skilled keyboard player and a Catholic convert, he wrote for the organ throughout his life and these works reveal his deep immersion in religious music, initially inspired by Messiaen. Tom Winpenny's earlier release of Williamson's organ music was greeted enthusiastically.
Miniatures for Cello and Piano
This release was featured on Classic FM, and entered the Classical Charts soon afterwards.
William Henry Squire was Britain’s leading cellist from the late 1890s to the late 1920s and a prolific artist in the early recording era. He composed a series of exquisite miniatures for the instrument, the finest of which are collected here for the first time. Five of the twenty have never before been recorded. Cellist Oliver Gledhill has researched Squire's performance style extensively, and brings this knowledge to bear on his interpretations.
Music for String Orchestra
This release has been welcomed by the reviewers, and indeed featured in the Classical Charts for four weeks running.
Here are some mentions from recent articles:
Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2
The BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins has certainly done justice to these neglected works, recorded here for the first time.
Reviewers have welcomed this recording with acclaim:
The Instant Moment (1)
Temps Perdu (2)
Henry Herford, Baritone (1)
Christopher Hirons and Pierre Joubert, Solo Violins (2)
Paul Arden-Taylor and Anna Evans, Oboes (3)
Keith Rubach and Christine Predota, Bassoons (3)
Stephen Roberts and James Buck, French Horns (3)
English String Orchestra
THE MALCOLM SMITH MEMORIAL ALBUM
Piano Music - HOLLOWAY, R. / HOWARD, L. / MATTHEW-WALKER, R. / SEARLE, H. (Malcolm Smith Memorial Album) (Lill, L. Howard, Bebbington, Jacobson)
This unique recording owes its existence to Malcolm Smith (1932–2011), who was a leading and popular figure in London’s musical life. He was a stalwart of numerous organisations and festivals, a friend of the greatest composers and a tireless advocate of British music. A vice president of the British Music Society, Smith bequeathed a sum of money to facilitate this recording, which includes Robin Holloway’s six-handed Grand Heroical March, Leslie Howard’s Sullivan-inspired Ruddigore Fantasy, and Humphrey Searle’s Sonata, described by The Times in 1951 as ‘suffused with darkling, elegiac poetry and commanding thought’.
1. Grand Heroical March 00:05:20
2. Ruddigore, Op. 40 00:11:11
3. Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 34, "Fantasy Sonata: Hamlet" 00:16:43
Handel, George Frideric, Howard, Leslie, arranger(s)
4. L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, HWV 55: Come, but Keep Thy Wonted State 00:03:57
5. Piano Sonata, Op. 21 00:18:08
Total Playing Time: 00:55:19 Naxos: 8571354
String Quartets Nos. 1-4 (Villiers Quartet)
Robert Still’s four string quartets vividly encapsulate his compositional career. The first two, of which No. 1 was first performed in 1948, display an early inclination towards folk-song and pre-classical models, while Nos. 3 and 4, written during the 1960s “without key”, reflect his later change towards a continental European-influenced method of composition that can be summed up by the abandonment of writing in a tonal style. These world première recordings owe a considerable debt to the editorial expertise of James Dickenson, leader of the Villiers Quartet, who prepared the performance material from the original scores.
Total Playing Time: 01:16:24 Naxos: 8571353
Three String Sonatas
Susanne Stanzeleit, Violin
Morgan Goff, Viola
Raphael Wallfisch, Cello
Raphael Terroni, Piano
String Quartets 2 and 3
Timothy Lines, Bass Clarinet
Chamber Music and Songs
Julian Jacobson, piano
Jennifer Johnston, mezzo-soprano
Raphael Wallfisch, cello
Mariko Brown, piano
This is a release of a BMS recording on the Naxos label. Click on the CD for detaILS.
British Music for Cello and Piano:
Wordsworth, Holbrooke, Busch
Raphael Wallfisch cello
Raphael Terroni piano
This is a re-release of a BMS recording on the Naxos label. Click on the CD cover for further details.
First Symphony (The Seasons)
Prelude to a Fantasy (The Naiades)
Raphael Wallfisch cello
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by
John McCabe: Piano Music
John McCabe piano
BMS424CD - £9
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Winner of the Gramophone Critics' Choice Award in 1999, and described as “an exceptionally fine issue... that not only serves as a superb tribute to McCabe the composer, but also his prowess as a pianist and interpreter.”