September 17, 2004

More Sappy 20th Century British Composer Blogging

The local classical station is finishing off its afternoon with Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasy on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

I really don't much care for 20th Century music, although I like a few bits and scraps of a few composers like Walton and Holst. Of this lot, the largest pile of scraps probably belongs to Vaughan Williams. I rather enjoy his Fantasy on Greensleeves, his English Folksong Suite and his Overture to The Wasps. (As I'm sure the O.F. is thinking even now, these pieces are for the most part derivative of other forms, not pure composition, so are not really good examples of the period. Well, that's right. But I still like them.)

The Tallis Fantasy is my favorite though, in large part for sentimental reasons. I may have mentioned before that when I was in law school I played Lysander in a production of Midsummer Night's Dream at my wife's (all girl) college. The design was all Maxfield Parish fantasy and the music was mostly Vaughan Williams and Holst.

They played the Tallis Fantasy at intermission and I used to sneak out into the wings behind the curtain and just sit and listen to it. The stage was mostly dark at that point, with dim blue lighting and all the columns and whatnot picked out in silhouette. Just to show you I'm not all cold, hard logic and reason, I always thought there was a certain magic to all of it. (It might have had something to do with how much I enjoyed being in the production too. I can readily see how people get bitten by the acting bug.) At any rate, whenever I hear it now, I get taken back to those days.

As I say, pure mush. But even we Llamas unbend sometimes.

Posted by Robert at September 17, 2004 03:01 PM | TrackBack

Oh, I remember playing the Wasps Overature in high school band. I loved it. Great French Horn bits (that is what I played). Thanks for bringing back a great memory. (Another fav. was Elgar's Nimrod, and anything from The Planets.)

Posted by: Misspent Life at September 17, 2004 04:49 PM

That's what we're here for! Actually, I really like both "Mars" and "Jupiter" from The Planets, but can't abide any of the rest of them.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at September 17, 2004 04:53 PM

Did you mean that you don't like 20th century music or 20th century English music (since your "likes" are all English composers)? If the former, I cannot comment. If the latter, I would suggest you have overlooked probably the best of a sorry lot - Edward Elgar. His music (i.e. The Enigma Variations) is quite good for an Englishman and certainly better than Raiff.

Posted by: O.F. at September 18, 2004 10:00 AM
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