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Herbert Howells - Siciliano For A High Ceremony


Peter Clark
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Is this piece worth learning?

 

YES.

 

There are excellent players who do not hesitate to record the complete

organ works of Herbert Howells:

 

http://www.tjeerdvanderploeg.nl/nl/vlc0493.html

 

And here is my preffered recording:

 

(Post edited: I linked to what I tought an older recording brought on CD)

 

(Rather than "wandering", I'd say it is "äthärisch", aethereal. A long meditation -9 Minutes +!- from another world).

Pierre

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I think it is a marvellous work. It has a rather rarified atmosphere which I love. I used to look down on it when I was young, but that was because to me Howells meant Coll reg, Master Tallis's Testament and all the other mid-period works for which he is so well known. The Siciliano is absolutely representative of his later style, but it takes some getting into to understand it. If you know Howells's secular works, particularly the songs (particularly the siciliano There were three cherry trees) and, most of all, Howells's Clavichord (which also has a Siciliano that inhabits a similar sound world), everything will fall into place.

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=============================

That explains it!

 

Howells was an alien invader.

 

;)

 

MM

 

 

Little post, just for Pierre.

 

Actually, Howells himself thought something not much different:

First, he regarded himself as a Celt.

Second, he was firmly convinced that he was born out of his time.

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And here is my preffered recording:

 

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilld...amp;name_role=2

Donald Hunt - English Organ Music Vol.2 (from Worcester Cathedral) [NAXOS]

 

I always get slightly annoyed when I see (or hear) this recording. The playing is superb, but of all the instruments to demonstrate a cross-section of 20th century English organ music; the Bradford Computing organ of Worcester Cathedral???

At the very least, could they not have used the Chesterfield Parish organ as in the first volume, or even simpler, turned the microphones around and use the real McCoy slumbering in the Quire?

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I always get slightly annoyed when I see (or hear) this recording. The playing is superb, but of all the instruments to demonstrate a cross-section of 20th century English organ music; the Bradford Computing organ of Worcester Cathedral???

At the very least, could they not have used the Chesterfield Parish organ as in the first volume, or even simpler, turned the microphones around and use the real McCoy slumbering in the Quire?

 

Well, we certainly not speak about the same recording; mine is a LP...My mistake!

 

Pierre

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Is this piece worth learning? Some I have heard look down on this work; who plays it here? On the surface it does look like it wanders about quite a bit. Any thoughts welocme, please.

 

Thanks.

 

Peter

 

I used to play it - had to learn it for a 1960s concert in 1996 as part of the "Towards the Millennium" series, a while ago but I found it charming enough to re-visit a few times since...

Andrew Fletcher has recorded it at Warwick.

 

P.

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That's bizarre. I'm sure it was also once on the grade 4 list!

 

It was - I did it in about 1994.

 

I agree with the comments about the Naxos Worcester recording - even as a complete beginner when I bought the disc, I realised there was something decidedly odd about the sound the instrument made... not ideal for Howells at all.

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