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Guy Weitz


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I have just had a missive from someone who once heard George Thalben-Ball play Weitz's Symphony no.1 and was mightily impressed with it. He asks whether his music is out of fashion. His name has long been familiar to me, but I hang my head in shame to admit that I can't remember ever having heard a note of his music. Is he much played today? Is it any good?

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I have just had a missive from someone who once heard George Thalben-Ball play Weitz's Symphony no.1 and was mightily impressed with it. He asks whether his music is out of fashion. His name that has long been familiar to me, but I hang my head in shame to admit that I can't remember ever having heard a note of his music. Is he much played today? Is it any good?

 

Jane Parker-Smith's recent CD (Avie label) "Romantic and virtuso works for Organ Vol 2" contains Symphony No 1. Also available (Regent label) is "Ave Regina - The complete organ works of Guy Weitz - volume 1" played by David Graham. I can't find any mention of volume 2 yet. According to Amazon there is a recording (mid-1990s) of music by Weitz played by Paul Derrett but currently unavailable.

 

The music is all absolutely fantastic and scores of most of it can easily be obtained from Musicroom.com

 

Weitz is an unjustly neglected composer who was Danby's predecessor at Farm Street. One of the singers in the choir of an extremely large church in central Brighton has sung under both Weitz and Lalloux (another unjustly neglected composer of choral music) and he speaks highly of both.

 

Buy and enjoy!

 

Malcolm Kemp

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Guest Cynic
Jane Parker-Smith's recent CD (Avie label) "Romantic and virtuso works for Organ Vol 2" contains Symphony No 1. Also available (Regent label) is "Ave Regina - The complete organ works of Guy Weitz - volume 1" played by David Graham. I can't find any mention of volume 2 yet. According to Amazon there is a recording (mid-1990s) of music by Weitz played by Paul Derrett but currently unavailable.

 

The music is all absolutely fantastic and scores of most of it can easily be obtained from Musicroom.com

 

Weitz is an unjustly neglected composer who was Danby's predecessor at Farm Street. One of the singers in the choir of an extremely large church in central Brighton has sung under both Weitz and Lalloux (another unjustly neglected composer of choral music) and he speaks highly of both.

 

Buy and enjoy!

 

Malcolm Kemp

 

 

I appreciate all the help I can get publicity-wise, so thanks a bunch for that plug Malcolm!

 

The recording I made for Priory in 1991 on the organ of Hereford Cathedral is still available from them, I believe.

Details here:

http://www.priory.org.uk/cgi-bin/ukstore/u...&p=MAJORORG

Included are the two Symphonies (both complete, indeed mine is the only complete recording ever made of the second symphony) and the CD programme also includes Grand Choeur, Fanfare and Gothic March, Sicilienne, Priere and Antiphon: Ave Regina. The accompanying notes include a commentary by the composer's son Bernard (who to the best of my knowledge is still extant and living in Chetenham).

 

Guy Weitz's character was no help at all in the furtherance of his own works. He was not good with people generally, and when an elaborate concert was arranged as a sort of musical Festschrift for him in 1961 (including performances of his works by such as Nicholas Danby, George Thalben-Ball and Malcolm Williamson) his only remark when thanks were expected was a gruff

'If they'd wanted to hear my pieces, they should have asked me to play them!'

 

I think this music is exceptionally important - it took me a full two years to learn it all and the love of it has never waned since. The style sits very happily somewhere between high-voltage Vierne and Whitlock. Weitz's use of the organ is never less than superb. Amphion have also released on CD some of Guy Weitz's own recordings made in Westminster Cathedral and St.Thomas's Wandsworth which were originally issued on 78rpm. There are odd howling slips (everything had to be without edit in those days) but his playing of everything is magisterial and illuminating. His Franck is particularly fine - not such a surprise since he studied in Paris with Vincent D'Indy and C-M Widor after winning all the prizes at the Conservatoire in Liege.

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The Priory CD of Paul Derrett playing Weitz at Hereford can be obtained on-line from "Crotchet". (I've just ordered it!) This on-line DVD/CD ordering firm specialises in organ music and, although not always particularly fast, they do seem to be able to get items that are otherwise difficult to get hold of and one gets the impression that they actually make an effort. (They are having great difficulty getting me the Daniel Roth Sacre Coeur CD that was praised on this Board a while ago, though.)

 

These days it is important to be aware of such on-line shops. In Brighton we had a superb classical CD shop where the manager was a fine example of someone who knew his job thoroughly and excelled at customer service. For various reasons outside the manager's control this shop closed at Easter and the nearest comparable shops now appear to be in Canterbury and Chichester.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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These days it is important to be aware of such on-line shops. In Brighton we had a superb classical CD shop where the manager was a fine example of someone who knew his job thoroughly and excelled at customer service. For various reasons outside the manager's control this shop closed at Easter and the nearest comparable shops now appear to be in Canterbury and Chichester.

 

Unfortunately, of course, it's probably the on-line shops which is causing such CD shops as the one you mentioned to close.

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While looking for something else I stumbled across a performance of Symphony no.1 on the KFMA site in the programme for 5 November 2006. It really is rather good, isn't it?

 

 

Fine though the first Symphony certainly is, the second (IMVHO) is a serious knock-out and one of the longest around at 35 minutes.

The Passacaglia could stand very happily alone and bears comparison with any in the entire repertoire.

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Sorry - this slipped through my net somehow.

 

Thanks for the comments. Is all Weitz's stuff virtuosic, or are there any easily approachable pieces? (I'm just too lazy to spend time learning anything very difficult these days.)

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Sorry - this slipped through my net somehow.

 

Thanks for the comments. Is all Weitz's stuff virtuosic, or are there any easily approachable pieces? (I'm just too lazy to spend time learning anything very difficult these days.)

 

 

The Grand Choeur, Sicilienne, Fanfare and Gothic March are all possible - Grand Choeur probably the most effective.

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