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Scenes in Kent - Frederick Wood


AJJ
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I have 'Scenes on the Downs' and 'Scenes on the Wye' - never got round to looking seriously at them. It would be cool if 'Scenes in Kent' included a movement depicting the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

 

What are these sets of pieces like? I've never come across them at all - have they been recorded?

 

VA

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All four of Wood's topographical suites (Scenes in Kent, Op. 23; Scenes in Northumberland, Op. 25; Scenes on the Downs, Op. 29; and Scenes on the Wye) were published by Stainer & Bell. Wood died in 1963 so they're all still in copyright. Each suite has four movements. The middle two movements of 'Scenes on the Wye' are in print as an extract; the other two movements of this suite, and the entire first three suites, are available from S&B's archive service on 020 8343 2535.

 

Christopher Brayne has recorded the Kent and Downs suites at Bristol Cathedral (Priory PRCD380 - Great European Organs No. 47); David Liddle has recorded the Kent suite at St Ignatius Loyola in NY (Guild GMCD 7149); and Simon Nieminski has recorded the Wye suite at the First Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas (Pro Organo 7221). No-one has yet done the Northumberland I think!

 

They're definitely light music, but rather charming and well-constructed. The movements all have evocative titles - the Kent suite for example has Aylesford Bridge, Allington Lock, Orchard Blossom and Rochester Bells. They're not that easy to play though!

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They're definitely light music, but rather charming and well-constructed.

 

A snippet of trivia. The late Sidney Campbell used to speak very highly of Dr Wood. He gained his Durham D.Mus. on the back of a correspondence course with him. Campbell would post exercises and they would come back, duly marked with comments and corrections, e.g. "You can't resolve this chord that way, you must do it like this." So impressed with was Campbell with Wood's teaching that he recommended him to Arthur Wills, who did likewise.

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