ARTICLES & REVIEWS
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Photograph by Herbert Hughes, 1935. McCann Collection, ©Royal Academy of Music.
*Robert Matthew-Walker's review of the Wigmore Hall concert on 25th September 2008:
The Endymion Ensemble, with the financial support of the York Bowen Society and the Delius Trust, is much to be applauded for mounting this "York Bowen Portrait" programme at Wigmore Hall, which relaunched the York Bowen Society...read the full review
* Listen to the Classic FM interview with Glen Ballard about York Bowen, broadcast on Monday 22nd September 2008 on the Arts Daily programme.
*Francis Pott's booklet Essay for Stephen Hough's Hyperion CD release : York Bowen Music for Piano Solo (Hyperion CDA 66838).
In a kinder economic age than ours it was relatively easy to find one's way into print. In music this applied as much to writers about the subject as to composers, and there is no shortage of loosely compiled short volumes from the first decades of the twentieth century which purport to offer an instructive survey of developments at the supposed (or actual) 'cutting edge' of creativity. While these often achieved instead a ragbag of misinformation, personal prejudice and autobiographical self-advertisement, they frequently found some consensus in identifying exciting key figures at work in our own country. For this reason posterity has lent them a degree of vicarious poignancy; for there can be no more affecting way to confront a once-lauded artist's descent from celebrity to obscurity than to read in such a context of heroic beginnings, then realise that one can go no further: the trail vanishes and the rest, it seems, is silence. While much is being belatedly rectified nowadays via the enterprise of certain recording companies, the passage of silent years compels one to wonder at the public assertion of no less a critic than Ernest Newman that Joseph Holbrooke's Piano Concerto no. 1 contained melodies to stir the very marrow in his bones and belonged on the same pedestal as Richard Strauss. Recorded performances of Holbrooke have nonetheless remained far more the exception than the rule. Public ones are even rarer; this applies more or less equally to Rutland Boughton, Granville Bantock, John McEwen, William Hurlstone and, amongst others, York Bowen...download full text
*York Bowen Viola Concerto (1907): The Centenary of a Minor Masterpiece by John France
The fundamental problem with the viola is that there are few well known pieces written for it. Any listener would be able to reel off a dozen or so great violin concertos that are well established potboilers for radio producers, concert promoters and CD manufacturers. However, ask the same listener to name one viola concerto and I guess they would be stumped. Someone who was well versed in British music may well suggest Walton's fine essay, another may recall concertante works by Ralph Vaughan Williams or perhaps even Herbert Howells. In fact there are a few dozen examples of the genre in the catalogues from a number of countries but it is fair to say that no single Viola Concerto has caught the public imagination. It is not a genre that is likely to feature in "One Hundred Best Tunes" or on Classic FM "Disc of the Month."
However, in the past few years a couple of major early twentieth century British Viola Concertos have been presented for the first time to the CD buying public. Strangely, there are now no less than three recordings of the York Bowen work and one of that by Cecil Forsyth. These have been well received by both listeners and critic alike.
There is no doubt that we are dealing with a minor masterpiece in Bowen's Viola Concerto in C minor Op.25...download full essay