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Re: Sir Charles Groves http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/June/Groves_British_25646147
Posted by David Brown on June 24, 2015, 6:58 pm, in reply to "Re: Sir Charles Groves http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/June/Groves_British_25646147"
Re Jinn Kwon's nasty little crack, I have a distinct sense of "here we go again" in view of the previous bouts of idiotic sniping on this message board. But re Sir Charles himself, I second everything John Quinn and Nick Barnard say about his tremendous contribution to British musical life... and about his getting cross! I well remember when in 1977 we (the HBS) were recording Brian's Eighth and Ninth Symphonies with him and the RLPO for EMI at Abbey Road, I ventured a comment about the tempo for one section of the Eighth Symphony and got back the sharp retort "Well, we just don't know how it's supposed to go, do we?!" as he stomped back to the rostrum — definitely an oops moment... He took a lot of trouble trying to get #8 right, as well as time, and it went on well into the second day of recording. Probably because he had conducted #9 previously at the Proms, that symphony was a lot less problematic to get down, and the sessions were safely completed in time. I still think his performance of "In Memoriam" at the final Brian Festival concert at the RAH the previous year was the finest the work has ever had, and it's eternally to be regretted that he only ever conducted the three orchestral movements of "The Gothic" (at the same concert) and not the complete work. Going even further back, the very first time I ever heard Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony was when he conducted it at the RFH in 1967 (which may have been the first London public performance?). In the cheap choir seats behind the orchestra, the impact of that work was beyond description... I just wandered along the embankment in a daze afterwards. This marvellous new 24-disc set is an "In Memoriam" indeed to Sir Charles (how sad that he never had the chance to record commercially Brian's magnificent symphonic poem), and I can only echo both Michael Cookson's enthusiastic comments about the content and his strictures on the miserably inadequate documentation.
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