I have enjoyed listening to the music of George Lloyd ever since I bought the Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 on LP back in the early 1980s. I have all the symphonies, concertos and the big choral works on cd (although I must confess that it is some considerable time since I listened again to the choral compositions).
The symphonies are, I think, uneven. Those which are lighter in tone strike me as eminently pleasant to listen to but are not those to which I would often return. But at his best, in the Symphonies Nos.4, 5, 7 and 11, George Lloyd is a very impressive symphonist, powerful, profoundly moving and capable of writing music of quite exquisite beauty. The Lento movement of the Seventh Symphony is absolutely sublimely beautiful music. Any composer who could produce such lyrical breadth is gifted indeed! The "big tune" which begins at around the 24 minute mark just blows me away!
Lloyd suffered the neglect eloquently described and analysed in the article. He was not, of course, alone. Many British composers of his generation and of the next, including those who wrote in a less overtly romantic idiom, suffered from the crippling blanket which descended over their reputations. In a sense Lloyd was actually luckier than many others. He did have a great champion in the late Sir Edward Downes and the great fortune to have his music placed on record. Many other British composers have had to wait a lot longer, some are still waiting!
But has Lloyd's time come and gone? Yes, the music lives on cd but it needs to be performed live and brought to a wider audience and that does mean the support of the BBC. Performances by the Ealing Symphony Orchestra-with the greatest respect-are unlikely to herald a renaissance. We no longer have British conductors in charge of the regional BBC orchestras-a scandalous state of affairs in my opinion. The glory days when conductors like Downes, Hurst, Del Mar, Thomson, Handley, Handford etc etc were in charge of or regularly conducting these orchestras have gone. And with these conductors have gone the BBC music producers who had actually heard of the composers of whom I am talking, let alone had any familiarity with their music. There are young conductors who would conduct Lloyd but their opportunities to do so are limited in the extreme. In that sense one could construct an argument that Lloyd peaked whilst he was actually still alive and able to conduct and record his own music. He is not therefore now a figure like Havergal Brian whose music is being revived by new recordings. Nor, I suspect, does the George Lloyd Society have the backing of a dedicated (and wealthy) cohort of supporters. I may of course be wrong.......and I hope that I am!
I did say that these observations would be random but the Society is due some response and perhaps others might now join in.
« Back to index | View thread »
Thank you for taking part in the MusicWeb International Forum.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb