Music and Vision homepage


<<  -- 2 --  Robert Anderson    A SALAD-DAYS GENIUS


Maud Powell was a convinced populariser, prepared to play the Mendelssohn concerto with band accompaniment by John Philip Sousa. The Coleridge-Taylor performance stemmed from her anger at the exorbitant fee Novello was charging for hire of the newly-written Elgar concerto, which she at once stigmatised as an 'empty, pompous work'. The actual commission came from Carl Stoeckel, whose wealth allowed him to summon orchestras for performances of new pieces by Rachmaninov and Sibelius. Stoeckel suggested music from the Deep South for the concerto, and wondered also about 'Yankee-Doodle'. A concerto with 'Many thousand gone' in the slow movement and 'Y-D' for finale was duly despatched to the States.

Almost at once Coleridge-Taylor realised it would not do and asked the Americans to destroy it. The substitute work probably owes more to Dvorák than the Deep South, or rather to 'American' music as filtered through a Czech mind. The opening of the concerto certainly suggests Dvorák, if more sedate than usual. But there is an abundance, and almost super-abundance, of thematic material along the way, as well as much touching lyricism [listen -- track 1, 2:15-3:20]. The Andante semplice has a nice manipulation of keys, leading back to B flat via an impassioned G major and a move to the comforting warmth of A flat [listen -- track 2, 6:09-7:23].

Continue >>

Copyright © 14 July 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Mahler >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.