Moscow ends three-year cycle of English music

The conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky, an avowed Anglophile, has ended his three-year survey of English music, titled ‘Albion’, with a rare performance of The Critic, an opera by Charles Villiers Stanford, after Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Since 2011, Gennady has conducted 38 works by 20 composers, ranging from Elgar’s Enigma Variations to such esoterica as Cyril Scott’s violin concerto. Here’s a summary of the series (in Russian).

c v stanford

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  • I didn’t even know Rozhdestvensky was still alive and working! Why aren’t record companies falling over themselves getting him to record while they can? He’s one of the last great conductors in the Russian tradition. He could teach a lot of the young whippersnappers out there a thing or two about Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Prokofieff and many more.

  • An easy mistake to make. Stanford was of course Irish, born and bred, though he was educated in England and became a pillar of the English musical tradition. Ireland and England were both part of UK at the time, and the distinction between UK, Britain, British Isles was as arcane as it still is. G B Shaw (another Irish often referred to as English) commented that Stanford’s Irish influenced works were his greatest, while criticizing his Victorian English church music.
    Stanford’s music is often referred to as part of an English Musical Renaissance. Whether there was such a renaissance is open to debate, but it’s Englishness is not. Notably the Bradford born Delius was excluded as being too foreign, but Mackenzie ( a Scotsman ) and Stanford were included. As was John Ireland who was not Irish.

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