'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rachmaninov's Second Symphony - Found

As I flicked through The Daily Telegraph this morning I came across an exciting article by Geoffrey Norris, -'Lost symphony in a Co-op bag'.
Rachmaninov's Second Symphony has been found, and since authenticated, in the effects of an elderly collector who has died.
It's a fascinating story which will be discussed on BBC Radio 4, March 20th at 1.30, 'Tales from the Stave'.
Norris points out that the First Symphony is still missing, so keep your eyes open when turning out your attic.
It made me think about future generations and how their searches for lost pieces may take a very different turn. With the advent of music software programmes such as 'Sibelius', many composers now use this convenient method to notate their music. However, this will deny those 'yet to be born' historians a valuable insight into the musical deliberations and the evolution of a composition. Handwritten scores (as with handwritten manuscripts of literary works) often provide an illumination of the compositional process. However, one will still be able to see a piece developing over time if the pages of manuscript are printed out, played through, and alterations made.
My fear is that most musicians are not organised (nor indeed are they generally interested) in filing away 'stages of composition' for posterity.
Their main focus is perfecting their music.
So I'd like to leave a few suggestions for son number one, two, and their descendants.
All those pieces of paper lying around randomly are important. Don't just throw them out. They are the vital link in a chain that will show a work in progress.
Do check behind any cupboard and even under the eaves. There will be more music there.
If you find what looks like a shopping list, do turn it over and check. The chances are it's part of the final movement of 'Primavera', or the middle section of 'Celtic Concerto'.
Don't forget that all those bags full of tapes and CDs tell a story. Many of them contain short clips, ideas, whole pieces, interviews, t.v. broadcasts etc. all of which could prove extremely useful in the future.
So whilst I'm not comparing Robin Hill with Rachmaninov, we do need to consider new methods of tracing living and deceased composers and their music.


Anonymous said...

Anna, I so enjoy your blogs! Will show my daughter too because she loves dogs (Nintendo DS freak). But seriously I totally agree regards the work in progress stuff. And it applies to many things as well as musicians' compositions. I have a professional recording of my daughter when she was about 8, singing "Whistle a Happy Tune". It's just SO CUTE!!!!

Anna said...

Thanks Viv, glad you are enjoying the blog.
I hope your daughter is still whistling!