Jascha Horenstein (1898-1973)
Horenstein recorded Simpson 3 for Unicorn, so this audio of No.2 (its first performance conducted by Barbirolli) is welcome. Simpson 2 was recorded for Hyperion by Vernon Handley, and has recently attracted Martyn Brabbins.
Simpson 5 & 6, http://www.colinscolumn.com/for-robert-simpsons-centenary-on-march-2-lyrita-has-released-his-fifth-sixth-symphonies-in-their-premiere-performances/, recommended.
Is this from the series of Simpson symphonies that Horenstein conducted for the BBC in either the late 60s or early 70s? It was a series when Simpson had written just his first three symphonies by that time and Horenstein conducted all three, one a week, on either The Third Programme or Radio 3 on Sunday afternoons. There is also a tape of Simpson himself conducting No 2 with the RPO in the British Library – what’s it doing there? Why isn’t it on a commercial CD?
Bob, if you knew the difficulties – and the cost – of getting something out of the BBC archive and on to commercial CD you wouldn’t ask this question. I know. I have tried with some of John’s works, including the 2nd Violin Concerto. Maybe Lyrita could do it, if you could get an answer out of them….
Well, Monica, I was at the premiere of John’s large-scale (38 minutes, I recall) Second Violin Concerto (with Erich Gruenberg) and got talking with John and Bob Simpson (who was also there) afterwards: I said ‘I think the key of the work is deliberately left uncertain until the end’, and John said ‘It’s supposed to be in F-sharp major/minor’ to which Bob replied ‘No it’s not: it’s on the leading-note of G!’ It is a terrific piece and the BBC, which seems at present to have given up the ghost on most genuinely artistic matters, ought to make it much easier for those who wish to acquire broadcast recordings for commercial release – including those Horenstein performances of Simpson’s Symphonies 1-3.
Bob, in case they missed you, here are two performances of John McCabe’s Violin Concerto No.2, a great work:
Courtesy of Richard Landau, as well as the ‘official’ LSO recording on Unicorn, I also have an off air recording of Simpson’s 3rd Symphony with the BBCNSO dated 5th March 1970 plus an interview with Horenstein recorded in NY November 1969, so this might be the week, Bob, in which he performed the first three symphonies. Also, from the time when I was at BBC I have a BBC Transcription disk of the 1st Symphony with an expiry date of 30th September 1974 but, if my memory serves me right, this was with Stanley Pope and the RPO (unfortunately BBC Transcriptions never identified the performers on their disk labels but somewhere I have a Transcription catalogue which I shall endeavour to locate and check). Re Bob Simpson, I travelled up to Perth with him once on the overnight sleeper when he and Joel Lazar were recording some organ concertos of the 18th Century composer Herschel who was I think also Astronomer Royal (Simpson was, of course, also a keen astronomer which was the connection). The recordings were made at Scone Palace which has an original organ of the period
This Horenstein performance of Simpson 2 is clearly dated February 1971, and has been since it was first posted. Colin