An English thing

September 21 2012

A riffle of laughter travels round an English audience when a short piece of classical music has a throwaway ending. It rippled the silence at the end of the scherzo alla marcia at the premiere of Vaughan Williams 8 in 1956 and at the end of Brahms’s Der Schmied with Alice Coote and Graham Johnson at Wigmore Hall last night.

VW, Previn, LSO. There’s a weightier performance with Handley and the Royal Liverpool Phil here which might not have got it. Is he alluding to the equivalent movement in Beethoven 8?

Met Howard Hodgkin at Wigmore. His pictures are poems and memories. I can see them as being in an English tradition, but, even though the effect may depend on them, I find his frames, two- and three-dimensional, kitsch.

One Response to “An English thing”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    That’s what I often think, but I still admire him. Mario Naves: “There is no doubt that Hodgkin is a gifted artist with taste and a sense of tradition. But he is also one too comfortable within the confines of a formula.”


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