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Ludwig Van
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | New Album Resurrects Lost Works By A Criminally Overlooked Female Composer

By Norman Lebrecht on March 8, 2019

Grace Williams
In honour of International Women’s Day, we take a look at a new album of never before recorded works by the Welsh composer, Grace Williams.

Grace Williams: Chamber music (Naxos)

★★★★☆
🎧 Spotify | iTunes | Amazon

If you haven’t heard of Grace Williams, it’s not entirely down to vicious male suppression. The Welsh composer (1906-1977) studied in London with Ralph Vaughan Williams around the same time as Elizabeth Maconchy and Imogen Holst. Women composers were emerging in the 1920s and receiving strong encouragement.

Grace Williams was particularly friendly with Benjamin Britten, as their extant letters attest. She remained in London through the 1930s and was a visible part of its musical life. During the War she began to suffer from depression. She returned home to Barry in 1945 for the last 30 years of her life.

None of the pieces on this album, brought to life by Madeleine Mitchell and her ensemble, has been recorded before. All are immensely agreeable without striking the ear with great originality. A superb sextet is redolent of Vaughan Williams at his most pastoral, a violin sonata of Frank Bridge at his most nautical. A suite for 9 instruments would have pleased Nadia Boulanger for its Stravinsky hints.

Mitchell puts heart and soul into the violin sonata and leads the rest with fizz and flair. This is occasional music in the literal sense of the term: it demands the right occasion and the right mood. I’m still listening.

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

INTERVIEW | Desert Songs And Water Music: The Summer Adventures Of Johannes Debus

By Joseph So on August 12, 2019

Leading up to the second edition of Wellington Water Week on August 17-25, it's easy to see why people are flocking to picturesque Prince Edward County.
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CLASSICAL 101 | How Can Violins Sound So Sad?

By Anya Wassenberg on July 25, 2019

There is no doubt that there is something about the achingly sweet sound of the violin that makes it the ideal means of expressing sorrow and sadness.
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SCRUTINY | Stratford Festival's 'The Merry Wives Of Windsor' Leaves No Shtick Unturned

By Paula Citron on August 8, 2019

Not without its faults, Stratford Festival's The Merry Wives Of Windsor is great for those who appreciate a good farce.
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