Music with something important to say to our cynical times
Nonetheless, I maintain hope that Rubbra’s time will come. There is too much quality in his work, in its craftsmanship and its distinctive voice, for it to forever remain in the shadows. He just needs a champion of suitable standing to bring his symphonies back to Britain’s concert halls. Even if you don’t share Rubbra’s religious faith (and I don’t) the essential goodness in his music surely has something important to say to our cynical times: its patient optimism, beautiful organic patterning and deeply felt spirituality are a welcome antidote to much of modern life. I was pleased to hear that comic writer Armando Iannucci included Rubbra’s eighth symphony in his choices for Radio 3’s Essential Classics last September. Such big-name advocates can only help more people discover this wonderful music.That extract comes from Simon Brackenborough's blog Corymbus . Simon's persuasive and beautifully crafted essay on Edmund Rubbra, which ignores all the silly conventions that prevail in contemporary music writing, is one of the most impressive examples of music writing that I have read for some time. Like Rubbra's music, this kind of writing has something important to say to our cynical times.
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I've long had Rubbra on my list of unjustly neglected British composers. This week I've also added Richard Arnell - I've been listening to his 4th and 5th symphonies. Well worth investigating if you don't already know them Bob.
"I’m old-fashioned enough to believe that the highest function of music is to release one from personal pre-occupation in order to know something of the Divine forces that shape all existence. To achieve this, the composer must have a faith that man is NOT the end of all things, that man is NOT unaided, the sole arbiter of his destiny, that he is an instrument, even if a weak one, of a purpose that, even if beyond our understanding, is immovably present at each point of time." -- Edmund Rubbra