Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Fri, 03 Dec 2021 14:42:30 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb William Boyce – 8 Symphonies (1990) William Boyce – 8 Symphonies (1990)

1. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 1 in B flat major
2. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 2 in A major
3. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 3 in C major 
4. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 4 in F major 
5. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 5 in D major 
6. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 6 in F major 
7. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 7 in B flat major 
8. Symphonies (8), Op. 2: no 8 in D minor 

The English Concert / Trevor Pinnock


William Boyce’s eight symphonies are not only the most well known and most recorded of all his works, but are also probably amongst the most famous, most played and most loved of any English Baroque musical work.

They were first published by John Walsh (Handel’s publisher) in 1760 but each one was in fact composed over the previous 21 years as either an ode to a vocal or stage work or as an overture. At the time of publication Boyce was 49 and had begun to gradually withdraw from public musical life – probably because of his increasing deafness. These pieces were no doubt chosen for publication as a single set to represent his finest and most famous orchestral works. Newspapers at this time show a strong growth in musical societies and public orchestral concerts and Boyce’s symphonies were presumably published to meet the correspondingly high demand for this type of work.

This description is not entirely accurate as bassoons and double basses (playing from the same part as the ‘cellos) are also needed as well as timpani in the fifth symphony.

The terms Overture and Symphony were synonymous at this time and were generally described as being either in the French or Italian style. The French style ‘overture’ began with a slow movement containing dotted rhythms leading to a fugue. Dance movements followed this. The Italian style ‘sinfonia’ or symphony was in three movements, slow-fast-slow. Boyce arranged his symphonies such that numbers 1-5 are in the Italian Style and 6-8 are in the French style. For the whole of his life Boyce continued to compose music in both styles in spite of the fact that the French style ‘overture’ was quickly going out of fashion.

When musical tastes changed in the latter half of the eighteenth century and audiences looked towards the new ‘classical’ style of Abel, J.C. Bach, Mozart and Haydn, the symphonies of Boyce were gradually dropped from the orchestral repertoire. The composer Constant Lambert (1905-1951) put them back on the musical map when he rediscovered them in the 1920s – leading to the first modern edition in 1928. Lambert made use of Boyce’s music in his own ballet ‘The Prospect Before Us’ which was produced by the Sadler’s Wells ballet company in 1940.

The symphonies are recognised today as being absolute gems of the period; bright, full of good tunes, well crafted and delightfully unassuming.

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]]> (bluesever) Boyce William Wed, 21 Oct 2009 19:22:42 +0000
William Boyce – Solomon (1990) William Boyce – Solomon (1990)

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1. Part 1: Overture
2. Part 1: Behold, Jerusalem, behold thy king
3. Part 1: From the mountains, lo! he comes
4. Part 1: Tell me, lovely shepherd
5. Part 1: Fairest of the virgin throng
6. Part 1: As the rich apple, on whose boughs
7. Part 1: Beneath his ample shade I lay
8. Part 1: Who quits the lily's fleecy white
9. Part 1: Balmy sweetness, ever flowing
10. Part 1: Let not my prince his slave despise / Ah, simple me! my own, more dear
11. Part 1: Fair and comely is my love
12. Part 1: Forbear, O charming swain, forbear!
13. Part 1: Fill with cooling juice the bowl!
14. Part 2: Sinfonia
15. Part 2: The cheerful spring begins today - Arise, my fair, and come away
16. Part 2: Together let us range the fields
17. Part 2: How lovely art thou to the sight
18. Part 2: Let me, love, thy bole ascending
19. Part 2: O, that a sister's specious name
20. Part 2: Soft, I adjure you, by the fawns
21. Part 2: My fair's a garden of delight
22. Part 2: Softly rise, O southern breeze!
23. Part 3: Arise, my fair, the doors unfold
24. Part 3: Obedient to thy voice I hie
25. Part 3: Ye blooming virgins, as ye rove
26. Part 3: Who is thy love, O charming maid!
27. Part 3: On his face the vernal rose
28. Part 3: This, O ye virgins
29. Part 3: Sweet nymph, whom ruddier charms adorn
30. Part 3: O take me! stamp me on thy breast!
31. Part 3: Thou soft invader of the soul! - In vain we trace the globe

A Serenata by William Boyce was recorded on 18,19,20 September 1989 and includes
She - Bronwen Mills, soprano,
He - Howard Crook, tenor
and choir and Orchestra of The Parley of Instruments.
Roy Goodman - conductor


The conductor of this disc describes it as "the composer's masterpiece." As I do not know all of Boyce's ouevre I have no way of judging if he is right, but Solomon certainly is a masterpiece. The text derives from the Song of Solomon, but librettist and composer place it frimly in the then-new tradition of the English Pastorale. There is even a suggestion of the four seasons passing siting the work firmly somewhere between Handel's Acis and Galatea and Haydn's The Seasons.

But that gives no idea of the charm of the music. Boyce always has a gift for melody, but here, drawing on an inspiration that often recalls Purcell, he outdoes himself. The climax of the score is an exquisite painting of summer with baroque bassoon accompanied by shimmering strings.

The performance ought to mmerit 5 stars, chorus and orchestra are excellent and the conductor's love of the music is obvious. The only slight reservation that I have is the quality of the soloists and in particular the soprano whose voice is alas not the last word in lusciousness. But the reservation is slight and does not spoil one's enjoyment of a redsicovered masterpiece. ---T. Coleman,

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]]> (bluesever) Boyce William Wed, 18 Aug 2010 16:44:44 +0000