Monday, February 19, 2018

English suites and others no. 25

The final stop on our Celtic tour of the British isles is The Isle of Man. Man is a small island, famous more for its tailless cats than its music. The Bee Gees were born there, but they didn't stay long, and they're of no use to me anyway. The only classical composer I could find from Man was Haydn Wood (1882-1959), who was not Manx by origin, but who spent most of his childhood living there, and remained fond of the place. His catalog includes several Manx-inspired works, of which the best is a tone poem for symphonic band titled Mannin Veen, which means "Dear Isle of Man." The U.S. Marine Band, of all people, do it justice.

Like Edward German's Welsh Rhapsody, this is a single movement, rather than a suite, based on a series of contrasting folk tunes. But it's organized differently. Wood presents all four of his themes in the first half of the work, and then elaborates further on them in the second half. With the timing of their first appearances, they are The Good Old Way (Methodist air) (0.01), The Manx Fiddler (reel) (2.23), Sweet Water in the Common (3.25), and The Harvest of the Sea (Manx fishermen's evening hymn) (4.50).

After this, I have a few favorite haunts in continental Europe ...

No comments:

Post a Comment