Idioma disponible: inglésEnglishman Joseph (or Josef) Holbrooke was an industrious, working class composer whose ambitious and extensive oeuvre betrays his equally considerable obscurity. The son of an English music hall musician and teacher, Holbrooke sometimes used the name "Josef" to distinguish himself from his father, also named "Joseph." Gaining his diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in 1896, Holbrooke made his public debut as concert pianist that year; at RAM he had also met his lifelong friend and supporter, Granville Bantock. By 1897, Holbrooke was working as a teacher and musical director based out of the London suburb of Haringey, leading small groups in touring music shows. It was a peripatetic existence, but things changed dramatically for Holbrooke in the year 1900 when three of his orchestral pieces were heard; August Manns led the symphonic poem The Raven at Crystal Palace, Bantock premiered Holbrooke's The Skeleton in Armour with the New Brighton Orchestra and Henry Wood presented his Symphonic Variations on "Three Blind Mice" at the Proms. By the end of 1900, Holbrooke was regarded as one of the top young composers in England. In 1908, Thomas Beecham premiered Holbrooke's Apollo and the Seaman -- sometimes referred to as the Apollo Symphony -- with a multimedia element in the form of magic lantern slides shown in the darkened concert hall that provided a visual narrative to go along with the piece; these got out of sync with the music and handed Holbrooke his first failure. However, the funeral march from Apollo was a favorite of Captain Robert Scott and was much played at memorials held for Scott after he perished on an ill-fated Antarctic expedition in 1912. Apollo also attracted the attention of Lord Howard de Walden, who, with Holbrooke, embarked on a cycle of music dramas based on Welsh folklore -- The Children of Don, Dylan, and Bronwen -- known under the umbrella title of The Cauldron of Annwn. These ambitious works occupied both Holbrooke and de Walden from 1908 and 1920, and the collaboration also resulted in a number of smaller pieces based on Cyrmic themes. De Walden remained Holbrooke's benefactor until his own death in 1946, funding concerts Holbrooke led, frequently devoted to young British composers, supporting recordings of Holbrooke's works, publications, and the like. While Holbrooke's Piano Concerto No. 1 (1907) -- which had been premiered by Harold Bauer -- and his light music helped keep Holbrooke in the public mind, interest in Holbrooke began to decline sharply after the end of World War I. This was in spite of the fact that Holbrooke enthusiastically adopted the rhythms of jazz into his music, writing pop fox trots and other things of the kind during the 1920s. At this time, Holbrooke began to suffer from deafness, which did not affect his musical creativity but did make more difficult for him the business of conducting and simply communicating with the outside world. With de Walden's death, Holbrooke simply drifted into obscurity, dying at age 80 the same year as his contemporary Ralph Vaughan Williams. However, he left a comparable output: in addition to works already mentioned, he composed eight symphonies, a second piano concerto, additional symphonic poems, much chamber music, and no less than 35 pieces based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Holbrooke's obscurity and eccentricity, however, gained a sort of legendary status among British musicians, which may have been what Tony Oxley, Gavin Bryars, and Derek Bailey had in mind when they named their free improvisation trio Joseph Holbrooke upon its inception in 1963. Although sometimes derided as long-winded, pedantic, and old-fashioned, Holbrooke was always looking for ways to stretch the boundaries of his music -- through use of projections, thought-provoking subject matter, unusual orchestration, or other means. Nevertheless, the late romantic harmonic language Holbrooke developed in the 1890s remained a constant throughout his life; he only wrote "modernistic" music as a kind of parody of composers who did so genuinely. This and other factors continue to impede the revival of Holbrooke's music, even though there is much that seems as worthy of investigation.
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Clásica - Publicado el 1 de enero de 2002 | Dutton Epoch