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Liverpool Concert Letters by Henry Wood

Liverpool Concert Letters by Henry Wood by WOOD, Henry [Mr Riley] (1932)
Author: WOOD, Henry [Mr Riley]
Title: Liverpool Concert Letters by Henry Wood
Year: 1932
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Liverpool; Hertfordshire
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
Price: £425
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Added under Manuscripts  

(10 ALS; 5 Notes; 10 TLS; 2 Telegrams) Substantial correspondence from Sir Henry Wood negotiating two Liverpool concerts late in 1932 which included performances of a Hindemith Overture and the Delius Violin Concerto by Orrea Pernel. In a series of letters that reveals his tireless advocacy of contemporary music Sir Henry Wood writes to a Mr Riley of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society using his own 'Apple Tree Farm House' headed paper and notecards. Discussions seem to have begun early in 1932 with Wood offering a shopping list of possible works that included '2. New Choral Work Honneger... 5. Koncertmusic for Strings & Brass Hindemith' and in the following letter makes a strong case on 12th March for 'Sibelius First Symphony [which] is superb - you must do it.' Resolving problems over dates Wood reveals that 'There has just been published a most interesting new Choral work by Arthur Honegger entitled "Cris du Monde". It would make a splendid feather in the cap of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society, if they have the first performance in England of this most effective work... quite modern in idiom, is not ugly, but most original...' He also promoted the work of 'Dame Ethel Smyth as she is always a great draw...' continuing with a suggestion of George Dyson's '"The Canterbury Pilgrims" only 3 soloists... splendid words (Chaucer) and full of fun and life...' (this was performed). Wood didn't abandon the idea of a Sibelius symphony easily but is clear that it must not be programmed at the end of a concert: 'you know I never like finishing the Concert with a Symphony, the band and the audience are fatigued and sometimes even the Conductor...' He reveals himself to be disapproving of Glazunov but in favour of Mussorgsky - Night on a Bare Mountain appeared in the concerts. Most interestingly there are four pages in which Wood sets out the exact orchestral requirements for the two concert programmes, sent only a week before the first concert on November 22. These pages have been annotated with names of individual players from the Liverpool orchestra, presumably by Riley. The correspondence ends with Wood gratefully accepting the return of something that he left in Liverpool during his visit. An incidental pleasure of the correspondence is his solicitude for his soloist the violinst Orrea Pernel who must, he insists, not travel on too early a late train if she is to give of her best.
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