In a summer course under the great English conductor Sir David Willcocks I led the dress rehearsal of Howells' powerful "Take him, earth, for cherishing," a memorial to the recently slain President John F. Style Book. Vernon Handley brings an intensity that shows up when the two are put side by side: Sunday, Jan. I got to tell him how much his music meant to me, and he autographed my score of his Psalm Preludes for organ.
With Willcocks the sense of sympathy is complete, and no doubt the presence of the composer, with a former pupil of his, Kinloch Anderson, as producer, made the occasion a special one. Incorporating music from an earlier and then-unpublished Requiem, Hymnus was mostly composed between 1936 and 1938.
Wednesday 27 February 2019. I am well aware of their greatness and, in some cases, creative genius. An axiom in the aesthetics of eschatology has it that Hell is good value and Paradise rather a liability.
Composer or Director: Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Perhaps that puts it crudely.
The best of Howells' music still can send chills down my back. There it stayed for more than a decade.
It is a difficult work to put on; requiring two soloists, a big orchestra and a choir, it is also expensive. Sumsion instantly saw the quality of the piece, and that in musical terms it was of a different dimension not just to anything else Howells had done, but to anything most living composers could do.
I have not been to a performance since, though there is one in Chichester Cathedral in November that I shall make a point of attending.