I am over the flu (or something), so this month's news will be not quite so brief. I have completed a realization of George William Louis Marshall-Hall's C minor Symphony, which is a real discovery. Rather like Mendelssohn (and just as well-crafted as that composer's work) and some Wagner here and there, especially some Tristanesque melodic line and harmony in the Adagio middle movement. According to a contemporary report of the première in 1893 (conducted by the composer), only the second movement was performed. The orchestral parts that exist (in the Grainger Museum) also are of this movement only, which suggests that the outer movements have never been performed. If so, I am thrilled to be the first to hear them, although sad that the composer did not. It seems likely that the Melbourne players of 1893 were not up to tackling their virtuosic content. The final movement contains many delightful examples of theme imitation, decoration and a fugue. Marshall-Hall was clearly well-trained in musical structure and orchestration.
Soon I will be giving thought to another Australian symphony which has not yet been performed. This could make the second CD of my PhD world premières of three symphonies. But there are other works by Marshall-Hall that have been neglected. Further research in that area will be forthcoming.
David Stanhope may be contacted
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dstanhope AT bigpond DOT com
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