Tuesday, 1 July 2008

118. William Boyce - Eight Symphonies, op.2 (1760)


Title: Eight Symphonies Op.2
Performer: Aradia Ensemble
Director: Kevin Mallon
Year: 2003
Length: 1 hour 2 minutes


After finishing off the two great names of high baroque with Bach and Handel going off the list in quick succession we now get rid of Baroque itself with this recording of William Boyce's Eight Symphonies. Although the concept of symphony points us towards the Classical period that is coming up right after this, these are still very Baroque pieces.

The fact that we jumped 10 years from Theodora to these pieces and they still sound very much in the Baroque tradition is indicative of their lack of inventiveness. We are at a time where baroque is fast becoming unfashionable.

Boyce does have his own merits, however. The symphonies are lovely, with a very airy disposition, even in the slow movements, with some impressive martial stuff in Symphony number 5 for example. A lovely collection of music, on the Baroque side of the transition to the classical period.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Boyce is best known for his set of eight symphonies, his anthems and his odes. He also wrote the masque Peleus and Thetis and songs for John Dryden's Secular Masque, incidental music for William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale, and a quantity of chamber music including a set of twelve trio sonatas.

Boyce was largely forgotten after his death and he remains a little-performed composer today, although a number of his pieces were rediscovered in the 1930s and Constant Lambert edited and sometimes conducted his works.

First Movement of the 4th Symphony:

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