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George Lloyd Society Newsletter December 2023

George Lloyd Society Newsletter December 2023

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Newsletter     December 2023



‍ Greetings  ‍ ‍


This is our most recent newsletter, sent automatically to recent subscribers.  Newsletters are occasional and infrequent, but because we are currently in a significant transition to a new publisher, another might follow shortly. 


I am pleased to say that we are now back on track after migrating our website to a new server with new email handlers, and I am now writing with some significant news about our publishing activities.  


The new email handling might not have registered your preferences correctly, so if necessary please modify or unsubscribe by clicking the links at the top of the page, as appropriate. 

Now for the good news: 

‍‍Scores & recordings move to
Lyrita Nimbus Arts

The George Lloyd Society has reached an agreement with the Trustees of Lyrita Nimbus Arts to take over the sale and hire of all George Lloyd's scores held by the Society, and the re-release of the complete collection of recordings conducted by the composer, in several box-sets with new notes and artwork. 


This agreement is another milestone in the extraordinary story of George Lloyd and his music, and in one way it is a home-coming. The Lyrita label issued the first three commercial recordings of Lloyd's symphonies over 40 years ago, and it is entirely fitting that Lyrita Nimbus will now take the complete catalogue of scores and recordings into the future. William Lloyd writes: 


" George Lloyd was fiercely independent, and with the invaluable assistance of Albany Records USA, together with some of the finest engineers and recording producers in the business, and his loyal audience, he was able to maintain that independence from mainstream publishers and record companies to the end of his life. This allowed him to record over 20 albums under his own baton, and to publish his extensive catalogue of scores under the imprint of the George Lloyd Music Library. That independence came at a price - his commercial success was remarkable and was sufficient to finance all the recording, manufacture, printing and binding, but until now we have not had the international marketing reach, nor access to the digital distribution platforms which are a necessity in the new global markets. Lyrita Nimbus Arts can offer all this, together with in-house manufacturing and printing which allows very fast fulfilment by producing small runs to order. 

This is a perfect match for us, and it is a great vindication of Lloyd's faith in the enduring quality of his work that Lyrita have recognised its value and committed significant resources to bringing his music to a new audience.   


We are most grateful to long time supporter and society member, conductor & trumpeter Dave Richards, who assisted greatly in the search for a permanent home for the library and archive, and who introduced us to the Directors at Lyrita Nimbus Arts. "


Because George Lloyd's personal attention was a dominating influence on the scores and recordings - which he mostly conducted himself – Lyrita have branded this new edition the 'Signature Collection'. Scores will be cleaned, and new orchestral parts created, recordings will be reorganised into affordable sets with new notes commissioned from Paul Conway. All digital platforms will have access to a unified and comprehensive catalogue from a single source.


Release of the recordings will be in five stages, from March 2024 to March 2025.  Box sets will include the symphonies (2) concertos, (4) choral works, (2) and single CDs of works for violin and piano and for brass. 


Of note will be new first recordings of some chamber works, and a new edition of the
complete Festival of Britain opera ‘John Socman’ which combines the ‘Highlights’ under Lloyd’s own baton with Edward Downes’ BBC recording of the work to make up the complete opera. 

Antony Smith and Kate Smith from Lyrita Nimbus Artsat the Association of British Choral Conductors conference in October

‍‍Tuning Up:
the George Lloyd Society Blog

N‍o 3: What should be the relationship between composer and audience? 

Should the composer’s personal spiritual quest prevail, regardless of the taste of the listener, or should the composer acknowledge that the audience may not share their subjective experience and seek some common ground? What is the effect of ambition, and the pursuit of fame and celebrity, in shaping the composer’s choices?

In the third of our occasional series discusing Lloyd's music in a wider context, musicologist Peter Davison explores these questions through the
medium of Balzac’s
 Gambara, a short story about a composer whose idealism is slowly crushed by the cynical world that surrounds him. The story had a profound impact on Wagner and Schoenberg, and through them on European musical aesthetics up to the present day.  The original story is HERE.   


Peter Davison's blog is HERE  He writes: 

Honoré de Balzac 

Much of my fascination for the music of George Lloyd stems from sympathy for his struggle against modernist orthodoxy in the period after the Second World War, when his accessible and tuneful style fell badly out of fashion. It has long been a puzzle to me why, during the twentieth century, many composers became so alienated from their audiences.

In 2001, I edited a collection of essays called Reviving the Muse, which explored this thorny subject in some detail. I stumbled across Balzac’s Gambara by accident and was immediately struck by how it accurately foreshadows many of the revolutionary developments in modern music, at once explaining their psychological origins and questioning their legitimacy.

Playlists and downloads (no charge)

Audio streams of complete movements from Lloyd’s works. 


YouTube: Serene and Mindful:   
A selection of slow movements from orchestral and choral works, on a theme of healing, well-being, and mindfulness, with a series of landscape images of the English Lake District.

Playlist No 1:
An introduction to some of the hidden corners of Lloyd’s music – a capella choral work, brass, wind, solo piano, violin chamber work, a setting of a John Betjeman poem, Wantage Bells, sung by Elizabeth Harwood, and a track of George Lloyd conducting a Danzi bassoon concerto arranged for euphonium...


Playlist No 2:
Slow movements - from Symphonies 2,3,4,6,8,9,10 and 12. 


Fourth Symphony

Ealing Symphony Orchestra

conducted by John Gibbons

November 25th 2023,
St Barnabas Church, London W5 1QG

There will be a performance of Lloyd’s Fourth Symphony by the Ealing Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Gibbons on Saturday 25th November at St Barnabas Church, W5 1QG.


This concert is next in the series in which ESO has committed to programming the complete cycle of 12 Lloyd symphonies. Named ‘The Arctic Symphony’ by the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Fourth marked Lloyd’s return to composition following his war injuries.


Written in Switzerland in 1946, it is a large-scale symphony, both in duration and orchestras resources. The work reflects Lloyd experiences guarding the Arctic Convoys to Russia in WWII, and on the score, he wrote ”A world of darkness, strange storms, and a faraway peacefulness.” 


Link: Ealing Symphony Orchestra and tickets.


An introduction to the music of the Fourth Symphony and the aftermath of his experiences on HMS Trinidad can be found in the 
George Lloyd Society Podcast: The Melodic Line.  


Reviews of the 4th Symphony.

I was hardly prepared for the imaginative power, fibre and muscle and sheer instrumental brilliance of the writing …a work of haunting tranquillity.. could almost be a long-lost ballet by Tchaikovsky. Daily Telegraph


Those of us who heard the first performance of the Fourth in 1981 will never forget it. Massive in scale (it lasts over an hour), it draws on every conceivable emotion - fear, anger, grief, serenity, love - before a finale of the ecstatic reaffirmation of the triumph of life over death. It shows all Lloyd's talents at their best: his gift for orchestration not least, but also his apparently bottomless well of inventiveness.  Simon Heffer. The Spectator.


It is difficult to see this as other than a major achievement among our own century’s symphonists. He is a master orchestrator. This is a marvellous symphony of great and permanent value. Gramophone.   


‍Music for Brass
‍Tenth Symphony
(November Journeys)
for brass.

‍A reminder of the splendid recording of Lloyd's 10th Symphony coupled with works by Paul Drayton, recorded by Abbey Brass. FS RECORDS FSR201.  For a review, see MusicWeb International.  Review from MusicWeb

‍Brass Band World feature

‍In their most recent issue, Brass Band World magazine has a retrospective feature on George Lloyd's music for brass, marking 25 years since his death. Band historian Tim Mutum traces the sequence of the four test pieces commissioned for brass band competitions.   Brass Band World


George Lloyd in Sicily in 1937, (aged 24) where he and Nancy lived while he was writing his opera The Serf (Covent Garden, 1938.)  After several months of his working at the score, they took time off to walk around Mount Etna, using donkeys to carry their packs. 


We have recently completed a vital stage in the process of compiling Lloyd's biography. Archivist Hilary Simmons has catalogued, summarised and in some cases transcribed, the thousands of letters in the composer's correspondence archive. Lloyd worked closely with his father on the librettos for the three operas, motly by letter as they lived hundreds of miles apart. The letters give a real insight into the composer's musical, technical, and aesthetic world, his struggles to finance his work, and managing his slow recovery from wartime injury. In particular they shed light on the necessary diplomacy, (and occasionally the lack of it) in his dealings with the Arts Council, the BBC and the many conductors and orchestral managers who had the power to decide if his music would ever be heard.


Now sorted into a time series, these letters form the central chronicle of his life, and we now have the raw material to start weaving together the various threads into a coherent narrative. 

Small world news - 
three curious synchronicities

Whitworth Vale and Healey Brass Band become Section II Champions


At the National Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham on September 17th, the Whitworth Vale and Healey Brass Band took first place in Section II. 

George Lloyd’s family have a long association with the Whitworth Valley in Rossendale, Lancashire, which is about 20 miles north of Manchester. George’s father William donated land for the Whitworth Memorial Gardens and St Michael's School, his great-uncle Thomas laid the foundation stone for the Lloyd Steet School, just a few yards from the Whitworth Band Club, and his brother Walter farmed in the valley for 40 years.  The George Lloyd Society is planning to sponsor a celebratory concert with the band in 2024. 

Congratulations to all concerned... 


Equale Brass 

A Miniature Triptych
or brass quintet (17 mins)
first recording by Equale Brass,
to be released after 40 years.

Trombonist Peter Bassano knew George Lloyd through his playing with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and they collaborated on a commission of a new work for quintet Equale Brass.  The result was A Miniature Triptych. 


The work was recorded by Nimbus over forty years ago, but was never edited or released, and the session tapes have been sitting in our archives ever since. During recent meetings with Lyrita,  we were reviewing the list of unrecorded works and Lyrita trustee Adrian Farmer revealed that he had been the engineer and producer for the Nimbus recording of the Triptych.  The the session tapes were retrieved from our store, and Adrian has produced a splendid master tape, which will be released in 2024. 


Link:  A Miniature Triptych 


3. P‍eter Bassano,


              Emilia Bassano,


                         and Eleanor Lloyd 


The Bassano connection has another dimension. Peter Bassano’s book Shakespeare and Emilia tells the story of Emilia Bassano, the ‘dark lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets.The extensive Bassano family were Venetian musicians at the court of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth 1st. Peter is a direct descendant Anthonio Bassano, uncle to Emilia.


In the autumn of 2020, when Bassano’s book was published, and unknown to each other, George Lloyd’s great niece (and my daughter) Eleanor Lloyd, produced the triple Olivier Award winning stage show of ‘Emilia’.


Link: Shakespeare and Emilia by Peter Bassano

‍Sale of surplus stock

‍Some subscribers have reported that the links in our previous Newsletter now give an error message. It seems that the Newsletter did not migrate successfully to our new server, so two of the important links are shown below. 


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Thank you,


William Lloyd

The George Lloyd Society




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