David Stanhope Archives
Archive for August 2000


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Three Ships and Lisbon - High Quality MP3 - 410K (approx. 80 second download)


Three Ships and Lisbon - Low Quality MP3 - 70K (approx. 14 second download)



The Symphony for wind band is complete! All that remains is the final checking (a laborious but necessary process) and then the parts can be made from a duplicate file. The three movements carry the titles "Dreams", "Desires" and "Devils", the last also being by far the longest movement. Overall the length is probably about 25 minutes. I hope the symphony will be considered a work of great power, with plenty of contrast between and within the movements. Certainly the scoring is large; the conventional ensemble is expanded to include 4 flute parts, cor anglais, 6 Bb clarinet parts, 4 trombone parts, 2 euphonium parts, 2 tuba parts and 5 percussion parts.

Tall Poppies has drawn my attention to a review my piano CD "David Stanhope Plays" received in the August Gramophone magazine, written by the English critic Bryce Morrison. I hope I may be excused for quoting it here in full!

"Take a deep breath; here is a towering athlete of the keyboard who tosses off the peaks of the virtuoso repertoire before breakfast, aided by a four-pedal Stuart piano. David Stanhope is an Australian composer, conductor, horn player and bass trombonist who 'occasionally finds time to practise the piano'. The irony of that last remark will not be lost when you hear him tackle some of the most formidable peaks of the virtuoso repertoire with an ease and grandeur that shames more celebrated pianists. He positively revels in Busoni's joyous and opulent arrangement of Bach's organ Prelude and Fugue in E flat; and, enterprisingly prefacing his selection of Chopin-Godowsky Etudes with the originals (he plays all seven versions of Op.10 No.5), he spins off every intricacy with dazzling fluency.

Godowsky's massive Passacaglia (music which caused even Horowitz to despair, claiming he needed at least six hands to play it) is, again, played with a masterly aplomb and never more so than in the final pages, which seem to ignite the entire keyboard. Beethoven's Eighth Symphony, given in Liszt's loyal and exuberant transcription, could hardly be more Allegro vivace e con brio, and only the finale, taken at an audaciously fast tempo, suffers a lack of clarity. (This, and a sense - in Chopin's Etude in thirds - of sheer facility substituting for more inward and poetical virtues, are marginal failings.)

Matters are made even more intriguing by the use of a Stuart piano, complete with four pedals (the fourth, called a 'dolce', is put to admirable use in the Busoni), a shallow but attractive sound and a conveniently light action. Stanhope's delightfully haywire notes tell us that Godowsky's Passacaglia is 'easy', 'of extreme difficulty' and 'with only a few pages that are technically very difficult', and Tall Poppies sound is immediate and refined."