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Does Everyone But Me Know This Composer?


Ann
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About a week ago there was a terrific little choral piece played on our local classical music radio station. It was called "Young Nancy and the Sailor" conducted by John Rutter and composed by Ernest John Moeran. I looked him up on the web and learned that he was a fairly prolific composer who lived in the first have of the last century. I happened to have a gift certificate to the local record store, and what should I find this morning but a recording of a symphony and sinfonietta by him. They are GOOD! Has anyone ever played anything by him? He led a pretty miserable life, and I guess a lot of what he wrote was lost.

Give a listen if you have a chance.

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I can say that it's not true that EVERYONE except you knows of this composer, for I hadn't heard of him either. Thanks for bringing him to my attention!

He has his own posthumous website: www.moeran.com and it's loaded with biographical material, pictures, sound samples of his works, discography, as well as downloadable complete renditions of many of his works.

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Thanks, Oldbear, for the terrific website! Much better than the one I had gotten to. I sure would love to hear from someone who has played some of the music. I'm one of those neurotics who hate to think of someone spending a life writing wonderful music and then not being heard.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have never heard of Moeran, and I have heard of most things, especially choral, so that makes him obscure in my book.

John Rutter, by the way, is a composer who is well known in church choirs and choral societies in Britain, but to say that it is well liked would be to stretch a point. I and most people I've sung with groan whenever it's put in front of us. It sounds like advertising jingles. However, Stephen Cleobury is definitely worse.

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Note, though, that this was conducted by Rutter, not composed by him. I would say that most Americans who are reasonably sophisticated about choral music would consider him a clean, spare, accurate conductor. I have sung some of his church things that I admired, and some that sounded commercially aimed, and of course, he does stand with one foot in Broadway and the other in the church yard, a hard balance to achieve. I think of him as an example of the sort of director much more frequently heard in your neck of the woods. The art of choral singing in the United States attains a high level in the university but less so in the community; I have been lead to believe that on the other hand, the community choral societies support the university programs in Great Britain. Moeran has a flavor of Vaughn Williams but to my ear, a little more complex, but the rhythms of "Young Nancy" are refreshing and charming, and the singing on the recording was top notch, no question about that. So Rutter or not, to me it was a little jewel worth spending its two minutes on.

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