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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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September 21, 2005

Musical Archaeologists

Had you heard of the composer Edwin York Bowen before this program? Me neither. Turns out, according to flutist Jeffrey Khaner, that Bowen was a popular English composer (even called the "English Rachmaninoff") around the time of the First World War. After the war, though, his lush, romantic harmonies and tonal music became a bit unfashionable and today he is virtually unknown in the US and UK.

Enter Jeffrey Khaner. Jeff was looking for new repertoire for a recital and a friend suggested that he look into this little-played composer. The music was out of print and difficult to find, but when he did find this Flute Sonata, he uncovered a gem. I felt as though I had made a musical archaeological discovery (without doing any of the work). I remember a similar incident occurring on Saint Paul Sunday with the introduction to another little-known English composer, Rebecca Clarke, by violists Paul Coletti and Helen Callus. With musicians and ensembles constantly looking for new, exciting repertoire it's a nice reminder that we have an incredibly rich musical history yet to uncover.

Have you discovered any old "new" music lately?

Posted by Suzanne Schaffer at September 21, 2005 3:44 PM

 

Comments

I was privileged to hear the Flute & Piano program today(September 21, 'o5). It was the most exciting music I have heard since I attended the Appalachian State Summer Festival's Broyhill Chamber Ensemble this summer. Today was my first to listen to St Paul Sunday over WETS. It will not be the last.

By Jack Branch at September 25, 2005 10:03 PM

 

The terms "monkish and prankish" used to describe Poulenc's duo sonata were once used to describe deFailla's Harpsichord Concerto. Sensing the derogatory connotation of these terms, Harold Schoernburg called the Concerto nothing less than "pure music." Given the perfection of the Poulenc piece, I think the same applies.

ps A truly exciting performance

By tony fico at September 25, 2005 11:45 PM

 

Hello Jack and Tony,

I'm glad you enjoyed the program! Since we're talking about the Poulenc sonata for flute and piano, I got to thinking... two other equally virtuosic flutists have played that piece on Saint Paul Sunday. You can listen to both of their performances online and I'd be interested in hearing how you think the performances differ. Let me know what you think!

James Galway: http://saintpaulsunday.publicradio.org/programs/562/

Emmanual Pahud: http://saintpaulsunday.publicradio.org/listings/shows02_07.htm#0721

By Suzanne Schaffer at September 26, 2005 1:11 PM

 

Hi!
Where I can buy CD Edwin York on-line?

By Lisa at March 22, 2006 8:21 PM

 

Hi Lisa,

I would go to the Public Radio Music Source (an online music catalog that supports public radio stations) and do a search for Edwin York Bowen. When I did it just a minute ago, I got 30 different albums as a result, including Jeffrey Khaner's CD. The website is www.prms.org.

Good luck!

By Suzanne Schaffer at March 23, 2006 1:16 PM