IMP CD 30367-01722: BOYCE, Eight Symphonies - Barry WILDE, 1997
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Background for this listing -
William Boyce (baptised 11 September 1711 – 7 February 1779) is widely regarded as one of the most important English-born composers of the 18th century.

Born in London, Boyce was a choir boy at St Paul's Cathedral before studying music with Maurice Greene after his voice broke. A house in the present choir school is named after him. His first professional appointment came in 1734 when he was employed as an organist at the Oxford Chapel. He went on to take a number of similar posts before being appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1755 and becoming one of the organists at the Chapel Royal in 1758. One of his students was the prodigy Thomas Linley.

When Boyce's deafness became so bad that he was unable to continue in his organist posts, he retired and worked on completing the compilation Cathedral Music that his teacher Greene had left incomplete at his death. This led to Boyce editing works by the likes of William Byrd and Henry Purcell. Many of the pieces in the collection are still used in Anglican services today.

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. He also composed the British and Canadian Naval March "Heart of Oak". The lyrics were later written by David Garrick for his 1759 play Harlequin's Invasion.

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. Lambert had already launched the early stages of the modern Boyce revival in 1928, when he published the first modern edition of the Eight Symphonies (Bartlett and Bruce 2001). The great exception to this neglect was his church music, which was edited after his death by Philip Hayes and published in two large volumes, Fifteen Anthems by Dr Boyce in 1780 and A Collection of Anthems and a Short Service in 1790 (Bartlett 2003, 54).

William Boyce’s eight symphonies are not only the most well known and most recorded of all his works, but are also probably amongst the most famous, most played and most loved of any English Baroque musical work.

They were first published by John Walsh (Handel’s publisher) in 1760 but each one was in fact composed over the previous 21 years as either an ode to a vocal or stage work or as an overture. At the time of publication Boyce was 49 and had begun to gradually withdraw from public musical life – probably because of his increasing deafness. These pieces were no doubt chosen for publication as a single set to represent his finest and most famous orchestral works. Newspapers at this time show a strong growth in musical societies and public orchestral concerts and Boyce’s symphonies were presumably published to meet the correspondingly high demand for this type of work.

The title page (from the first publication in London in January 1760) reads:

EIGHT SYMPHONYS in eight parts
Six for Violins, Hoboys, or German Flutes, and Two for Violins, French Horns and
Trumpets, with a Bass for the VIOLONCELLO AND HARPSICHORD,
London. Printed for J. Walsh in Catherine Street in the Strand.
This description is not entirely accurate as bassoons and double basses (playing from the same part as the ‘cellos) are also needed as well as timpani in the fifth symphony.

The terms Overture and Symphony were synonymous at this time and were generally described as being either in the French or Italian style. The French style ‘overture’ began with a slow movement containing dotted rhythms leading to a fugue. Dance movements followed this. The Italian style ‘sinfonia’ or symphony  was in three movements, slow-fast-slow. Boyce arranged his symphonies such that numbers 1-5 are in the Italian Style and 6-8 are in the French style. For the whole of his life Boyce continued to compose music in both styles in spite of the fact that the French style ‘overture’ was quickly going out of fashion.

When musical tastes changed in the latter half of the eighteenth century and audiences looked towards the new ‘classical’ style of Abel, J.C. Bach, Mozart and Haydn, the symphonies of Boyce were gradually dropped from the orchestral repertoire. The composer Constant Lambert (1905-1951) put them back on the musical map when he rediscovered them in the 1920s – leading to the first modern edition in 1928. Lambert made use of Boyce’s music in his own ballet ‘The Prospect Before Us’ which was produced by the Sadler’s Wells ballet company in 1940.

The symphonies are recognised today as being absolute gems of the period; bright, full of good tunes, well crafted and delightfully unassuming.

This listing is for a very rare, out of print CD title - a SEALED and MINT CD PRESSED and ISSUED by IMP CARLTON CLASSICS of a highly collectible title from their catalog - a superb title featuring -

William BOYCE

CD title of this rare item -

Track listing:
1. Sym No.1: Allegro
2. Sym No.1: Moderato
3. Sym No.1: Allegro
4. Sym No.2: Allegro Assai
5. Sym No.2: Vivace
6. Sym No.2: Tempo Di Minuetto
7. Sym No.3: Allegro
8. Sym No.3: Vivace
9. Sym No.3: Tempo Di Minuetto
10. Sym No.4: Allegro
11. Sym No.4: Vivace Ma Non Troppo
12. Sym No.4: Allegro
13. Sym No.5: Allegro Ma Non Troppo
14. Sym No.5: Tempo Di Gavotta
15. Sym No.5: Tempo Di Minuetto
16. Sym No.6: Largo - Allegro
17. Sym No.6: Larghetto
18. Sym No.7: Andante Spirituoso
19. Sym No.7: Moderato
20. Sym No.7: Allegro Assai
21. Sym No.8: Pomposo - Allegro
22. Sym No.8: Largo
23. Sym No.8: Tempo Di Gavotta

Performers on this item include -
Serenata of London
Barry Wilde, conductor

The CD title is from the IMP CARLTON CLASSICS series of out of print CDs.

CD catalog # 30367 01722
CD was issued in 1997
CD was made in the UK (England / Great Britain)

The CDs, Jewel Case and INSERTS are all in MINT condition. The CDs are actually SEALED!!

This CD is an audiophile quality pressing (any collector of fine MFSL, half speeds, direct to discs, Japanese/UK pressings etc., can attest to the difference a quality pressing can make to an audio system).

Don't let this rarity slip by!!!

  • Item #: IMP CD 30367-01722
  • Manufacturer: IMP Carlton Classics
  • Condition: New

IMP CD 30367-01722: BOYCE, Eight Symphonies - Barry WILDE, 1997

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