Sir Arthur Bliss

Biography

Born: Aug 2, 1891   Died: Mar 27, 1975   Country: England   Period: 20th Century
Although outspoken in his support of the post-World War I Parisian avant-garde during his youth, English composer Arthur Bliss ended his long career as a dedicated proponent of a more conservative, neo-Romantic musical aesthetic. Educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and at the Royal College of Music (where he found his studies with Charles Stanford too stifling), Bliss' earliest music (all later withdrawn and subsequently destroyed by the Read more composer) shows a strong knowledge of and interest in the music of Edward Elgar.

After service with the Royal Fusiliers (and later the Grenadier Guards) during the War, however, Bliss' musical aesthetic changed dramatically, and he quickly became known as a thoroughly "modern" composer, owing more allegiance to the exciting happenings on the continent than to the musical life of his own country. His music from the 1920s (such as the Rhapsody for two voices and chamber ensemble) is characterized by unusual vocal techniques, jazz influence, and striking harmonic procedures (not to mention occasionally exotic ensembles (e.g., the incidental music to The Tempest, 1921, scored for two male voices, trumpet, trombone, piano, gong, and five percussionists!).

Bliss' notable career as a conductor began in 1921 with his appointment as conductor of the Portsmouth Philharmonic Society. Invited to compose a work for the Three Choirs Festival in 1922, Bliss created one of his best-known works, the Colour Symphony; this adventuresome work had the unwelcome side effect of causing a strain in the relationship between Bliss and Elgar, a dedicated conservative through whom the actual commission for the work had come. After two years in California with his brother and father (1923-1925) (during which time Bliss lived in semi-retirement from the musical world and married Trudy Hoffmann), the composer returned to Great Britain and resumed his active composing career with the Introduction and Allegro of 1926 (commissioned and premiered by Leopold Stokowski).

Over the course of the 1920s Bliss began to re-evaluate his heritage as a composer and found him veering away from the "modernist" tendencies of the post-War years in favor of a richer melodic approach in which sound musical rhetoric and construction occasionally suffer in favor of expression and clarity of dramatic purpose. The five-movement Morning Heroes, a choral symphony dedicated to the victims of World War I and premiered in 1930, is a fine example of Bliss' new outlook.

The first years of World War II were spent in the United States teaching at Berkeley, but Bliss returned to England to take over as director of music at the BBC from 1942 to 1944. Knighted for services to British music in 1950, Bliss served as Master of the Queen's Music from 1953 to until his death in 1975 at the age of 83.

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Bliss: The Olympians / Fairfax, Ambrosian Singers
Release Date: 06/10/2008   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1480   Number of Discs: 2
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There are 98 Sir Arthur Bliss recordings available.

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Works

Sir Arthur Bliss


MOST POPULAR WORKS
A Colour Symphony: I. Purple (Andante maestoso)
A Colour Symphony: II. Red (Allegro vivace)
A Colour Symphony: III. Blue (Gently flowing)
A Colour Symphony: IV. Green (Moderato)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Fanfare Overture (Allegro molto)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Adam's Fates (Allegro moderato) -
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Dance of Spring (Allegro spirito)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Awakening of Love (Andante grazioso)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Bridal Ceremony (Moderato ma tranquillo)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Dance of Summer (Allegro (maestoso))
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Approach to Autumn (Larghetto)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Night Club Scene (Allegro (in modern dance time)) -
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Destruction of Adam's World (Allegro molto)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Dance with Death (Larghetto maestoso)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Finale: The stage is set again (Allegro moderato)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Fanfare Coda (Allegro molto)
I. Allegro deciso
II. Larghetto
III. Allegro
Allegro con brio
Adagietto
Andante maestoso - Molto vivo
I. Allegro (Tema)
II. Allegro vivace (Gigue)
III. Andante tranquillo
IV. Andante con brio (Recapitulation)
V. Maestoso
VI. Tranquillo (Coda)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): (Assai sostenuto, tranquillo) (orch. only) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): The Shepherd's Holyday (chorus) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): A Hymn to Pan (Allegrissimo) (chorus, fl) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): Pan's Saraband (Sostenuto) (fl)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): Pan and Echo (Moderato) (chorus, fl) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): The Naiads' Music (Allegretto leggiero) (fl, chorus)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): The Pigeon Song (Andante moderato) (fl, mezzo) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): Song of the Reapers (Allegro deciso) (picc, chorus)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster), Finale:: (Andante sostenuto) (fl) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster), Finale:: The Shepherd's Night-Song (Più lento - Tempo dell'introduzione) (fl, chorus)
Music for Strings (1999 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro moderato, energico
Music for Strings (1999 Digital Remaster): II. Andante, molto sostenuto - Poco allegretto (flowing) - Tempo I
Music for Strings (1999 Digital Remaster): III. Allegro molto - Allegro con spirito - Allegro molto - Presto
Music for Strings: I. Allegro moderato, energico
Music for Strings: II. Andante, molto sostenuto - Poco allegretto (flowing) - Tempo I
Music for Strings: III. Allegro molto - Allegro con spirito - Allegro molto - Presto
I. Moderato
II. Allegro molto
III. Adagietto espressivo - Allegro moderato
IV. Allegro energico
I. Assai sostenuto - Moderato - Allegro assai agitato - Tempo I (Moderato) - Molto meno mosso
II. Andante con moto - Allegro moderato - Tempo I
III. Vivace
Moderato
Andante
Furiant
Coda
WORKS
A Colour Symphony: I. Purple (Andante maestoso)
A Colour Symphony: II. Red (Allegro vivace)
A Colour Symphony: III. Blue (Gently flowing)
A Colour Symphony: IV. Green (Moderato)
A Knot of Riddles (1999 Digital Remaster): I. Fish in River (Slowly flowing)
A Knot of Riddles (1999 Digital Remaster): II. Swallows (Vivo)
A Knot of Riddles (1999 Digital Remaster): III. An Oyster (Andante)
A Knot of Riddles (1999 Digital Remaster): IV. A Weather Cock (Moderato)
A Knot of Riddles (1999 Digital Remaster): V. A Bookworm (In waltz time)
A Knot of Riddles (1999 Digital Remaster): VI. A Cross of Wood (Moderato)
A Knot of Riddles (1999 Digital Remaster): VII. Sun and Moon (Andante maestoso)
A Song of Welcome: Welcome! our May-time flares, and you return (chorus)
A Song of Welcome: You went the way of the sun (chorus)
A Song of Welcome: Tilting airfields rose to meet you (sop., bar., chorus)
A Song of Welcome: Behind the façades and faces (sop., chorus)
A Song of Welcome: A common wealth of growing love (chorus, sop.)
A Song of Welcome: Behind the salutes and the speeches (bar., chorus)
A Song of Welcome: The forward bloom and stride of man (chorus, sop., bar.)
A Song of Welcome: Soon it is dawn (chorus, sop., bar.)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Fanfare Overture (Allegro molto)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Adam's Fates (Allegro moderato) -
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Dance of Spring (Allegro spirito)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Awakening of Love (Andante grazioso)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Bridal Ceremony (Moderato ma tranquillo)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Dance of Summer (Allegro (maestoso))
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Approach to Autumn (Larghetto)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Night Club Scene (Allegro (in modern dance time)) -
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Destruction of Adam's World (Allegro molto)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Dance with Death (Larghetto maestoso)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Finale: The stage is set again (Allegro moderato)
Adam Zero - Suite from the ballet: Fanfare Coda (Allegro molto)
Checkmate - Ballet Suite T57: I. Prologue: The Players
Checkmate - Ballet Suite T57: II. Dance of the Four Knights
Checkmate - Ballet Suite T57: III. Entry of the Black Queen
Checkmate - Ballet Suite T57: IV. The Red Knight's Mazurka
Checkmate - Ballet Suite T57: V. Ceremony of the Red Bishops
Checkmate - Ballet Suite T57: VI. Finale: Checkmate
Christopher Columbus - Suite: I. Alla polacca
Christopher Columbus - Suite: II. Grave
Christopher Columbus - Suite: III. Alla marcia
I. Allegro deciso
II. Larghetto
III. Allegro
Allegro con brio
Adagietto
Andante maestoso - Molto vivo
I. Allegro (Tema)
II. Allegro vivace (Gigue)
III. Andante tranquillo
IV. Andante con brio (Recapitulation)
V. Maestoso
VI. Tranquillo (Coda)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): (Assai sostenuto, tranquillo) (orch. only) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): The Shepherd's Holyday (chorus) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): A Hymn to Pan (Allegrissimo) (chorus, fl) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): Pan's Saraband (Sostenuto) (fl)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): Pan and Echo (Moderato) (chorus, fl) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): The Naiads' Music (Allegretto leggiero) (fl, chorus)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): The Pigeon Song (Andante moderato) (fl, mezzo) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster): Song of the Reapers (Allegro deciso) (picc, chorus)
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster), Finale:: (Andante sostenuto) (fl) -
Pastoral : 'Lie strewn the white flocks' (1999 Digital Remaster), Finale:: The Shepherd's Night-Song (Più lento - Tempo dell'introduzione) (fl, chorus)
Variation 1: Elements
Variation 2: Ballet
Variation 3: Assertion
Variation 4: Speculation
Variation 5: Interjections
Variation 6: Scherzo I
Variation 7: Contemplation
Variation 8: Polonaise
Variation 9: Funeral Processions
Variation 10: Cool Interlude
Variation 11: Scherzo II
Variation 12: Duet
Variation 13: Dedicated to G.D. and A.D.
Variation 14: Affirmation
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): Overture
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): The Street
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): The Girl Suicide
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): The Discovery of the Suicide's Body
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): The Suicide's Body is brought in
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): The Stranger -
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): Dance of Deliverance
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): Intermezzo
Miracle in the Gorbals - Suite from the ballet (2006 - Remaster): Finale: The Killing of the Stranger
Music for Strings (1999 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro moderato, energico
Music for Strings (1999 Digital Remaster): II. Andante, molto sostenuto - Poco allegretto (flowing) - Tempo I
Music for Strings (1999 Digital Remaster): III. Allegro molto - Allegro con spirito - Allegro molto - Presto
Music for Strings: I. Allegro moderato, energico
Music for Strings: II. Andante, molto sostenuto - Poco allegretto (flowing) - Tempo I
Music for Strings: III. Allegro molto - Allegro con spirito - Allegro molto - Presto
Poco adagio e espressivo
Intermezzo: Tempo di Mazurka
Allegro furioso
Moderato ma tranquillo
Andante sostenuto
Allegro vivace con grazia
I. Moderato
II. Allegro molto
III. Adagietto espressivo - Allegro moderato
IV. Allegro energico
I. Assai sostenuto - Moderato - Allegro assai agitato - Tempo I (Moderato) - Molto meno mosso
II. Andante con moto - Allegro moderato - Tempo I
III. Vivace
I. Queen Victoria's Call to the Throne
II. The Ballroom in Buckingham Palace
III. Joust of the Knights in Armour [George IV's reign]
IV. Melodrama: The Murder of Rizzio in Holyrood House
V. The Royal Palace, Theme
Moderato marcato
Adagio sereno
Allegro
Moderato
Andante
Furiant
Coda
Adagio ma non troppo
Allegro
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): Prologue (orch. Christopher Palmer)
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): Ballet for Children*
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): Attack*
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): March*
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): The World in Ruins (orch. Christopher Palmer)
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): The Building of the New World -
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): Attack on the Moon Gun -
Things to Come - Music from the film (1977 Digital Remaster): Epilogue


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