Joseph Holbrooke

Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958)

Nationality: English
Born: July 5, 1878, Croydon Died: August 5, 1958, London (age 80)

String Sextet in D major, Op. 43, Henry Vaughan

(for 2 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos)
I. Adagio espressivo e molto sostenuto - Allegro con brio
II. Andantino mesto
III. Finale. Molto vivace
Composed: 1902 (age 23-24)
From Edition Silvertrust

Joseph HolbrookeJoseph Holbrooke's String Sextet in D Major was completed in 1902. It had to wait to years before it was performed. A printed score did not appear until 1924, but no parts were printed at that time. The few performances since that time were made off of copyist's parts of the score. And when, the parts were eventually published, they not printed but were off of clean handwritten copy made by a copyist. The opening movement begins with a slow, ominous introduction, Adagio espressivo e molto sostenuto which then leads to the main section, which is upbeat, jovial and occasionally rather intense. The middle movement, Andante mesto, has the subtitle ‘Unhappy Childhood’, which though it begins is a somewhat melancholy manner, does not really convey very much unhappiness. There is a quicker middle section which is altogether much more positive. The finale, Molto vivace, is full of energy, thrusting and powerful and with a strong triumphant atmosphere.

Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958) was born near London in the town of Croydon. Both his parents were musicians and his early lessons were with his father. He was sent to the Royal Academy of Music in London and after graduating worked as a pianist and conductor, all the while composing. Eventually his big works for orchestra and chorus and his operas brought him considerable fame, however, after the First World War, he and his works fell into obscurity. He composed a considerable amount of chamber music, most of which is of a high quality and awaits rediscovery.

This is a very worthwhile work and a handsome addition to the string sextet repertoire. It would do well in concert and should be considered by experienced amateurs. We have reprinted the known edition. Unavailable for decades, we are very pleased to make it available once again.

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