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ROBIN HOLLOWAY - Chamber music




“As a young composer I wanted to be a Modern among the Moderns. Now I don’t want to shock anyone - I want to please,
to stir, to delight, to move and to invigorate.” Born in 1943, Robin Holloway is renowned as composer, essayist and teacher. A chorister at St Paul's Cathedral, he
subsequently took private lessons with Alexander Goehr whilst reading initially English and then Music at Cambridge. His doctoral thesis at Oxford became the book Debussy and Wagner. Returning to lecture at Cambridge he was later
appointed Professor of Composition before retiring in 2011. His many students include Judith Weir, Huw Watkins, Thomas Adès,
George Benjamin, Peter Seabourne and David Collins. The Spectator published his column on music for 22 years.
Holloway's early works such as the Missa Canonica (1965) and Organ Concerto (1966) were complex and modernist. What followed, his Scenes from Schumann (1970), caused much controversy for its radical re-engagement with Romanticism, both in gesture and use of tonality. His mature style could be said to forge a path between the two, with excursions more fully into each. This refusal to be constrained is a feature of his musical thinking.
Holloway's output is dominated by a series of five substantial concertos for orchestra, perhaps the 2nd (1979) being best known. Notable also are his Symphony (2000); the opera Clarissa (1976); concerti for viola, violin, clarinet, horn, double bass and tuba; and two gargantuan projects, Brand (1981) and Peer Gynt (1997), almost Scriabinesque in their difficulty of being realised in performance.




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