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Lilburn

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If you have run out of Sibelius, where next?

Lilburn's Second Symphony, that's where. The world turned upside down, in an entirely good way. Lilburn, New Zealand's finest, is a fascinating composer - not boringly derivative, but going onwards from Sibelius in a constructive way. Founding an orchestral musical tradition in a part of the world which, before him, had been more or less without one.

His Drysdale Overture is a lovely piece with a great tune. The 10-minute song cycle Sings Harry is a masterpiece in miniature.

Lilburn's centenary came along in 2015, and I e-mailed the BBC to ask them to use him as a Composer of the Week. He was an excellent candidate - not previously featured, with an interesting personal life, from a part of the world not usually thought of as having much music, and with an unexpected creative volte-face towards electronica in midlife. What more could CotW want? But I was ignored...

The Naxos recordings of Lilburn's orchestral music with James Judd directing the New Zealand SO are excellent. If you want a new musical avenue, please consider this one!

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The WAM mirrors the BBC & Lilburn is ignored - perhaps because nobody has heard of him.
Sibelius was inspired by his surroundings - the often harsh landscape of  Finland,  but his Symphonies aren't easy listening..
Perhaps Lilburn was inspired by the  New Zealand landscape & what better inspiration.

The pastoral influence is a recurring theme in classical music - Beethoven , Vaughan Williams &  others have tried it & often very well succeeded.



 

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Whenever I have heard of Lilburn it is always in glowing terms '... powerful symphonies ... etc'  Looks like time to give him a go.  There must be quite a few first ranking works out there that have not hit mainstream radar.  

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