C0077. WILLIAM ALWYN Cond. London Phil., w.Geoffrey Browne (cor anglais): Concerto Grosso #2 in G; w.Osian Ellis (Harp): 'Lyra Angelica' Harp Concerto (both Cond. by the Composer). (England) Lyrita 230, recorded 1979. - 5020926023025
“William Alwyn, a contemporary of Britten, Walton, and Tippett, was born in Northampton in 1905. Alwyn's musical education was at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he gained scholarships for both flute and composition, and at the early age of 21 was appointed Professor of Composition. The following year he received his first engagement as flautist with the London Symphony Orchestra playing under Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams, and Sir Henry Wood at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford Cathedral. He was soon equally in demand as a soloist, and gave first performances of many important chamber works.
Alwyn's compositions earned him in 1938 the coveted Collard Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, which he held for three years. Other Honours included fellowships of the R.A.M., the British Film Academy, and the International Poetry Society, and a C.B.E. from the Queen in 1978 - her Jubilee Year. But maybe what pleased him most was the Honorary Doctorate in Music given by the University of Leicester in 1982.
It is not surprising that he wrote to a friend 'Looking back on my career, I often wonder whether all the time I spent in committees etc. was really worth the sacrifice of my own precious time'. Yet many letters of gratitude now in the Alwyn Archive show how greatly valued was that sacrifice.
When Alwyn finally left London to live in the Suffolk countryside on the Eastern coast of England, he resolved to spend his time as he really wanted to. From his home overlooking the estuary of the river Blyth and its ever-changing skyscapes, he wrote poetry, painted pictures and composed music. In the last 25 years of his life he composed the two operas and five song-cycles; he conducted all his major orchestral works for gramophone records, as well as the first performance of his Symphony #5 and a special broadcast for his 75th birthday; in 1985 completed his String Quartet #3. It was given its first performance in Blythburgh Church as part of that year's Aldeburgh Festival, just three months before he died.”
- John Huntley, MusicWeb International