The Wilfred Josephs Society

Chairman: Matthew Eve

Wilfred Josephs’ 70th Birthday celebrations

July 24th 1997 marked the 70th Birthday of Wilfred Josephs. The occasion was celebrated by a concert in the Purcell Room at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday September 7th 1997. The programme was as follows:

Sonata for 2 Guitars Op. 171

Richard Hand & Tom Dupré

Arabesques Op. 150 (World Première)

Steven Wray (Piano)

Clarinet Quintet Op. 135

Linda Merrick - Clarinet
Bingham String Quartet
(Stephen Bingham - Violin
Sally-Ann Weeks - Violin
Brenda Stewart - Viola
Tim Gill - Cello)

Chacony Op. 38

Tomáš Tulácek - Violin Steven Wray - Piano

Pièces pour ma Belle-Mére Op. 18

1. Chimères (Daydreams)
2. Fées de Lune (Moon-Fairies)
3. Valse du petit chien (Little Dog’s Waltz)

Nigel Clayton - Piano

Lovesongs Book I Op. 107 (London Premi&egravere)

1. Dû bist Mîn
2. Weep eyes, break heart
3.A Boston Lullaby
4. Weep No More
5. Music, When Soft Voices Die

Sarah Poole - Soprano
Nigel Clayton - Piano

Threnody Op. 179 (arr David Heyes)

This performance was dedicated to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales

Nigel Clayton - Piano    
Steven Wray - Piano

Piano Trio No. 2 Op. 177

Lake Piano trio
Diana Cummings - Violin
Douglas Cummings - Cello
Ian Lake - piano

The concert was preceded by an interview with Wilfred Josephs conducted by Matthew Eve.

The concert was managed by David Heyes and jointly sponsored by RECITAL MUSIC, HOWARTH of London, NOVELLO & Co. Ltd, AIR-EDEL and J.WEINBERGER Ltd.

Drawings © Matthew Eve 1997

The following article appeared in GRAPEVINE, the Newsletter of Josef Weinberger Ltd, Issue 8 Summer 1997:

Wilfred Josephs celebrates 70th birthday

July 24th marks the 70th birthday of Wilfred Josephs, one of the most significant contemporary figures in the Weinberger catalogue. Prolific and versatile, Josephs has enjoyed high-profile success in opera, ballet and the concert hall, as well as in the world of film and television. Much of this success has been achieved in the U.S.A., prompting the comment [by Hugo Cole in the New Grove Dictionary] that his music stands apart from that of his English contemporaries and it is, indeed, true that it is difficult to 'place' Josephs in the ever- widening musical spectrum of the 1990s, as he seems determined to follow his own path rather than adhere to any 'school' or court popularity.

Josephs' works may not belong to any one strand of contemporary music, but they do speak in a consistent, recognisable language characterised by economy of means and clarity of expression. 12-tone serialism - which he studied with Max Deutsch in Paris - had a marked influence on his works in the early 1960s, and Josephs continued to use serial techniques after he returned to tonal harmony and melody in his Cello Concerto. The works published by Weinberger all date from this important period, with the highlight the monumental Requiem, perhaps his most personal and powerful musical statement, an austere elegy to the memory of the Jews who died in World War II, which won the City of Milan and La Scala's first composing competition in 1963 and was premièred at La Scala in 1965. Other important works in the Weinberger catalogue include the String Quintet [premièred by the Alberni Quartet and Bruno Schreker in 1965 and later incorporated into the Requiem], the Piano Concerto No.1 premièred in 1967 by Yonty Solomon and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Sir Charles Groves and the Piano Sonata No.2 [premièred in 1963 by Neil van Allen].

1997 offers performers and audiences the perfect opportunity to further acquaint themselves with the music of Wilfred Josephs. A distinguished array of artists will give a special birthday concert on September 7th at the South Bank Centre's Purcell Room featuring chamber works, among them the Pieces pour ma Belle-Mere for solo piano. Scores of all works mentioned above, and others by Wilfred Josephs, are available for study purposes from the promotion department. Do contact us if you would like further information.

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