Alun Hoddinott

Alun Hoddinott

Alun Hoddinott CBE (August 11, 1929 – March 12, 2008), was the first Welsh composer of classical music to receive international recognition. []

Life and works

Hoddinott was born in Bargoed, Glamorganshire, Wales. He was educated at University College, Cardiff, and later studied privately with Arthur Benjamin. His first major composition, the "Clarinet Concerto", was performed at the Cheltenham Festival of 1954 by Gervase de Peyer with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir John Barbirolli.

This brought Hoddinott a national profile which was followed by a string of commissions by leading orchestras and soloists. These commissions continued up to his death and he was championed by some of the most distinguished singers and instrumentalists of the 20th century. These include singers including Dame Margaret Price, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Sir Thomas Allen, Jill Gomez, Sir Geraint Evans and more recently Jeremy Huw Williams. Instrumentalists have included Ruggiero Ricci, Mstislav Rostropovich, Dennis Brain, Osian Ellis, Nia Harries, John Ogdon to name a few, and more recently euphonium player David Childs and song pianist Andrew Matthews-Owen.

Hoddinott was prolific, writing symphonies, sonatas, and concertos: his style has evolved over a long and distinguished career, from the neo-classicism of the Clarinet Concerto to a brand of serialism which allowed a tonal framework to the structure, combining a penchant for dark textures and brooding harmonies similar to that of another British composer, Alan Rawsthorne, with Bartokian arch-forms and palindromes. However, his move into opera from 1970 helped to broaden his stylistic range and lighten his palette. His music often displays a brooding, darkly lyrical intensity, manifested in his nocturnal slow movements. One of the best examples is his rhapsodic "Poem for violin and orchestra", inspired by a line from James Joyce, "The Heaventree of Stars". He combined a tough, disciplined writing with a sense of the mysterious and unknown, and can perhaps best be described as a "modernist romantic".

He was awarded honorary doctorates from numerous leading musical institutions including the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, as well as the Walford Davies Award. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1983 New Year Honours. [LondonGazette|issue=49213|supp=yes|startpage=8|date=30 December 1982|accessdate=2008-03-17]

In 2005, Hoddinott produced a fanfare to be performed at the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Camilla Parker Bowles, having previously written works to celebrate Prince Charles' 16th birthday and his investiture.

In 1997 Alun Hoddinott received the Glyndŵr Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales during the Machynlleth Festival. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts Council of Wales in 1999, Fellowship of the Welsh Music Guild and the presentation of a medal to him by Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of the official opening of the Wales Millennium Centre.

On March 1st 2007 (St David's Day) soprano Helen Field and baritone Jeremy Huw Williams gave the World Premiere of his Orchestral Song cycle "Serenissima" with the BBC National Orchestra at St David's Hall. It was announced on this occasion by BBC Controller Menna Richards that the BBC NOW's new home in the Millennium Centre in Cardiff (due to be built by the end of 2008), which will include a specially built 350 seat concert hall, will be named BBC Hoddinott Hall (Neuadd Hoddinott y BBC).

Alun Hoddinott died on Wednesday 12 March 2008 at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, aged 78.

Chronological worklist

*1949 Nocturne for orchestra
*1953 op3 Clarinet Concerto 1, +str
*1954 op4/2 Fugal Overture
*1956 Nocturne 1 for piano
*1956 Septet for clarinet bassoon horn piano violin viola and cello
*1957 op11 r70 Harp Concerto
*1958 op14 Viola Concertino, +small orch
*1958 op15 Welsh Dances Suite 1, orch
*1958 op16b Prelude Nocturne & Dance for strings
*1958 Two Welsh Dances
*1959 Nocturne 2 for piano
*1959 op17 Piano Sonata 1
*1959 op19 Piano Concerto 1, +wind perc
*195? Symphony 1
*1960 op21 Piano Concerto 2
*1961 op27 Piano Sonata 2
*1961 op29 Symphony 2, for Alan Rawsthorne
*1961 Rebecca for SATB chorus
*1962 Folksong Suite, 4movts, orch
*1962 op32 Divertimento, ob cl hn bsn
*1962 Variations for orch
*1963 Divertimento for small orchestra
*1963 Job for bass SATB chorus and orchestra
*1964 Jack Straw Overture
*1964 op36 Harp Sonata
*1964 op37/1 Toccata alla giga for organ
*1964 op37/2 Intrada for organ
*1964 op37/3 Sarum Fanfare for organ
*1964 op39 Dives & Lazarus, cantata, sop bar vv orch
*1964 Piano Sonatina
*1964 What Tidings?
*1965 op40 Piano Sonata 3
*1965 op41 Concerto Grosso 1
*1965 op43 String Quartet 1
*1966 op44 Piano Concerto 3
*1966 op46 Concerto Grosso 2, orch
*1966 op47 Variants, orch
*1966 op48 Night Music, orch
*1966 op49 Piano Sonata 4
*1966 Severn Bridge Variation for cmpsitwk, orch
*1967 op50 Clarinet Sonata
*1967 Organ Concerto
*1967 Suite for harp
*1968 An Apple Tree And A Pig
*1968 Black Bart
*1968 Fioriture
*1968 op56 Sinfonietta 1, orch
*1968 op57 Piano Sonata 5
*1968 op58 Divertimenti, fl cl bsn hn vln va vcl db
*1968 op61 Symphony 3
*1968 op62 Nocturnes & Cadenzas for clarinet violin and cello
*1968 op62 Nocturnes & Cadenzas, vcl orch
*1968 op63 Violin Sonata 1
*1969 op64 Welsh Dances Suite 2, orch
*1969 op65 Horn Concerto
*1969 op66 Investiture Dances, orch
*1969 op67 Sinfonietta 2, orch
*1970 op68 Fantasy for solo harp
*1970 op71 Sinfonietta 3, orch
*1970 op72/4 Aubade for small orchestra
*1970 op72/5 The Hawk Is Set Free for orchestra
*1970 op72/6 Floore Of Heav'n for orchestra
*1970 op72/9 Concertino for Trumpet Horn & orchestra
*1970 op73/1 Violin Sonata 2
*1970 op73/2 Cello Sonata 1
*1970 op76 The Sun the Great Luminary of the Universe, orch
*1970 op7? Symphony 4
*1970 Piano Trio no. 1
*1971 Sinfonietta 4 for orchestra
*1971 The Tree Of Life, oratorio
*1972 Ancestor Worship
*1972 op78/1 Violin Sonata 3
*1972 op78/2 Horn Sonata
*1972 op78/3 Piano Sonata 6
*1972 op78/4 Piano Quintet
*1973 op81 Symphony 5
*1973 The Silver Swimmer for SATB chorus and piano four hands
*1974 op83 The Beach of Falesa, 3act opera
*1974 op85 Ritornelli for trombone wind & perc
*1975 op86/1 r76 Landscapes, orch
*1975 op86/2 Nightpiece for orchestra
*1975 op87 Landscapes, Ynys Mon for ten & orch
*1975 op88 The Magician, 1act opera
*1976 op89 Violin Sonata 4
*1976 op90 A Contemplation upon Flowers, sop orch
*1976 op91 French Suite, small orch
*1976 op93 What the Old Man Does is Always Right, 1act opera
*1977 Italian Suite for recorder and guitar
*1977 op94 Passagio, orch
*1977 op95 Sinfonia Fidei, sop ten vv orch
*1977 op96/1 Cello Sonata 2
*1977 op96/2 Organ Sonata
*1978 op97 Dulci Iuventutis SATB & piano four hands,
*1978 Sonatina for two pianos
*1979 Hymnus ante somnum
*1979 op100/1 Scena, strqt
*1979 op100/2 Ritornelli 2, brass
*1980 op102 The Heaventree of Stars, poem, vln orch
*1981 op103 The Trumpet Major, 3act Hardy opera
*1981 op105/2 Lanterne des Morts, orch
*1982 op106 Doubles, Concertante for ob str hpschd
*1982 op107/1 Five Studies for orchestra
*1982 op107/2 Hommage a Chopin for orchestra
*1982 Quodlibet on Welsh Nursery Tunes for orchestra
*1982 Six Welsh Folksongs for high voice and piano
*1982 The Charge Of The Light Brigade
*1983 Bagatelles for oboe & harp
*1983 King Of Glory for SATB chorus and organ
*1983 Make A Joyful Noise for SATB chorus and organ
*1983 Masks for oboe bassoon and piano
*1983 op111 Piano Trio 2
*1983 Quodlibet on Welsh Nursery Tunes for brass
*1984 In parasceve Domini : 3 Nocturno
*1984 Lady And Unicorn for SATB chorus and piano
*1984 op114 Piano Sonata 7
*1984 op116 Symphony 6
*1984 op119 Scena for strings
*1984 String Quartet 2
*1985 Christ Is Risen
*1985 Sing A New Song for SSAATB chorus and organ
*1985 The Silver Hound for tenor and piano
*1985 Welsh Dances Suite 3
*1986 op125 Piano Sonata 8
*1986 op127 Concerto for Orchestra
*1986 op128 Clarinet Concerto 2
*1989 Lines From Marlowe Doctor Faustus for SATB chorus brass percussion
*1989 op132 Noctis Equi, vcl orch
*1989 op134 Piano Sonata 9
*1989 op135 Star Children, orch
*1989 op136 Piano Sonata 10
*1989 Songs of Exile, ten & orchestra
*1989 Symphony 7, Organ Symphony
*1989 Symphony 8 A Vision of Eternity for soprano and orchestra
*1990 Hymns of Pantycelyn, cantata
*1992 Chorales, Variants & Fanfares, brass
*1993 Wind Quintet
*1994 Sonata notturno
*1995 Spectrum 1: Dark March, pno
*1996 Cello Sonata 3
*1997 Spectrum 2: Lizard, pno
*1999 Symphony 10
*2002 Euphonium Concerto, The Sunne Rising, The King will Ride
*2003 Leapfrog for piano
*2006 String Quartet 3?
*2006 Towy Landscape
*2007 Serenissima, song cycle
*Aubade and Scherzo for horn & strings
*Bells Of Paradise
*Cello Concerto, for Slava
*Divisions, Concertante for Horn Harpsichord & Strings
*Four Scenes From The Trumpet Major
*Guitar Sonata
*In Praise Of Music
*Pantomime Overture
*Piano Sonata 11
*Piano Sonata 12
*Piano Sonata 13
*Prelude Nocturne And Dance for harp and strings
*Rhapsody On Welsh Tunes for orchestra
*Roman Dream for soprano percussion harp and celesta
*Scenes and Interludes, trumpet harpsichord and strings
*Serenade for strings
*Sinfonia for strings
*Symphony 9
*Te Deum
*Theatre Overture
*Three Advent Carols
*Three Motets
*Triple Concerto
*Violin Concerto
*Violin Sonata 5
*Violin Sonata 6



* Michael Kennedy (Editor): "The Oxford Dictionary of Music" (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994) ISBN 0-19-869162-9
* "Chambers Biographical Dictionary" (Chambers, Edinburgh, 2002) ISBN 0-550-10051-2

External links

* [ Alun Hoddinott, composer] , obituary in Gramophone
* [ Alun Hoddinott: Popular Neo-Romantic composer and teacher who contributed greatly to Welsh cultural life] , Obituary in "The Times", 13 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14
* [,,2265281,00.html Obituary—Alun Hoddinott—Prodigy who became a prolific composer and patriarchal figure in Welsh music] "The Guardian", 14 March 2008, p42. Retrieved 2008-03-14
* [ Alun Hoddinott at the Wales Video Gallery]

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