Blake, David (Leonard)

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Blake, David (Leonard)

Blake, David (Leonard), English composer and teacher; b. London, Sept. 2, 1936. He studied at Gonville and Caius Coll., Cambridge (1957–60). After receiving a Mendelssohn scholarship, he studied with Eisler in East Berlin at the Deutsche Akademie der Künste (1960–61). He was a Granada Arts Fellow (1963–64), lecturer (1964–71), senior lecturer (1971–76), prof. (from 1976), and head of the music dept. (1980–83) at the Univ. of York. He edited the vol. Hanns Eisler: A Miscellany (1995). After working with tonal and 12-tone systems, his works since the late 1970s have been written in a chromatically tonal idiom.

Works

DRAMATIC: Opera: Toussaint (1976; London, Sept. 28, 1977; rev. 1982; London, Sept. 6, 1983); The Plumber’s Gift (1985-88; London, May 25, 1989); The Fabulous Adventures of Alexander the Great (1996; Mitilene, July 11, 1998); Scoring a Century (1999). ORCH.: Chamber Sym. (York Minster, June 1966); Metamorphoses (York Minster, March 1971); Violin Concerto (London, Aug. 19, 1976); Sonata alla Marcia (London, May 17, 1978); Scherzi ed Intermezzi (Bedford, Nov. 17, 1984); Pastoral Paraphrase for Bassoon and Orch. (York, Feb. 22, 1989); Mill Music for Brass Band (Norwich, Oct. 13, 1990); Cello Concerto (1992; Cheltenham, July 4, 1993); Nocturne for Strings (1994; Swaledale Festival, June 9, 1996; also as A Little More Night Music for Saxophone Quartet 1990). CHAMBER: 3 string quartets: No. 1 (1962), No. 2 (York, July 5, 1973), and No. 3 (1982; Cambridge, April 18, 1983); Sequence for 2 Flutes (1967); Nonet (London, June 21, 1971; rev. 1978); Scenes for Cello (London, Oct. 13, 1972); Arias for Clarinet (1978; Newcastle, Jan. 23, 1979); Cassation for Winds (Sheffield, May 19, 1979; 3 movements arranged as Scherzo and Two Dances for Chamber Ensemble, 1981; York, Jan. 16, 1982); Clarinet Quintet (1980; Bradford, Jan. 29, 1981); Capriccio for Chamber Ensemble (1980; York, Jan. 14, 1981); Fantasia for Violin (York, Nov. 21, 1984); Seasonal Variants for Chamber Ensemble (Norwich, Oct. 18, 1985); A Little More Night Music for Saxophone Quartet (1990; Bielefeld, Feb. 3, 1991; also as Nocturne for String Orch., 1994). VOCAL: Three Choruses to Poems by Robert Frost (1964; London, May 1966); Beata L’Alma for Soprano and Piano (1966; Harrogate Festival, Aug. 1967); What is the Cause? for Chorus (Harrogate Festival, Aug. 1967); The Almanack for Chorus (1968); Lumina for Soprano, Baritone, and Orch., after Pound (1969); The Bones of Chuang Tzu for Baritone and Piano (Alde-burgh Festival, June 17, 1972; also for Baritone and Chamber Orch., 1973; Glasgow, March 25, 1975); In Praise of Krishna for Soprano and Orch. (Leeds, March 7, 1973); Toussaint Suite for Mezzo-soprano, Baritone, and Orch. (1977; London, Nov. 17, 1983); Song of the Common Wind for Mezzo-soprano and Orch., from Toussaint (1977; York, Dec. 4, 1991); From the Mattress Grave for High Voice and Orch., after Heine (1978; Durham, Feb. 3, 1979); Change is going to come for Mezzo-soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Clarinet, Trumpet, Piano, and Viola (London, Nov. 14, 1982); Rise, Dove for Baritone and Orch., after Aimé Césaire (Manchester, Dec. 21, 1983); Three Ritsos Choruses for Men’s Voices and Guitars (1992; also for Chorus and Guitars or Orch., 1993).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire