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Josephs, Wilfred

Josephs, Wilfred

Josephs, Wilfred, esteemed English composer; b. Newcastle upon Tyne, July 24, 1927. He studied music with Arthur Milner (1947) and took a degree in dental surgery in 1951 from the Univ. of Durham Sutherland Dental School, and then was an orthodontist in the British army. In 1954 he entered the Guildhall School of Music in London, where he studied with Alfred Nieman until 1956. He then had private lessons with Max Deutsch in Paris (1958–59). In 1956 he won the Cobbett Prize, in 1957 the Harriett Cohen Medal, and in 1963 the first City of Milan and La Scala international compositioncompetition for his Requiem set to the Hebrew Kaddish. He was a visiting prof, at the Univ. of Wise, in Milwaukee (1970), Roosevelt Univ. in Chicago (1972), and Ohio State Univ. (1992). In 1988 he became a musical consultant to the London International Film School. He developed an individualistic style based on dodecaphony but not without exploiting his mastery of melodic invention.

Works

dramatic:The Magic Being, ballet (1961; Newcastle upon Tyne, May 31, 1963); The Nottingham Captain, music theater (Wellingborough, Sept. 11, 1962); The King of the Coast, children’s musical (1962–67); Pathelin, theater piece (1963); La Répétition de Phèdre, ballet (Newcastle upon Tyne, June 22, 1964); The Appointment, television opera (1968); A Child of the Universe, theater piece (1971); Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, children’s opera (1977-78; Harrogate, Aug. 3, 1978); Equus, ballet (Baltimore, March 21, 1980); Rebecca, oper (1981-83; Leeds, Oct. 15, 1983); Alice in Wonderland, children’s opera (1985–88); Cyrano de Bergerac, ballet (1990–91); also numerous film and television scores. ORCH.: The Ants, comedy overture (1955; BBC, Feb.6, 1961); 10 syms.: No. 1 (London, Dec. 17, 1955; rev. 1957-58 and 1974-75), No. 2 (1963-64; Cheltenham, July 5, 1965), No. 3, Philadelphia, for Small Orch. (1967; London, April 15, 1969), No. 4 (1967-70; BBC, May 26, 1983), No. 5, Pastoral (1970-71; Kingston- upon-Hull, Nov. 25, 1971), No. 6 for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1974), No. 7, Winter, for Small Orch. (1976; Bournemouth, Dec.14, 1978), No. 8, The 4 Elements, for Wind Orch. or Symphonic Band (1975-77; Harrogate, Aug. 13, 1977), No. 9, Sinfonia Concertante, for Small Orch. (1979-80; Warrington, Feb. 11, 1981), and No. 10, Circadian Rhythms (Norwich, Oct. 19, 1985); Elegy for Strings (London, May 25, 1957); Concerto a Dodici (1959; BBC, March 18, 1967); A Tyneside Overture (1960); Concerto da Camera for Violin and Strings (1959-60; Maastricht, Dec. 20, 1961); Meditatio de Boernmundo for Viola and Strings (1960-61; Birmingham, May 7, 1961); Aelian Dances (1961; BBC, Dec. 1, 1962); Monkchester Dances (1961); Cantus natalis, cello concerto (1961-62; BBC, Jan. 16, 1971); Canzonas on a Theme of Rameau for Strings (1965; London, Feb. 13, 1966); 2 piano concertos: No. 1 (1965; London, March 5, 1967) and No. 2 (1971; Dudley, May 19, 1972); Concerto for Light Orch. (1966; Munich, Oct. 1, 1967); Polemic for Strings (Harrogate, Aug. 14, 1967); Spirit of the Waltz (1967); Rail, symphonic picture for Strings (Newcastle upon Tyne, June 15, 1967); Oboe Concerto (Hemel Hempstead, Sept. 25, 1967; rev. 1968); Serenade for Small Orch. (1968); Variations on a Theme of Beethoven (1969; N.Y., Jan. 23, 1970); Concerto for 2 Violins and String Orch. (London, Sept. 19, 1969); The Last Last Post (1971); Saratoga Concerto for Guitar, Harp, Harpsichord, and Chamber Orch. (1972; Manchester, April 16, 1978); Concerto for Brass Band (1972-73; Hanley, Aug. 9, 1974); The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, overture (1973-74; Gloucester, Aug. 18, 1974); Clarinet Concerto (1975; Edinburgh, June 12, 1976); Symphonic Poem Eve (d’après Rodin) (1977–78); Concerto d’Amore for Violin(s) and Orch. (1979; ’s-Hertogenbosch, Feb. 12, 1980); Consort Music (London, Dec. 21, 1980); Double Bass Concerto (1980; Chester, Aug. 1, 1981); The Brontës, overture (1981; Halifax, May 1, 1982); High Spirits, overture (1981-82; Sevenoaks, April 2, 1983); Percussion Concerto (1982; London, Jan. 15, 1983); Concerto for Viola and Small Orch. (1983; Adelaide, Feb. 21, 1987); The Heaving Bagpipe, overture (1984); Feu de joie (London, June 18, 1984); Caen Wood,“celebratratory” overture (London, June 8, 1985); Disconcerto for Piano and Orch. (1985; Freiburg im Breisgau, May 25, 1986); Festival Overture (on Brabant Themes) (1987); In the North—Hommage à Sibelius (1990); Wordless Song for Strings (1990). CHAMBER: 4 string quartets: No. 1 (1954; London, Dec. 17, 1955), No. 2 (1957-58; Belgian Radio, Sept. 1959; rev. 1960), No. 3 (1971; Milwaukee, March 3, 1974), and No. 4 (1981; London, Sept. 8, 1982); Siesta for Violin and Piano(1955); Sonata for Solo Violin (1957); Wry Rumba for Wind Quintet (1957–60); An Old English Suite for 5 Clarinets and Basset Horn (1961); Requiescant pro defunctis fundaeis, string quintet (1961; London, Sept. 24, 1965); Chacony (1962-63; N.Y., Oct. 23, 1963); Octet (1964; London, March 18, 1966); 3 violin sonatas: No. 1 (N.Y., Oct. 22, 1965), No. 2 (1975; BBC, Nov. 29, 1976), and No. 3 (1986–87); Trio for Flute, Violin, and Cello (1965-66; London, May 11, 1969); String Trio (1966; Birmingham, April 15, 1967); Sonata for Solo Cello (1970; BBC, Dec. 17, 1971); Doubles (1970–73); Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano (Newport, Wales, Nov. 7, 1971); Piano Trio (1974; Newcastle upon Tyne, Feb. 21, 1979; rev. 1981); 2 sonatas for Brass Quintet: No. 1 (1974; Nottingham, Nov. 16, 1981) and No. 2 (1989); Piano Quintet (1974-76; Newcastle upon Tyne, Sept. 15, 1978); Flute Sonata (1976–77); Wind Quintet (London, March 5, 1978); Concerto for 4 Pianos and 6 Percussion (1978; Manchester, March 15, 1979); Thoughts on a Spanish Guitar (1979); Oboe Quartet (1979); Double Bass Sonata (1980); 8 Aphorisms for Trombone Octet (1981; Bristol, July 26, 1982); Arcadian Rhapsody for Flute, String Trio, and Harp (Newcastle upon Tyne, Oct. 7, 1984); Clarinet Quinet (1984-85; Arundel, Sussex, Aug. 25, 1985);Northumbrian Dances for Soprano Saxophone and Piano (1986); William’sFancye for 5 Players (1986); Clarinet Sonata (1987–88); Oboe Sonata (1988); Papageno Variations for Wind Sextet (1989; Letchworth, Feb. 3, 1990). keyboard: piano: Sonata No. 2 (1963); 14 Studies (1966); 29 Preludes (1969); Sonata Duo for Piano Duet (1976); Arabesques (1985–88). organ:Fantasia on 3 Notes (1978); Tombeaux (1980); Testimony, toccata (1981). VOCAL: 12 Letters,“entertainment” for Narrator, Clarinet, String Trio, and Piano, after Belloc (1957; London, Jan. 19, 1964); Requiem for Bass, Baritone or Bass-Baritone, 2 Cellos, and Chorus (1962-63; Milan, Oct. 28, 1965); Protégez-moi for Children’s or Women’s Voices, Piano, Optional Recorders, Percussion, and School Orch. (1964; London, March 11, 1968); Mortales for Soloists and Choruses (1967-69; Cincinnati, May 23, 1970); Adam and Eve,“entertainment” for Narrator and Chamber Ensemble (1967-68; London, Feb. 4, 1968); Nightmusic for Voice and Orch. (1969-70; Liverpool, Oct. 23, 1974); Aeroplanes and Angels for Chorus and Piano Duet, after Gunter Grass (1977-78; London, April 12, 1978); Tenebrae for Chorus, Piano Duet, Optional Flute, Optional Percussion, and Strings (1989); William and the Bomb for Narrator and Orch. (Cardiff, Sept. 25, 1993);choruses; song cycles; solo songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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