A new RECORDING from em records
TOTAL COST: £10,500
AMOUNT RAISED: £5,137 | 48.9%

The most popular British symphonist before Elgar and a hugely influential figure in Victorian London, FREDERICK HYMEN COWEN is now almost completely forgotten. He was conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society, the Hallé Orchestra, the Philharmonic Society of London, the Scottish Orchestra (now known as the RSNO) and the Handel Festivals at The Crystal Palace. Cowen received honorary doctorates from Cambridge and Edinburgh in 1900 and 1910 respectively, and was knighted at St. James’s Palace on 6 July 1911. Not unlike his younger contemporary, Sir Arthur Sullivan, he regarded himself primarily as a serious symphonic composer: his symphonies, like those of Parry, are a strong and individual contribution to a tradition of English music-making that is now tragically forgotten; and he might with good cause be regarded as the most important Anglo-Jewish composer of the last 200 years.

The reputation of the Anglo-German composer PERCY SHERWOOD (1866–1939), by contrast, was a victim of the tumults of the 20th century. Born to an English father and a German mother in the cosmopolitan city of Dresden, he achieved an enviable reputation as a composer, pianist and teacher. During a visit to his family in the summer of 1914, he was stranded by the outbreak of the First World War. He chose to remain in England thereafter, but, dogged by poor health, he died shortly before the Second World War. Interest in Sherwood has grown in recent years with the recordings of his Second Piano Concerto by Hiroaki Takenouchi and of the complete surviving works for cello and piano by Joseph Spooner and David Owen Norris, both discs having received extremely warm reviews.

There can perhaps be no better way of marking the 150th anniversary of Sherwood’s birth and cementing his reputation today than by recording the composer’s Double Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra (1907–1908). This work – written at the height of Sherwood’s career in Germany, not long before he was appointed a Royal Professor by the King of Saxony – will appear under the pioneering label EM Records, which, in the few years since its foundation, has built an enviable reputation for bringing neglected masterpieces to music enthusiasts, with the world-class quality of its musicians and the polish of its production values attracting international acclaim. The soloists will be Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) and Joseph Spooner (cello); both have garnered reputations for bringing unknown works to light, and Joseph is already fully immersed in Sherwood’s idiom. The orchestra will be the BBC Concert Orchestra, itself famous for supporting rediscovered repertoire, conducted by John Andrews, with whom they have recently recorded a double CD of theatre music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.  The Concerto will be recorded alongside Cowen’s Symphony nr 5 – another hitherto unrecorded work, and the presence of which on the disc will, we hope, help to resurrect Cowen’s name for recognition and acclaim worldwide.