Edward German (1862-1936, English)

If, from the fact that Edward German wrote a Welsh Rhapsody based on Welsh tunes (in fact a four-movement symphony playing without break), you assume that he himself was Welsh – not quite: he was in fact a Shropshire lad, born in Whitchurch, and only of Welsh descent. The work is featured on the CD “Music of the Four Countries” on EMI’s mid-price collection “Studio”, the reissue of a 1968 recording by the Scottish National Orchestra under Alexander Gibson, where German is indeed supposed to represent Wales, beside the Irish Hamilton Harty, the English Ethel Smyth and the Scot Hamish MacCunn. For all its derivativeness, it is the piece I found overall the most enjoyable on the disc. Think of Tchaikovsky’s ballets and you’ll get an idea – and German’s is a good imitation (despite its moments of maudlin sentimentality). German was also seen in his days as an heir to Sullivan. I confess to not being familiar with the music of Sullivan, but it possibly sounds that way, too. That said, why setlle on German when you have Tchaikovsky (and Sullivan)?

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