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Arthur Bliss

Publisher: Novello & Co

The Tempest (1921)
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Voices and 1-6 players
Year Composed
6 Minutes
tenor, bass
Programme Note
Arthur Bliss The Tempest (1921)
Sir Arthur Bliss: Storm (from The Tempest)

In 1921 Viola Tree and Louis Calvert produced The Tempest at the Aldwych Theatre. For this production they used a variety of music, including some by Frederick Norton (who wrote Chu Chin Chow). But the musical high spots of the evening were the opening storm and other incidental music written by Bliss for an ensemble of drums, percussion and piano, with two male voices, trumpet and trombone. The Storm was detached for concert performance and thus played at an Edward Clark concert at Queen's Hall in April 1921 at which the 1919 version of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite was first played in England. (Harriet Cohen was the pianist on that occasion, and while playing the Bliss she smashed a thumb nail!) Bliss was considered as very much an avant garde figure at the time, and Arnold Bennett observed, a propos The Storm, that Bliss "wiped out members of the French VI". Later The Tempest music was lost, and The Storm has only comparatively recently come to light.

© Lewis Foreman

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