ALUN HODDINOTT (1929 - 2008)
Alun Hoddinott was born in Bargoed, Glamorganshire on August 11, 1929 and grew up on the beautiful Gower peninsula to the west of Swansea. When he died there on March 11, 2008 he had dominated the musical scene in Wales for well over half a century. His unique achievement was fittingly recognised, in what would have been his 80th birthday year, when the new home of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales within the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay was named BBC Hoddinott Hall in his honour. Hoddinott spent most of his professional life in Cardiff—initially as an undergraduate at the University (1946–49) and then as a lecturer at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (1951–59) before returning to his alma mater as Lecturer (1959–67) and subsequently Professor and Head of Music from 1967 until 1987. In initial partnership with his great pianist friend John Ogdon, this pivotal year 1967 also saw Hoddinott establishing the Cardiff Festival of 20th Century Music, a pioneering event which he directed until 1989. At the age of 60 he then retired from all administrative duties to concentrate exclusively on composition. As one of the most gifted, versatile and prolific composers of his generation internationally, Hoddinott contributed significant works to all genres—10 symphonies, 6 operas, 13 piano sonatas, 5 string quartets, 6 violin sonatas, several large-scale choral canvases (notably The Tree of Life, Sinfonia Fidei and The Legend of St. Julian) and over 20 concerto-like scores for virtually every traditional instrument, including the cello concerto Noctis Equi for Mstislav Rostropovich in 1989. This recording brings together for the first time all his songs for high voice and piano (together with his last vocal work of all) and thus represents an important strand of his vast and prodigious output.