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WILLIAM ALWYN  

(1905 - 1985)

William Alwyn’s training at the Royal Academy of Music in London was interrupted by the death of his father, but after earning his living for a time, principally as a flautist, he returned to teach composition at the Academy whilst simultaneously pursuing his career as a flautist. He later developed his technique and particular musical language, rejecting his earlier work. He won a reputation as a composer of film scores, with music for The Way Ahead and Odd Man Out among 86 such collaborations, and he wrote music for 107 documentaries. A man of diverse gifts, he also turned his attention to painting and writing.

Orchestral Music

Alwyn’s orchestral music includes five symphonies and a number of concertos, two of them for piano. The first of the latter was written in 1930 and later rejected by the composer, a judgement that to many has appeared too harsh. The second concerto was written in 1960.

Film Music

After earlier work for documentary films, in the 1940s Alwyn began an important collaboration with the film director Carol Reed, writing scores for films including Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol, The Winslow Boy and The History of Mr Polly.

Vocal and Chamber Music

Alwyn was equally prolific as a composer of music for voice and for smaller ensembles, his vocal works including an oratorio (the words taken from Blake), an opera, and song cycles. The latter make particular use of poems by his friend Michael Armstrong.

Piano Music

A pianist himself, Alwyn wrote music for the piano throughout his life, sometimes making notable technical demands on a performer.

View by Role: Classical Composer | Lyricist
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ALWYN, W.: Chamber Music - Sonatas / Suite / String Trio / Conversations (Plane, Gould, Francis, Bradley, Wakeford, Rahman, Hermitage String Trio) Naxos
8.572425
Chamber Music
ALWYN, W.: Concerti Grossi Nos. 2 and 3 / 7 Irish Tunes / The Moor of Venice (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Lloyd-Jones) Naxos
8.570145
Orchestral, Concertos
ALWYN, W.: Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Strings / Elizabethan Dances / The Innumerable Dance (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Lloyd-Jones) Naxos
8.570144
Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
ALWYN, W.: Film Music (arr. for wind band) (Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, Rundell, Heron) Naxos
8.572747
Wind Ensemble/Band Music
ALWYN, W.: Mirages / 6 Nocturnes / Seascapes / Invocations (English Song, Vol. 17) Naxos
8.570201
Vocal
ALWYN, W.: Piano Music, Vol. 2 (Wass) - 12 Preludes / Contes Barbares / Movements Naxos
8.570464
Instrumental
ALWYN, W.: String Quartets Nos. 1-3 / Novelette (Maggini Quartet) Naxos
8.570560
Chamber Music
ALWYN, W.: Violin Concerto / Miss Julie Suite / Fanfare for a Joyful Occasion (McAslan, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Lloyd-Jones) Naxos
8.570705
Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
ALWYN: Concerto grosso No. 1 / Pastoral Fantasia / 5 Preludes / Autumn Legend (Lloyd-Jones) Naxos
8.570704
Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
ALWYN: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Sonata alla toccata Naxos
8.557590
Instrumental, Orchestral, Concertos
ALWYN: Piano Music, Vol. 1 Naxos
8.570359
Instrumental
ALWYN: Sonata impromptu / Sonatina / Ballade / Rhapsody / 3 Winter Poems / Songs Naxos
8.570340
Chamber Music, Instrumental, Vocal, Instrumental, Chamber Music, Instrumental
ALWYN: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 Naxos
8.557648
Orchestral
ALWYN: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5 / Harp Concerto, "Lyra Angelica" Naxos
8.557647
Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
ALWYN: Symphony No. 4 / Sinfonietta Naxos
8.557649
Orchestral
MYSTIC CLASSICS - Visionary Choral and Orchestral Masterpieces Naxos
8.570225-26
Orchestral
PIANO MUSIC FOR STUDENTS - Associated Board Piano Examination, Grades 1-4 (1995) Marco Polo
AB-80102
Instrumental
SEA PICTURES (2-CD set) Naxos
8.578017-18
Vocal
Role: Lyricist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 




 
 
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