George Lloyd is one of those discoveries that, when made, never leave
you. And you, the music lover, are all the better for making that
His music was generally shunned by the academic and professional music
establishment in the post-WWII years, although he had some success in
prewar Britain. The American neo-Romanticists, like Howard Hanson, who
found serialism and atonality to be sterile fields not worth plowing,
were likewise rejected by the academy.
Lloyd's music is instantly identifiable, but hard to firmly categorize:
It is not particular "British" sounding--no folk tunes. Melody ("good
tunes" as George himself expressed it) is foremost. And gorgeous,
colorful orchestration--a very cinematic approach to the sound of the
orchestra. He wrote several operas, piano concertos, concertos for
violin and cello, but the core of his work is the 12 symphonies...or
maybe 13: see below. The symphonies range from the fairly short and
simple, like 1, 6 or 9; or somewhat massive, like 4, 5 and 11.
Two works for me rise to the top of his always excellent, always enjoyable
music: the Symphony No. 4 and a very late work, the Symphonic Mass--these
two are arguably his finest masterworks. I have often felt that the
Symphonic Mass merited an unofficial designation as his Symphony No.
13--it is huge, with the orchestra more than an equal partner with the
chorus throughout and no soloists, and a genuinely symphonic feel.
The debt of gratitude is owed first to Lyrita Records and second to
Albany Records for recording most of Lloyd's output. Lyrita was first,
but Albany has the distinction of capturing all 12 symphonies and the
Mass under the composer's baton. Urgently recommended, esp. the Albany
discs of Sym. 4 and the Symphonic Mass.