Constant Lambert

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Born: 23 August 1905 — London — England
Died: 21 August 1951 — London — England
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Works include:


Romeo and Juliet (ballet, orchestra)
Pomona (ballet, orchestra)
Mr Bear Squash-You-All-Flat (for narrator and eight instruments)
Piano Sonata
Eight Poems of Li-Po (voice and chamber ensemble)
Music for Orchestra


Rio Grande (chorus and orchestra)
Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments
Summers Last Will and Testament


Dirge from Cybeline (chorus)
Horoscope (ballet, orchestra)
Anna Karenina (film score, orchestra)
Trois Pieces pour le Touche Blanche (piano duet)


Tiresias (ballet, orchestra)


Constant Lambert studied at the Royal College of Music under Vaughan Williams, R.O. Morris and George Dyson for composition, and Malcolm Sargent for conducting. He first came to prominence in the 1920s as the composer of the ballet score Romeo and Juliet for Diaghilev, influenced by Stravinsky. He was friendly with William Walton and the Sitwells, and helped Walton with Facade.

By 1930 he had shot to fame through the huge success of the jazz-tinged choral fantasia The Rio Grande. But other jazz-related works of the same era, notably the Piano Sonata and Concerto for Piano and Nine Instruments show the darker side of Lambert - harsh and percussive use of jazz in very serious, concentrated pieces with constantly shifting time signatures. In the early 1930s he wrote a lively critique of modern music in the book Music, Ho!, and in 1936 came the bleak but beautiful choral work Summers Last Will and Testament, a masque for chorus and orchestra using Elizabethan dance form. Most of Lambert’s time in the 1930s and 1940s was taken up by conducting and in his work establishing the Vic Wells Ballet with Ninette de Valois. The ballet score Horoscope was composed in the early 1940s. After that only small pieces until the full length ballet score Tiresias was produced in 1951. Lambert died shortly after its first performance, of undiagnosed diabetes aggravated by his drinking. Tiresias (and most of Lambert’s other work) fell into obscurity, although recently there has been something of a revival, with recordings of the Piano Concerto, Summers Last Will and Testament, and Tiresias.


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Upcoming concerts →

Thu 17 Apr: L’Alma Chamber Orchestra en concert, le jeudi 17 avril à la Salle Pleyel 252 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
Wed 23 Apr: Trois Miniatures Pour quatuor à cordes, Premiere and workshop by the Arditti Quartet Milton court concert hall, Guildhall School of Music & Drama (London)
Thu 24 Apr: Von Hollywood nach Pankow - Hanns Eisler und die Frauen Arnold Schönberg Center Schwarzenbergplatz 6 1030 Wien
Sun 27 Apr: Godelieve Shrama + Wouter Snoei Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ Piet Heinkade 1 Amsterdam
Sat 3 May: Melodia Women’s Choir of NYC Presents “The Poet’s Song” Church of the Holy Apostles New York
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Dying days:
(1735) Georg Friedrich [George Frideric] Händel: Premiere of Alcina, in London, England.
(1849) Giacomo Meyerbeer: Premiere of Le Prophète, in Paris, France.
(1928) Joseph Matthias Hauer: Premiere of Wandlungen, in Baden-Baden, Germany.
(1962) Krzysztof Penderecki: Premiere of Polymorphia, in Hamburg, Germany.
(1989) Wolfgang Rihm: Premiere of Medea-Spiel, in Salzburg, Austria.

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Mitch Leigh (17 Mar)
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John Carbon (4 Mar)
Pawlu Grech (3 Mar)
Luigi Nono (27 Feb)

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Sheet music for Lambert

[details ←] Elegiac Blues (score), piano,
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Cinema Spectacular
Classical Music : Cinema Spectacular
from: Eloquence Australia's Price: $19.73
as of 04/10/2014 11:05 EDT
Lambert: The Rio grande, Horoscope, Apparitions, Ballabile / Rawsthorne: Overture street Corner
Classical Music : Lambert: The Rio grande, Horoscope, Apparitions, Ballabile / Rawsthorne: Overture street Corner
from: EMI Classics's Price: $16.98
as of 04/10/2014 11:05 EDT
Constant Lambert: Tiresias (A Ballet in Three Acts, 1950-51) / Pomona (A Ballet in One Act, 1927)
Classical Music : Constant Lambert: Tiresias (A Ballet in Three Acts, 1950-51) / Pomona (A Ballet in One Act, 1927)
from: Hyperion UK

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Rio Grande
Classical Music : Rio Grande
from: Polygram Records's Price: $20.97
as of 04/10/2014 11:05 EDT

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