Future performances of the Symphony in A minor
In December 2013, a performance by the Lambeth Orchestra, under Christopher Fifield, was the first performance in living memory of this fine large-scale work. A reconstructed score and parts (in private hands) can be obtained.
His Opus 48 was composed between 1913 – 16, and is possibly the only British symphony written during the 1st World War. At the outbreak of the war Dunhill was in his later 30s and not immediately called up. Although he served from 1916 as a bandsman attached to the Irish Guards in London, his work as a teacher at the RCM was recognised, and he was able to continue both as a composer and as an examiner for the ABRSM.
The symphony was, before 2013, last played in public in 1935. However a good recording made by Dutton records in 2007, was conducted by Martin Yates with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Yates described its slow movement as ‘one of the loveliest things I’ve ever heard’. Dunhill’s contemporary Roger Quilter wrote of it: “It is so finely made and conceived and so sincere, also so cleanly scored; and without padding: a fine achievement”.
Elegiac Variations on an Original Theme (in memory of Parry)
A new performance and recording of this would be of great interest. This early orchestral work was first performed (probably) at The Three Choirs Festival in 1922. It has been occasionally broadcast by the BBC.
Dunhill composed this c15-minute work, in homage to Hubert Parry, composer and director of the Royal College – who was a major influence and help to TFD as a student and in his early career, assisting him for instance in securing a teaching post at Eton College around 1900, and appointing him as Professor of Harmony & Counterpoint at the RCM in 1905. As a member of staff, Parry also helped Dunhill in becoming an international examiner for the Associated Board.
Violin Sonata in D minor
Although much of Dunhill’s early chamber music has been recorded, this work remains unvisited. It was written in 1908, inspired by TFD’s ‘muse’ – a young violin student Margaret Sale – whom he met while touring New Zealand as an examiner. She subsequently came to London to study at the RCM, and TFD chaperoned her to concerts and ‘bohemian’ restaurants. It was published by Stainer & Bell and may be easily obtained.
Publishing an anthology or collected works – of Dunhill’s piano music
Dunhill’s individual compositions for piano – ranging from beginners’ pieces to advanced works for concert pianists – number into the hundreds. These were published by numerous publishers, mostly from around 1910 into the late 1930s. Clearly there was a significant demand – when nearly every home had a piano – for interesting piano works for players of a moderate or even elementary ability, as well as for advanced musicians.
Equally a recording of selected and representative piano pieces would fill an empty gap in recording history. A project to do this is currently underway . . .