MUSIC / BBC Philharmonic / George Lloyd - RNCM, Manchester

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The Independent Culture
George Lloyd and John Cage have a lot in common. Born within a year of one another (Cage in 1912, Lloyd in 1913) they both have ultra-loyal constituencies in the concert-going public; both could claim to have been anathema to the musical establishment at one time or another; and both stuck to their guns in the face of critical scorn. Both, in other words, have been sociological as much as musical phenomena - if for somewhat different reasons. Lloyd's Third Symphony is the work of an enthusiastic and gifted 19-year-old, with aspirations to melody and instant appeal rather than profundity. His Charade Suite of 1968 is subtitled 'Scenes from the 60s' and consists of extremely mild-mannered send-ups of 'Student Power', 'LSD' (a la Debussy) and the like. This music is hard to dislike - or indeed to have any strong feeling about.

The composer is happily still with us, looking as hale as his music sounds hearty, and conducting with no little sprightliness. But it would not have been difficult to imagine more precise rhythmic and colouristic pointing; likewise in the accompaniment to Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto, where Kathryn Stott was a robust and intelligent, if texturally not ideally refined, soloist.