Outside of viola players and, possibly, music theory and orchestration students, the name Cecil Forsyth does not ring that much of a bell. Forsyth was born in Greenwich, England, in 1870 and studied at the University of Edinburgh and later at the Royal College of Music. He worked as a violist in various orchestras, one being the Queen’s Hall Orchestra–and wrote his Viola Concerto in G Minor for a September, 1903 premiere with soloist, Émile Férir.
Forsyth’s association with Hubert Parry, director of the RCM, probably contributed to his other area of specialization, musicology. Forsyth published Orchestration in 1913 before moving to New York City to work in the music publishing business. He died there in 1941.
Violist Hillary Herndon will be performing the Forsyth concerto with the UT Symphony Orchestra on Saturday evening, February 18, 8 pm, in Cox Auditorium on the UT campus. The concerto is grouped on the evening’s bill with a Gerard Schwarz arrangement/orchestration of Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz, followed by a work that, most definitely, has not languished in obscurity, the Ravel-orchestrated version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. James Fellenbaum conducts.
The performance is free. (A lecture by Maestro Fellenbaum on the Mussorgsky/Ravel precedes the concert at 7 pm)