Why was George Lloyd shunned by the BBC?

Friday, 22nd July

George Lloyd, conducting at The Lyceum, 1933, aged 20.

George Lloyd conducting at The Lyceum in 1933 [Courtesy of The George Lloyd Music Library]

• THE BBC is apparently celebrating its centenary in this year’s Proms. But this year also marks the 30th anniversary of my approach to various BBC Proms controllers asking why the music of front-rank British composer George Lloyd was not featured in the programming of that famous music festival.

The replies – a bit like “promises as to the future” in a certain legal regard – were lacking in any hope for the inclusion of any of Lloyd’s uplifting melodious works, not least his marvellous Symphonic Mass, the best of his remarkable 12 symphonies, the cello concerto (a modern competitor to the Elgar work), plus the violin and piano concertos.

Lloyd’s name was even omitted from a BBC Radio Three celebration of British classical music. For heaven’s sake…this the national broadcasting entity.

But the consistency of omission continues to this day, with the exception of a brief nod in Lloyd’s own centenary year when two of his less important pieces were featured – almost as “in passing”.

Year after year the same names and their various compositions are trotted out at The Proms. No names, no pack drill – but they are not hard to identify.

It should not be left to the excellent Ealing Symphony Orchestra to embark on a complete cycle of Lloyd’s symphonies while the BBC behaves in this disrespectful inexplicable fashion. But thank goodness for the likes of the ESO all the same!

MARK NEWBERRY
Harcourt Street, W1

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