Sir Ernest MacMillan And The Toronto Symphony Play Music Of Robert Fleming – 1955 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Robert Fleming - One of Canada's most prolific composers.
Robert Fleming – One of Canada‘s most prolific composers.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Robert Fleming – Shadow On The Prairie – Toronto Symphony, Sir Ernest MacMillan, cond. – February 1955 – CBC Transcription Service

Heading up North again this week. Robert Fleming was considered one of the most prolific Canadian composers of his generation. With over 250 ballets and film scores, 50 works for orchestra, 25 works for chamber group and countless other vocal and instrumental pieces, the legacy of Robert Fleming is pretty daunting.

Yet, he’s relatively unknown here in the U.S. – and such a short distance away, you’d think . . . .

Born in 1921 in Alberta, Fleming briefly re-located to the UK where he studied at the Royal College of Music before returning to his native Saskatoon and launching a career as a pianist. After the war he turned to composition and settled first in Ottawa and then Toronto where he spent the rest of his life teaching. Fleming died in 1976. Although he is considered firmly rooted in 20th Century music, he was considered by his contemporaries as a moderate.

Of his many orchestral works, his ballet Shadow On The Prairie is probably one of his best known. A ballet in one scene, it was originally commissioned by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1951 and was warmly received and subsequently toured throughout Canada and the U.S. in the early 1950s.

This recording, made in February of 1955 came shortly after the premier of the Orchestrated version of the Concert Suite. The broadcast version was widely circulated via the CBC Transcription Service throughout the world. It’s not known if it’s currently available anywhere or not.

At least you have it here, as it was first performed by the Toronto Symphony, conducted by their longtime music director Sir Ernest MacMillan.

And the discoveries continue.

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