Gordon Jacob composed Old Wine in New Bottles when he was sixty-four years old for the St. Bees Festival of Music. The festival was hosted by the St. Bees School, a coeducational grammar school, located in St. Bees Village on the coast of Cumbria near the English and Scottish border.
Old Wine in New Bottles premiered at the Symphony Concert at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 1959. According to a local newspaper clipping appearing shortly after the concert:
“It is not often to-day that a new work is the most popular in any concert programme. But Gordon Jacob’s “Old Wine in New Bottles” written specially for the festival amply deserved its success. This is a suite of four folk-song settings for woodwind and brass in which the composer displays all the dexterity of instrumental writing and harmonic ingenuity for which his music is well known. “The Raggle Taggle Gypsies,” “The Three Ravens,” and “Begone Dull Care” formed the basis of three well-contrasted movements. The final “Early One Morning” blended discreet sentiment, wit, and high spirit with a felicitous craftsmanship in a manner which recalled that of a Haydn finale.”
Source of the above, excerpted information:
Decker, Marc David. "An analysis of and conductor's guide to Gordon Jacob's "Old wine in new bottles" and "More old wine in new bottles"." DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) thesis, University of Iowa, 2013. http://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/4960 http://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4960&context=etd
Photo obtained from www.gordonjacob.org
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