Getty images has released an image of PGH and Stanley Bate probably taken in Sydney in 1940. The image is published on the Telegraph‘s website alongside Simon Heffer’s profile of Bate as a composer “like Vaughan Williams on speed“. Interestingly, the Telegraph has inexplicably chopped off PGH’s head and by doing so has erased the most interesting element in the image: the portraits of Stravinsky and Bartok tacked on the wall next to the piano. Bate’s admiration for Stravinsky is well known. That he thought the same about Bartok is a revelation, though not a surprising one.
On 24 February 1937, having recently arrived in Paris, PGH noted in her diary that she had written the first movement of a flute concerto. Stanley Bate was also in Paris and this was the year he composed a flute sonata, recorded the following year for the Oiseau-Lyre label by Marcel Moyse (flute) and his son Louis (piano) so perhaps both composers were inspired by the playing of Moyse, then a professor at the Conservatoire and a friend of Nadia Boulanger. Although PGH’s concerto must have been completed—in 1943 she offered the score to the ABC in Australia—it has since been lost. Louise Dyer (of Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre) was prepared to offer Bate a recording contract for whatever he wrote but found him difficult to work with. The flute sonata was reviewed in Music & Letters by E.R. (Edmund Rubbra?), who described it as “well-oiled music that, once it gets started, is able to go on its own momentum ad infinitum”. He also made the usual complaint about Bate’s immaturity, adding, “We shall know the stature of this young composer only when he has ceeased to gather hints on note-manipulation from a certain widely-influential Parisian school”. The flute sonata has recently been recorded by James Dutton with Oliver Davies for Willowhayne Records. It is a delightful work, typically French in its lightheartedness and typically a product of the Boulangerie in its whimsical meanderings with spicy modernist inflections.