Author Topic: Havergal Brian.  (Read 812215 times)

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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #100 on: February 15, 2008, 06:05:17 AM »
Just linking these videos in case anyone has not seen them yet :)
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Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #101 on: February 15, 2008, 06:36:50 AM »
Just linking these videos in case anyone has not seen them yet :)
Thanks, those are great ! You are going to need a better band than that to bring this music off though. Sorry.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 06:40:26 AM by PerfectWagnerite »

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #102 on: February 15, 2008, 06:46:25 AM »
Thanks, those are great ! You are going to need a better band than that to bring this music off though. Sorry.

Indeedie - that's the sad thing about obscure classical music: when it is finally performed, it's often in less than ideal circumstances...
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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #103 on: February 15, 2008, 06:48:54 AM »
Well, all things considering the LSSO do a fine job. I for one am very glad those young kids played the Tenth, because it's still the only Tenth I ever heard...
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #104 on: February 15, 2008, 06:57:52 AM »
Just linking these videos in case anyone has not seen them yet :)

Thanks, Lethe. I hadn't seen these before.

Sarge
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Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #105 on: February 15, 2008, 06:59:00 AM »
Well, all things considering the LSSO do a fine job. I for one am very glad those young kids played the Tenth, because it's still the only Tenth I ever heard...
I don't for one second question the committment or the enthusiasm of those kids. But this is frighteningly difficult music that even most British orchestras wouldn't touch with the proverbial ten foot pole even though the composer is one of their fellow countryman. That and trying to sort out all the mistakes in the copying of the parts must have been pretty frustrating.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #106 on: February 15, 2008, 07:05:17 AM »
I don't for one second question the committment or the enthusiasm of those kids. But this is frighteningly difficult music that even most British orchestras wouldn't touch with the proverbial ten foot pole even though the composer is one of their fellow countryman. That and trying to sort out all the mistakes in the copying of the parts must have been pretty frustrating.

All true of course but considering the age of these musicians, I've always thought this was a remarkably good performance. Still, I'd like to hear the music performed by one of the great British orchestras....but I'm not holding my breath.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #107 on: February 15, 2008, 07:11:50 AM »
All true of course but considering the age of these musicians, I've always thought this was a remarkably good performance. Still, I'd like to hear the music performed by one of the great British orchestras....but I'm not holding my breath.

Sarge
Can you imagine musicians at the LSO taking a look at this music. THey probably say: WTF??? Give me some Bruckner instead.

greg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #108 on: February 15, 2008, 07:20:38 AM »
Just linking these videos in case anyone has not seen them yet :)
wow, can't believe i've missed these videos!  :o

lukeottevanger

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #109 on: February 15, 2008, 07:34:02 AM »
I don't think you should underestimate the musical skills of those LSSO players (many of whom went on to play in professional orchestras only a fews years later). I speak as a member of the same orchestra, but 20 years later (I've played in that hall often!) - we were all in awe of the reputation of the LSSO of the 60s-80s. The influence of Tippett, who was closely linked with the orchestra, ran very deep, and the coincidence of this and the highpoint of the British music education system (which as far as the LSSO went was still in existence when I was a member of the orchestra) helped to make an astonishingly fine orchestra. There was the time in the 1980s, for instance, when this schools orchestra was crowned both 'Best Youth Orchestra' and 'Best Amateur Orchestra' in Europe. Though the sound is raggedy in places in the Brian recording, the parts that matter - xylophone etc - are all very well in place.

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #110 on: February 15, 2008, 07:41:47 AM »
There was the time in the 1980s, for instance, when this schools orchestra was crowned both 'Best Youth Orchestra' and 'Best Amateur Orchestra' in Europe.
Who crowned them that? Fellow British citizens ;)
The playing is actually very good. The brass is rather weak though. You can tell the tuba and horn players are having a difficult time.

lukeottevanger

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #111 on: February 15, 2008, 07:45:05 AM »
Who crowned them that? Fellow British citizens ;)
The playing is actually very good. The brass is rather weak though. You can tell the tuba and horn players are having a difficult time.

You can tell the same thing on professional Brian recordings, though....

The competition was in Vienna, I think. Austria, at any rate - you cynic!  ;) ;D

greg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #112 on: February 15, 2008, 07:52:58 AM »
I don't think you should underestimate the musical skills of those LSSO players (many of whom went on to play in professional orchestras only a fews years later). I speak as a member of the same orchestra, but 20 years later (I've played in that hall often!) - we were all in awe of the reputation of the LSSO of the 60s-80s. The influence of Tippett, who was closely linked with the orchestra, ran very deep, and the coincidence of this and the highpoint of the British music education system (which as far as the LSSO went was still in existence when I was a member of the orchestra) helped to make an astonishingly fine orchestra. There was the time in the 1980s, for instance, when this schools orchestra was crowned both 'Best Youth Orchestra' and 'Best Amateur Orchestra' in Europe. Though the sound is raggedy in places in the Brian recording, the parts that matter - xylophone etc - are all very well in place.
seriously?!
which instrument did you play?

lukeottevanger

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #113 on: February 15, 2008, 07:54:04 AM »
Cello

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #114 on: February 15, 2008, 07:54:26 AM »
You can tell the same thing on professional Brian recordings, though....

True. I distinctly remember in Naxos Gothic where it sounded like the entire brass and percussion section just lost their places in the score.

greg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #115 on: February 15, 2008, 07:59:03 AM »
Cello
can't believe i never knew that!


True. I distinctly remember in Naxos Gothic where it sounded like the entire brass and percussion section just lost their places in the score.

:o

lukeottevanger

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #116 on: February 15, 2008, 08:01:52 AM »
True. I distinctly remember in Naxos Gothic where it sounded like the entire brass and percussion section just lost their places in the score.


Well, no, they are always in the right place, I think - I haven't noticed any serious discrepancies in that respect, anyway. Certainly the music is taxing them, but in technical matters it doesn't ask as much of its players as later Brain symphonies, where they are often more exposed too, and playing more unusual figures. In those the later Brian symphonies - like this no 10 - the brass parts are often so fragmented and full of fast, angular solo lines, which really can hardly help but give an impression strain. No 8, my favourite Brian symphony, is well-served on its recording, given the dastardly brass/percussion writing in that work, but even this scarcely avoids the impression of 'boy, this is difficult!'

lukeottevanger

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #117 on: February 15, 2008, 08:06:52 AM »
Actually, those final brass/percussion flurries in the Gothic - an utterly awesome moment - yes, they do struggle here, but I think much of the problem is also the recording at this point. The timps, for instance, are playing the right things as far as I can hear, but as some are more given more prominence than others, it seems that those others are playing sloppily. Ditto with the brass parts here, which are an absolute nightmare. Even so, the playing never diverges from the score more than one would expect, and it's played with conviction, not as if the players are lost. This is the only part of the recording which really pushes at this particular envelope, though, to my mind, and I find it hard to imagine how it couldn't - this is such an extraordinary section of music I can't quite see how it could be recorded faithfully!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 08:09:11 AM by lukeottevanger »

lukeottevanger

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #118 on: February 15, 2008, 08:13:17 AM »
I'd also add that a sense of difficulty and strain is entirely to the point here, and elsewhere in Brian symphonies. This is often music of extreme power, pushing right at the boundaries of what orchestras can do; in the case of the final minutes of the Gothic, I think this music is about as apocalyptic as things get. A serenely slick reading, every note spick and span, would be rather out-of-place, I think, and I'd rather hear the players straining every sinew as they battle with the notes in sections like this.

I'm not making this point in relation to the LSSO recording necessarily, though it does apply at times.

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #119 on: February 15, 2008, 08:16:01 AM »
Actually, those final brass/percussion flurries in the Gothic - an utterly awesome moment - yes, they do struggle here, but I think much of the problem is also the recording at this point. The timps, for instance, are playing the right things as far as I can hear, but as some are more given more prominence than others, it seems that those others are playing sloppily. Ditto with the brass parts here, which are an absolute nightmare. Even so, the playing never diverges from the score more than one would expect, and it's played with conviction, not as if the players are lost. This is the only part of the recording which really pushes at this particular envelope, though, to my mind, and I find it hard to imagine how it couldn't - this is such an extraordinary section of music I can't quite see how it could be recorded faithfully!
Yeah, could be so. I think it is also shameful how horrendous the sonics were that Marco Polo afforded some of the Brian works (like the Gothic, and also #4 and 12). You get the feeling they didn't exactly put their 'A' team of recording engineers on the job.

I would really like to hear a top-tier brass section like the Staatskapelle Dresden tackle this music !