Author Topic: Havergal Brian.  (Read 227398 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Luke

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
  • Tuplet Nester (Fourth Degree)
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1520 on: July 18, 2011, 12:06:09 PM »
Visually, the evening was treat, I have to say. I tried to describe it a little last night, but I don't think I did well. That dim mountain of singers behind the orchestra all through the first part, and then, just at the end of the third movement (about the time that someone in the arena drops something with a crash!) there is a unisonflickering of pages - little flashes of white against the black. Something is about to happen...the four soloists walk on as the orchestra plays the final bars. The lights come up on the choirs. Heavenyl voices flood the hall. Splendid!

The spatial element of the whole stunned me, too. At last those mammoth choruses were heard as they should be - and Brian was proved right. Nothing clogged here, just hypnotic swathes of imitative sound from all sides. Even small things - the small voices in the orchestra - the solo violin in the first movement, the oboe -amore in the last - because they were now associated with a location as well as a timbre, now became even more imbued with formal weight. Things I knew became things I felt - how the music returned in both cases to its source in place as well as tone. I realise this seems a small thing, but it felt magnificent to hear the work in this way. In a similar way - such a small obvious thing - but to see the movement from tenor solo (beginning on VI) to bass solo (near ned of VI), paralleled by a shift from predominantly left-hand orchestral sounds (it seemed) to predominantly right-hand ones was thirlling. As if the music had stepped into a deeper, denser world. As Johan remarked afterwards - could Brian really have envisaged these effecs (he was thinking more of the big theatrical effects of the choruses, their standing and sitting in such huge swathes...)? I doubt it, really. But it works amazingly well.

Two players caught my eye, for much lighter reasons. The eager, muscles-tensed timpanist of brass band 3. A dead ringer foro Rob Bryden (actor/comedian). And, in the cellos (maybe in other parts of the orchestra too, I coulnd't see) Brabbins' keen ear had asked for a couple of players only at some points in Part II. What precise balancing! At first I could only see one of them, sitting there stock still, eyes closed, as if asleep, looking, I thought for a moment, like some kind of weird art installation!! I even nudged poor Brian to point him out, he looked so odd dozing there! But then I saw his desk partner, also not playing, and realised what was happening. Must have been so odd to sit there through all the cataclysmic noise and not play. Not fun for the playerat all.

Offline Luke

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
  • Tuplet Nester (Fourth Degree)
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1521 on: July 18, 2011, 12:37:41 PM »
Apologies for all the many typos recently, btw. A combination of a) my keyboard playing up and b) the recurrence of the strange phenomenon my computer was afflicted with months ago. Once I have written to the bottom of the text box, any further text I write is instantly scrolled-up from, back to the top of the box, leaving me unsure what I have written! If anyone knows the reason, I'd be grateful for help!

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 24243
  • Steve Hackett (1950 -)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Genesis, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1522 on: July 18, 2011, 12:41:36 PM »
Apologies for all the many typos recently, btw. A combination of a) my keyboard playing up and b) the recurrence of the strange phenomenon my computer was afflicted with months ago. Once I have written to the bottom of the text box, any further text I write is instantly scrolled-up from, back to the top of the box, leaving me unsure what I have written! If anyone knows the reason, I'd be grateful for help!

What web browser do you use?
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1523 on: July 18, 2011, 12:50:52 PM »
Quite a frabjous day for this thread!

Offline J. Z. Herrenberg

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 8224
  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
    • JZH Text Services
  • Location: Delft, Netherlands
  • Currently Listening to:
    Brian, Ligeti, Jones, Orr, Magnard, Langgaard, Pettersson and 'The Hobbit' soundtrack
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1524 on: July 18, 2011, 01:18:57 PM »
Friends, I am back in Delft. I see a new member has joined GMG, 5against4, who has already contributed a lot! These two days have been momentous for me. Apart from the unforgettable experience of hearing Brian again 'in the raw', meeting Luke, Brian, Jeffrey, and Colin, and being suddenly accosted by fellow member Albion, whom I didn't know by face, I mixed a lot with (Committee) members of the HBS. It pleased me very much to see that the HBS isn't idle. Brian is a lucky composer.


But now I'm making coffee and going to listen to 'The Gothic' (again!)
"O infinite virtue, com’st thou smiling from
The world’s great snare uncaught?"

(Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 8 )

Offline John Whitmore

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 760
    • Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra
  • Location: Delph, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The neighbours cutting their trees down
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1525 on: July 18, 2011, 01:35:52 PM »
I've spent the best part of the day editing and tidying up a recording I made of last night's epic on my Audio CD recorder. It's turned out really well and it's now properly topped and tailed with separate tracks. I've already sent the links to Johan of the unedited version without tracks (high quality mp3s). I tried to download the FLACS people have been talking about on this forum to compare but I can't get them to play. My computer is a bit old I think! If anyone wants the links to my recording I'm very happy to oblige. Despite the peculiar acoustic it sounds pretty good and the detail is stupendous. Hats off to the BBC engineering team I say.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 02:08:56 PM by Johnwh51 »

Offline J. Z. Herrenberg

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 8224
  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
    • JZH Text Services
  • Location: Delft, Netherlands
  • Currently Listening to:
    Brian, Ligeti, Jones, Orr, Magnard, Langgaard, Pettersson and 'The Hobbit' soundtrack
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1526 on: July 18, 2011, 01:40:26 PM »
I've spent the best part of the day editing and tidying up a recording I made of last night's epic on my Audio CD recorder. It's turned out really well and it's now properly topped and tailed with separate tracks. I've already sent the links to Johan of the unedited version without tracks (high quality mp3s). I tried to download the FLACS people have been talking about on this forum to compare but I can't get them to play. My computer is a bit old I think! If anyone wants the links to my recording I'm very happy to oblige. Despite the peculiar acoustic it sounds pretty good and the detail is stupendous. Hats off to the BBC enginerring team I say.


Hi, John! Thanks for taking all that trouble! As for your computer not playing FLAC files, could it be you don't have a programme on your computer which plays those files? If that's the case, download foobar2000, and the problem is solved.


Ah! I now see what's the matter - you need to 'unrar' these files, they are zipped. Download WinRar for free...


And yes - please furnish me with the links to your cleaned-up recording!
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 01:45:34 PM by J. Z. Herrenberg »
"O infinite virtue, com’st thou smiling from
The world’s great snare uncaught?"

(Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 8 )

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3290
  • 396 CCs
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1527 on: July 18, 2011, 01:53:48 PM »
Can't believe I didn't make it... :( Also, HOW was this not filmed. And Luke - you're right about the sound - The BBC engineers are fabulous and usually mike the PROMS up a treat, but that hall is death acoustically. Luckily we have the recording! Must download.

It seems almost unanimous then that this is the best ever recording of the piece?

What would be the dream forces/conductor/soloist?
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline John Whitmore

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 760
    • Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra
  • Location: Delph, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The neighbours cutting their trees down
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1528 on: July 18, 2011, 02:06:59 PM »
Hi Johan,
I will upload them all tomorrow at the highest possible resolution (356kbps). When you burn the CD from the downloads make sure that you choose the option "no pause between tracks" and you will get continuous music (like the last 3 movts of Beethoven 6). Otherwise you will get small blank gaps between movements - I'm thinking especially of the Lento espressivo and the Vivace which hardly had a millisecond between them in Brabbins' hands. I like the Brabbins version far more than the Boult and Lenard. Musically very satisfying. If you would like CDs at the best quality from my original wavs I will post them to you if you wish. Just let me know.

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13627
  • Street mural, San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala
    • Brian's blog
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1529 on: July 18, 2011, 02:09:43 PM »
It seems almost unanimous then that this is the best ever recording of the piece?

I think Johan was quite adamant that it excels Ole Schmidt and Adrian Boult by leaps and bounds, and he had slight reservations about Curro.

What would be the dream forces/conductor/soloist?

Oof. Based on my single listen to the work and very little knowledge of it outside the concert hall, and taking the "dream forces" suggestion liberally, I would go Concertgebouw + Staatskapelle Dresden, Chicago SO brass for the bands, alto Christine Rice (from the Prom), bass Quasthoff/Finley, time-traveling tenor Beno Blachut, soprano Hibla Gerzmava [or Victoria de los Angeles or Ana Maria Martinez offstage for the vocalise], and god knows what choirs, all under the baton of - hmmm - not Solti - for a hyperemotional account, Bernstein, or for more fidelity to score, Bertini, Wit, maybe Vanska, frankly Brabbins!

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3593
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1530 on: July 18, 2011, 02:10:48 PM »
It is two years since I last contributed to this forum(after bending other members' ears for perhaps too long with my enthusiasms for lesser-known symphonists!) and I have been busy with research and writing. I really wanted however to make at least an initial return to add my name to all the well-deserved enconiums being heaped on last night's performance!

There is so much that I would like to say but I fear I would simply be echoing what others have already so eloquently written here.  What I will say though is that around 48 long years ago I first discovered Havergal Brian through the section written by Deryck Cooke in the Penguin Guide to Choral Music. What Cooke wrote so impressed me that I read it aloud to my close school friend Malcolm MacDonald. Malcolm was so impressed that we both became young Brian addicts without having head a note of the music! Malcolm-bless him-has gone on to become THE Brian expert and if I in that small way I contributed to that happening then I am very proud. Malcolm's work on behalf of Brian over the last forty years or so has been so immensely distinguished and his efforts to secure Brian his rightful place in the pantheon of great British(indeed, world) composers has been in no small way responsible for last night happening.

The other thing I would want to put on record is this. Last night I took along my young nephew who is not particularly interested in classical music(he plays drums in a jazz/rock band). I was worried that he might hate the work or be bored by it. At the end I turned to him and, to my utter astonishment and totally unalloyed delight, found that he had tears in his eyes. He ws extremely moved by what he had heard and seen. I can imagine no greater pleasure than to have been able to pass on, almost half a century later, my love of the Gothic.

It was truly a night I shall never forget and having lived since I was about 16 years old with the idea of witnessing a performance to actually finally be swept up in its splendour and magnificence was a wonderful, wonderful experience.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 24243
  • Steve Hackett (1950 -)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Genesis, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1531 on: July 18, 2011, 02:13:34 PM »
What would be the dream forces/conductor/soloist?

Though it might be a bit of a stretch, but I would love to hear Rattle with his ultra-detailed style conduct this massive work with the Berliners with perhaps the Hamburg Philharmonic or the Cologne Radio Symphony added for the second orchestra. I seriously think Rattle would do a fine job. This kind of work seems right up his alley. I think Rattle would find interesting details in this work that no other conductor has found. In a work of this size, you really need a conductor that 1. understands the complexity and structure of the music, 2. keeps a taut line on both orchestras from getting out-of-hand, and 3. a work of this size also needs a sympathetic choral director that understands the conductor's vision for the work (Stephen Layton/Polyphony would be an ideal group along with all of the Berliner's resources).
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

Offline John Whitmore

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 760
    • Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra
  • Location: Delph, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The neighbours cutting their trees down
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1532 on: July 18, 2011, 02:17:17 PM »
Dream team - BBC Phil and LSO with Black Dyke Band and Colin Davis OR Pinkett and the LSSO with Desford Colliery. Are you lot NEVER satisfied? Last night was top quality. Absolute top quality. Dresden? Berlin? Concertgebouw? Don't think so. Their sight reading powers are not as good as the Brits you know!!!! Be happy with what you've got.

Offline J. Z. Herrenberg

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 8224
  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
    • JZH Text Services
  • Location: Delft, Netherlands
  • Currently Listening to:
    Brian, Ligeti, Jones, Orr, Magnard, Langgaard, Pettersson and 'The Hobbit' soundtrack
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1533 on: July 18, 2011, 02:17:59 PM »
@John, uploading the files would be excellent! I know about 'gapless playback', being a Wagnerian...


@Dundonnell Good to see you back!!


@Brian I just listened to the first few minutes - incredible. Brabbins has the laser vision of a Boulez.
"O infinite virtue, com’st thou smiling from
The world’s great snare uncaught?"

(Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 8 )

Offline lescamil

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 519
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1534 on: July 18, 2011, 02:19:56 PM »
Though it might be a bit of a stretch, but I would love to hear Rattle with his ultra-detailed style conduct this massive work with the Berliners with perhaps the Hamburg Philharmonic or the Cologne Radio Symphony added for the second orchestra. I seriously think Rattle would do a fine job. This kind of work seems right up his alley. I think Rattle would find interesting details in this work that no other conductor has found. In a work of this size, you really need a conductor that 1. understands the complexity and structure of the music, 2. keeps a taut line on both orchestras from getting out-of-hand, and 3. a work of this size also needs a sympathetic choral director that understands the conductor's vision for the work (Stephen Layton/Polyphony would be an ideal group along with all of the Berliner's resources).

Completely agreed, although I think Brabbins brings his own skill set to the party, with all of his experiences conducting all sorts of world premieres and pieces that have not seen the light of day for decades or even centuries (look at his Hyperion discography). I haven't heard the recording yet, but I can only expect good things from it (all of its inherent flaws aside), especially from reading the more critical reviews of the performance. It seems to me that Brabbins would bring a more encyclopedic interpretation to the public, which is perfect for a first listen, but Rattle would be perfect for someone who is perhaps more seasoned to the work.
Want to chat about classical music on IRC? Go to:

irc.psigenix.net
#concerthall

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,19772.0.html

-------------------------------------

Check out my YouTube page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jre58591

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3593
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1535 on: July 18, 2011, 02:21:50 PM »
I have it on good authority(from someone who has spoken to him) that Rattle hates Brian's music.

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3290
  • 396 CCs
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1536 on: July 18, 2011, 02:26:44 PM »
Listening now - to 5:4's recording. AMAZING. It's never been so clear and beautiful! Such a great thing they've done!
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3593
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1537 on: July 18, 2011, 02:29:22 PM »
You are young enough, Guido! You will get another chance to be at a live performance, I am sure!! ;)

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3290
  • 396 CCs
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1538 on: July 18, 2011, 02:30:07 PM »
Lets hope so!
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 13627
  • Street mural, San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala
    • Brian's blog
Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #1539 on: July 18, 2011, 02:33:19 PM »
Dream team - BBC Phil and LSO with Black Dyke Band and Colin Davis OR Pinkett and the LSSO with Desford Colliery. Are you lot NEVER satisfied? Last night was top quality. Absolute top quality. Dresden? Berlin? Concertgebouw? Don't think so. Their sight reading powers are not as good as the Brits you know!!!! Be happy with what you've got.

Oh, I am very very satisfied! :)

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK