Author Topic: Havergal Brian.  (Read 781431 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7720 on: September 26, 2018, 08:13:03 AM »
I was at home with Jeffrey in May; the trench to the window in the garden was a little too marked.
8) :) ;D
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7721 on: September 26, 2018, 08:14:07 AM »
The Faust Fund has reached its target, cilgwyn. Watch this space...
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7722 on: September 26, 2018, 08:58:20 AM »
The next big HB event,then?!! ??? :)

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7723 on: September 27, 2018, 12:00:23 AM »
Yes,of course Newstone,not Pope! :-[ I usually check these things before posting,but I was preoccupied with getting some lunch!! ::)  (It also spoilt my Pope joke! ;D) To quote,Dundonnell, "Personally I would have liked a new recording of Psalm 23 and, perhaps, "In Memoriam";but he's obviously as pleased as you and I that these recordings are being made. So far,this is turning out to be another bumper year for Brian recordings! All you need now is that last 'bumper' donation to the Faust fund!!

Meanwhile,to recap,for anyone here who doesn't know. These works by Brian are being recorded by Dutton in July,by the Chorus & orchestra of the ENO under Martyn Brabbins: 

Overture "For Valour" (1902/06)
Fantastic Variations on an Old Rhyme (1907)
Cantata "The Vision of Cleopatra" for soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto, tenor, chorus and orchestra(1908) (realised by John Pickard)
Two Choral Pieces for female voices and orchestra (formerly known as Two Herrick Songs) (1912)


And Naxos will be recording Symphonies 7 & 9!!!! ??? :o :o :o  Have you any idea when this will be happening,Johan?
And this was me alerting "anyone who doesn't know",to the Dutton recording,in May,last year!! ??? I was just thinking,after posting,that I was sure that a recording of symphony No 7 had been mentioned.................and No 9,too,apparently! I hope so! The Seventh is a favourite,the Ninth,maybe,more of a Cinderella amongst Brian symphonies,by comparison. I like this symphony,though;and the finale is one of Brian's best,and most thrilling,if memory serves me correctly. I haven't listened to it for a while. I'm going to have to put it on later (the Groves recording,I think) and remind myself! Incidentally,in his review of the emi recording,Rob Barnett actually regards this as less "thorny" than the eighth. I had some idea it was the other way around for most people! I find his suggestion of a kinship with Das Siegeslied interesting,"with its hyper-Handelian grandeur, braggart brass flurries and confident march flourishes" (Rob Barnett). I haven't heard Boult's recordings of Sibelius' tone poems,but it has always felt like a very taut performance."A nervous tetchiness"? Again,I'll have to listen to it again;but Groves certainly keeps it moving.

Read more: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/feb03/havergal_brian_emi.htm#ixzz5SI2pcygK

Offline relm1

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7724 on: September 27, 2018, 05:37:11 AM »
The Faust Fund has reached its target, cilgwyn. Watch this space...

Yay!!  Now start the Prometheus Unbound reconstruction fund!

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7725 on: September 27, 2018, 08:08:21 AM »
After posting about the Ninth,regarding the possibility of a Naxos recording of Brian's Seventh and Ninth (?!) and just re-reading Rob Barnett's old review of the old  2 cd emi set of 8 & 9,I just had to listen to the Ninth,again. I haven't listened to his Ninth for a while. I used to listen to it allot,when I was young,courtesy of the original Lp,pictured here. I was rather intrigued by Barnett's description of it."The Ninth harks back twenty years to Brian's Fourth Das Siegeslied with its hyper-Handelian grandeur, braggart brass flurries and confident march flourishes". I must admit,I have never connected Brian's Ninth with Das Siegeslied;but the idea did pique my interest. He also compares Groves' conducting of the Ninth to "the nervous tetchiness of Boult's 1950s Vanguard-Omega performances of the Sibelius tone poems". I've never heard Boult's recordings of Sibelius but I can certainly sense some of that in the faster passages. Groves certainly keeps the whole craggy edifice tightly controlled.I'm also a bit surprised that he finds this symphony less thorny,and more approachable,than it's predecessor. I always had an idea that it was usually the other way around with allot of people. The Ninth seems to be a bit of a Cinderella among Brian's symphonies;but I've always liked it. This symphony doesn't waste any time. The opening bars pull you straight in and the seething tendrils of Brian's argument draw you inexorably along,right through to the triumphant finale,which has to be one of Brian's most memorable,and thrilling. I seem to remember actually picking up the needle,sometimes,and jumping to back,so as to hear that bit all over again. Not good for the Lp;but it really is one of Brian's most exciting and exhilarating endings. But the whole symphony feels so tightly hewn. I'm so glad I put it back on! :) :) :) :) :) :) I'm listening to it via the emi 2cd set,by the way. I just think that Lp photo of Brian is so good,I thought I'd post that image here instead!



Old review! : http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/feb03/havergal_brian_emi.htm#ixzz5SJryemcY




Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7726 on: September 27, 2018, 08:11:27 AM »
I'm listening to the Groves eighth,now. These really were great performances! :) :) :)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7727 on: September 27, 2018, 01:33:35 PM »
After posting about the Ninth,regarding the possibility of a Naxos recording of Brian's Seventh and Ninth (?!) and just re-reading Rob Barnett's old review of the old  2 cd emi set of 8 & 9,I just had to listen to the Ninth,again. I haven't listened to his Ninth for a while. I used to listen to it allot,when I was young,courtesy of the original Lp,pictured here. I was rather intrigued by Barnett's description of it."The Ninth harks back twenty years to Brian's Fourth Das Siegeslied with its hyper-Handelian grandeur, braggart brass flurries and confident march flourishes". I must admit,I have never connected Brian's Ninth with Das Siegeslied;but the idea did pique my interest. He also compares Groves' conducting of the Ninth to "the nervous tetchiness of Boult's 1950s Vanguard-Omega performances of the Sibelius tone poems". I've never heard Boult's recordings of Sibelius but I can certainly sense some of that in the faster passages. Groves certainly keeps the whole craggy edifice tightly controlled.I'm also a bit surprised that he finds this symphony less thorny,and more approachable,than it's predecessor. I always had an idea that it was usually the other way around with allot of people. The Ninth seems to be a bit of a Cinderella among Brian's symphonies;but I've always liked it. This symphony doesn't waste any time. The opening bars pull you straight in and the seething tendrils of Brian's argument draw you inexorably along,right through to the triumphant finale,which has to be one of Brian's most memorable,and thrilling. I seem to remember actually picking up the needle,sometimes,and jumping to back,so as to hear that bit all over again. Not good for the Lp;but it really is one of Brian's most exciting and exhilarating endings. But the whole symphony feels so tightly hewn. I'm so glad I put it back on! :) :) :) :) :) :) I'm listening to it via the emi 2cd set,by the way. I just think that Lp photo of Brian is so good,I thought I'd post that image here instead!



Old review! : http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/feb03/havergal_brian_emi.htm#ixzz5SJryemcY

That is probably my favourite Brian disc. It reappears in a mini version in the Charles Groves boxed set.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline relm1

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7728 on: September 27, 2018, 03:10:15 PM »
Grove's No. 8 and 9 was my intro to Brian.  I loved the tape and was fascinated by the description of the Gothic in the notes.  So when Marco Polo finally had a disc of the Gothic I was already interested in the composer but this disc was my introduction.

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7729 on: September 28, 2018, 12:10:31 AM »
What do you think of the Ninth,vandermolen? Or,at least remind me. The eighth always seems to be in a list of favourites. I hadn't listened to it a while and after reading Rob Barnett's rather old review,I had to have another listen. Off went the Kalman operetta and on went Brian No 9. I was thinking what a great symphony it was. I love that triumphant ending. The eighth is more unusual I suppose;but the Ninth is still a tremendous symphony. In fact,all the operettas got taken back upstairs,and I've been listening to Brian symphonies since yesterday.

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7730 on: September 28, 2018, 08:09:44 AM »
Grove's No. 8 and 9 was my intro to Brian.  I loved the tape and was fascinated by the description of the Gothic in the notes.  So when Marco Polo finally had a disc of the Gothic I was already interested in the composer but this disc was my introduction.
I seem to remember the Lyrita Lp had similarly tantalising descriptions,on the back, of as yet unrecorded,ambitious works on a vast scale!  My teenage mind just wanted to hear more!!

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7731 on: September 28, 2018, 10:10:56 AM »
The Ninth is certainly among my favourites of the Brian symphonies. 8, 9 and 10 might be my favourites of the shorter symphonies that came after No. 7, his last lengthy symphony.

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7732 on: September 30, 2018, 02:28:26 AM »
Yes,the Ninth is,definitely,one of my favourite Brian symphonies,now!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7733 on: October 01, 2018, 04:05:49 AM »
What do you think of the Ninth,vandermolen? Or,at least remind me. The eighth always seems to be in a list of favourites. I hadn't listened to it a while and after reading Rob Barnett's rather old review,I had to have another listen. Off went the Kalman operetta and on went Brian No 9. I was thinking what a great symphony it was. I love that triumphant ending. The eighth is more unusual I suppose;but the Ninth is still a tremendous symphony. In fact,all the operettas got taken back upstairs,and I've been listening to Brian symphonies since yesterday.

I really like both symphonies 8 and 9 and that Groves disc was a revelation. The poetic and searching conclusion to Symphony 8 is very special to me but I rate No.9 (and 10) very highly as well-especially the ending of No.9 as you mentioned. I'm glad that it offered you some temporary distraction from Gilbert and Sullivan cilgwyn.  8)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7734 on: October 08, 2018, 03:12:09 AM »
My first listen to the new Dutton/Vision of Cleopatra disc has left me slightly underwhelmed.  The text of the vision is pretty dire.  Pickard's orchestration is first rate and the orchestra play well - good to hear the ENO orchestra get some well-deserved exposure.  The ENO chorus are strong but with a few too many "solo" voices in the group pushing to be heard I thought and not with ideally tight ensemble.  I need to listen to the work again - didn't like the tenor soloist either and found the Mezzo rather wobbly although the closing pages are very powerful.  Didn't like the rather naff vocal characterisation of the chorus in "The hags" - yes I get it - you are being hag(ish)......

For me this ticks a Brian-completist box (which I am) but would not be a must-hear for the uncommitted.  The "For Valour" and "Fantastic Variations" are both probably better than the previous recording but in fact both of those are pretty decent too.  Musically similar but the new disc is better recorded.  The Dutton sound is good but not demonstration class I thought.

Perhaps the 2nd listen will be more rewarding......

Offline relm1

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7735 on: October 08, 2018, 06:31:46 AM »
My first listen to the new Dutton/Vision of Cleopatra disc has left me slightly underwhelmed.  The text of the vision is pretty dire.  Pickard's orchestration is first rate and the orchestra play well - good to hear the ENO orchestra get some well-deserved exposure.  The ENO chorus are strong but with a few too many "solo" voices in the group pushing to be heard I thought and not with ideally tight ensemble.  I need to listen to the work again - didn't like the tenor soloist either and found the Mezzo rather wobbly although the closing pages are very powerful.  Didn't like the rather naff vocal characterisation of the chorus in "The hags" - yes I get it - you are being hag(ish)......

For me this ticks a Brian-completist box (which I am) but would not be a must-hear for the uncommitted.  The "For Valour" and "Fantastic Variations" are both probably better than the previous recording but in fact both of those are pretty decent too.  Musically similar but the new disc is better recorded.  The Dutton sound is good but not demonstration class I thought.

Perhaps the 2nd listen will be more rewarding......

Does it sound like early Brian or more like Pickard?

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7736 on: October 08, 2018, 10:51:01 AM »
Not familiar enough with Pickard as a composer to make that comparison.  Perhaps it sounds a fraction more polished as an orchestration - less quirky - than Brian often achieves........?

Offline relm1

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7737 on: October 08, 2018, 03:57:50 PM »
Not familiar enough with Pickard as a composer to make that comparison.  Perhaps it sounds a fraction more polished as an orchestration - less quirky - than Brian often achieves........?

But the same could be said of early Brian.  Polished but less quirky/individualistic than late Brian. 

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7738 on: October 09, 2018, 12:31:47 PM »
But the same could be said of early Brian.  Polished but less quirky/individualistic than late Brian.

Fair comment. After a 2nd listen I'm liking the Vision quite a bit more.  The worst thing about is the libretto - which was "set" for the competition in which it was entered.  It gives the work a rather oddly furtive sense of the faintly erotic and actually leaves it very unbalanced it terms of its use of the solo parts.

I still think the orchestration is excellent in its own right but not a very accurate recreation of Brian's orchestral sound world - it is too sophisticated.  Brian at whatever stage of his career is a warts and all composer and orchestrator.

Not a must purchase for a Brian newbie but a no-brainer instant purchase for the already converted.