Author Topic: Havergal Brian.  (Read 758676 times)

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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 #7700 on: August 07, 2018, 06:07:56 AM »
I think the explanation is quite simple: MM re-used what he had already written about these symphonies in his classic studies... Re #25 he is obviously reacting to the first performance of the work by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under John Canarina, recorded in June 1976. That performance certainly fits his description. The same goes for #32. The first professional performance was in 1978, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Myer Fredman.
I have noticed this before. Another case is the funeral march in #12. Del Mar (in 1966) takes it granitically slow, which matches MM's description. But Leaper takes it much faster. MM once told me that he wanted that march even slower than Del Mar!
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline krummholz

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7701 on: August 07, 2018, 07:52:20 AM »
Thanks Johan, that makes sense. Looking at the performance timings on the HBS website, Fredman did take the first movement of 32 quite a bit slower than Leaper, and the Adagio somewhat but not hugely slower. Interesting that Russell in the OCHSA performance in California took fully 3 minutes longer than Leaper for that slow movement! I wonder what that sounded like? Unfortunately no recording seems to exist. As to #25, the Canarina seems to be still extant on an Aries LP - but I haven't the equipment to play it. The Fredman 32 does not seem to have an extant recording. Are either of these available online anywhere?

I know, I know, probably on the site for HBS members only. I really ought to join the Society, now that I'm fully converted to the cause.  ;)

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7702 on: August 07, 2018, 10:15:18 AM »
Yes, you answered your own question! Join me, and together we will rule the galaxy... I mean: join the HBS! And you will be able to access and stream (almost) every radio recording.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7703 on: August 07, 2018, 01:01:10 PM »
Whereas i usually agree with MM over his assessment of each symphony overall i often disagree with him about hisview of certain parts, as with 32, which i hear as fairly serene throughout (bearing in mind that hb’s serene is probably bleaker than yoyrs or mine).
I suspect that MM’s views were formed by reading the scores, and, in the same way that hb himself overestimated how long his symphonies would last, this led to MM overemphasising certain striking passages which in actual performance are more subordinate to the overall flow of the music.
I do think though that when the next recorded cycle of hb is recorded (i wish), that tempi could be slower on the whole.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #7704 on: August 07, 2018, 01:05:15 PM »
Good point! In many cases MM only had the scores, many symphonies were still unperformed. I also agree with you about the tempi: briskness is a contemporary trait, but Brian gains by slower tempi.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato