Author Topic: Havergal Brian.  (Read 1043252 times)

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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8100 on: November 03, 2021, 05:14:50 PM »
I see Faust is now being advertised for release on 5 November by Presto Classical.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8101 on: November 03, 2021, 11:14:07 PM »
…(player located outside the shower).

Always a bummer.

I see Faust is now being advertised for release on 5 November by Presto Classical.

And I assume, hopefully, by the streaming platforms too.


Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8102 on: November 03, 2021, 11:46:01 PM »
Well, at least I hope you've been able to enjoy the quality of the physical production, if not the recorded sound.  Was there ever such a glossy booklet as Dutton have lavished on this opera?!

My set has been sitting on the shelves too waiting for the right moment.  The trouble with a work like this is (for me) it has to be listened to "properly" with focus and care and in a single sitting so finding the right block of time is tricky just now.  But the booklet is glorious - it took me back to the heyday of Decca and the like when major releases were lavished with extended commentaries and detailed notes.  I am sure it is expensive and time-consuming to produce liners of this quality but I am equally sure they are appreciated.....

Offline Augustus

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8103 on: November 04, 2021, 12:17:57 AM »
I got my set list week and have been observing the request for public silence until we hear it has been released.

I believe the Brian Soc request for 'radio silence' was until the product had appeared as available on the Dutton website, which it has been for over two weeks now.

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Havergal Brian
« Reply #8104 on: November 14, 2021, 11:34:14 PM »
I’ve been doing a bit of a comparison between three recordings of the Second: Mackerras (1979 radio broadcast preserved either as a Klassichaus version of a bootleg LP or in the HBS society members’ streaming area (the version on the HBS website is better)), Rowe (1996 Marco Polo/Naxos) and Brabbins (2016 Dutton).

Oddly enough I have come to prefer Rowe even though I know most people don’t rate this recording much.

Firstly Mackerras’s version is an absolutely brilliant rendition for its time, but the radio recording source makes its sound a bit old and boxed in. This is almost as big a work as the Gothic (or at least the first three movements of the Gothic) and demands to be heard as a huge orchestra in large space (as Hyperion succeeded in presenting Brabbins’ Proms Gothic). This recording is necessarily restricted and sometimes the sound is just too congested. Mackerras’s Scherzo is probably the best of the three, but it doesn’t quite ‘go’ as I’d expect it to (this isn’t a matter of speed but of momentum and sprightliness).

Rowe’s recording is, as I said, my favourite. It is about five minutes slower than the other two, and, as so often with Romantic and C20 music, to go slower is paradoxically often to produce a more flowing and coherent rendition. The sound is almost given enough space to resonate as it should and there are almost no passages where the music is too congested. The scherzo isn’t quite as good as Mackerras’s but overall this is an amazing recording, especially when you consider how alien the music would have been to the players of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

Now Brabbins’ recording: I find this quite perplexing, the music seems too constricted in some places and in the others half the orchestra seems missing. In some of the climaxes of the finale, for example, you know that an organ and two pianos are supposed to be present but you can’t hear them. Other passages seem almost incoherent. The sound just doesn’t seem as good  as it could be and the textures are much clearer to my ears in the other two recordings. Despite this being the only one of these recordings that uses 16 horns in the Scherzo (the others get by with eight), this is the least lively of the three Scherzos.

I suspect we haven’t had a definitive recording of this symphony, but at the moment my choice is Rowe. What problems did people have with this recording?
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 11:36:32 PM by calyptorhynchus »

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8105 on: November 15, 2021, 04:57:19 AM »
The fact the Brabbins is on SACD not regular CD. So the Rowe is now my version, but the fact they didn't use the composer's specifications for horns in the scherzo kinda riles with me.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 04:59:09 AM by Maestro267 »

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8106 on: November 15, 2021, 11:33:14 AM »
The fact the Brabbins is on SACD not regular CD. So the Rowe is now my version, but the fact they didn't use the composer's specifications for horns in the scherzo kinda riles with me.

Oh, so if you play an SACD on a regular CD player you lose quality? But I’m ripping the (SA)CD to mp3 and listening on headphones, surely that would preserve the sound (as much as flac -> mp3 normally preserves the sound). I have other SACDs  and they sound normal on a CD player and as mp3s.

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8107 on: November 15, 2021, 11:36:47 AM »
Also Brabbins S14 on the same disk sounds quite normal and the sound is similar other recordings of the middle symphonies.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8108 on: November 15, 2021, 11:41:20 AM »
Oh, so if you play an SACD on a regular CD player you lose quality? But I’m ripping the (SA)CD to mp3 and listening on headphones, surely that would preserve the sound (as much as flac -> mp3 normally preserves the sound). I have other SACDs  and they sound normal on a CD player and as mp3s.
Ripping SACDs seems to be a very laborious thing... Wonder how you do it.
Back to your comparative review. I listened to Rowe again. I always liked the Finale, got the sense the performance got better and better. When I listened again today, the sound was indeed better than I remembered. The reading itself is okay. The orchestra is a bit rough, which explains my preference (just) for Mackerras. I hope they'll issue a CD with his performance, based on the master tape, as they're going to do later this month with symphonies 3 and 17 under Stanley Pope. As for the Brabbins, I should listen again...
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 #8109 on: November 15, 2021, 02:10:03 PM »
I've been reading about this. All the SACDs I have are hybrid, which means they have a CD layer and an SACD layer. So they just function like a CD for those without an SACD player. In ripping one I am simply ripping the CD tracks.

I assume when you say it's laborious to rip an SACD this is a pure SACD disc? in which case I imagine it would be.

ps the Faust SACD is fine as regards sound quality, just magnificent sound, I don't think you could have a better version. I haven't commented on it because, fine though it is, the whole Faust thing just isn't very interesting for me. I wish they had recording Turandot first, but I hope they will. [I guess this is the reason I've never liked choral or vocal music much, as soon as words come in and the music is tied to it it is no longer abstract I begin to lose interest. Only the very greatest words can align with music to good effect IMHO).

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8110 on: November 15, 2021, 02:13:35 PM »
Good point about 'hybrid' SACDs. Mine are all hybrids, as I don't own a SACD player. I didn't know or realize I could rip those.
As for 'Faust', I still have to find the time...
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8111 on: November 16, 2021, 12:23:42 AM »
I've been reading about this. All the SACDs I have are hybrid, which means they have a CD layer and an SACD layer. So they just function like a CD for those without an SACD player. In ripping one I am simply ripping the CD tracks.

I assume when you say it's laborious to rip an SACD this is a pure SACD disc? in which case I imagine it would be.

The only "CD player" I have is my computer and the laser won't pick up the CD layer.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8112 on: November 16, 2021, 01:07:26 AM »
The only "CD player" I have is my computer and the laser won't pick up the CD layer.

Erm.... I think you'll find your CD drive on your computer is just that a CD drive not a SACD drive.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8113 on: November 16, 2021, 09:06:31 AM »
But it's supposed to be a hybrid disc. All of my SACDs are. And they used to work. Very occasionally I can get it to read the discs but those times are becoming less and less frequent.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8114 on: November 16, 2021, 09:18:45 AM »
But it's supposed to be a hybrid disc. All of my SACDs are. And they used to work. Very occasionally I can get it to read the discs but those times are becoming less and less frequent.

As its a hybrid your computer drive will be reading the CD layer not the SACD layer which needs a dedicated player to read it.  Just in the same way the same drive probably will play standard DVD's but NOT Blu-ray unless you happen (unlikely on a standard off the shelf PC) to have one that is Blu-Ray compatible.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8115 on: November 19, 2021, 10:48:34 PM »
I want it to read the CD layer, and it's not.

(Apologies for diverting the thread but it's super frustrating.)

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8116 on: November 20, 2021, 12:16:27 PM »
You can get a plug-in CD drive via usb for windows or Mac for about $100. Mine’s about ten years old but still works fine.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8117 on: November 20, 2021, 01:20:16 PM »
Have one, too. Cost even less.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8118 on: December 31, 2021, 02:23:04 PM »
Just spotted this forthcoming release (Jan 2022). Remastered recordings:
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Havergal Brian.
« Reply #8119 on: December 31, 2021, 02:24:04 PM »
Just spotted this forthcoming release (Jan 2022). Remastered recordings:


Thank you. One to watch out for!
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

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