Bliss and Tagalie -
I have to admit I am a bit of an ignoramus on the 'technical' side - but to both of you, your coments have got me thinking - perhaps the difference between the CBS and Unicorn recordings of Brian's symphonies by the same orchestra/engineer and the sound quality difference between the two might be down to some recording basics such as choice of venue/acoustics, mics and mixing desks. I can't in all honesty say I can remember the sound quality of the Unicorn version as it is some 30 years since I heard it last!
It does seem strange if the same engineer recorded those two pieces of vinyl and the sound quality is noticeably different. Just a thought. Perhaps a more 'budget' - if adventurous - label like Unicorn might not have used technical spec. as good as CBS - 'bigger' label?
All the best
There is nothing wrong with the sound on my Unicorn CD of symphonies 10 & 21, but that was perhaps 'cleaned up' in the remastering. The recording was made in Leicester, at De Montfort Hall, 18th & 19th July 1972, when Havergal Brian was still with us. I don't know the venue of the CBS recording.
The CBS LP was recorded at two venues - the Symphony & Psalm at De Montfort Hall, the English Suite #5 at Hove Town Hall. All in 1974.
Sorry for my absence folks!
I have listened to Brian's 9 and 11. I can't just at the moment get onto 10 on the BBC Broadcasts because of a problem with my speakers.
Well after 7 and 8 I found 9 a bit difficult to follow due to its abrupt changes of mood and ideas. It probably needs more than one listening!
However, 11 by Brian is an amazing work. The very heartfelt and opening Adagio is followed by a long central movement Allegro Giocoso which has great continuity. The finale is a short march-like piece. Overall the orchestration is wonderful too.
The playing of the RTE under Leaper on Symphony 11 is refined and the recording has got very good presence.
I gather - as documented by Calum McDonald - that the opening Adagio was one of the pieces played at Brian's funeral, if I remember rightly. A very fitting tribute.
You may have already seen that Naxos is bringing out a limited edition of the original recording of Brian's Gothic to coincide with the prom performance. July release.
I've got a ticket for the GothicI've got a ticket for the Gothic
(join in when you know the words)
I've got a ticket for the GothicSo I'll see you at the RAH!
All right Partsong, no need to be so smug!
BRIANITES I managed to get a return just come in this morning's post - I think there may be a couple more returns!
Anyone going to the Gothic tomorrow night fancy meeting up for a glass of wine after the concert?
Shall we say at 9.15 ish as the concert is scheduled to end at 9.00. Presumably there will be several minutes of encores!
North Circle Bar - I can't remember the names of all the bars. I shall hold a piece of paper up with Partsong on it!
Not a fan here.
I was General Manager of the RLPO when Mackerras recorded Symphonies 9/31 and the Overture he always referred to as the 'Tinker's Curse'! After the LP was issued I always remember him talking to the orchestra: first the good news - the powers-that-be were knocked out by the results, and second the bad news - they wanted to record some more!!
And I think he was a Vice President of the Brian Society....
Bliss wrote "Too bad Lyrita has stopped making new recordings (or have they?). "
Indeed they have as I understand founder/owner Richard Itter is now in his eighties and Nimbus who have taken over the recordings have now issued the full catalogue on CD. Myer Fredman's 6 & 16 are superb (as are his Lyrita Bax symphonies which I prefer to both Handley & Thompson) whilst the recorded sound (I have it on LP) is simply stunning and shows off Brian's amazing orchestration to full effect. Pity they didn't do any more Brian with Fredman.
PS What of Sunday's Prom? Surely one to go down in history and three cheers for Martyn Brabbins and all concerned!
Couldn't agree more 33lp.
I thought the performance of the Gothic was outstanding. I think 'Gargantuan' might have been a better title for it. Talk about a cast of thousands - I think it was c. 1000 - with two orchestras and the massed choirs. I counted six sets of timpani! It must have been a heck of a difficult task to co-ordinate all the musicians and singers to come in on cue. Martyn Brabbins is a maestro! The three children's choirs I have to say were superb and well deserved their cheers at the end. Not one of them so much as fidgeted!
Well people can say what they like about Brian. I might concede that his symphonies are not exactly full of sing-a-long-a tunes, but the mastery of structure and orchestration were clearly evident in this work. Each of the six movements had a fairly complex structure.
There was a thrilling moment of drama when the four soloists descended the steps two from each side while the musicians were playing to begin their singing of The Te Deum setting (4th movement). The 5th movement with its insistence upon the theme of judgement was suitably disconcerting (gives even the Dies Irae in Verdi a run for its money).
The huge finale was impressive in the extreme. 'Aw-sum' in Americanese. I did pity the German gentleman next to me who, alas, had I think an acute sense of hearing. He covered his ears and winced several times as the timpani and trumpets blasted out in forthright splendour as Malcolm McDonald said they would in his programme notes.
Well I made it an hour and 55 and it has to be said, that without a bar break, it was probably not for the faint hearted or those new to Brian.
I am sure all you Brian fans have already seen Guy Rickards' review of Brabbins' 10th and 30th for Dutton Epoch in the August edition of Gramophone. These are heady days indeed for Brian fans as Guy says.
Unfortunately, I did make my way to the North Circle Bar at 9.10 ish needing a stiff brandy after the reminders of my fallen human state in the 5th movement, only to find that the bars were closed after the performance.
I didn't feel like standing around outside the bar with my piece of paper saying 'Partsong' and looking like a plonker, well more of a plonker than I normally look which is saying something.
Anyone new to Brian, the Naxos recording of the 11th and 15th is well worth the modest price. Both these two have clarity in their structures. And both are, of course, considerably shorter than the Gothic.
Sorry, Partsong, for not having checked in here for the past few weeks. Otherwise you could have gone to the Queen's Arms pub, where several Brianites were present... Oh well, it's the concert that counts. And that was unforgettable. I am only now starting to 'get a life' again, as the Gothic has been obsessing me for days. I have put two clips on YouTube, btw, which my sister made with a very good camera. Look for Jezetha's channel. Or search with 'Havergal Brian Gothic Symphony Proms 17th July'...
Good to hear from you again Johan.I wondered what had happened to you recently! Never mind (I am just trying to work out where the Queen's Arms is) because as you say the concert was magnificent.
Yes I will check out your clips. I am also looking forward to the Brabbins' Dutton CD! Is it out now?
Yes, the Dutton CD has been out for a few months already...
It is the best Brian CD in recent history. You'll love it.
Queen's Arms is in 30 Queen's Gate Mews... All the best! --Johan
Hyperion will be issuing a recording of the Proms 'Gothic' quite soon.