Looks like there will be a performance of Brian's 27th Symphony in Birmingham this June. Not heard in the UK in over 30 years.
Hello, tagalie! I was away, so I see your posts rather late in the day. I love Magnard, so I didn't mind seeing this thread 'derailed'.
You ask about the merits of the Naxos and Hyperion Gothics - well, I think the Hyperion is, overall, far superior. The sound is terrific and Brabbins 'nails' it for, say, 80%. I was there at the concert. It was an unforgettable experience. The CD brings it all back, and in better sound, because the RAH is a terrible venue qua acoustics... As for the Naxos - it has its qualities. It's a studio performance, which has its advantages. I think Lenard scores over Brabbins at two c,limactic moments - the end of the Vivace (3rd movement) and the Judex (5th movement). There is a no-nonsense attitude about Brabbins which doesn't always sit well with the visionary and 'weird' side of Brian's music, I think. So my advice is - buy both!
An excellent review of the Hyperion Gothic is here: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2012/Feb12/Brian_Gothic_C...
Also, Boult's on Testament.
I think I agree with your assessment but I remain unsure.
I think that the Boult is the most satisfying performance, that is until I familiarise myself with Brabbins more and may change my mind.
I have not heard the Brabbins recording but have the Boult (on Aries LPs and the Testament CDs) as well as the Naxos. Of those two performances the Boult is, as you say, the more satisfying. Now if only the cost of the Boult were more satisfying.
Thanks Jezetha. That's a particularly interesting observation in your second last para. I had the same reaction to the Brabbins 10th. There are details and a balance not apparent in the old Leicestershire Schools recording, but some of the mysticism seems to have evaporated too. I was putting it down to the recording, now I'm not so sure. It's similar to the difference between the Lloyd Jones and Thomson Bax symphony cycles, L.J. emphasizing structure and transparency, Thomson bringing out the atmosphere and emotion. I was going to buy the Brabbins Gothic anyway, but they're charging an arm and a leg for it and I'm broke right now.
Troyen, the penny just dropped. I hadn't been able to figure out what you were going on about re. the 'three' Gothics. I didn't know there's a Boult. Must investigate.
The first professional performance (and only the second) was on October 30, 1966 at the RAH with Boult conducting the BBC Symphony and the cast of hundreds. Brian was in the audience to acknowledge the applause. This is the performance on Testament. There is also a 7 minute interview with Brian on January 1, 1966.
As you know Boult was fond of his "stick" and the one used in this performance is a particularly long one.
Damn the cost I say. Beg, borrow, steal. What are you, a Havergall Brian lover or not?
It's performed infrequently enough and three of the performances are on disc!
Easy for you to say, Troyen! I just this minute snuck (is that a word?) Roussel's Festin de l'araignee and the Irgen Jensen into the house and you had me going on the Rossini Mose recommendation, checking out available cds and dvds. D'you think I'm made of money?
I know I read somewhere recently someone else raving about the Rossini, saying it's one of the great hidden gems, can't recall where. Oops, I'll shut up before I'm accused of diverting the thread again.
Boult is excellent. For a very long time, until Lenard entered the scene, that was the only (pirated) Gothic around. I still like his recording, though the sound is no match for the Hyperion CD, which is amazingly clear and detailed. What Boult does very well is to keep the music moving, he never drags, or wallows. (This he has in common with Brabbins, by the way.)
Re the Tenth - I agree with tagalie that Brabbins' performance loses some of the magic. I still prefer the LSSO recording, though the HBS has kindly made available for download the historic first performance of the work. It dates from 1958, the Philharmonia is playing, conducted by Stanley Pope. It is a slow performance, too slow and tentative sometimes, but there are a few passages that come off brilliantly (Hugh Bean is doing the violin solo...). I can recommend it to every Brianite: http://www.havergalbrian.org/download.htm
I may have several recordings of the Banquet of Spiders.
It may have been me calling Mose in Egitto a hidden gem. Scimone on Decca is my recording of choice. I ended my Rossini session at the end of last year and started on Donizetti but couldn't resist Elisabetta regina d' Inghilterra about the offspring of Mary, Queen of Scots.
This is not to tempt you further as it is on Opera Rara who not only provide the CDs but a large book on the work, including the performance history, at enormous cost!
Re the Tenth - I agree with tagalie that Brabbins' performance loses some of the magic. I still prefer the LSSO recording, though the HBS has kindly made available for download the historic first performance of the work. It dates from 1959, the Philharmonia is playing, conducted by Stanley Pope. It is a slow performance, too slow and tentative sometimes, but there are a few passages that come off brilliantly (Hugh Bean is doing the violin solo...). I can recommend it to every Brianite: http://www.havergalbrian.org/download.htm
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of sound of the Boult. It is comfortable enough to not be a distraction. For all the merits of the Lenard I think Boult's obvious authority and fearlessness blows him out of the water.
Hi Johan, I just tested the link to the Stanley Pope HB 10 download you posted and at least it's now in a pitch corrected C minor rather than the previous bodged up attempt which was in B and three quarters minor as you will remember. Although this is dreadfully slow and lacking momentum the actual playing is tip top quality and well worth a listen. It sort of grows on you. There have been a couple of mentions of the Brian 10 LSSO effort on here. This is now available (as you know Johan) in a rather brilliant vinyl refurbishment much better than the official scrawny sounding CD. The LSSO symphony 22 is also available and this is transformed soundwise from the horrid CBS LP. Here's the links. Click on the sleeves for an audio sample.
I will quote an email I received from a well known reviewer the other day re Symphony 22 on the CBS vinyl refurbishment:
Just listening to the secure toned and clean sounding Symph Brevis - wonderful to hear this work - as if for the first time - impressive in the more intimate moments as in 4:58 as well as in the grand and gaunt moments 7:19 - deeply impressive.
He likes it.
Further to my previous post I thought this might be of interest: