Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Havergal Brian Gothic Prom - new review

Here is a link to a more analytical review of Havergal Brian's Symphony no 1 "The Gothic" BBC Prom 4 at the Royal Albert Hall.  Wonderful theatre, though that's probably thanks to the BBC rather than to the composer. Musically, it's a strange beast, ".....an accumulation whose object is to amass as many pieces as possible — not a jigsaw, for the ideas don’t really cohere."  Brian was a self-taught loner who didn't really think in terms of performance or performability.  On paper the ideas may look good, they don't develop or connect. Maybe amateur and uncrafted has appeal, but you do wonder why music so fervently promoted  is otherwise known only through poor performances and on deleted recordings. Maybe that's part of the cachet. Brian is part of the grand British Eccentric Tradition.  But there is so much else waiting to be discovered that one hopes attention will move to music with innate musical value.  Please also see this analysis, from someone with experience of turning paper into music.

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