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Havergal Brian's Symphonies Nos. 8, 21 and 26 from Naxos


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Author Topic: Havergal Brian's Symphonies Nos. 8, 21 and 26 from Naxos  (Read 348 times)
Dundonnell
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« on: September 01, 2017, 07:41:52 pm »

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573752

The significance of this release (in early October) is that it includes the first recording of Symphony No.21 by a professional orchestra and the first recording of Symphony No.26. But, more than that, it means that, finally, all of Brian's 32 symphonies will be available on commercial cds. The dream of many Brian fans, a dream which seemed for so long totally unrealistic and fantastical, will have been realised. It is just a pity that my dear friend Malcolm MacDonald did not live quite long enough to see the day that the composer whose work he spent his lifetime promoting should receive such recognition.

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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 02:47:24 am »

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573752

The significance of this release (in early October) is that it includes the first recording of Symphony No.21 by a professional orchestra and the first recording of Symphony No.26. But, more than that, it means that, finally, all of Brian's 32 symphonies will be available on commercial cds. The dream of many Brian fans, a dream which seemed for so long totally unrealistic and fantastical, will have been realised. It is just a pity that my dear friend Malcolm MacDonald did not live quite long enough to see the day that the composer whose work he spent his lifetime promoting should receive such recognition.


I cherished my memories with MacDonald as well.  I met him at the Brisbane gothic and enjoyed sitting next to him during the rehearsals and participating in the joy of a major musical event with him.  I belief the brisbane performance was the first in thirty years and no one thought it would happen.  Great to see the cycle is now complete.
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Christo
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 10:34:52 am »

I cherished my memories with MacDonald as well.  I met him at the Brisbane gothic and enjoyed sitting next to him during the rehearsals and participating in the joy of a major musical event with him.  I belief the brisbane performance was the first in thirty years and no one thought it would happen.  Great to see the cycle is now complete.

Great to hear about the legendary Brisbane Gothic, here. First time IIRC that I read an eyewitness account.  Smiley
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… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.  RVW, 1948
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2017, 03:35:02 pm »

I cherished my memories with MacDonald as well.  I met him at the Brisbane gothic and enjoyed sitting next to him during the rehearsals and participating in the joy of a major musical event with him.  I belief the brisbane performance was the first in thirty years and no one thought it would happen.  Great to see the cycle is now complete.

Great to hear about the legendary Brisbane Gothic, here. First time IIRC that I read an eyewitness account.  Smiley

I took hundreds of photos of the rehearsals since I was attending all of them plus a few videos.  I auditioned to play but they used local players so they offered me to come and attend the rehearsals which was nice since it was basically me and Malcolm sitting in an empty hall.  I didn't know who he was yet I read his program notes and books. 
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2017, 03:43:29 pm »

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573752

The significance of this release (in early October) is that it includes the first recording of Symphony No.21 by a professional orchestra and the first recording of Symphony No.26. But, more than that, it means that, finally, all of Brian's 32 symphonies will be available on commercial cds. The dream of many Brian fans, a dream which seemed for so long totally unrealistic and fantastical, will have been realised. It is just a pity that my dear friend Malcolm MacDonald did not live quite long enough to see the day that the composer whose work he spent his lifetime promoting should receive such recognition.
Indeed so; he was and will remain very sorely missed.
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 03:20:51 am »

This is indeed wonderful: when I was born there were no commercial recordings of Brian; when I started listening to him in the 80s as a teenager only four of the symphonies had received professional recordings. Now practically all Brian's extant output will be on CD, with the glaring exception of the operas (and there are plans afoot to start remedying that).
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 04:33:29 pm »

This is indeed wonderful: when I was born there were no commercial recordings of Brian; when I started listening to him in the 80s as a teenager only four of the symphonies had received professional recordings. Now practically all Brian's extant output will be on CD, with the glaring exception of the operas (and there are plans afoot to start remedying that).

Yeah, but I want Prometheus Unbound.  That was supposed to be on par with the Gothic Symphony.  Since the vocal score exists and I believe that would include the piano orchestral reduction, maybe John Pickard could reconstruct it based on what he did with Vision of Cleopatra.
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 06:53:27 pm »

Quote
Since the vocal score exists and I believe that would include the piano orchestral reduction, maybe John Pickard could reconstruct it based on what he did with Vision of Cleopatra.

I agree. That would be absolutely wonderful - a mammoth task, however, for Mr Pickard (or whoever is brave enough to undertake it), but a glorious enterprise. Then we shall need a first class performance and recording.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2017, 11:09:14 pm »



Yeah, but I want Prometheus Unbound.  That was supposed to be on par with the Gothic Symphony.  Since the vocal score exists and I believe that would include the piano orchestral reduction, maybe John Pickard could reconstruct it based on what he did with Vision of Cleopatra.

I think that might be the labour of a life time; I think John P should be allowed to carry on with his own compositions!

I wonder though, in the future, whether you could train AI to orchestrate. Ie write a program that orchestrates a piano score, and teach it how to do so in HB's style by feeding in HB scores from this period. I think it would be easier to do this and have a human orchestrator revise it than tasking someone with such a huge task.
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 11:20:32 pm »

Brilliant idea. Very interesting.
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relm1
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 02:32:52 am »



Yeah, but I want Prometheus Unbound.  That was supposed to be on par with the Gothic Symphony.  Since the vocal score exists and I believe that would include the piano orchestral reduction, maybe John Pickard could reconstruct it based on what he did with Vision of Cleopatra.

I think that might be the labour of a life time; I think John P should be allowed to carry on with his own compositions!

I wonder though, in the future, whether you could train AI to orchestrate. Ie write a program that orchestrates a piano score, and teach it how to do so in HB's style by feeding in HB scores from this period. I think it would be easier to do this and have a human orchestrator revise it than tasking someone with such a huge task.

I disagree.  Any professional composer/orchestrator can accomplish this in a year or two provided a stipend.  The issue is not music, it is economics.  I have had to arrange/orchestrate a very complicated 60 minute oratorio for large orchestra, soloists, and chorus from a diseased composer (I was hired by his estate) up to professional score preparation standards based on hand written sketches and it took about 6 months to complete.  The issue is the composer's time costs money to focus on the task rather than complexity of it.  Not all composers are in the position to focus on these types of efforts.  Pichard is passionate about Brian so I am sure would want to do this if the economic challenge is taken care of. 
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jimfin
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2017, 04:56:29 am »

I think it was Malcolm Macdonald who said that the orchestral element of PB was apparently very important, so the vocal score may give us an inadequate view of the work. I think this is why people have been waiting and hoping for the full score to reappear like the Tigers, rather than orchestrating it. But it is now over fifty years since the score disappeared, so maybe time. However, I am keener to hear the operas (though I know a number of you aren't interested in that genre): we have the BBC Tigers already, and the scratchy BBC broadcast of Agamemnon. Faust is the next planned project, so that just leaves Turandot and The Cenci.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2017, 07:48:53 am »



I disagree.  Any professional composer/orchestrator can accomplish this in a year or two provided a stipend.  The issue is not music, it is economics.  I have had to arrange/orchestrate a very complicated 60 minute oratorio for large orchestra, soloists, and chorus from a diseased composer (I was hired by his estate) up to professional score preparation standards based on hand written sketches and it took about 6 months to complete.  The issue is the composer's time costs money to focus on the task rather than complexity of it.  Not all composers are in the position to focus on these types of efforts.  Pichard is passionate about Brian so I am sure would want to do this if the economic challenge is taken care of. 

I don't want to contradict your professional experience, which, of course, I don't have. However remember that PU is about 4 hours long and HB's style calls for a large orchestra and very complicated scoring. So based on your experience of 6 months for a 1 hour piece this would mean someone working full time for a minimum of 2 years!
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relm1
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2017, 03:15:05 pm »



I disagree.  Any professional composer/orchestrator can accomplish this in a year or two provided a stipend.  The issue is not music, it is economics.  I have had to arrange/orchestrate a very complicated 60 minute oratorio for large orchestra, soloists, and chorus from a diseased composer (I was hired by his estate) up to professional score preparation standards based on hand written sketches and it took about 6 months to complete.  The issue is the composer's time costs money to focus on the task rather than complexity of it.  Not all composers are in the position to focus on these types of efforts.  Pichard is passionate about Brian so I am sure would want to do this if the economic challenge is taken care of. 

I don't want to contradict your professional experience, which, of course, I don't have. However remember that PU is about 4 hours long and HB's style calls for a large orchestra and very complicated scoring. So based on your experience of 6 months for a 1 hour piece this would mean someone working full time for a minimum of 2 years!

Your estimate sounds reasonable.  In contrast you have Scriabin/Nemtin Mysterium (a three hour work) that took Nemtin 30 years or so to arrange, orchestrate, and "complete" from various ideas and pre-existing material.  In other words, it really is half composed by Nemtin.  I think PU would fall somewhere in between.  Since the choral writing and piano reduction is extant, the composition wouldn't need to be filled in, you would effectively have a best effort attempt at orchestrating how they think HB would have done it based on what we know of the piece and HB's style.  It would be an educated guess which is what I believe The Vision of Cleopatra was.  I would expect this to be a two year project.  Definitely doable though and not as exciting as finding the real full score.  To me this is a matter of getting a performance version of the piece available because it might be his magnum opus (I believe that is how he regarded the work).  So something is better than nothing.
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2017, 12:14:08 pm »

got the disk, rather good recordings, all Brian symphonies are now aviable as commercial recordings !
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