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Brian: Orchestral Music, Vol. 2: Music From The Operas

Audio Samples

>Brian, Havergal : Symphonic Variations on "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?", for orchestra
>Brian, Havergal : Pieces (3) from "Turandot", for orchestra (after Puccini)
>Brian, Havergal : Night Ride of Faust and Mephistopheles, for orchestra (after Gounod's "Faust")
>Brian, Havergal : Preludio tragico, for orchestra (from The Cenci)
>Brian, Havergal : A Turandot Suite, for orchestra

Album Summary

>Brian, Havergal : Symphonic Variations on "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?", for orchestra
>Brian, Havergal : Pieces (3) from "Turandot", for orchestra (after Puccini)
>Brian, Havergal : Night Ride of Faust and Mephistopheles, for orchestra (after Gounod's "Faust")
>Brian, Havergal : Preludio tragico, for orchestra (from The Cenci)
>Brian, Havergal : A Turandot Suite, for orchestra
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The long-neglected British composer Havergal Brian (1876 - 1972) is gradually coming in from the cold, with recordings on Naxos, Dutton, Testament and now Toccata Classics.

Self-taught, from a working-class family in Stoke-on Trent, he shot to fame when Henry Wood discovered him for the 1907 Proms; but he remained an outsider to the British musical establishment, and is as much known for his creative persistence in the face of utter neglect as for the extremely serious and ambitious works that he produced.

His copious output famously includes 32 symphonies, begun when he was in his mid-forties and continued at a constant rate well into his 90s. The first of these works, the famous Gothic Symphony, was performed at the Proms this summer.

Not so well know is the fact that Brian also composed five operas, none of which has as yet been professionally staged. These works contain much impressive orchestral music, and this CD presents orchestral movements from four of them.

The Symphonic Variations on 'Has Anybody here Seen Kelly?' from Brian's anti-war satire The Tigers takes the famous music-hall song and puts it through kaleidoscopic symphonic development.

The most generous selection of music here comes from Brian's opera Turandot (a third version, to set alongside Puccini's and Busoni's): the Three Pieces Brian himself excerpted and the Turandot Suite prepared by the Brian expert Malcolm MacDonald, who also provides the extensive booklet notes.

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
These performances are tasteful and virtuosic. I mention the latter because the music is intricately orchestrated, with constantly overlapping and interweaving voices. It makes for endlessly fascinating sounds, but means the whole orchestra must always be at peak form. The BBC Scots cover themselves with glory in their skill, and Garry Walker's conducting has real insight into this quirky idiom. With this coming fairly close on the heels of Hyperion's spectacular Gothic recording (May/June 2012), this is a banner Brian year.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: City Halls, Glasgow (06/25/2009/06/26/2009).



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Works Details

>Brian, Havergal : Symphonic Variations on "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?", for orchestra
  • Conductor: Garry Walker
  • Ensemble: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: City Halls, Glasgow (06/25/2009/06/26/2009)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Brian, Havergal : Pieces (3) from "Turandot", for orchestra (after Puccini)
  • Conductor: Garry Walker
  • Notes: City Halls, Glasgow (06/25/2009/06/26/2009)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Brian, Havergal : Night Ride of Faust and Mephistopheles, for orchestra (after Gounod's "Faust")
  • Conductor: Garry Walker
  • Notes: City Halls, Glasgow (06/25/2009/06/26/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Brian, Havergal : Preludio tragico, for orchestra (from The Cenci)
  • Conductor: Garry Walker
  • Notes: City Halls, Glasgow (06/25/2009/06/26/2009)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Brian, Havergal : A Turandot Suite, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Garry Walker
  • Notes: City Halls, Glasgow (06/25/2009/06/26/2009)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic