Arkiv Music Holiday Shop
WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org
Welcome to ArkivMusic, the retail store for CLOFO!

Brian: Symphonies No 6, 28, 29 & 31 / Walker

Brian / New Russia State Symphony Orchestra / Walk
Release Date: 04/14/2015 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573408   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Havergal Brian
Conductor:  Alexander Walker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Russia State Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $12.99
CD:  $11.49
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

Brian’s Sixth Symphony, subtitled “Sinfonia Tragica,” makes an ideal introduction to his music. It’s full of evocative sounds and unusually (for him) arresting thematic ideas, and its single movement takes less than twenty minutes. The last few minutes are a Mahlerian phantasmagoria of march and dance tunes not unlike the wild outburst in the development section of the first movement of the German composer’s Third Symphony, but the final bars are hauntingly elegiac. Very well recorded once before for Lyrita, this newcomer is also quite well done, and has enough differences in tone and texture to justify duplication.

Symphonies Nos. 28 and 29 both date from 1967, and both have four movements that play without pause, more or
Read more less. No. 28 is only fourteen minutes long in total. Late Brian is an acquired taste, largely because of the music’s relentlessly contrapuntal textures, heavy orchestration with lots of low brass and percussion, and lack of simple repetition to permit listeners to get their bearings. Indeed, these pieces, and the brief, single-movement No. 31 for that matter, sound as though Brian simply chopped off hunks of music from some larger overall blob of material. And yet, the opening of No. 28 has an innocent simplicity of tone and texture that the composer never lost, and all of this music sounds like no one else. That is why it retains its peculiar fascination. It may not be “easy” or “friendly,” but it is distinctive, and the work of a strong musical personality with a definite message.

As with No. 6, the performances under Alexander Walker sound remarkably assured given the unfamiliarity of the material, and they are very well recorded. The Havergal Brian Society and Mr. Godfrey Berry underwrote this production, and they definitely got their money’s worth.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony No. 6, "Sinfonia tragica" by Havergal Brian
Conductor:  Alexander Walker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Russia State Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Compa 
Length: 19 Minutes 56 Secs. 
2.
Symphony No. 28 in C minor by Havergal Brian
Conductor:  Alexander Walker
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Compa 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3.
Symphony No. 29 in E flat major by Havergal Brian
Conductor:  Alexander Walker
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Compa 
Length: 8 Minutes 53 Secs. 
4.
Symphony No. 31 by Havergal Brian
Conductor:  Alexander Walker
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Compa 
Length: 12 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 So-So Music; Good Performance August 18, 2015 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "This disk contains 4 of Havergal Brian's symphonies, performed by the very good New Russia State Symphony Orchestra. For those unfamiliar with the Brian's symphonic output, he wrote over 30 symphonies, most within a relatively short time span in the middle of the 20th century. His earliest symphonies tended to be long and somewhat ponderous. For the most part, the selections on this new Naxos disk are more compact, 2 of them in fact containing only one movement. I have previously found Havergal Brian symphonies to be of varying quality, and that is the case here. Heavy in brass and percussion, decidedly solemn and methodical in tone and thematic development, and seemingly lacking a consistent central core around which the scores can coalesce, these symphonies really challenge the listener to form a coherent first impression of his ideas, so repeated listenings are in order here. I was frankly undecided about rating this recording at the 3 or 4 star level, and ultimately decided on 4, based on the excellence of the orchestra's work throughout the program and Naxos' top notch sound quality. In summary: music that is difficult to warm up to right away, but nicely performed. Thus, a weak 4 stars, nearly 3." Report Abuse
 Brian is always interesting! August 14, 2015 By Peter D. (Jersey City, NJ) See All My Reviews "What can I say? There's nowhere else to hear Havergal Brian's symphonies. The Naxos series began on the sister label Marco Polo, and we must hope that they'll be able to complete the cycle over the next few years. The self-taught Brian doesn't write and develop _melodies_ as themes, but _cells_ that expand in varieties of ways that often never return: it's continuous unfolding, with Mahler-like chamber passages." Report Abuse
Review This Title