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Brian: Symphony No. 1 "The Gothic" / Brabbins, BBC National Orchestra Of Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra, Choruses

Brian / Bbc National Orch / Brabbins
Release Date: 12/13/2011 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67971   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Havergal Brian
Performer:  David GoodeAlastair MilesSusan GrittonChristine Rice,   ... 
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony ChorusBrighton Festival ChorusHuddersfield Choral Society,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The only serious competition for this new recording of Havergal Brian's visionary, sometimes magnificent, sometimes loony "Gothic" Symphony comes from the Naxos/Marco Polo recording featuring a good chunk of the population of Bratislava. There's no question that this is the finer performance, both sonically and technically. Martyn Brabbins has the two orchestras playing the often virtuoso writing (especially the brass parts) amazingly well for a single live performance. The horns in the scherzo observe all of their dynamic nuances correctly, and the xylophone player tackles Brian's patently insane part with stunning brilliance.

Most importantly, the choirs actually make music out of Brian's densely woven
Read more counterpoint. Yes, the words are generally unintelligible, and tenor Peter Auty is nothing special, but for the most part the singing is amazingly confident and purposeful. There are moments, especially in the fifth movement, with its soprano vocalise and trumpet fanfares, that truly are magical. The Albert Hall acoustic and the presence of an audience suck up some of the bass frequencies, but the live recording, before a very quiet audience, is otherwise very good. The disc includes more than eight minutes of applause at the end, and though you'd be crazy to listen to it even once, it was certainly well-earned. Kudos especially to Brabbins for steering this potential Titantic of symphonies safely into port.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 "Gothic" by Havergal Brian
Performer:  David Goode (Organ), Alastair Miles (Bass), Susan Gritton (Soprano),
Christine Rice (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Auty (Tenor)
Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus,  Brighton Festival Chorus,  Huddersfield Choral Society  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919-1927; England 

Featured Sound Samples

Symphony no 1 "Gothic": Part I: No 1: Allegro assai
Part II: No 2: Iudex crederis esse venturus

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