The English composer Havergal Brian (1876-1972) is renowned for his 32 symphonies, 21 of them — written after his 80th birthday — constituting one of the most remarkable Indian summers in the history of music. It is less well known that Brian also composed five operas; since none of them has yet been staged, this CD reveals for the first time some of the remarkably inventive and powerful orchestral pieces hidden within those scores.
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, orchestra
Garry Walker, conductor
Three Pieces from ‘Turandot’ (1962t63)
A Turandot Suite (1949t51, arr. 1975) [devised by Malcolm MacDonald]
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Catalogue No: TOCC0113EAN/UPC: 5060113441133Release Date: 05.12.2011Composer: Havergal Brian Artists: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,
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Barry Brenesal :
“… Brian lived and breathed variational form, as anyone knows who is familiar with his symphonies, and these variations supply transformative brilliance, mordant humor, and a dry-witted subtlety very typical of the composer. The work is major Brian of its period, and would make a good introduction to his music for the average concertgoer. … I wrote in reviewing the first volume by Toccata Classics of Brian’s orchestral music that Garry Walker “is alive to the fluid pacing these pieces require,” and that is equally true here. His ability to manage the abrupt changes of tempo, meter, texture, and mood in this music are much to his credit, while the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra responds with a tone that is second to none for intrinsic beauty or blend—and Brian’s music relies upon such craftsmanship to make its effect. None of this is anywhere more apparent than in the nine Turandot selections, which provide a lighter but equally testing environment, in their way, to the symphonies. With excellent sound, this is a must for anyone who admires Brian’s music.” —Barry Brenesal, Fanfare
Nick Barnard :
“…All of the good impressions garnered by Volume 1 are confirmed here and – possibly most importantly – the stature and significance of Brian as a composer of real unique worth is strengthened. That is the joy of an ever-increasing roster of discs of music by a relatively unknown composer. The listener starts to be able to make connections across genres and decades of a creative life so what once seemed disparate and lacking coherence starts to gel into an impressively cogent and individual view of the musical world. …This particular CD does focus on stage works which are by definition pictorial and descriptive but the density of material is daunting and it does require quite an investment of time from the listener to begin to perceive the logic of the music laid before one. …All in all another stunning disc of great value and musical worth, I hope a third volume will follow.” MusicWeb International
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