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Symphonies Nos. 11 & 15

Leaper; Rowe; Rte National Symphony Orchestra , Brian Havergal Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Description

Havergal Brian was never a conventional composer, but the three later works on this disc rank among his most unconventional approaches to the symphonic form. The highly virtuosic Doctor Merryheart portrays an imaginary astronomer' musical obsessions. T

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RTE National Symphony Orchestra - Tony Rowe & Adrian Leaper, directions

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Format:Audio CD
William "Havergal" Brian est né en 1876 à Dresden (Royaume-Uni), dans une famille ouvrière. En situation d'échec scolaire dès l'école primaire, Brian apprit les rudiments de la musique par lui-même et, adolescent, devint organiste d'une petite église. En 1896, il assista à une répétition des choeurs des "Scenes From The Saga Of King Olaf" d'Edward Elgar (1857-1934), se rendit à la première de cette oeuvre, et devint enthousiaste de la musique anglaise de cette époque, ainsi que de celle de Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Il se lia d'amitié avec Granville Bantock (1868-1946), et commença à composer ; en 1907, sa première "English Suite" attira l'attention du chef d'orchestre Henry Wood, qui la joua au London Proms, où elle fut très bien accueillie. Toutefois, en partie à cause d'une timidité maladive, sa notoriété fut de courte durée, et il vécut ensuite la majeure partie de sa vie à Londres dans la misère, commençant en particulier à composer ses trente-deux symphonies à partir de 1919. La première de celles-ci à être jouée fut sa huitième, en 1954, grâce à l'intervention de Robert Simpson (1921-1997), compositeur et producteur à la BBC, qui proposa au chef d'orchestre Adrian Boult de la créer. Cette Première fut suivie de plusieurs autres créations, ainsi que de la diffusion d'un premier enregistrement discographique, peu de temps avant la mort de Brian. Leopold Stokowski contribua lui-aussi à faire connaître la musique de ce compositeur. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important recordings in the Brian revival March 3 2011
By Dean Frey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The works on this disc were recorded in 1993 and 1997, and were part of the series of Marco Polo discs from the end of the century that helped move Brian from cult status more or less into the mainstream of British classical music. It's nice to have this music at budget price, and more widely available (though this particular Marco Polo issue is still out there both on CD and through MP3 downloads). The CD begins with two very early works. Both the Concert Overture: For Valour and the Comedy Overture: Doctor Merryheart owe a great deal to Elgar and to Richard Strauss. They're very expressive and highly emotional; Brian wears his heart on his sleeve in this music. Don't expect Monty Python in the Comedy Overture, by the way; this is very much in the Falstaff hearty-laughs-and-ale tradition.

The symphonies come from much later in Brian's career. I'm certainly no Brian specialist, but I find this craggy/lyrical music to be highly cogent, and more accessible than I had assumed. The music repays careful listening, but chunks of these symphonies blasting from the CD player in my car have provided spur-of-the-moment inspiration along with much admiration for an uncompromising, crusty old composer.
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