The Gothic Symphony

A major musical experience last night at the London Proms.

A rare performance of THE GOTHIC SYMPHONY by Havergal Brian.  Conducted by Martyn Brabbins. The work is massive in many senses of that word and as Tom Service said on Radio 3 last night: “dark, but life affirming.”

Please catch its repeat on an afternoon this week on Radio 3 or on the BBC iplayer.  You will never forgive yourself if you miss it.

If you are used only to the well-seasoned (and to me inferior) Marco Polo recording of this work, last night’s performance, I think you’ll find, is a complete revelation.

Havergal Brian wrote 32 symphonies (the Gothic is his first) and much else. I have long owned CDs of his music. Please consult his wikipedia etc and the Havergal Brian Society.

Much more will be said on this event, I feel.

PS: Someone mentioned to me last night that Eugene Goossens wrote a similar work, one based on St John’s Revelation (that word again), entitled ‘The Apocalypse’ that, I note this morning, is only briefly mentioned on Goossens’ wikipedia.

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2 responses to “The Gothic Symphony

  1. Funnily enough, Malcolm MacDonald writes (vol. 1 of his Brian study): “Eugene Goossens, who considered The Gothic ‘an outstanding masterpiece’, laboured mightily to present it at the 1935 Cincinatti Biennial Festival”. The Depression put paid to that.

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