Sunday, July 17, 2011

Havergal Brian - a spurious glamour?

'Then there was the first performance of Havergal Brian's overture Dr Merryheart. In those days [1913] his music was still being performed, and he had not sunk into that long and mysterious neglect which has given his name a spurious glamour, and rendered it even more difficult to make an objective assessment of his work.'
That quote is from the English Musical Renaissance by Peter J. Pirie which was published in 1979. Havergal Brian is certainly not neglected today in the record catalogue and there is, thankfully, the opportunity to make an objective assessment courtesy of tonight's BBC Prom performance of his Gothic Symphony. Is this work a neglected masterpiece, another of classical music's Diana moments, or something in between? Worth remembering that Peter J. Pirie had it right about John Fould's World Requiem.

Image is via YouTube clip from 1972 Havergal Brian documentary. Quote is from Peter J. Pirie's The English Musical Renaissance - Twentieth Century British Composers & Their Works (Gollancz ISBN0575026790 OP) Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk Also on Facebook and Twitter.

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