HAVERGAL BRIAN (1876-1972): Symphony No. 1 in D Minor "The Gothic".
Catalogue Number: 02L011
Reference: SBT2 1454
Description: The Gothic probably needs very little introduction by now; suffice it to say that it is one of the towering monuments of the symphonic literature, an edifice of unsurpassed monolithic grandeur. Its six movements mark a progression from an expanded late-Romantic idiom into something wholly original and unmistakably of the 20th century, in some respects anticipating things that Tippett and Maxwell Davies were doing decades later, while remaining true to its visionary sense of exploration in the context of a tradition reaching back through Romanticism, Classicism as far as the Renaissance. This performance, the first by fully professional forces under the baton of a major interpreter of British music of his time, was attended by the then 90-year old composer. The 1966 recording, in classic BBC sound (reminding us that the BBC was in the forefront of recording technological research and technique in the mid-late decades of the century) holds up well by any standards, and entirely eclipses memories of the well-meaning but sadly deficient Aries pirate LPs (presumably from an illicit aircheck of the original broadcast) that some of you may still own. Patently self-recommending. 2 CDs. Includes a 6:48 BBC interview with Brian from Jan. 1, 1966. Honor Sheppard (soprano), Shirley Minty (contralto), Ronald Dowd (tenor), Roger Stalman (bass), BBC Chorus, BBC Choral Society, City of London Choir, Hampstead Choral Society, Emanuel School Choir, Orpington Junior Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Sir Adrian Boult.