HAVERGAL BRIAN (1876-1972): Symphonies No. 10 in C Minor and No. 30 in B Flat Minor, Concerto for Orchestra, English Suite No. 3.
Catalogue Number: 07N001
Label: Dutton Epoch
Reference: CDLX 7367
Description: All World Premiere Recordings except for No. 10, a striking work from 1954 using a huge orchestra and large percussion section and based almost entirely on a march-like theme but whose 16 minutes seem to unfold against a backdrop of infinite space and time - like some of Robert Simpson's later symphonies only distilled to a craggy essence. The Concerto (1964) could equally have been called "Symphony", its single-movement course unfolding, as in all of Brian's late symphonies, in a kind of continuous polyphony but with certain instruments or sections of instruments standing out according to the needs of the argument. No. 30 (1967) may contain music from the vanished sketches for an opera, Oedipus at Colonus. Its 15 minutes are a series of short, unpredictable episodes which gather power as they accumulate; there is some very unusual scoring to give the appearance of bright flashes of color in otherwise very dark surroundings. From another planet, or at least epoch, is the 1919-21 Suite whose five movements undercut the Vaughan Williams/Butterworth English pastoral topos. The first Ancient Village is somewhat traditional but the Epithalamium gets kind of raucous, the fourth The Stonebreaker surrounds a doleful motif with dissonant and spiky episodes while the final Merry Peasant maximizes the same effect with extremes of register and a greater amount of dissonance at fragmentation - as the note-writer puts it "a kind of Cubist country dance." Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins.