The Havergal Brian Society exists to promote public knowledge of the work of William Havergal Brian (1876-1972) and to support and sponsor its publication, performance and recording.
Registered UK charity No 275793
Join the Society!
The Society offers several benefits for a modest annual subscription.
Newsletter:The bimonthly Newsletter publishes articles of the highest quality on Brian's music and on all aspects of the composer. There are few composer societies which have demonstrated such a consistent track record of quality - over forty years - in the material it has published; much of it has stood the test of time and appears on this website. Items from future Newsletters will also appear on the website, but delayed by six months. In any case, there is much in the Newsletters which does not normally appear on the website: including news, views and the occasional crossword. The Newsletter is available in printed or electronic versions, back numbers of which are available from the website Members' Area.
Discounts: Members receive a generous discount on all Brian records and books, as well as the opportunity to purchase memorabilia such as past programme books.
Online Recordings Library:Members have online streaming access to non-commercially-recorded performances of Brian's music, in many cases of works not otherwise available.
Sponsor: annual subscription £100. Benefits - as Supporter, plus names included in administration box in the NL, in website members’ area and in CD booklets supported by the HBS; additional discount on selected items ordered through the Society; free HBS mug.
Life membership: £250 worldwide; all benefits plus permanent access
to the Online Recordings Library.
To join, please contact us by email and then use the PayPal 'donate' feature on the homepage. This will take you direct to the HBS PayPal page. This is a cover-all option for subscriptions, donations or purchases from the Society, so when you enter your PayPal account information, please remember to add the purpose of the donation (e.g. new membership subscription) in the drop-down “add special instructions to recipient” box. Once this is complete, PayPal will email you a confirmation. We will be notified of payment and will provide you with the latest newsletter and will be placed on the curculation listing. Previous back issues of electronic newsletters will then be available from the website members’ area.
Alternatively you can send a cheque, postal order or bank draft in UK currency payable to Havergal Brian Society to the membership secretary, John Grimshaw; for contact details please refer to contacts page where you can also use the hyperlink to send an email. US$ checks can also be accepted, but please contact John first. UK members are strongly encouraged to Gift Aid their subscriptions which provides additional income via tax refunds; enquiries on this to John also.
Donations are always acceptable! The Society has a Major Projects Fund dedicated to recordings including the ongoing series of recordings by Dutton and Naxos. The Society also undertakes the production of scores and parts using Sibelius 4 software, and professional editing funds are needed for this. You can also now donate by using PayPal; just click the link on the home page.
The HBS can only continue to function with regular income. If you have found this website informative and useful, please consider supporting us by either becoming a member, making use of the advantages that carries, or by making a donation to help our work in making scores and information available, sponsoring recording and promoting Brian in other ways such as this website.
The Society is possibly the third of the name that has existed: one may have been formed after the publication in 1945 of Reginald Nettel's Ordeal by Music, the first biography of the composer, and another certainly existed in the early 1960s (more here).
The present Society, which enjoyed the distinguished Patronage of Sir Adrian Boult until his death in 1983, was founded informally in 1974 by Martin Grossel and James Reid Baxter. With the clarification of its principal aims and objectives (shown below), a more formal structure was established in 1977, and charitable status was granted in 1978. Membership has continued to grow, and is now global.
Aims and objectives
1 To act as an information source about the composer and his music for both the general public and for musicians. The Society is currently looking at ways in which it may play a more active educational role. This website is a major step towards the widest promulgation of information about Havergal Brian.
2 To promote and sponsor recitals, concerts, and recordings of Brian's music. A concert performance of the opera The Cenci was mounted in 1997. Piano and song recitals have been given, a major contribution was made towards the first performance of The Tigers, and numerous recordings have been sponsored, including the current series of CDs on the Naxos label and a CD issue on the Testament label of the legendary 1966 performance of the Gothic symphony by Sir Adrian Boult, in the composer's presence.
3 To advise and assist prospective performers in their choice of works and in the acquisition of performing materials. The Society has an active subcommittee which is editing and computer-setting Brian's music, thereby enabling high quality hire material to be available.
4 To publish original material on Brian and his music. More than 215 issues of a bi-monthly Newsletter have been published, many containing authoritative articles on aspects of the composer and his music discussed in no other source. The Complete music for solo piano has been reissued in a single hardback volume, and a book about the Gothic Symphony has been published. The Society is also involved with a series of volumes of Brian's journalism, as well as the continuing publication of his music. The Society is working on a published Havergal Brian Song Edition.
5 To gather as much information as possible on the whereabouts of Brian's missing scores, most importantly the full score of Prometheus unbound. As the result of a reward offer made by the Society, the full score of The Tigers was recovered in December 1977 after being missing for 30 or more years. More on the results of the Society's offer of a £500 reward for the discovery of lost Brian works is here.
One of the most important areas of the Society's operations is the ongoing maintenance of the Archive devoted to Brian's life and works. This important well-stocked resource is now held at Bristol University under the supervision of HBS Archivist Professor John Pickard, and is open to public inspection. The Archive is currently in the process of being catalogued, following which the listing of the Archive contents will be viewable online, linkable from this website. An introduction to the original development of the Archive is here. Selected archive items will be available to view on the website.
The Society has a flourishing and enthusiastic team which is computer setting Brian's works using Sibelius software on behalf of United Music Publishers. The following works have been completed to date;
English suite 3
Other works are well advanced.
The Society offers a lending library service to its members, from which performances of Brian's music not otherwise available can be borrowed. For more details, seehere.
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