Symphony 1

The Gothic

In D minor, 2 parts, 6 movements, ?1919-27†, 105:00

originally Symphony No. 2 - re-numbering authorised by the composer 1967

Part one1: 2 piccolos (1 also flute), 3 flutes (1 also alto flute), 2 oboes, oboe d’amore, cor anglais, bass oboe, Eb clarinet, 2 Bb clarinets, basset horn, bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 6 horns, Eb cornet, 4 trumpets in F, bass trumpet, 3 tenor trombones, 2 tubas, 2 sets (min 3 drums) timpani, 2 harps, organ, celesta, min 8 percussion: glockenspiel, xylophone, 2 bass drums, 3 side drums, tambourine, pair cymbals, tam-tam, triangle; strings [say 16.16.12.10.8]

Part two1: Soprano, alto, tenor, bass soloists, large children’s choir, 2 large mixed double choruses [in practice 4 large SATB choirs] orchestra: 2 piccolos (1 also flute), 6 flutes (1 also alto flute), 6 oboes (1 also oboe d’amore, 1 also bass oboe), 2 cors anglais, 2 Eb clarinets (1 also Bb clarinet), 4 Bb clarinets, 2 basset horns, 2 bass clarinets, contrabass clarinet, 3 bassoons, 2 contrabassoons, 8 horns, 2 Eb cornets, 4 trumpets in F, bass trumpet, 3 tenor trombones, bass trombone, contrabass trombone, 2 euphoniums, 2 tubas, 2 sets (min 3 [in practice 4] drums) timpani, 2 harps, organ, celesta, min 18 percussion: glockenspiel, xylophone, 2 bass drums, 3 side drums, long drum, 2 tambourines, 6 pairs cymbals, tam-tam, thunder machine [not thunder sheet], tubular bells, chimes, chains, 2 triangles, birdscare; strings (20.20.16.14.12) 4 off stage groups: each containing 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, set (min 3 drums) of timpani (in summary: 32 wind, 24 on stage brass, 24 off stage brass, 6 timpanists, 18 percussion, 4 keyboards and harps, 82 strings - total orchestra c190 players, plus adult choir of min 500 [assumes largely professionals], children's choir of 100, 4 soloists = c800)


  1. orchestration established by Paul Rapoport in Havergal Brian's Gothic symphony [see bibliography] - in some respects, this is the minimum necessary (e.g. there is a short passage in part two requiring 8 trumpets; Brian suggests more harps ad lib; and so on) - JRM ↩︎ ↩︎

Part one (orchestra)
  I Allegro assai – attacca [284 bars]
  II Lento espressivo e solenne – attacca [145 bars]
  III Vivace – attacca [393 bars]
Part two (soloists, choruses and orchestra)
  IV Te Deum laudamus Allegro moderato [433 bars]
  V Judex crederis esse venturus Adagio molto solenne e religioso [331 bars]
  VI Te ergo quaesumus Moderato e molto sostenuto [765 bars]

Text: text in Part 2: Te Deum laudamus, religious sources

1932, full score published by Cranz, re-printed 1976
United Music Publishing Limited

Timings

Boult 1966Groves 1976Stokes 1978Schmidt 1980Lenárd 1989Curro 2010Brabbins 2011
Part one (orchestra)33:3839:2135:2139:0036:3235:49
I Allegro assai – attacca11:1513:0310:5013:4212:2211:59
II Lento espressivo e solenne – attacca10:4412:1712:0012:2411:0111:48
III Vivace – attacca11:3914:0112:3112:5413:0912:02
Part two (soloists, choruses and orchestra)66:3469:4471:4867:5769:06
IV Te Deum laudamus Allegro moderato18:1518:3119:4818:1117:47
V Judex crederis esse venturus Adagio molto solenne e religioso14:0814:5615:4214:1015:55
VI Te ergo quaesumus Moderato e molto sostenuto34:1136:1736:1835:3635:24
Total100:12115:00105:05110:48104:29104:55

Articles

Music and meaning – Malcolm MacDonald
  excellent piece relating the Gothic to its time of composition in the first world war
Brian as Faust – Malcolm MacDonald
  excellent wide-ranging article addressing the psychology of Brian particularly at the time of The Gothic
Brian as Faust – Larry Alexander
  follows up Brian as Faust article by Malcolm MacDonald
Havergal Brian – The Gothic voice – Pauline Slevin
Havergal Brian’s last testament? – Lionel Pike
  The tonal structure of the Gothic
The conception of Part 2 – Colin G Davis
Flawed masterpiece? – Jonathan Rutherford
  Is The Gothic a masterpiece? What does this mean?
Creating the vocal score of the Gothic – 1 – Jeremy Marchant
  How the vocal score has been computer-set (1)
Creating the vocal score of the Gothic – 2 – Philip Legge
  How the vocal score has been computer-set (2)
Creating the vocal score of the Gothic – 3 – Jeremy Marchant
  How the vocal score has been computer-set (3)
The Logistics of the Gothic symphony – 1 – Philip Legge
  How to perform the Gothic with reduced forces (1)
The Logistics of the Gothic symphony – 2 – Philip Legge
  How to perform the Gothic with reduced forces (2)
Beethoven, Berlioz, Brian (or Three Bs and more) – Jürgen Schaarwächter
Brian – the Gothic voice – Pauline Slevin
The Gothic Review – Mike Le Voi, 4MBS Concert Recording Team member
  a personal review of the work based on what this layman hears
Choral Demands of the ‘Gothic – Jeremy Marchant
  Defining how difficult it is to stage the chorus for the Gothic
Brian’s Choral Challenges in the ‘Gothic’ – 1 – Jeremy Marchant
  Detailed analysis of the choral challenges

Further reading

The Symphonies of Havergal Brian, Volume 3: Symphonies 30–32, Survey and summing-up – Malcolm MacDonald
  references up to 1983 to periodicals are provided in the bibliography
HB: Aspects of Havergal Brian – Jürgen Schaarwächter
  life and personality; symphonies; miscellany
Opus est: Six Composers from Northern Europe – Paul Rapoport
Havergal Brian’s ‘Gothic symphony’: Two studies – Harold Truscott, Paul Rapoport, Havergal Brian
  with ‘How the Gothic Symphony came to be written’ by Havergal Brian

Performances

24 June 1961 [first performance] Central Hall, Westminster, London
Noelle Barker (sop), Jean Evans (alto), Kenneth Bowen (ten), John Shirley-Quirk (bar), London Philharmonic Choir, Kingsway Choral Society, London Orpheus Choir, Hendon Grammar School Choir, Royal Military School of Music and Polyphonia Symphony Orchestra, conductor Bryan Fairfax
30 October 1966 [first professional performance] Royal Albert Hall, London
live broadcast BBC, repeated 26 November 1967
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, conductor Sir Adrian Boult
10 October 1976 (Part 1 only) invitation concert at Royal Albert Hall, London
live broadcast BBC Radio 3
New Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Sir Charles Groves
21 May 1978 Victoria Hall, Hanley, Staffs, UK
Margaret Tapley (sop), Jean Reavley (alto), Eric Baskeyfield (ten), Philip Ravenscroft (bass); Keele Chamber Choir (chorus master John Sloboda), Leicester Philharmonic Society (Keith Smith), the Margaret Wharam Choir, Solihull (Margaret Wharam), Nantwich and District Choral Society (Eddie Hewsion), Oriana Choir, Macclesfield (Keith Yearsley), Potteries Choral Society (Michael Lambert), Stone Choral Society (Arlene Lees); Ashborne Parish Church boys’ choir (Christopher Atkinson), Goudhurst Girls School Choir (Mary Halstead), Nantwich Parish Church boys’ choir (Michael Bax), Parish Church of St Peter, Prestbury boys’ choir (Michael Cheetham) and girls’ choir (Andrew Burr); _ad hoc_ The Stoke Gothic Symphony Orchestra, leader Raymond Baddeley; assistant conductor Peter Young, conductor Trevor Stokes Produced by Paul Shaw [The total forces were over 700, the audience being confined to the gallery (586 seats) and the balcony (211 seats), leaving the arena floor to be occupied by the orchestra, which fully met Brian’s specification. Behind the orchestra, the children’s chorus was placed on the platform, two of the adult choruses behind them in the choir seats banked up on each side of the organ and the two remaining adult choruses seated in the long, narrow side balconies flanking the hall. The four brass bands were located with the four choruses, with the result that the spatial disposition of the total forces were rather more marked than was the case at the Royal Albert Hall, London in 1966.]
At Victoria Hall, Hanley, 1978 – David J Brown
25 May 1980 Royal Albert Hall, London
live broadcast BBC Radio 3, repeated 14 May 1995
Jane Manning (sop), Shirley Minty (alto), John Mitchinson (ten), David Thomas (bass), London Symphony Chorus, London Philharmonic Choir, BBC Singers, BBC Club Choir, Hampstead Choral Society, Bach Choir, English Chamber Choir; members of: BBC Symphony Chorus, Royal Choral Society, Goldsmith’s Choral Union, Highgate Choral Society; Orpheus Girls’ Choir, Colfe’s School Choir, London Symphony Orchestra (leader Irvine Arditti), conductor Ole Schmidt
Mounting the Gothic: The Schmidt performance, 1980 – David J Brown
Brev fra London / Letter from London: the Schmidt performance, 1980 – Peter Wivel
Skøn kæmpe-musik uden flip / Lofty musical colossus no freak: the Schmidt performance, 1980 – Jørgen Falck
Choirworks and Musical encounters – David J Brown
15 September 1984 (Part 1 only) St Olave’s School, Orpington, Kent, UK
rehearsal and runthrough by ’Planets for pleasure’ ad hoc orchestra, conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald
The ‘Planets for pleasure’ orchestra performance – Ted Heaton
29–31 March 1989 Concert Hall of Slovak Radio (Bratislava)
Eva Jenisová, soprano; Dagmar Pecková, alto; Vladimír Doležal, tenor; Peter Mikuláš, bass; Slovak Opera Chorus; Slovak Folk Ensemble Chorus; Lúčnica Chorus; Bratislava City Choir; Bratislava Children’s Choir; Youth ‘Echo’ Choir; Pavol Procházka, chorus master; Slovak radio Symphony Orchestra; Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir; Ondrej Lenárd, conductor
22 December 2010 Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Melissa Gill (sop), Kathleen Lamont (alto), Luke Venables (ten), Dimitri Kopanakis (bass), The Gothic Symphony Chorus, The Gothic Symphony Children’s Chorus, The Gothic Symphony Orchestra, conductor John Curro [The total forces numbered more than 600.]
Recording _The Gothic_ in Brisbane – Mike Le Voi, 4MBS Concert Recording Team member
17 July 2011 Royal Albert Hall, London
live broadcast BBC Radio 3 2011 Proms season, repeated 20 July 2011
Susan Gritton (sop), Christine Rice (m-sop), Peter Auty (ten), Alastair Miles (bass), David Goode (organ), Eltham College Boys’ Choir, CBSO Youth Chorus, Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs, Brighton Festival Chorus, Huddersfield Choral Society, London Symphony Chorus, BBC National Chorus of Wales, Bach Choir, Cor Caerdydd, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & BBC Concert Orchestra, conductor Martyn Brabbins [The total forces numbered more than 930]

Recordings

Testament SBT2 1454 (2 discs) released January 2010
Aries LP 2601 (2 discs)
30 October 1966 [first professional performance] Royal Albert Hall, London
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, conductor Sir Adrian Boult
Naxos 8.557418-19 (2 discs) released June 2011
Marco Polo 8.223002 (2 discs) released September 1992
29–31 March 1989 Concert Hall of Slovak Radio (Bratislava)
Eva Jenisová, soprano; Dagmar Pecková, alto; Vladimír Doležal, tenor; Peter Mikuláš, bass; Slovak Opera Chorus; Slovak Folk Ensemble Chorus; Lúčnica Chorus; Bratislava City Choir; Bratislava Children’s Choir; Youth ‘Echo’ Choir; Pavol Procházka, chorus master; Slovak radio Symphony Orchestra; Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir; Ondrej Lenárd, conductor
The Marco Polo cycle – David J Brown
Hyperion CDA67971/2 (2 discs) released December 2011
17 July 2011 Royal Albert Hall, London
Susan Gritton (sop), Christine Rice (m-sop), Peter Auty (ten), Alastair Miles (bass), David Goode (organ), Eltham College Boys’ Choir, CBSO Youth Chorus, Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs, Brighton Festival Chorus, Huddersfield Choral Society, London Symphony Chorus, BBC National Chorus of Wales, Bach Choir, Cor Caerdydd, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & BBC Concert Orchestra, conductor Martyn Brabbins [The total forces numbered more than 930]