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Thread: SS 19.05.18 - Brian #32

  1. #16
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    I’m with Malx on this one. Listenable, certainly, but neither compelling nor very interesting. The long stretches of what sound like two-voice counterpoint grow wearisome after a while. Also the several imposing climaxes that seem to have no real musical or dramatic purpose.

    The scherzo-like third movement is probably the most immediately attractive.


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  3. #17
    Senior Member Weird Heather's Avatar
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    I've had a recording of the massive and problematic First Symphony for a while now, and I've been meaning to check out some of Brian's other work. I used this thread as an excuse and bought this one (and also the album with Symphonies 4 and 12). This symphony is quite pleasant, but I agree with many others here that it isn't exactly the most memorable or interesting music out there, and it is in quite a conservative style for its time. (I found the other works on the album to be somewhat more attractive - the Festal Dance is a fun little piece.) This sort of music definitely has its place in my collection; sometimes I am in the mood for something pleasant, enjoyable, and not too challenging.

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  5. #18
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    Just listened to it (RTE NSO/Leaper on Naxos, the only recording I guess) and my impressions are similar to others here. There are some powerful moments and ear-catching orchestration in spots (nice use of tuned percussion), but I had trouble following Brian's musical train of thought, as per usual. My loss, I'm sure. FWIW, My favorite Brian symphonies that I've heard are the 6th and 8th.
    Last edited by kyjo; May-21-2018 at 04:18.

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  7. #19
    Senior Member Robert Pickett's Avatar
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    I think I'm in general agreement over this one as well. Perfectly nice, and indeed some imaginative orchestration, but in the final analysis, a bit on the unmemorable side.

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  9. #20
    Senior Member Weird Heather's Avatar
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    I decided to give this one a second try. My impression is still about the same - a very pleasant piece, but it seems to lack that certain spark that would make it great rather than merely good. It is the sort of music that I like to have on while I'm doing other things; it has enough going on to improve the atmosphere, but it doesn't demand my undivided attention. Many of Haydn's symphonies, for example, are also like this for me, so this characteristic puts it in good company.

    Incidentally, I have also listened to Symphony No. 4, which I bought at the same time. That one grabbed my attention more than anything I have heard so far from Brian. Of course, such reactions are subjective; others might not respond to it as I did. I definitely want to explore more of Brian's work now; maybe there are other hidden gems waiting to be found.

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