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Recent concerts here in the Metroplex (as Texans often call the Dallas / Fort Worth area) have prepared local audiences and performers very well for Brian's music. In Fort Worth John Giordano led the orchestra in the First Symphony of Samuel Barber, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya (who has an excellent way of bringing audiences together with potentially difficult unfamiliar music) has presented the Second and Third symphonies of Aaron Copland. In Dallas Andrew Litton has recently led the Symphony in a smashing performance of the Vaughan Williams Fourth Symphony (easily the least 'nice' of the bunch) in a concert that benefitted from an extra rehearsal owing to the presence of (in Litton's words) 'too many unfamilar notes'. (The concert also included another work new to the Dallas Symphony, a prelude for large orchestra by Franz Schreker). All these works held their audiences quite captivated (at least at the performances I went to), and the music of Brian would be a next worthwhile step for which both performers and listeners are primed. The coming season for both of these orchestras demonstrates that the big works do get done when the right people want them -- Fort Worth is offering a Mahler Second Symphony (part of an ongoing Mahler cycle), and Dallas is doing the Shostakovich Symphony No 4 and the Berlioz Requiem.

The preparation of functional performing editions will help the Brian cause indispensibly -- there are few musicians as dedicated as the conductor who led No 16 from a photocopy of the manuscript (which, to be quite honest, would embarass me if I were to put it in front of any performer). The rest of what remains is the persuasion (diplomatic, perhaps financial) of concert producers whose decisions are often conservative and heavily based on brand-name recognition to give Brian the place of honor that he deserves on concert platforms.

Copyright © 26 January 2003 Aaron J Rabushka, Fort Worth, Texas, USA


Aaron Rabushka's article about Havergal Brian was first published in issue 163 (September / October 2002) of the Havergal Brian Society Newsletter.



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