Malcolm, I know, continued to hold these profound criticisms of Stokowski's performance and it is in that context that John Pickard actually writes "Stokowski's bizarre interpretation distorted the work to such an extent that one could reasonably describe the present recording.....as its first real performance".
I think that both Chris Howell and, by inference, Michael Cookson are being a little harsh in disputing the Naxos claim that the Symphonies Nos. 28 and 29 are "world premiere recordings". That phrase is commonly used by record companies. It is, invariably, used by companies to mean commercially available releases. Many such "premiere releases" have been performed in radio broadcasts and many of such broadcasts become "available" in this modern era. Notoriously, Aries released pirated copies on LP of several of the BBC broadcasts of Brian symphonies, attributing the performances to fictional orchestras and conductors.You Tube now hosts a vast number of off-air recordings. The American Klassic Haus has released many of the BBC broadcasts of the Brian symphonies on cd (properly attributed to the correct orchestras and conductors). This is the world we live in today. It has brought huge benefits in making so much rare music accessible to us. However there is the very clear downside that it is increasingly discouraging a number of record companies from recording such music and then attempting to sell their releases commercially.
It is therefore to the enormous credit of Naxos that it should have agreed to revive their Brian Symphonies Project. And it is also worth pointing out that the original releases on the Marco Polo label came out long before the Proms performance of the Gothic. The first commercial release of Brian's Symphony No.1 was by the Czech and Slovak performers under Ondrej Lenard back in 1990.
By all means let us listen to the 1970s performances of the Brian symphonies if we can and let us give full credit to the orchestras and to the conductors who blazed that trail. Some-though not all-of these performances were quite superb and stand full comparison with more modern renderings. But let us also give full credit to companies like Naxos and to Dutton who legitimately describe their releases as "premiere" recordings.
« Back to index | View thread »
Thank you for taking part in the MusicWeb International Forum.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb