Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard

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Havergal Brian 

Symphony No 3 (1932)

Havergal Brian (1876-1972) was  a maverick, working-class English composer notorious for his Gothic Symphony (the largest ever written). By the end of his life he had completed 32 symphonies, seven of them written in his 90s! Influenced by Elgar, Bruckner and Mahler, Brian’s music is brassy, sometimes pastoral and occasionally reminiscent of
Arnold Bax. The Third Symphony of 1932 is an imaginative rollercoaster with parts for two concertante pianos. Highly percussive, it is full to bursting with memorable rhythmic and melodic ideas: a habanera here, a shepherd’s piping there, a barn-dance of a scherzo. A sprawling and enthralling 55 minutes. CP

Essential recording

Symphony No 3
BBC Symphony Orchestra/
Lionel Friend
CDH55029

There is only one recording of this neglected masterpiece. Fortunately, it is an outstanding one with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Lionel Friend, now available on Hyperion’s budget label Helios. 


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Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard
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