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BBC Music Magazine, November 2013

These six scenes of life in and around Brian’s native Staffordshire include an ‘Interlude’ depicting, with ear-mesmerising virtuosity, a distant view of The Wrekin in Shropshire. © BBC Music Magazine



Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, October 2013

Credit to conductor Alexander Walker for producing such convincing interpretations of music which will have been both unfamiliar and hard to bring off. Certainly this would seem to be a winning team and one that I hope Naxos will turn to again to, at long last, complete the Brian symphonic canon. To my mind one of the most rewarding and successful Naxos discs of the year. © MusicWeb International Read complete review



Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, September 2013

…they are rollicking good pieces…Walker’s performances do indeed plumb emotional depths often missed in earlier recordings…

This is, quite simply, a remarkable disc. Highly recommended. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, September 2013

The recorded sound is resonant; and Walker…convincingly pulls the music together. An even bigger plus is the terrific sound from the orchestra. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, August 2013

The Russian State TV and Radio Company engineers have provided a satisfying sound quality. The New Russia State Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Walker evidently understand the turbulence of the writing. They play with an excellent vitality and strong character in which the climaxes are thrust home decisively.  © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, July 2013

The three symphonies on this disc are all solidly crafted works that adventurous listeners may well find to their liking.

The performances here by the Alexander Walker-led New Russia State Symphony Orchestra are spirited and accurate, and the Naxos sound reproduction is vivid and quite powerful. All in all, this is a fine release. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review




Guy Rickards
Gramophone, July 2013

Naxos’s sound is clear and precise, the playing of the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra remarkably idiomatic…Their account of English Suite No 1 is unquestionably superior to the City of Hull Youth Symphony Orchestra’s and much better recorded…highly recommended to anyone wishing to understand this still much-misunderstood composer. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Mel Martin
Audiophile Audition, June 2013

The recording here is with the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra with Alexander Walker conducting. Performances are crisp…The recording…is excellent. The brass is recorded very well, along with the percussion that Brian used to good effect.

The three symphonies and the English Suite are an excellent introduction to this little-known composer. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Richard Whitehouse
International Record Review, June 2013

The sound on the present disc has a fullness and perspective that certainly enhances the music-making, working as it does to the benefit of Brian’s often densely contrapuntal textures, while the notes by Malcolm MacDonald are as authoritative as expected. © 2013 International Record Review



Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, June 2013

Forget any ideas of Havergal Brian as a facile composer whose music is easy to absorb; it all receives a strong performance here—neither the music nor the performance could be described as placid.

…the performances sound idiomatic and they are well recorded. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, May 2013

The performances here are very good. The New Russian State Symphony Orchestra sounds remarkably confident in Brian’s idiosyncratic sound world. The brass play very well, and the ensemble projects what have to be some very ungrateful string parts with astonishing conviction. Much of the credit must belong to conductor Alexander Walker, who keeps the music moving smartly along, and relishes the opportunities it offers for lyrical expression as well as instrumental color. Certainly this is one of the best issues in Naxos’ ongoing Brian cycle, especially as the sonics are also very tactile and vivid. Fans of the composer will rejoice. © 2013 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2013

Was this part-time, self-taught composer a genius or an English eccentric? Naxos continues to offer us the chance of discovering the works of Havergal Brian. Amid a life where he was always short of money, and dying in abject poverty, he had become the most prolific British composer of symphonies with thirty-four completed by his death at the age of 96. They were in shape and length ever changing, this trio of works, written in the nine months from December 1964, lasting in total less than forty minutes, making them difficult to programme in concerts. They were a symphonic exercise in the use of march rhythms, at times more obvious than others. Highly charged, as in the opening of the two movements of the Twenty-third, the Twenty-fourth is the more abrasive and illusive in its four combined movements. Truth to tell they do not settle in your memory at first hearing, and far more commercial is the First English Suite completed in 1906 when Brian was thirty. It was to be the work that brought him to public attention when played the following year at a Queen’s Hall Prom concert conducted by Henry Wood. Its six movements are highly tuneful and very attractive, rather like an English version of Charles Ives. It does rather belie its title as being a quite extended score, and, time-wise, the major part of the disc. From the recording schedule this is one of the most well rehearsed Brian recordings I have encountered—and it shows, the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra proving a fine ensemble. The English conductor, Alexander Walker, brings an idiomatic and highly committed quality to a disc recorded with the degree of high impact the symphonies require. © David’s Review Corner




Michel Fleury
Classica

The russian forces seem to have found in this troubling music a part of the evil charms of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, that would explain the devilish perfection of this performance © Classica






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3:35:25 AM, 24 October 2014
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