Talk:Symphony No. 1 "The Gothic" (Brian)

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Bird scare[edit]

In the orchestration section, is the "bird scare" the bird-scaring rattle? A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 18:10, 28 December 2005 (UTC) I think I'll change it. A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 21:09, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems strange that it would be the klopotec. I will revert. A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 21:09, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

  • The instrument Havergal Brian calls a "bird scare" is the louder variety of ratchet used by mad football fans and referred to as a football rattle. Philip Legge @ 05:21, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

In the Cranz score, it is notated as "Scare Crow" which probably refers to the klopotec 16:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be a bit awkward to have a windmill in a concert hall? -- megA (talk) 14:04, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Chimes and Tubular bells[edit]

What is the difference? On Wikipedia, the terms lead to the same article, Tubular bell. The mention of chimes and tubular bells in the orchestration would be extraneous. I am taking the tubular bells out of the article. Revert if you want. A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 22:42, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

This discrepancy may be the result of a previous edit. The published full score (Cranz, 1932) has numerous errors and Brian's specification appears to be "Chimes" as well as several low-tuned bells in C, D, and E; the latter are meant to be specially-cast bells rather than orchestral tubular bells (similar to the low C bell heard in the Witches Sabbath movement of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique). Several other Brian symphonies (2, 4, and 7) also request specially low-tuned bells, like the "tom" of a church peal, rather than tubular bells. Philip Legge @ 05:21, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I have re-instated the distinction. The "chimes" (used exclusively in the Et laudamus section of movement VI) are an octave set from E♭4 to E♭5, an instrument at one time (and possibly still) common in military bands. The "tubular bells" (so described—at least according to the Cranz score—i.e. not specially-cast bells) are used in the Sanctus Dominus section of movement IV, and cover the octave from C3 to C4. Three of these bells (C3, D3 and E3) turn up again in the "Non confundar" of movement VI, though here they are described (in the Cranz score) simply as "bells" rather than "tubular bells". Is there any positive reason to suppose that the "bells" here are "specially-cast", rather than simply a subset of the "tubular bells" from movement IV? Vilĉjo 23:28, 4 November 2006 (UTC)


Just wondering if there's any good reason this article is at Symphony No. 1 (Havergal Brian) rather than Symphony No. 1 (Brian). Did he have a father named Leopold or a brother named Michael? James470 (talk) 21:52, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi James, there is perhaps no good reason for the article's current title. As Havergal Brian isn't nearly so famous a composer as Nielsen, Sibelius, or Bax - to name some other, prolific early 20th century symphonic composers - as the original author of the article I thought it worth spelling out the composer's name in full in the article title.
More of an issue however is that the Symphony was renumbered from No. 2 to No. 1, no less than thirty-six years after its first publication, and many unfortunately many source materials (e.g. full and vocal scores) still refer to it as "Symphony No. 2"; whereas the work is known by its moniker of "The Gothic", which is more famous again then either designation of "No. 2" or "No. 1". So if anything, some thought should be given to incorporating the sobriquet into the title, since in my experience of twenty years of talking with working musicians, the work is always referred to as "the Gothic". Regards, Philip (not logged in!) (talk) 11:17, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I see no reason why it can't be moved to Gothic Symphony - except that's currently a redirect to this article. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 12:12, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
A year on and I've boldly moved it to Symphony No. 1 "The Gothic" (Brian). This addresses all the issues canvassed above. (I did check about the title, to make sure the word "The" really is there, and it is.) -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 22:06, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

"Enormity" vs. "Enormousness"[edit]


As I've explained on your talk page, this all too common English usage error, has nothing at all to do with "local dialect." Given that you are evidently British and have displayed over your history of edits here a very marked preference for your own "local dialect," I refer you to the entry for "enormity" in the highly respected (British) Compact Oxford English Dictionary:


1 [mass noun] (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale , seriousness, or extent of something perceived as bad or morally wrong:a thorough search disclosed the full enormity of the crime

(in neutral use) large size or scale:I began to get a sense of the enormity of the task

2 a grave crime or sin:the enormities of war


late Middle English: via Old French from Latin enormitas, from enormis, from e- (variant of ex-) 'out of' + norma 'pattern, standard'. The word originally meant ‘deviation from legal or moral rectitude’ and ‘transgression’. Current senses have been influenced by enormous


Enormity traditionally means‘ the extreme scale or seriousness of something bad or morally wrong’, as in residents of the town were struggling to deal with the enormity of the crime. Today, however , a more neutral sense as a synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing that enormity in its original sense meant ‘a crime’ and should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a negative moral judgement is implied. Nevertheless, the sense is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or achievement

The sentence in the Symphony No. 1 (Havergal Brian) namepage that I'd edited did not use "enormity" to characterize "something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or achievement," so its usage to apply to an object -- the architecture of the great European cathedrals -- was incorrect as a matter of even the most "modern" standard English, even in its least prescriptive BRITISH application:

The scale of the choral finale, which took several years to write, appears to be an attempt to evoke the enormity and detail of this architecture in sound; Brian had to paste blank pages of score together to be able to write the work on gigantic sheets with 54 staves to the page.

Ravinpa (talk) 04:24, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

This is just hilarious. Whether the "enormity" or "enormousness" of attention paid to this insignificant little detail, take your pick. Meanwhile, we are ignoring some pretty big factual mistakes. James470 (talk) 21:02, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, especially in that context it really is, although I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable about the subject of this article to either catch or correct such factual errors. I just happened to come across an incorrect usage of "enormity" in another article that so confused the meaning of the sentence that I had to read cited sources to figure out what had been meant. I corrected that usage error, then decided to see if there were other WP articles where it was similarly misused in order to forestall similar confusion by others, then discovered Nasnema was reverting all my edits as fast as she could. Copy editing is rarely appreciated, though, and that seems to be even less so on Wikipedia, I'm beginning to conclude! I was just trying to improve articles where I spotted errors, but perhaps I'm wasting my time here.Ravinpa (talk) 02:16, 13 June 2011 (UTC)


Does the article say how long the piece is? (talk) 00:50, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

I also came here to ask how long the piece is, even if only a rough estimate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:45, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Good point. If the article is going to claim it to be one of the longest symphonies ever written then it should at least give some indication of its length. The Naxos recording conducted by Ondrej Lenard clocks in at 1h 51m 30s. -- (talk) 13:36, 22 September 2014 (UTC)