In­sight into epic opus cap­ti­vates

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - EGuide Movies - TIM MARTAIN

FILM­MAKER Veronica Fury in­sists that her lat­est doc­u­men­tary is not about the fol­lies of ob­ses­sion but about per­sis­tence and suc­cess.

The Curse of the Gothic Sym­phony is re­ally a mix­ture of both.

Com­poser Haver­gal Brian is not one of the world’s best known mu­si­cal tal­ents, but he was in­cred­i­bly pro­lific and is still re­garded as some­thing of a prodigy.

One of his best known works, The Gothic Sym­phony, is so huge and so com­plex that in the 80 years since its com­po­si­tion, it has never been per­formed in its en­tirety.

More than two hours long, to be per­formed in its full glory it re­quires about 600 highly tal­ented mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing two orchestras, four brass bands and five full choirs.

Ev­ery at­tempt to stage the full sym­phony is so fraught with set­backs and fail­ure that the work is com­monly thought to be cursed.

Bris­bane mu­sic guru and ra­dio per­son­al­ity Gary Thorpe made it his mis­sion to change that.

Fury be­gan fol­low­ing Thorpe’s at­tempts about five years ago and even­tu­ally got so drawn into the curse of the Gothic that she be­came part of the story her­self.

Watch­ing the prac­ti­cal strug­gles be­hind stag­ing this mam­moth pro­duc­tion is thrilling enough, but the drama­tised vi­gnettes about Brian’s life paint a darkly in­trigu­ing pic­ture of this ob­scure com­poser’s life that turn this film into some­thing gen­uinely cap­ti­vat­ing.

Fury’s no- frills fly- on- the- wall doc­u­men­tary style is en­hanced by flour­ishes of cheeky gothic pas­tiche and per­haps the Gothic’s true curse is to in­spire this kind of fas­ci­na­tion among any­one who dares to learn about it.

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