Insight into epic opus captivates
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.