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ABOUT THE FILM

The Curse of the Gothic Symphony

The Curse of the Gothic Symphony follows the journey of a fanatical and eclectic group of music lovers who aspire to break the curse behind British composer Havergal Brian’s notorious First Symphony. Brian wrote the symphony in the 1920s. It has long been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest, longest and most challenging symphony ever composed.

For over eighty years the immense Gothic Symphony remains unperformed in its entirety. At over two hours long and requiring two orchestras, four brass bands and five full choirs it is regarded as the Mt. Everest of classical music. Seemingly impossible to stage due to its complexity and massive scale the Gothic Symphony is the ultimate cult neglected work by a British composer. Since his death in 1972, Havergal Brian has moved from near total obscurity to recognition as one of twentieth century England’s most significant composers.

Filmed over 5 years, The Curse of the Gothic Symphony charts the parallel stories of the life of Havergal Brian and the dedicated team who aspire to mount a performance of his infamous symphony in Brisbane. At the core of this odyssey is Gary Thorpe who for over twenty-eight years has been pitching the idea to stage the massive symphony without success. Then there is John Curro, conductor of the Queensland Youth Orchestra who is challenged by the opportunity to stage big productions and wants a crack at the Gothic Symphony. And Alison Rogers a choral master who wants to prove herself despite there not being enough choristers in Brisbane for such a huge undertaking. And finally, Veronica Fury, who is gripped by the curse and crosses the line from film producer to entrepreneur caught up in the odyssey, seized by the sheer titanic scale of the task…

The Curse of the Gothic Symphony reveals the passion, the obsession, the incalculable scale required to stage a massive event that has eluded others for eighty years. Gripped by the challenge to bring off the first staging of this monstrous symphony, these modern day crusaders will not stop until they triumph against all odds … failure is not an option. The curse must be broken.

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