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Brian Large - 50 years in television

Author: Poorhouse International

The IMZ wishes to thank Reiner Moritz for sharing his laudation to Brian Large with all of us and sends sincere congratulations and warmest regards to Brian Large, as well!

  • Brian Large - 50 years in television | Copyright: © Ralpha Larmann

    © Ralpha Larmann

I don´t know any other television director specializing in classical music who has more than 700 recordings to his credit. Brian Large joined the BBC in 1965 before embarking on a world career when he went independent in 1980. David Attenborough, the controller of fledgling BBC2 recalls: “We were all young and we were all trying new things and there wasn´t a question of getting anybody who was experienced in opera production because there weren´t any, and getting Brian was a major step of course. It led to a very distinguished career in television music.” Brian himself remembers: “My first live concert with the BBC was to be of Stravinsky conducting his own “Firebird” at the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra. I was scared stiff. I had never done a live concert before in my life and I had never done a television version of “Firebird”. Fifty years later there is probably not a single score of the current repertoire and beyond which Brian has not done at least once. Let me just recall some highlights of his outstanding career:

Having been named chief opera producer of the BBC in 1970, he directed “Owen Wingrave”, Britten´s one and only opera commissioned by television. He also recorded the Boulez/Chéreau “Ring” at Bayreuth which made the Royal Television Society vote him “Best TV Director” in 1981. Those broadcasters who are subscribing to the Vienna Philharmonic´s “New Year´s Concert” have seen Brian´s name coming up in the end credits time and again. He also taped the original “Three Tenor´s Concert” during the World Cup in Rome and managed the three crews who shot Andrea Anderman´s “Tosca” in the original settings around the Eternal City. Many relays from the Met, Salzburg , Bregenz and the Vienna State Opera, to name but a few, show the Brian Large touch: a singer friendly camera and very musical cuts.

We also owe books on Bedrich Smetana and Bohuslav Martinu to Brian who also signed the article on Martinu in The New Grove.

I myself have had the pleasure of working with him in London, Lyon, Munich, Paris, Salzburg, San Francisco, St. Petersburg and Vienna. When Pavarotti called me pleading for a recording of his “La Bohème” in San Francisco with Mirella Freni I immediately turned to Brian who has the great gift of making the artists look good. And at the re-opening of the Châtelet Musical Theatre in Paris he managed “Orphée” and “Alceste” in complex stagings by Bob Wilson on subsequent days.

As he once said: “We live in a very violent time, and if we are able, in a few moments to create a different message, a different story, to go back and say “isn´t it beautiful?”, then our job has been worthwhile”.

Dear Brian, keep going “ad multos annos!”
Reiner E. Moritz

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