Friday, May 25, 2012

Gothic Tuba Experience Re-ignited

"The Curse of the Gothic Symphony" documentary movie is screening from 24th of May 2012 for 2 weeks.

Today I had the pleasure to relive part of my Gothic Tuba Experience watching this movie. The rest of the movie experience portrayed the behind the scenes action of organising this monumental symphony.

Gary Thorpe's vision to perform Havergal Brian's massive work in Brisbane, Australia, is the main focus of this documentary. Many failures, mixed emotions and perseverance coloured his 28 year journey to realising his dream in December 2010.

There were many partnerships with various people created and dissolved through the ups and downs of his massive undertaking. Too many to write about here. Check out your local cinema guide on to find out session times, and witness the trials and tribulations for yourself.

For international readers of this blog, I'm quite sure it will be released on DVD at some time, for you to view this wonderful documentary.

The last part of the movie showed various events on concert day and many excerpts of the actual performance. This is when the emotions started stirring in this tuba player, reliving the last couple of days of this unique experience.

Even through speakers in a small cinema, the passion and intensity of the choir still envoked chills down my spine. Hearing again, the wonderful orchestral sounds, brought many "warm and fuzzies" back.

"Screen time" for this tuba player was quite surprising! Over 20 times (but who's counting) I saw myself. Most of them were long shots and some from behind, but clear none the less. The remaining ones were close ups of the tuba "section" with either bass bones to the left in the picture, or with euphoniums to the right of us. One I was very surprised to see was a front and center shot of myself going "full steam ahead" with this massive piece.

Other notable mentions (screen shots) were Cameron Malouf, other parts of the trombone section, various trumpet players and a shot of bass trumpet Adrian Head. Shaun Wigley on Contrabasson had his mugshot shown a number of times.

Yes, there were many other "5 seconds of fame" shots of other musicians but too many to recall.

Our international visitor, Karim Elmahmoudi, who traveled all the way from California to see and listen to the Gothic Symphony, also got a bit of a screen shot in the movie. I'm quite sure it was him, as I did recognise his face in a fleeting shot of some people standing outside QPAC.

By the end of the movie, I was buzzing with excitement from reliving the 2+ weeks experience in 2010. For any Gothic performer, I beg you to do the same and relive your experience though this movie. Do Not Miss seeing this on the big screen!! Yes, I'm sure it will be released on DVD (hopefully in BlueRay too) but see it on the big screen now!

It was evident in this movie that any performance of the Gothic Symphony is worth traveling around the world to witness, given it is such a unique event. I remember how wonderful and unique my experience was, to perform this piece, and remember thinking that nothing will stop me doing this.

I left this movie today knowing that if this symphony is ever performed again while I'm still alive, I WILL see it, no matter where in the world it is, given its unique status. It's one thing to perform it, it will be another experience to listen to it live, in its entirety.

Follow your dreams and live the experience!

John Szkutko

1 comment:

  1. John,

    Any photos or, even better, isolated videos of you playing in the performance?

    The scoring calls for two tubas (besides the separate bands). Who played the other part? What were each of the parts like? Did you sneak away a copy of your part?

    What a privilege it must have been.