Feature

Here is a list of award nominations, end-of-year 'top 10' albums and magazine 'picks' for our releases over the last 12 months.

 

GRAMMY NOMINATION 2015  http://www.grammy.com/nominees

 

Britten to AmericaBRITTEN TO AMERICA

'We need to know this music - this tells us so much about the development of this composer, about where his musical voice comes from ...  the performances are superb and the recording frames them beautifully' BBC Radio 3 CD Review‘

Samuel West narrator | Andrew Kennedy tenor | Jean Rigby mezzo-soprano | Mary Carewe mezzo-soprano | Ex Cathedra / Jeffrey Skidmore conductor | Mervyn Cooke, Lucy walker piano | Matthew Dickinson percussion | Huw Watkins piano | Harry Ogg assistant conductor | Hallé / Sir Mark Elder conductor


THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2014

 

Millenium Scenes RICHARD CAUSTON: MILLENNIUM SCENES

'Causton is among our most imaginative composers, and these five works, all substantial, often with flaring brilliance, are almost too much to take in. They will repay many listenings' The Sunday Times

Hallé / Nicholas Collon conductor | Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Gerry Cornelius, Ryan Wigglesworth conductors

 

Orion Over FarneJOHN CASKEN: ORION OVER FARNE

'These splendid performances come in Casken's 65th birthday year and afford a powerful distillation of his musical thought' The Sunday Times

Sophia Jaffé violin | Hallé / Markus Stenz conductor
 

 

 

Charlotte BrayCHARLOTTE BRAY: AT THE SPEED OF STILLNESS

‘A sharp ear and a vigorous imagination. […] the music’s inventiveness and textural control are unmistakeable’ The Sunday Times

Aldeburgh World Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder conductor | Lucy Schaufer mezzo-soprano   Alexandra Wood violin | Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Oliver Knussen conductor | Huw Watkins piano | Claire Booth soprano |  Andrew Matthews-Owen piano

 

HELEN GRIME: NIGHT SONGS

‘Glittery, incisive, full of leaping lines and incandescent climaxes’  The Sunday Times

Lynsey Marsh clarinet | Hallé Soloists | Hallé Orchestra / Jamie Phillips, Sir Mark Elder conductors

 

 

 

GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE EDITOR'S CHOICE

 

GERALD BARRY: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

‘The eccentricity is so carefully controlled by both composer and conductor – I started off completely perplexed but soon found myself laughing out loud’  Martin Cullingford, Gramophone Editor

Barbara Hannigan soprano |  Peter Tantsits tenor | Joshua Bloom baritone | Katalin Károlyi mezzo-soprano | Hilary Summers contralto | Alan Ewing bass l Benjamin Bevan bass   Joshua Hart speaker | Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Thomas Adès conductor

 

HELEN GRIME: NIGHT SONGS

‘Near Midnight, with its strangely amorphous activity – made audible through the assured orchestral handling – amply evokes the fatalistic poem by DH Lawrence that inspired it. A strong recommendation' Gramophone (Editor's Choice)

Lynsey Marsh clarinet | Hallé Soloists | Hallé Orchestra / Jamie Phillips, Sir Mark Elder conductors
 

 

tavenerJOHN TAVENER: AKHMATOVA REQUIEM

'Tavener’s Akhmatova Requiem is a masterpiece' Gramophone (Editor's Choice - reissue/archive)

Phyllis Bryn-Julson soprano | John Shirley-Quirk bass-baritone | BBC Symphony Orchestra / Gennady Rozhdestvensky conductor | Elise Ross soprano | The Nash Ensemble
 

 

 

OTHER MAGAZINES

 

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE CRITICS' CHOICE 2014 |  LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE 'RECORD OF THE MONTH' 2014

JUDITH WEIR: THE VANISHING BRIDEGROOM

‘A serious tour de force in technical and dramatic terms … brims with moments where the level of atmospheric storytelling is mesmerising’ BBC Music Magazine

 


 

 

INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW 'OUTSTANDING RECORD'

Richard CaustonRICHARD CAUSTON: MILLENNIUM SCENES

'The first comment to make about this disc is ‘not before time’. Richard Causton has been a significant figure in contemporary British music for almost two decades now and this is the first release devoted entirely to his music. As an overview of his output over some 15 years, it confirms both the singularity and the consistency of his musical vision. An invaluable release’ IRR

Hallé / Nicholas Collon conductor | Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Gerry Cornelius, Ryan Wigglesworth conductors

Feature

Weiwei JinWeiwei Jin

I looked forward to composing Sterna Paradisaea, Returning very much. It felt like I was waiting for this piece for a very long time. I was expecting a conclusion of a very long journey and personal experience through the compositional process. At the same time, I had so many things in my mind and heart. How does it feel to remember something you once meant to forget? Can I tell a true story through music to myself? Will I like it and be moved by it? I was also seeking the answers to my questions and perhaps the challenges to my fears. Sterna Paradisaea, Returning is an important piece for me. Yet the expected conclusion didn’t happen and it has become a new memorable and inspirational experience that keeps surprising me till today. I guess that is the transformative power of music and joy of making music.

It was not easy to find the right expression for this piece. The first workshop didn't go so well for me. I was lost in the shadow of culture cliché, my granted expectation of sound, the story I wanted to portray, and perhaps my fears. I sometimes used to stay in “silence”- a break from writing, and allowed myself to try to find a path to get out. My project mentor, composer Richard Baker, supported me with enormous amounts of patience and understanding during this seeking process. I felt a strong trust between us and was very much encouraged by him. Eventually, I decided to take a fresh approach to the work, and I think I got it! I may not be able to answer all my questions through this piece, but I was truly moved by it. I am happy to overcome some of my fears and be honest to myself.

I felt very lucky to be one of the twelve composers selected to take part in the Next Wave project. It was wonderful to meet all the mentor composers during the workshops. I was so inspired from their attitude towards music as real artists. I was deeply impressed by their passion and love for music, their care and support for the young composers and their visions. I have learned not only to compose, but also something far beyond. It was really beautiful to be able to express myself and communicate to others in every sense.

I’d like to express my thanks to the composer workshops. I had the great opportunity to spend time and meet other selected young composers, with whom I shared music, laughs and all things we enjoy. I also want to express my gratitude to: Hannah Bujic and Richard Whitelaw from Sound and Music, my supervisor Simon Emmerson, conductor Garry Walker, soloists Sarah Nicolls and Loré Lixenberg, the fantastic musicians from London Sinfonietta, as well as producer David Lefeber from NMC Recordings and to everyone I have met and talked to during the project. I felt that I had a team that provided the best support and guidance a young composer could ever get. I was not alone. I was really happy that I have made some friends too.

Listen to an extract from Weiwei's Sterna Paradisaea, Returning

Interview with Weiwei

Weiwei's Top 10 Playlist

1. Karin Rehnqvist: Who's That Calling? (happening for a concert hall, two sopranos and instrumental ensemble)

Karin was one of my composition teachers at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. But I just had two lessons with her as I was in the transition from composing instrumental music to electroacoustic music. I caught Who’s That Calling in London at the Southbank Centre’s Music of Today. I loved it. I loved the pure and honesty of this piece. This piece is such a fantastic mixture of folk element with cutting-edge contemporary ensemble music.

2. Kaija Saariaho: NoaNoa (for solo flute and live electronics)

Kaija Saariaho’s music is magic, elegant and natural. Her sonic world and sonic images are so powerful and I often find myself melt in between my darkest and most dazzling dimensions of my subconscious. I spend lots of time listening to NoaNoa and lots of her other music. NoaNoa was definitely the entrance path for me to Saariaho’s music. I studied the Max/MSP path of NoaNoa for a long time and I was worshiping the live electronics part of this piece.  

3. Jonathan Harvey: Speakings (for large Orchestra and electronics)

Speakings by Jonathan Harvey was the very first inspiration of my piece Sterna Paradisaea, Returning. I was very fascinated by this work of how Harvey transforms and sonifys the human speaking sonic materials into a full orchestral sound. The orchestra then “speaks” back to us.

4. Trevor Wishart: Imago (acousmatic music)

Trevor Wishart is one of my favorite acousmatic music composers. He is the pioneer in sound design and I mostly admire his artistic “logic” – his way of combining sonic elements, full of improvised yet poetic beauties, full of surprises.

5. Karin Rehnqvist: Beginning (for piano trio)

Another Karin’s piece I loved. I was so impressed by her effortless transition between wildest brutalities to the most exquisite simplicity. I also enjoy Karin’s music, as it is always something unique and different in each of her piece. Her music can be in very contrasting styles and that is what I am attracted to.  

6. Simon Emmerson: Ophelia’s Dream (for voices and live electronics)

I am currently doing a Ph.D. in Music under the supervision of Prof. Simon Emmerson. I really enjoy all his vocal and electronics work. Especially the way he handles text through vocal writing. Of course, the electronics part of his music is always very stylish, subtle and seamless.

7. William Brunson: Creature Comforts (acousmatic music)

I meet Prof. Brunson when I was 17 years old and was studying at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. After I moved to Sweden, Prof. Brunson was my teacher and I have studied composition with him for over a decade. His influence to me is definitely beyond music. He supported and encouraged all my choices of changes in my music career and guided me through lots of difficulties. His music is so different from mine and it is so cool the way it is.

8. Colin Matthews: Oboe Quartet (for oboe, violin, viola and cello)

This piece is very interesting as the oboe substituted for the first violin of the standard string quartet. This has added the vibrant colour and unique texture of wind instrument to the string texture. The way of writing is very collaborative and intimacy in this piece and it is very inspiring.

9. Richard Baker: Los Rabanos (for clarinet, violin and percussion)

Richard Baker was my composition mentor at the Next Wave project. I have had the most inspiring lessons with him. He supported my project with enormous amount of patience, understanding, trust and encouragement, as well as detailed guidance and care. I really enjoy Richard’s composition Los Rabanos. In one of the lessons, we were looking into heterophony as a method to develop my piece. I think I have found a beautiful example of heterophony in Richard’s Los Rabanos.

10. Anna Meredith: Axeman (for electronic bassoon)

I came across this piece very recently as my next project is to compose a piece for solo bassoon with electronics. This is a very cool piece and I really enjoy it. Never heard anything like that before. What if play bassoons in this set but with baroque music?

Explore Weiwei's Music Map

Related Recordings

Next Wave
Feature

Eugene BirmanEugene Birman

The winter desert of my silences is not some new-agey title cooked up out of thin air, but a (translated) line out of a poem by Milanese poet Fabio Franzin, from his stunning collection 'The Color of Words'. Then, when I found myself looking for the right moment to bring in my eleven electronic tubas that form the electroacoustic part of the piece, I was in a physical desert: the Anti-Atlas mountains; the village of Tiouadou, Morocco; a small Bedouin house in which to spend the night. The whole experience of writing this piece has been one of unfamiliarity – with the tuba, with electronics (which I had not used in a composition for eight years), with the environment outside me. That kind of stuff is eventually subsumed, becomes "us", and this very strange piece that emerged is ultimately, now, familiar and personal. 
 
Next Wave has been like this too. I have participated in many workshops, experienced that unsettledness that occurs when a performer sees a score for the first time and struggles to find an immediate connection, something to grab onto. Some workshops resulted in performances, recordings, others were simply workshops; to have been part of this one meant being exposed to surprising, previously unimaginable things. Like what Oren Marshall can do with the tuba, or what my fellow composers bring in for the same instrument, or same group, so vastly different in scope and style – and yet we sometimes live just a few miles from each other. 
 
One doesn't have to go to a real desert for inspiration, because the extraordinary is surely found among us, too, like at hcmf, where none of the programs could possibly be classified as ordinary. Or in the very special inclusion in a release during NMC's 25th anniversary season. Titles mean many things, too many to even mention, but they also carry the narrative of the process of composition, the genealogy of the musical material that was born out of Next Wave. It has been surreal. It has also been edifying and inspiring. 
 
Listen to an extract from Eugene's The winter desert of my silences

 
Interview with Eugene

Eugene's Top 10 Tracks

 
 
 
Explore Eugene's Music Map

 

The winter desert of my silences is available on the Next Wave album featuring all 12 new works from the Next Wave composers.

Tracklisting:

1. Weiwei Jin: Sterna Paradisaea, Returning
2. Maya Verlaak: All Verlaak's Music is Alouette
3. Eugene Birman: The winter desert of my silences
4. Edwin Hillier: hibeh
5. Ji Sun Yang: KAIROI
6. Georgia Rodgers: partial filter
7. Ben Gaunt: Filling Rubin's Vase
8. Michael Cutting: I AM A STRANGE LOOP III
9. Oliver Christophe Leith: hand coloured
10. Barnaby Hollington: Velvet Revolution
11. Paul McGuire: Panels
12. Ryan Latimer: Moby Dick

Artists: Loré Lixenberg, Sarah Nicolls, Oren Marshall, Sound Intermedia, London Sinfonietta, Garry Walker

 

Download the album here.

Related Recordings

Next Wave
Feature

Barnaby HollingtonBarnaby Hollington

The Next Wave project has been a fantastic experience for me. The London Sinfonietta are, of course, an outstanding ensemble: it was an immense privilege for me to hear them play my work. Above all, Next Wave has allowed me to develop as a composer in ways that would not otherwise have been possible. I’ve learnt a great deal – much of it the hard way! But the opportunity to push the boat out and risk making mistakes is priceless. The important thing is to learn the right lessons through those mistakes, and hopefully deliver a good end product.

Workshop 1 provided a chance to experiment in a way that one cannot normally do. In my case, the original plan was to write a spatial piece, with two groups of 8 players at either side of the hall, but only one conductor. My initial objective was to test a claim I’d read in an article by Henry Brant – that spatially separated groups can (apparently!) allow a composer to pile on greater textural complexity than would otherwise be possible. In practice, although the London Sinfonietta’s playing was of course first-rate, most of my spatial experiments failed: only the very clearest textures seemed to work spatially as I’d hoped, from the listener’s perspective.

Following Workshop 1, after two or three weeks of trying out various alternative spatial arrangements and ideas, I finally decided to abandon the spatial experiment. Given the need to write a coherent piece for the second phase of the project, this seemed the most sensible move. The resulting work, Velvet Revolution, tries some new things harmonically – as all of my music does – but beyond that, there is no experimentation. Some of the initial melodic, motivic and harmonic ideas from the original version remain in one form or another, but of the 9 minutes or so I’d written for the first workshop, not a single bar made it to the final piece!

It’s extraordinary to think that Garry Walker and London Sinfonietta were able to produce a very strong recording of my work, in the space of 90 minutes, with effectively no prior rehearsal at all. That’s a testament to their extremely high standards. David Lefeber’s judicious, expert editing was of course a crucial factor. I learned a fair amount about what does and doesn’t work during the editing process, and I must thank David for his patience.

Throughout the project, David Horne has been a brilliant mentor – giving very insightful, useful feedback and advice on my numerous drafts. He was very encouraging and positive throughout, and fully supportive of my eventual decision to abandon the spatial experiment. Indeed, David was quick to suggest that possibility to me, immediately following Workshop 1; in the end, I felt that was indeed the best way forward.

I am extremely grateful to David Horne, Garry Walker, David Lefeber, all of the performers, Susanna Eastburn, Hannah Bujic, Nicole Rochman, and above all, Sound and Music and NMC for creating this excellent opportunity. I very much hope that Next Wave will continue to flourish for many years, and that finances will allow this to happen. There’s an obvious need for this kind of project. It’s been a pleasure, and a privilege to be involved. I recommend the Next Wave programme very highly to any student composer!

 

Listen to an extract from Barnaby's Velvet Revolution

Interview with Barnaby

Barnaby's Top 10 Tracks

Explore Barnaby's Music Map

 

Velvet Revolution is available on the Next Wave album featuring all 12 new works from the Next Wave composers.

Tracklisting:

1. Weiwei Jin: Sterna Paradisaea, Returning
2. Maya Verlaak: All Verlaak's Music is Alouette
3. Eugene Birman: The winter desert of my silences
4. Edwin Hillier: hibeh
5. Ji Sun Yang: KAIROI
6. Georgia Rodgers: partial filter
7. Ben Gaunt: Filling Rubin's Vase
8. Michael Cutting: I AM A STRANGE LOOP III
9. Oliver Christophe Leith: hand coloured
10. Barnaby Hollington: Velvet Revolution
11. Paul McGuire: Panels
12. Ryan Latimer: Moby Dick

Artists: Loré Lixenberg, Sarah Nicolls, Oren Marshall, Sound Intermedia, London Sinfonietta, Garry Walker

 

Download the album here.

Related Recordings

Next Wave
Feature

Maya VerlaakMaya Verlaak

The Sound & Music/NMC Next Wave commission was for me particularly interesting because of meeting the 11 different voices from the 11 different conservatoires in the UK. I liked that we got a mentor who would lead us through the process of composing for London Sinfonietta; someone I had never had lessons with before and for that reason it felt a very fresh way of working and creating a new piece.

During my rehearsals with London Sinfonietta, Richard Baker and Richard Rijnvos – who had both studied composition in The Hague – remarked that I was a product of the Hague. I took this to be a criticism and answered in protest, “Though I studied in The Hague composition department, I never agreed with any of the teachers; I was constantly arguing with them, I felt I had my own way of composing. After making these remarks, I reflected further on the issue. Though I do not write music in the style of the ”Haagse school”, I definitely have a Hague attitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to an extract from Maya's All Verlaak's Music is Alouette

Interview with Maya

Maya's Top 10 Tracks

Explore Maya's Music Map

 

All Verlaak's Music is Alouette is available on the Next Wave album featuring all 12 new works from the Next Wave composers.

Tracklisting:

1. Weiwei Jin: Sterna Paradisaea, Returning
2. Maya Verlaak: All Verlaak's Music is Alouette
3. Eugene Birman: The winter desert of my silences
4. Edwin Hillier: hibeh
5. Ji Sun Yang: KAIROI
6. Georgia Rodgers: partial filter
7. Ben Gaunt: Filling Rubin's Vase
8. Michael Cutting: I AM A STRANGE LOOP III
9. Oliver Christophe Leith: hand coloured
10. Barnaby Hollington: Velvet Revolution
11. Paul McGuire: Panels
12. Ryan Latimer: Moby Dick

Artists: Loré Lixenberg, Sarah Nicolls, Oren Marshall, Sound Intermedia, London Sinfonietta, Garry Walker

Download the album here.

Related Recordings

Next Wave

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