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Includes a reconstruction of Dowland, electric bassoon and hypnotic minimalism: 8 tracks from UK composers Harrison Birtwistle, Judith Weir, Richard Barrett, Anna Meredith and others. (Full track details below)
BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins
Taken from NMC D137 The Welcome Arrival of Rain
The first ever disc of Judith Weir's major orchestral works, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins, includes title work The Welcome Arrival of Rain, inspired by the annual Indian monsoon.
'The music here displays an undiminished, sharp musical intelligence with an enviable flair for orchestration, dramatic momentum and melodic invention.' The Wire
Taken from NMC D114 A Glimpse of Sion's Glory
Exciting new vocal ensemble EXAUDI's second recording for NMC features choral works by Christopher Fox with the common theme of Puritanism, Liberty and dissent. Open the Gate, with its basis of plainsong, complete the disc.
Taken from NMC D009 Melencolia I - Ritual Fragment
The works display Birtwistle's distinctive and forceful voice and range in mood from austere introspective journeying to moments of unbearable intensity.
Roderick Williams/Iain Burnside
Taken from NMC D155 Songs Before Sleep
Bennett's most accessible and lyrical piece.
'Roderick Williams infuses Songs Before Sleep with just the right dark warmth' BBC Music Magazine
John Orford bassoon/Sound Intermedia electronics (London Sinfonietta)
Taken from NMC DL3012 Axeman
Anna Meredith says: 'We decided the way forward was to unleash the bassoon from its rock closet and try and write a piece that made the bassoon sound as much like an 1980s guitar-god as possible.'
Taken from NMC D176 Spine
Filled with sounds of cracking, slapping, whipping and scraping, it is music that is utterly contemporary, inhabiting the same urban landscape as industrial techno and electronica. make black white is a reconstruction of Dowland’s Flow, My Tears performed by viol consort Concordia.
'Tansy Davies’ music, held together in an awkward, gritty tension that allows for both emotional depth & unrestrained exuberance.' 5:4
BBC SO/Mark Wigglesworth
Taken from NMC D005 Lento
Lento is music of extraordinary directness and simplicity. It is an enigmatic and hypnotic work within which shifting modal chords progress through the orchestra to create a chorale-like, almost architectural form beneath a calm melodic surface.
'Lento, by the British miniaturist Howard Skempton, must surely be heading for cult status… it is captivating in its simple wistfulness.' BBC Music Magazine
Taken from NMC D183 Dark Matter
‘This is one of the most dazzling displays of contemporary music ever recorded…It practically defies belief to hear Barrett’s music-or indeed, any music-played with such unshakeable conviction and commitment. A masterpiece’ 5:4 blog
We are deeply saddened to hear the news that John McCabe died today after a long illness. We have many fond memories of working with John through the years and our thoughts are with his wife Monica.
Friday, February 13, 2015 John McCabe (1939-2015)
Press release from John's publisher, Novello & Co.
It is with great sadness that Novello & Company Limited announces the death of John McCabe. John passed away peacefully, after a long illness, in Rochester, Kent on Friday February 13, aged 75. He is survived by his wife, Monica. James Rushton, Managing Director of Novello & Company Limited, comments: With John McCabe’s passing we have a lost a man of great wisdom, humour and integrity and a complete musician. A composer and pianist of the highest calibre, he shall be greatly missed. I am struck, when thinking back over John’s career, and over a period of twenty years in which I have had the privilege of working with him, by his constancy. He was devoted as a pianist to the music of Haydn and Scarlatti, Rawsthorne, Bax and many other 20th century composers. John’s recordings were the first introduction that many of us had to such repertoire. He was steadfast in accordance to his core beliefs as a composer. His scores were highly crafted and technically immaculate. But John’s paramount aim was an immediacy of communication and expression. It is the greatest tribute to him that he achieved that in a comprehensive range of forms and mediums. My abiding memory of John will be his acceptance speech when receiving the Classical Music Award at the Ivors last year. It was quite extraordinary - self-deprecating, loyal to fellow composer colleagues, and immensely humorous - leaving everyone on their feet, cheering. That is as it should be.
John McCabe enjoyed a long career as a composer. He decided upon this vocation as a young boy in Liverpool at the age of just five and a half. He went on to compose continuously until his final months of recent ill health. After studies at the Royal Manchester College of Music, now the Royal Northern College of Music, and in Munich, he embarked on an international career as composer and pianist. His complete CD survey of Haydn’s Piano Sonatas for Decca has become a landmark recording. McCabe worked in almost every genre, though large-scale forms lie at the heart of his catalogue. His most recent work, Christ’s Nativity, was commissioned by the Hallé Choir and was premiered in Manchester in December 2014. His compositions, published by Novello over a relationship of more than fifty years, number in excess of 200 works. A formidable catalogue of works spans full-length ballets such as Edward II and the two-part Arthur for Birmingham Royal Ballet, symphonies and concertante works, and music such as Notturni ed Alba for soprano and orchestra and The Chagall Windows for orchestra placed him at the centre of the repertoire. His output of chamber music is equally outstanding and he made a major contribution to piano music. McCabe was appointed CBE by Her Majesty The Queen in 1985 for his services to British music. In 2004 the Incorporated Society of Musicians honoured McCabe with the Distinguished Musician Award in recognition of his 'outstanding contribution to British musical life'. Then, in 2006, Liverpool University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Music. Most recently, during his 75th Birthday year in 2014, he was presented with the Ivors Classical Music Award.
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