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Brian Ferneyhough's vision of a philosopher in the Underworld
Described as a "thought opera", Brian Ferneyhough's Shadowtime sets Charles Bernstein's inventive and complex libretto based on the work, life and imagined death of philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin: it includes a movement for a speaking pianist - Opus contra naturam, the opera's fourth scene - a guitar concerto (Scene II) and ends in an ethereal haze of voices and electronics, Stelae for Failed Time. The performers, all internationally known for their commitment to contemporary music, are:
Nicolas Hodges piano/ reciter
Mats Scheidegger guitar
Jurjen Hempel conductor
Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart
More about Shadowtime
Shadowtime was recorded in collaboration with BBC Radio 3 and English National Opera at the London Coliseum production in July 2005; this release has been made possible by funding from Stanford University and the Holst Foundation.
"Listening on disc reveals unsuspected beauty in the unparalleled stylistic complexity." - Paul Driver, The Sunday Times
"This performance is certainly a success — as is NMC’s presentation" Gramophone
"This inventive score, vividly performed under Jurjen Hempel, amply rewards exploration" The Observer
"This is the best possible recording of Shadowtime" that one could wish for and with a clarity of detail within all aspects of the performance that aids understanding more of the libretto than anticipated: not just the fantastic rhythmic narration of that extraordinary pianist Nicolas Hodges, but the complex vocal settings."
Classical Source 2006