The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since its inception in 1930, and as the flagship orchestra of the BBC provides the backbone of the BBC Proms with at least a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. Strongly committed to twentieth-century and contemporary music, it has given the premiere of more than 1,000 works by composers such as Bartók, Britten, Hindemith, Holst, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, and more recently has premiered BBC commissions by Simon Bainbridge, Jonathan Dove, Michael Nyman and Sir John Tavener among others. Its annual season of concerts as Associate Orchestra of the Barbican includes a weekend each January focusing upon a single composer from the twentieth or twenty-first century, most recently James MacMillan, Elliott Carter and Sofia Gubaidulina.
Jiří Bĕlohlávek took up the post of Chief Conductor in July 2006 and David Robertson was appointed Principal Guest Conductor in 2005. The BBC SO works frequently with Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Artist-in-Association John Adams. All concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a number are televised, giving the BBC Symphony Orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any orchestra in the UK. The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work, with ongoing projects including the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Music Intro, introducing families to concert-going.
The BBC SO has appeared on 34 of NMC’s CDs, including the best-selling recording of Elgar’s Third Symphony.
Ailish Tynan was born in Mullingar, Ireland, and studied at Trinity College and the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. In 2003 Ailish represented Ireland in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, winning the BBC Singer of the World Rosenblatt Recital Prize. Other awards include the Maggie Teyte Competition/Miriam Licette Award and the RTE Millennium Singer of the Future.
Whilst a member of the former Vilar Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, her roles included Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, First Niece in Peter Grimes, Xenia in Boris Godunov and Second Wood Nymph in Rusalka. She has also appeared with Welsh National Opera, Opera Ireland and Seattle Opera, and with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the 2006 BBC Proms. As a former BBC New Generation Artist, Ailish is also a regular contributor on BBC Radio 3.
As a recitalist, Ailish has collaborated with distinguished accompanists including Malcolm Martineau, Graham Johnston, Julius Drake, Iain Burnside and Barry Douglas, giving recitals at the Edinburgh International Festival, Wigmore Hall and St John's Smith Square, London; her recording of songs of Judith Weir, with Ian Burnside, was released in 2006 on the Signum Classics label.
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The first ever disc of Judith Weir's major orchestral works, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins, includes Natural History - a colourful and dramatic setting of Chinese texts for soprano and orchestra; Moon and Star, which sets an ethereal Emily Dickinson poem for virtuoso small choir and orchestra, designed for the BBC Singers who perform it here; and the orchestral pieces Forest, Heroic Strokes of the Bow, and title work The Welcome Arrival of Rain, inspired by the annual Indian monsoon.
"The performances, under the ever-reliable Martyn Brabbins, are excellent, with Ailish Tynan a personable soloist in Natural History." BBC Music Magazine
"The sounds she creates are invariably engaging, and the webs of ideas arresting." Guardian
"The music here displays an undiminished, sharp musical intelligence with an enviable flair for orchestration, dramatic momentum and melodic invention. Again, NMC has done a superb job on something the majors should have produced but rarely do." The Wire
Judith Weir’s music is published by Chester Music.
This disc was recorded in Studio 1, BBC Maida Vale, London; The Welcome Arrival of Rain was recorded on 18 September 2007, Heroic Strokes of the Bow on 1 October 2007, and Natural History, Moon and Star and Forest on 24-25 November 2007.
Recorded in collaboration with the BBC Symphony Orchestra
Engineer: NEIL PEMBERTON for BBC SO
Producer: ANN MCKAY for BBC SO
Editing and Mastering: ANN MCKAY for BBC SO
Executive Producer: COLIN MATTHEWS
Cover image © IAN BERRY / Magnum Photos
Graphic design FRANCOIS HALL