NMC Recordings is delighted to welcome Manchester-based Psappha into its family of distributed labels.
NMC Services is a branch of NMC that looks after the distribution of smaller, like-minded labels giving access to our worldwide network of physical and digital distributors, plus a platform in our online store.
This new partnership launches in September 2021 with a teaser of tracks from across Psappha's back catalogue, including works by close collaborator and the ensemble’s founding Patron, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
The new partnership coincides with Psappha's 30th anniversary, which will see the release in February 2022 of a new recording of Psappha-commissioned works by John Casken, Tom Coult, Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Alissa Firsova, Tom Harrold and George Stevenson.
“We’re delighted to share our back catalogue and future releases through NMC’s worldwide distribution network and for our unique recordings to reach a wider audience. We’ve enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with NMC, the ensemble featuring on a number of the label’s own releases. This new relationship comes at a pivotal point in the ensemble’s history - our 30th anniversary - and we’re very much looking forward to working closely with NMC in the coming months and years.” Tim Williams, Psappha Artistic Director
Psappha is the North West’s only stand-alone professional contemporary classical music ensemble. Founded in 1991 by Artistic Director Tim Williams, the group is dedicated to commissioning, performing and promoting new music – particularly by living composers and emerging musicians.
Throughout its 30-year career, Psappha has commissioned and premiered music by more than 500 composers, and has performed across the UK and worldwide on five continents. In the process, it has worked with the likes of Aldeburgh Music, the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Proms, BBC Radio 3, Glyndebourne Festival, NMC, Opera North, Phoenix Dance Theatre, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Opera House in the UK; Guggenheim New York, the New York Philharmonic and Princeton University in the USA; and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the Jerusalem Festival and Muziektheater Transparant worldwide.
Psappha supports composers at all stages of their careers, inviting them to work with its core musicians to create, develop and present new work. Through its pioneering ‘Composing For…’ scheme, which launched in 2014, the group has worked directly with more than 140 emerging composers on brand new compositions. All these works are premiered via high-quality films on the group’s extensive YouTube channel, which contains more than 230 free-to-view films of live performances and has received more than 120,000 views in the last 12 months alone. The group also launched its own record label in 2004, and its catalogue of recordings are set for re-release in 2021 through its new relationship with NMC Recordings.
Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage was appointed as Psappha’s Patron in 2018 – succeeding Peter Maxwell-Davies, former Master of the Queen’s Music, who served as Patron for 20 years and was an enthusiastic supporter of the group’s work until his death in 2016. An Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner, Psappha is based at Hallé St Michael’s, the former Italian Chapel in the central Manchester neighbourhood of Ancoats.
Keep reading for a preview of Psappha's forthcoming releases on NMC.
Peter Maxwell Davies: Eight Songs for a Mad King (re-issue)
To celebrate the 80th Birthday of its Patron, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Psappha released a recording of Eight Songs for a Mad King on vinyl and digitally with soloist Kelvin Thomas.The recording was made in 2012 and was supervised by the composer, making this the first recording of the work to have had the direct involvement of the composer since the 1971 recording by his own ensemble The Fires of London.
Release date: November 2021
Peter Maxwell Davies: Miss Donnithorne's Maggot (re-issue)
Psappha performed and toured its production of Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot in the UK and abroad, accompanying Peter Maxwell Davies on a trip to the Barossa Festival in New South Wales in the year 2000. This unconducted recording of the work is the result of a long collaboration between composer, soloist and musicians and includes an extended conversation between Peter Maxwell Davies and Paul Driver.
"Miss Donnithorne's Maggot, from 1974, sung and acted here with touching vividness by Jane Manning " The Guardian
This major collection is the first fruit of an artistic collaboration between Kenneth Hesketh and Psappha. The collection includes Dei destini incrociati (2002), Aphorisms (1995), Fra Duri Socgl (2002), Three Pieces in the Shape of a Shoe (2005) and Theatre of Attractions (2007).
Psappha has enjoyed a lengthy and fruitful collaboration with Steven Mackey, the pioneering American composer, guitarist and Professor of Music at Princeton University. Their association reaches another milestone in this recording of Mackey’s Micro Concerto, Five Animated Shorts and Busted, conducted by Nicholas Kok, and featuring the group’s Artistic Director and percussionist, Tim Williams.
Mr Emmet Takes a Walk was co-commission between Psappha, the St Magnus Festival and Muziektheater Transparant and was the first music-theatre work written by Peter Maxwell Davies after a gap of 17 years. David Pountney provided the libretto and directed the opera. Psappha premiered the award-winning production on 18th June 2000 at the St Magnus Festival, Orkney and went on to tour across the UK and Europe.
"Recorded with maximum attention to clarity and atmosphere, this is an exemplary release." Gramophone
The message of this collection is that there is always an elsewhere, another fantastic island to explore by ear, not only in Paul Max Edlin’s seductive travelogue but in all these works, each of them unfolding a new landscape by means of instrumental line, harmony and colour, or inventing a new musical culture, a new kind of song and dance.
Fantastic Islands is a compilation of works by Paul Max Edlin, Peter Maxwell Davies, Paul Newland, Anthony Gilbert and Gordon McPherson.
This two CD set features music created by a group of outstanding composers based in Liverpool who have enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Psappha.
The performances on this disc are a result of a collaboration between composers based at Liverpool Hope University College – Stephen Pratt, Jonathan Powles, Robin Hartwell, and Liverpool University – James Wishart.