Christmas gift guide videos featuring recommendations from NMC Staff and Trustees. #christmascrackers
Steve Martland MARTLAND
Errollyn Wallen PHOTOGRAPHY
Mark-Anthony Turnage UNDANCE
Mark Simpson Night Music
Judith Weir The Welcome Arrival of Rain
Kenneth Hesketh Wunderkammer (Konzert)
Martin Butler Dirty Beasts
Tansy Davies spine
NMC Highlights 2016: awards, accolades and reviews
'It's wonderful to hear such a thrilling performance ... a virtuosic showpiece' The Times
Leila Josefowicz violin | BBC Symphony Orchestra | Oliver Knussen conductor | Anssi Karttunen cello | Rumon Gamba conductor
Royal Concertgeouw Orchestra | Riccardo Chailly conductor
THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2016
‘One of the most important brass band releases ever’ British Bandsman
‘For me, this is one of the discs of the decade so far ... A vital and exceptional recording’ Brass Band World Magazine
Tredegar Town Band | Ian Porthouse conductor | Cory Band | Phillip Harper conductor | Robert Childs conductor
BRITISH BANDSMAN MAGAZINE CD OF THE YEAR 2016
BRASS BAND WORLD MAGAZINE CD OF THE YEAR 2016
‘This album – the first devoted entirely to Wallen’s orchestral music – features vibrant performances … a fine portrait of a wide-ranging artist’ Guardian
NPR TOP 10 CLASSICAL ALBUMS OF 2016
'All four musicians play with impressive technical precious and unified ensemble ... the sound quality and balance are excellent' Fanfare Magazine
‘Brilliant scoring, superbly realised’ BBC Radio 3 Record Review
‘NMC provides expert sound and erudite accompanying notes … the music has such immediacy, charm and fluency’ Gramophone
'What hits home immediately in this magnificent collection is the music’s individuality and strength' BBC Music Magazine
'The solo percussion writing in Heartland shows how subtle and inventive Bowden's textural imagination can be' The Guardian ★★★★
'A confident, major orchestral debut ... Scientific ideas brilliantly articulated in a score whose shimmering colours and essentially tonal trajectory are easily assimilated' Radio 3 Record Review
'It's proving gently evocative in my kitchen, with its sensitively layered watery location recordings, traffic noises and wonky, finespun, industrial-ish prepared piano sounds' The Guardian
Congratulations to all the recipients of the British Composer Awards on Tuesday night including:
all of whom feature in the NMC catalogue, or will very soon (Kate Whitley).
A special mention to Mark Bowden who won Best Solo or Duo for Five Memos which features on his Debut Disc album Sudden Light.
For the full shortlist and winners click here.
We are delighted to announce that Judith Weir, Master of the Queen's Music, is the new ambassador of our Debut Discs series.
Judith Weir was our special guest at the launch of our Debut Discs fundraising appeal on 13 October, held at Faber and Faber in Bloomsbury, London. She is a firm believer in British contemporary music as an artform of national significance. She is passionate about the importance of music education in all schools, and a keen supporter of new talent. We are deeply grateful that she is lending her support to Debut Discs.
During the evening she spoke of NMC 'at the beating heart of British music', and of its work supporting new generations of highly talented British composers. Here is an extract:
'This record label is by, with, and for British composers.
It is absolutely essential that composers on the brink of an international career can gain a major album release. NMC is making this happen with Debut Discs.
We need to support them to create more.'
DEBUT DISCS: Launched in 2012, the series currently
features 12 albums; many have achieved exceptional reviews and awards from media worldwide. This exposure has led to a variety of opportunities for the composers involved, including commissions, performances and residencies.
NMC’s Debut Discs are musical calling cards, crucial for talented composers in the early stages of their careers since they enable promoters, commissioners and audiences to hear their work.
NMC is a charity and needs to raise funds so we can produce further Debut Discs. The new series starts with Kate Whitley and Philip Venables, with further composers to be announced.
We need to raise £24k from individuals to ensure the future of Debut Discs.
Any level of gift will make a difference. For a short time only, for every £1 you donate to NMC, Arts Council England will donate another £1.
This means your donation will enable NMC to do even more for new generations of composers and listeners.
20 years of the NMC Blue Sheep by Francois Hall (NMC designer)
My links with NMC began in the early 1990s when I was commissioned to design a CD (and cassette!) for Bingham String Quartet. Back then, I was working at the South Bank Centre designing posters for Messiaen’s 80th anniversary, the 60th anniversary of Stockhausen, and the Schoenberg celebration concerts, which has proved not dissimilar to designing CD covers. Both need to have arresting images that are uncluttered, atmospheric and conceptual – this is what I try to achieve when designing for NMC.
By the time the design for the first NMC sampler was needed in 1996, it was clear that the look and sound of NMC’s recordings stood out from the crowd. The ethos of NMC was so different from other record labels and suggested the analogy of the black sheep. Adding NMC blue, turning the stray sheep around and using the Warhol style we created the Pastures New artwork and the distinctive blue sheep logo was born!
The sheep now represents the musical independence of NMC, the individuality of its composers, and the adventurous tastes of its listeners.
Designing for NMC
Being presented with such a variety of ideas and concepts each time I’m asked to produce a new cover remains the most enjoyable part of working with NMC. Sometimes I am able to hear the music in advance – this especially helped with Richard Ayres NONcertos, which is among my favourite NMC recordings, along with Judith Weir's The Welcome Arrival of Rain, Howard Skempton’s Ben Somewhen and Jonathan Harvey’s Body Mandala. I also enjoy jazz improvisation, which is not a million miles away from the way my mind works when in designer mode. And it always helps if I can listen to my favourite composer Thelonious Monk when I’m working.
To encapsulate these musical ideas and references can be a challenge but also fascinating because it leads me down avenues I would never have ventured if not for the title of a piece or the notion of a composer. Once I have the idea I then need to decide how to creatively represent it. This could be photography through a blue plastic stencil ruler on Portland beach (Lento), borrowing a real human skull from the local museum (Vanity), waiting outside a block of flats from light to dark (Poles Apart), photographing Art Deco wax dolls (The Intelligence Park) or delving into the incredible NASA website to discover mysterious sounds from Saturn (Saturn).
As well as NMC, I also design CDs for The Levellers, illustrate children's books, and have recently designed, illustrated and photographed knitting books with my partner Lucinda Guy. www.francoishall.com
Designs (L to R) 1 2 3 5 by Francois Hall · 4 by Alison Fair · 6 by Kat Flint
DO IT YOURSELF
MAKE YOUR OWN SHEEP
Have a go at making your own NMC blue sheep.
The A4 template is free to download. (pdf below)
WE WANT TO SEE YOUR CREATIONS
Please send us photos of your sheep with the hashtag #BlueSheep20
@nmcrecordings or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Prizes for photos of your DIY sheep in interesting locations.
Can you outdo ours of Sir Mark Elder, and on stage at the BBC Proms?
Blue Sheep designer: Kat Flint
Why blue sheep?