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News

Following a successful pilot, we are pleased to announce our first official NMC Listening Club. Composer Emily Howard will be joined online by pianist Alexandra Dariescu and mathematician, writer and presenter Marcus du Sautoy to take a deep dive into Emily Howard's debut album Magnetite, released on NMC in 2016.

 

As well as analysing the music, our guests will discuss the influences behind the pieces on the album: the oldest known magnetic substance (Magnetite), energy and solar flares (Solar) and the pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace (Mesmerism). Viewers of the live stream will be able to leave comments and ask questions in the YouTube chat room feature.

Tune in via YouTube on 2 July at 19:00 (GMT+1)

https://youtu.be/0Spo5V7Qtnc

Submit your questions for our guests in advance at nmc@nmcrec.co.uk or during the live stream.

News

We're excited to introduce our new NMC Listening Club series. Taking place virtually during this time of social distancing, in each session we’ll be exploring selected releases from our back catalogue, in conversation with the composers and artists involved in their creation.  


For our first NMC Listening Club, Colin Matthews and Lucy Walker (Head of Public Engagement, Red House) guide us through the 2007 award-winning release Britten on Film (NMC D112). The album collects all the surviving music Benjamin Britten wrote during the 1930s for various organisations such as the General Post Office and Southern Railways.  

NMC Listening Club took place as a live stream for NMC donors/supporters via YouTube on Wednesday 13 May. You can rewatch the broadcast here: 


Future NMC Listening Club events will be announced via our enewletter (sign up here) and socials. Tune in to watch live and send in your questions to our guests.
 

We'd love to know what you think? Watch the broadcast and complete this short survey. Thank you.
https://forms.gle/ffeYp3wmkuSWZyxj6

News

We are delighted to share the news that Edmund Finnis's Debut Discs albumThe Air, Turning has won the 2020 BBC Music Magazine 'Premiere Award'. 

Described as 'a striking collection of works ... richly mysterious and compelling' (The Guardian) this debut album from Finnis reached No. 3 in the Official Specialist Classical Charts and No. 29 in the Classic FM Charts. Congratulations to Edmund, all the incredible artists involved and the recording engineers and producers. A big thank you to the Trusts, Foundations and individuals who have invested in this recording and NMC’s Debut Discs series.

 

The awards ceremony was due to take place at Kings Place, London last month but was understandably cancelled. Here is Edmund Finnis accepting the award from his home.

 

 

Finnis

 

 

 

Related Recordings

The Air, Turning
Feature

Composer James Wilson tells us about his piece, The Green Fuse – which features in Spark Catchers performed by Chineke! orchestra – and his experience attending his first recording sessions. 


The Green Fuse is my first composition to be recorded and released by a record label. I have been an admirer of NMC since I learned of its existence (roughly 10 years ago) and it was a completely unexpected surprise to be asked to contribute to an upcoming release. Within a couple of months of being invited, I found myself assisting the wonderful musicians of Chineke! to perform and record the music. As a composer there have been many small triumphs throughout my career but having my work recorded is a special milestone. Recordings make music more accessible, more readily available. The thought that my music has been preserved so that a wide audience can hear it is something very special. I have often heard it said that as composers we write music because we have a creative compulsion to do so; that is who we are as artists. But our music is a way to communicate with others; it becomes the vehicle through which we share our life experiences and musical perspectives. A composer with no audience is like speaking in an empty room or sending a letter to an abandoned home. There is a wonder to the pure act of creation for its own sake, but music lives when it is heard. I feel very lucky that The Green Fuse will be added to NMC’s catalogue, alongside other contemporary music that I love.


The Green Fuse is the second piece I’ve composed for string orchestra and was written in the summer of 2017. It was specially commissioned for the Cheltenham Festival that year. I have been told it was the first premiere that Chineke! ever presented in a concert. It is a privilege to be part of this incredible ensemble’s history and how wonderful for this music to be put on their first album showcasing music by living Black and Minority Ethnic composers. 

 

James Wilson & Chineke!

James Wilson (right) at the recording sessions for The Green Fuse with Chineke!


The day the music was recorded will be one I will remember for a long time. There are so many surprises whenever we do something new; for instance, I was taken aback by how little our excellent sound engineer, David Lefeber, needed in order to record the music. There was no large mixing desk, just a modest setup with a few cables going into a laptop. It was also great to see Chineke! in action again. Their playing is always full of life and vitality and they play with total commitment. I remember that on the day I had a strong feeling of apprehension but the session went very well; it was all sewn up in less than 2 hours. The session was abuzz with animated discussion between the musicians, the conductor and myself, with our sound engineer also being of great help. It was such a positive day and I am very excited to hear the final result of our efforts once the album is released.


The Green Fuse stands out to me, in my musical output, as a piece through which I most directly explore existential themes. The music is based on a Dylan Thomas poem 'the force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ (1934). The poem is full of rich images and emotion. It discusses a duality in nature: The same force that results in death and destruction powers beauty and growth. Nature is wild and Thomas’ grappling with that fact was fertile ground for a composition to emerge. The music I wrote in this piece, in the same way, has a duality: there are phases of growth and then recession. But conceptually I am not aiming to merely represent this idea in sound. The Green Fuse is my response to this idea identified by Thomas, and a response to his way of expressing his thoughts. His words are a starting point through which the music takes on its own identity. For instance, I can feel a sense of consolation in Thomas’ words, perhaps somewhere in the background of the music I wrote, that might also be present. 


Again I must say, I feel so lucky to have music that means so much to me being recorded and shared. What a fantastic privilege.

 

Spark Catchers

Feature

NMC Release Highlights 2019

The Air, Turning EDMUND FINNIS: THE AIR, TURNINGOfficial Charts

'An intriguing disc of a composer to watch' Gramophone

'Edmund Finnis invites rather than demands attention - and the more it is given, the more its gifts unfold.' BBC Music Magazine  ★★★★★Classic FM

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra | Ilan Volkov conductor | Eloisa-Fleur Thom violin | Birmingham Contemporary Music Group | Richard Baker conductor | London Contemporary Orchestra | Robert Ames conductor | Mark Simpson clarinet | Víkingur Ólafsson | Benjamin Beilman violin | Britten Sinfonia | Andrew Gourlay conductor

 

 

PathsERIKA FOX: PATHSOfficial Charts

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2019

THE DAFFODIL PERSPECTIVE'S TOP 10 CLASSICAL RECORDINGS OF 2019

'An intriguing introduction to the vivid soundworld of Erika Fox ... her moment, overdue, has at last come' Guardian

'Full of both kinds of extremes, emotionally and musically ... the music sings of traditions old and new and is utterly Erika Fox's own' BBC Radio 3

Goldfield Ensemble | Richard Uttley piano | Richard Baker conductor

 

 

 

Philharmonia VARIOUS: PHILHARMONIA COMPOSERS ACADEMY

 ‘Freya Waley-Cohen’s Ink is a compelling listen with just the right amount of intrigue and spikiness to hook me in’ throughlygood.me

 

 

 

 

 

Rands

Bernard Rands BERNARD RANDS: CHAINS LIKE THE SEA

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2019

'A brilliant, terrific disc' Classical Music Magazine ★★★★★

'[The Recordings] provide striking proof of the vividness of Rands' orchestral writing'. The Guardian ★★★★

 

 

PanopticonDAVID FENNESSY: PANOPTICONPanopticon

'What we like we call real while what we don’t like we call intrusion. David Fennessy shows us the impossibility of separation, the beauty of both.' The Herald

'ironic and clever … a polysemous delight to hear' The Wire

 

 

 

Many VoicesVARIOUS: MANY VOICES

'A most welcome initiative … Colin Matthews’ Ghost Story, an object lesson in conjuring up atmosphere from the most basic means .. or the most testing of all, Tansy Davies’s Hawk, and action-packed two and a half minutes of vertiginous dynamics' The Sunday Times

 

 

 

 

CaskenJOHN CASKEN: THE DREAM OF THE ROOD

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2019

'Four male voices, precise and pure to the nth degree, topped off with a countertenor shining like a lighthouse beam over polyphony ancient and modern... a commanding performance' The Times

'A powerfully imaginative meditation on Christ's crucifixion' World Magazine

 

 

Rumpelstiltskin

RumpelstiltskinDAVID SAWER: RUMPELSTILTSKIN

'These three dance-related scores embody a deep compositional deftness' Sunday Times

'unusual and creative... the music is striking' The Art Music Lounge

 

 

 

BailieJOANNA BAILIE: ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENTSBailie

'There's ingenuity and a keen musical instinct here' BBC Radio 3 Record Review

'This is a fascinating recording; Bailie's imagination knows few bounds.' BBC Music Magazine

 

 

 

Official Charts

Julian AndersonJULIAN ANDERSON: POETRY NEARING SILENCE

SEQUENZA21/ BEST RECORDINGS OF 2019

'Poetry Nearing Silence compellingly meditates on Tom Phillip's book The Heart of Humument... Anderson responds equally brilliantly to wider-ranging external stimuli' Sunday Times

 

 

 

Sam HaydenSAM HAYDEN: SUBSTRATUM

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 BEST ALBUMS OF 2019

'The title piece is a large-orchestral unfolding that unites compelling turbulence with rarest detail' The Sunday Times

Feature

Staff Picks of the Decade

The Air, Turning Ellie, General Manager

Edmund Finnis: The Air, Turning (2019)

"It's so difficult to pick a favourite from the last ten years but i'm going to select this striking recent release in our Debut Discs series that I have found myself revisiting a lot this year.

Edmund creates a beautiful, haunting soundworld. I love how he writes for string instruments in particular, exploring all sonic possibilities: delicate, subtle and airy through to bold, cinematic lyricism."

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Being Earnest Lucile, Development & Creative Production Co-ordinator

Gerald Barry: The Importance of Being Earnest (2014)

"There’s always been a special place in my heart for Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest. It was one of the first albums we listened to in the office when I started working at NMC, and indeed one of the first new music albums I ever listened to, and I was completely taken aback by it. I find it to be just the right amount of bonkers to be absolutely engaging throughout. When then had the pleasure of having Gerald in the office for a live Twitter Q&A, it was such a fun day and you can definitely see where all the energy in his music comes from."

 

 

 

PhotographyAnne, Executive Director

Errollyn Wallen: Photography (2016)

"I love this album for the sheer exuberance of Errollyn’s writing and the completely committed performances.  It has an immediacy which makes it compelling, combining styles and influences effortlessly in music that is completely original and with which the listener is really able to connect.   Some years previously we’d had a project proposed to us, to include the Cello Concerto but we’d not been able to realise that.  So I was genuinely thrilled when Errollyn approached us with this, the first album devoted to her orchestral work."

 

 

 

At the speed of stillnessAlex, Development & Partnerships Manager

Charlotte Bray: At the Speed of Stillness (2014)

"Of the many NMC gems released this decade, Charlotte’s Debut Disc is a firm favourite. With its exceptional performances and colourful programme of exciting music - from the explosive energy of violin concerto Caught in Treetops, to the drama of Replay and intimacy of Oneiroi - there’s something for everyone in this album. The highlight for me is Fire Burning in Snow performed by BCMG and Lucy Schaufer, which really captures the emotion at the heart of the piece and is a great introduction to Charlotte’s musical world."

 

 

 

VenablesRachel, Recordings & Marketing Co-ordinator

Philip Venables: Below the Belt (2018)

"Of all the promotional campaigns I’ve worked on in my time at NMC this was definitely one of my favourites. Illusions is the highlight for me. Brilliant music from Philip Venables, excellent playing from London Sinfonietta conducted by Richard Baker and the unforgettable musings of David Hoyle – what’s not to like? Special commendation for being too punk for the classical charts!"

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial Environments Clare, Office Assistant

Joanna Bailie: Artificial Environments (2019)

"I have fond memories of listening to this album when I first started at NMC a few months ago, just before it was released! Joanna’s soundscapes are eerie and unsettling yet strangely nostalgic. The combination of just-about-recognisable processed field recordings with sparse instrumentation in slow-moving forms, make for a fascinating exercise in attentive listening."

 

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