ARTISTS

BCMG

BCMG
BCMG was formed in 1987 from within the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and is established as one of Europe’s leading ensembles.   Sir Simon Rattle is the Group’s Founding Patron and has conducted BCMG in the UK, on tour in Europe and America, and on several EMI recordings. The Group has strong relationships with its two Artists-in-Association Oliver Knussen and John Woolrich, and also with Thomas Adès who conducts the Group during 2006/07 in Birmingham, London, Cologne and Paris, and with whom BCMG is invited to Carnegie Hall, New York in 2008. BCMG was awarded The Arts Ball 2002 Outstanding Achievement Award and has also won prestigious Prudential, Royal Philharmonic Society, Gramophone and PRS Millennial awards. In May 2005, BCMG was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Audience Development for its popular Rural Tours programme.
 
The core of BCMG's work is the performance of new music, and the Group has premiered over 100 new works by leading UK and overseas composers. Most have been commissioned with the help of a large number of individuals through BCMG’s ground-breaking Sound Investmentscheme. The Group regularly tours nationally and internationally. Recent UK engagements have included appearances at the Aldeburgh and Cheltenham Festivals, and at the BBC Proms with Birmingham Opera Company for Benjamin Britten’s CurlewRiver.  In April 2006, the Group toured the UK with New York-based jazz trumpeter, Dave Douglas, performing Blue Latitudes, a piece commissioned through BCMG’s Sound Investment scheme. Previous projects have included a European tour with Sir Simon Rattle in 2000, a tour of India in 2002 with Judith Weir and Indian storyteller Vayu Naidu and visits to the Berlin, Radio France Présences and Vienna’s Wien Modern Festivals, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal.   
 
BCMG is committed to engaging the widest possible range of people with its work, and runs extensive learning and audience-building programmes in pursuit of this aim. Projects with young people in and out of school and with adults in a range of community settings are complemented by free performance projects such as the Group’s popular ‘Rural Tours’, Late-Night performances and Meet-the-Composer days. BCMG broadcasts often on BBC Radio, has made TV programmes for BBC and Independent Television, and numerous CD recordings.  The relationship with NMC is particularly strong, with the recent launch of a new CD of Britten’s film music and several more discs planned.

Weeks, James

James
Weeks
director
James Weeks (UK, 1978) is a composer based in Gateshead and London. His work is typically focused on small groupings of voices and instruments, exploring elemental or primary musical materials and processes, either left bare or layered into polyphonic structures of considerable density. He has strong interests in installed work, canon, modality, open forms and scorings, indeterminacy, microtonality, notational unorthodoxy and plain-speaking. Major works include Schilderkonst (mixed ensembles, 2003-4), TIDE (ensemble and electronics, 2007-10), the South London Harmonies series (for various ensembles, 2008-11), Mala punica/Walled Garden (eight voices and six instruments, 2008-9/2015), The Freedom of the Earth (chorus and instruments, 2011), Three Trios (piano trio and tapes, 2010-11) and Radical Road (voices with stones, 2014).

Exaudi

Exaudi
Since its debut in 2002, EXAUDI has emerged as one of Britain’s leading young contemporary music ensembles. With a repertoire that encompasses Ockeghem and Ferneyhough, Tallis and Xenakis, EXAUDI has performed to great acclaim throughout the UK and in Europe, and established a ground-breaking and much-praised discography on NMC.
 
Founded by James Weeks (director) and Juliet Fraser (soprano), EXAUDI is based in London and draws its singers from among the UK’s brightest new vocal talents. The newest new music is at the heart of EXAUDI’s repertoire, and it has given UK and world premières of Sciarrino, Rihm, Finnissy, Skempton, Richard Ayres, Christopher Fox and James Saunders among many others. EXAUDI is particularly committed to the younger generation of composers currently in their twenties and early thirties, and is proud to champion the work of major emerging voices including Evan Johnson, John Habron, Chung Shih Hoh, Philip Howard, Dorothy Ker, James Weeks and Claudia Molitor.
 
Collaboration with other leading soloists and ensembles is an increasing feature of EXAUDI’s schedule, including appearances with ASKO Ensemble, Apartment House, Anton Lukoszevieze, Rohan de Saram, Irvine Arditti and Fretwork.
 
EXAUDI has appeared at many leading UK venues and festivals, including Vale of Glamorgan, Aldeburgh, Spitalfields and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festivals, Dartington International Summer School and London’s South Bank and National Portrait Gallery. EXAUDI broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has released critically acclaimed recordings of Michael Finnissy, Elisabeth Lutyens and Christopher Fox on NMC.  EXAUDI has twice been shortlisted in the Ensemble category of the RPS Awards, in 2006 and 2007.
Image Credit: 
Andrew Post
  • Total duration: 76'08
  • CD | PRICE £12.99

  • MP3 | 320K 44.1 KHz
    118.9 MB
     | PRICE £7.99

  • FLAC 16 | 16bit 44.1 KHz
    246.50 MB
     | PRICE £8.99

  • Album Booklet PDF | FREE

COMPOSER:

DESCRIPTION

Astoundingly, this is Howard Skempton’s first full-length disc for NMC - his CD single, the deceptively simple orchestral study Lento, was one of NMC's first releases in 1992 and has been one of our best-sellers ever since.

This collection contrasts Skempton's choral works - including the dancing setting of Shelley’s The Voice of the Spirits and spiritual Rise Up, My Love - with chamber music ranging from the Suite from Delicate, for 2 cellos and percussion, to the exuberant (yet very English), Chamber Concerto. The title piece, Ben Somewhen, was commissioned by BCMG's Sound Investment scheme for solo double bass and ensemble, and was inspired by Ben Hartley's drawings of rural life

REVIEWS

"Skempton's music is deceptively simple, affording familiar musical materials a gentle, non-ironic regard. Satie may be a near comparison, but without his wackiness and weirdness. In recent years, Skempton's concentrated more on vocal and choral music, which gets haunting performances by Exaudi. A delightful disc." The Wire

"An enticing collection … Exaudi and BCMG are manifestly attuned to the idiom, and recorded with ideal clarity. Informative notes from James Weeks and the composer enhance a release that confirms Skempton's move to the centre of British new music as complete." Gramophone

"The simplicity of his music, and its tendency to brevity - there are eight works in this collection, the longest of them an 18-minute suite of ballet music - are all deceptive; what one gets within the smallest frame is something totally memorable, perfectly crafted and, in its way, unutterably strange... Each of these pieces, whether the four written for ensemble or those for chorus (settings of Shelley, Flecker, Drinkwater and the Song of Solomon), manages to do something exquisite and totally personal; how Skempton always does it with such economy is a wonder in itself." Guardian

PUBLISHING DETAILS

Howard Skempton’s music is published by Oxford University Press.

RECORDING CREDITS

The choral music on this disc was recorded at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, London on 16-17 January 2007.

Engineer: ANDREW POST
Producer: AARON CASSIDY
The instrumental works were recorded at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham on 14-15 April 2007.
Engineer & Producer: DAVID LEFEBER
Mastering: DAVID LEFEBER
Executive Producer: COLIN MATTHEWS

Cover and booklet illustrations: BEN HARTLEY, © BERNARD SAMUELS
Design: FRANCOIS HALL

(P) 2007 NMC Recordings Ltd

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Catalogue number:
NMC D135
Release Date:
3 September 2007