Roderick Williams is active in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital, encompassing a repertoire from the baroque to world premieres.
He has enjoyed close associations with Opera North and Scottish Opera, and has also worked for English National Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. As at home in contemporary music as in the standard repertoire, he has taken roles in the world premieres of Sally Beamish's Monster (for Scottish Opera), David Sawer's From Morning to Midnight and Martin Butler's A Better Place (for English National Opera) and Alexander Knaifel's Alice in Wonderland and Michel van der Aa's After Life (for Netherlands Opera). Further contemporary roles include Jaufre Rudel in Saariaho's L'amour de loin (ENO), Eddie in Mark-Anthony Turnage's Greek (BBC) and roles in Tippett's The Knot Garden (Barbican) and Birtwistle's The Second Mrs Kong (Royal Festival Hall).
He has taken major roles in conductor Richard Hickox's semi-staged performances of opera, including Britten's Gloriana (Aldeburgh, 2003), Walton's Troilus and Cressida and most of the Vaughan Williams operas. Other concert performances include Henze, Strauss, Stravinsky and Wagner (Donner in Das Rheingold for ENO).
He is an accomplished recital artist who can be heard at Wigmore Hall, at many festivals, and on Radio 3, where he has appeared on Iain Burnside's 'Voices' programme. His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos, and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for Naxos. Roderick Williams is also a composer and has had works premiered at the Wigmore and Barbican Halls, the Purcell Room and live on national radio.
As a conductor, Nicholas has worked with orchestras in the UK and abroad, and is Associate Artistic Director of the Britten Sinfonia. He is also Artistic Director of the Leicester International Festival and teaches in the UK and in Germany, where he is Professor of Oboe at the Hochschule für Musik, Trossingen.
Nicholas Kok studied at New College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music In both the concert hall and the opera house he has conducted numerous world and British premieres. He is currently the Chief Guest Conductor at the West Deutsche Rundfunk Choir.
His many opera engagements include King Priam and Turnage's Twice through the Heart for English National Opera, Holt's The Nightingale’s to Blame for Opera North, L’incoronazione di Poppea and Hänsel und Gretel for Staatstheater Stuttgart, and Cavalli’s Il Giasone in Klagenfurt. He played a large part in setting up Almeida Opera, where he premiered several new works.
Orchestras and ensembles he has worked with include the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National, Radio Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony, London Sinfonietta, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the BBC Singers.
Psappha, Manchester's pre-eminent new music ensemble and one of the UK's leading contemporary music groups, was formed in 1991 by its Artistic Director Tim Williams and specialises in the performance of music by living composers and that of the 20th and 21st centuries. The group has an extensive and varied repertoire of hundreds of works and a reputation for technical assurance and interpretive flair. Attracting attention from audiences and from the music press internationally, Psappha won the Manchester Evening News Award for Opera in 2000 and has been shortlisted three times for a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society award. Psappha has commissioned and premiered many works by a wide range of composers including the award-winning music-theatre work, Mr Emmet Takes a Walk, by its Patron, Peter Maxwell Davies, also recorded by the original performers.
Psappha has appeared throughout the UK, featuring regularly at most of the country's major music festival including the BBC Proms, special Henze, Maxwell Davies and Bernstein portrait series at London's Southbank Centre, and in residencies at the St. Magnus Festival, Orkney.
Britten Sinfonia is an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London, has residencies across the east of England in Norwich, Cambridge (where it is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the University) and Saffron Walden, where the orchestra becomes Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall in Autumn 2016. The orchestra also performs a chamber music series at Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Proms. The orchestra’s growing international profile includes regular touring to North and South America and Europe. The orchestra made its debut in China in May 2016 with a three-concert residency in Shanghai, as well as performances in Beijing and Wuhan.
Founded in 1992, the orchestra is inspired by the ethos of Benjamin Britten through world-class performances, illuminating and distinctive programmes where old meets new, and a deep commitment to bringing outstanding music to both the world’s finest concert halls and the local community. Britten Sinfonia is a BBC Radio 3 broadcast partner and regularly records for Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion.
Clark Rundell is Director of Contemporary Music and Head of Conducting at the RNCM, and Artistic Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's new music Group, Ensemble 10/10. He studied trombone and conducting at Northwestern University, Chicago, and was subsequently awarded a Junior Fellowship to study conducting with Timothy Reynish at the RNCM. He regularly conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he made his début in 1987, as well as the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Hallé and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom he recently performed at the Royal Albert Hall.
Deeply committed to the performance of new music, Clark has given world premières of works by composers including Louis Andriessen, Django Bates, David Bedford, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Adam Gorb and and Mark-Anthony Turnage.
A highly versatile musician, Clark served for fourteen years as Director of Jazz Studies at the RNCM, and has performed with artists such as John Dankworth, Bob Brookmeyer, Cleo Laine and Andy Sheppard. As an arranger, he has worked with Louis Andriessen and Mark-Anthony Turnage.
- 01. Geranos I7'05"
- 02. Geranos II (Adonidia)6'03"
- 03. Geranos III 6'55"
- 04. Meet me in the Green Glen I Meet me in the Green Glen3'13"
- 05. Meet me in the Green Glen II Song2'11"
- 06. Meet me in the Green Glen III Now is Past3'12"
- 07. Meet me in the Green Glen IV Love's Pains1'22"
- 08. Meet me in the Green Glen V Hesperus2'56"
- 09. Once did I breathe another’s breath I Dost ask my dear3'30"
- 10. Once did I breathe another’s breath II Dear, let us two each other spy1'47"
- 11. Once did I breathe another’s breath III Now sleep, bind fast the flood of air3'44"
- 12. Once did I breathe another’s breath IV Once did my thoughts both ebb and flow2'26"
- 13. Once did I breathe another’s breath V There comes a night2'38"
- 14. Electra Mourns18'44"
Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano
Roderick Williams baritone
Nicholas Daniel cor anglais
Iain Burnside piano
Clark Rundell conductor
Nicholas Kok conductor
The title work on this new album by Brian Elias sets text from ‘Electra’, a 5th Century BC play by the Greek dramatist Sophocles. It is sung in the original ancient Greek by mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley, accompanied by cor anglais and string orchestra, and recounts the tale of Electra and the vengeance that she and her brother Orestes take on their mother and stepfather following the murder of their father.
Continuing Elias's fascination with ancient Greece, Geranos is a dramatic and rhythmic ensemble piece inspired by a ritual 'crane dance' associated with Theseus, the mythical king of Athens.
In contrast, the two song cycles on this album are set to texts by English poets. Meet me in the Green Glen for unaccompanied solo voice is a setting of five John Clare poems, here performed by both Susan Bickley and Roderick Williams, and Once did I breathe another's breath for baritone and piano was commissioned for the 2013 Ludlow Weekend of English Song; the poems (some anonymous) were all written in the first half of the seventeenth century.
Bonus tracks: Meet me in the Green Glen performed in full by both Susan Bickley and Roderick Williams. Available for FREE with all purchases of the Electra Mourns album. Also available separately here.
Produced in association with BBC Radio 3
Electra Mourns was recorded live by the BBC on 11 August 2012 Cadogan Hall, London for the BBC Proms.
MICHAEL BACON & CHRISTOPHER ROUSE Recording Engineers
ANTHONY SELLORS Recording Producer
Geranos was recorded on 20-21 September 2016 at Hallé St Michael's Ancoats, Manchester. Once did I breather another's breath and Meet me in the Green Glen were recorded on 7 December 2016 at The Menuhin Hall, Yehudi Menuhin School, Surrey.
DAVID LEFEBER Recording Engineer & Producer
SUSANNE STANZELEIT Digital Editing
DAVID LEFEBER Mastering