ARTISTS

Bickley, Susan

Susan
Bickley
mezzo-soprano

Susan Bickley is firmly established as one of the most accomplished mezzo-sopranos of her generation, with a wide repertory encompassing the Baroque, the great 19th and 20th century dramatic roles as well as contemporary repertoire. In 2011 she received the Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.

Bickley has sung on many of the world’s great stages with conductors including Mark Elder, Ingo Metzmacher, Trevor Pinnock, Andrew Davis, Christian Curnyn, and Mark Wigglesworth. Recent opera highlights include appearances at Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Opéra National du Rhin, Opera Vlaanderen, Opéra de Paris, Glyndebourne, Staatsoper Berlin, Salzburg Festival, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Concert highlights include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, with Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, at Carnegie Hall, at the Salzburg Festival, multiple appearances with the Hallé Orchestra, the BBC Proms, and the Edinburgh Festival, as well as many other major orchestras.

Image Credit: 
Julie Kim

Williams, Roderick

Roderick
Williams
baritone

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.

Daniel, Nicholas

Nicholas
Daniel
oboe
Nicholas Daniel’s distinguished career began when, at the age of 18,  he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. At his debut at the BBC Proms in 1992 the Sunday Times described him as one of the greatest exponents of the oboe in the world. Today one of the UK's most distinguished soloists as well as an increasingly successful conductor, he has become an important ambassador for music and musicians in many different fields.
 
Nicholas has been heard on every continent, and has been a concerto soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. A champion of contemporary music, he has premiered works by many distinguished composers including Thea Musgrave, John Tavener, Henri Dutilleux and Harrison Birtwistle.    Nicholas is a founder member of the Haffner Wind Ensemble and the Britten Oboe Quartet; he gives regular recitals and plays chamber music with many distinguished instrumentalists and ensembles.
 

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.

Image Credit: 
Benjamin Harte

Kok, Nicholas

Nicholas
Kok
Conductor

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.

Image Credit: 
Andrew Price

Psappha

Psappha

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.

Burnside, Iain

Iain
Burnside
Piano
Iain Burnside enjoys a unique reputation as pianist and broadcaster, forged through his commitment to the song repertoire and his collaborations with leading international singers. In recent seasons such artists have included Galina Gorchakova, Ailish Tynan, Lisa Milne, Rebecca Evans, Joan Rodgers, Susan Gritton and Yvonne Kenny; Susan Bickley, Ann Murray and Sarah Connolly; John Mark Ainsley, Mark Padmore and Andrew Kennedy; Roderick Williams, Christopher Maltman and Bryn Terfel.
 
His wide recording portfolio reflects Iain’s passion for British music and has recently included the ground-breaking project, The NMC Songbook.
 
Acclaimed as a programmer, Iain has devised a number of innovative recitals combining music and poetry, presented with huge success in Brussels and Barcelona with the collaboration of actors such as Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale. His professorial position at London’s Guildhall School has been expanded to include a directorial role, staging specially conceived programmes with student singers and pianists. He has given masterclasses throughout Europe, at New York’s Juilliard School and the Banff Centre, Canada.
 
Iain’s broadcasting career covers both Radio and TV and has been honoured with a Sony Radio Award. Following BBC Radio3’s Voices, he now presents his own Sunday morning programme Iain Burnside. Television includes The Proms, Cardiff Singer of the World, Leeds International Piano Competition and BBC Young Musician of the Year.

Britten Sinfonia

Britten Sinfonia
Orchestra

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.

Image Credit: 
Harry Rankin

Rundell, Clark

Clark
Rundell
Conductor

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.

Image Credit: 
Graham Flack
  • Total duration: 66'07
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COMPOSER:

DESCRIPTION

Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano
Roderick Williams baritone
Nicholas Daniel cor anglais
Iain Burnside piano
Britten Sinfonia
Clark Rundell conductor
Psappha
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.

REVIEWS

‘A fascinating mix of quiet and disquiet, utterly modern in spirit’ Classical Iconoclast

'Brian Elias has become an expressive and lyrical composer, a rare phenomenon today' Opera Nederland

‘Elias’s sharply drawn sonorities fall easily on the ears ... Recommended’ The Arts Desk

'Newcomers to Elias should begin with the scintillating disc of his orchestral pieces The House that Jack Built, A Talisman and Doubles, to which this arresting follow-up is cordially recommended' Gramophone

‘★★★★ an outpouring of grief and outrage’ Financial Times

FUNDING

Produced in association with BBC Radio 3

RECORDING CREDITS

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

Publisher:
Chester Music
Catalogue number:
NMC D235
Release Date:
21 April 2017