Artistic Director: Amelia Freedman CBE FRAM
The Nash Ensemble has built up a remarkable reputation as one of Britain's finest chamber groups and, through the dedication of its founder and artistic director Amelia Freedman and the virtuosity of its players, has gained a similar reputation all over the world. The repertoire is vast and the imaginative, innovative and unusual programmes are as finely architectured as the beautiful Nash terraces in London from which the group takes its name. Not that the Nash Ensemble is classically restricted; it performs with equal sensitivity and musicality works from Mozart to the avant-garde, having given first performances of over 255 new works to date. These include 150 commissions especially written for the Group, providing a legacy for generations to come. An impressive collection of recordings illustrates the same varied and colourful combination of classical masterpieces, little-known neglected gems and important contemporary works.
The Nash makes many foreign tours: concerts have been given throughout Europe and the USA, and in South America, Australia and Japan. The group is a regular visitor to many British music festivals and can be heard on radio, television, at their renowned annual series at Wigmore Hall as well as at the Southbank Centre and the BBC Proms, and at music clubs throughout the country. The ensemble has won the Edinburgh Festival Critics' music award 'for general artistic excellence', and two Royal Philharmonic Society awards in the small ensemble category 'for the breadth of its taste and its immaculate performance of a wide range of music'.
Lionel Friend conducts concerts and opera all over the world, exploring the less common together with the most familiar. In the opera house he has become known for his Wagner interpretations, but his repertoire also features Mozart, Schubert, Berlioz, Chausson, Berg, Dallapiccola, Britten, Tippett and Tavener; and his concert repertoire includes the symphonies of Beethoven and Sibelius in addition to works of the avant-garde: he has conducted well over 100 world premiere performances. His recordings, many made with the Nash Ensemble, include works by Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Poulenc and Turnage.
Trained in London, he made his debut with Welsh National Opera and has held appointments in Germany and London. In addition to the UK he has in recent seasons conducted in Germany, Norway, Australia and the USA; and since 2003 has held the position of Conductor-in-Residence at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Simon Holt is one of Britain's most compelling compositional voices, and this disc showcases his earlier writing: Canciones sets Spanish folk lyrics and a poem by Lorca, while ...era madrugada is an enigmatic instrumental work based on another Lorca poem, describing a mysterious death.
"These works, all from the 1980s, confirm [Holt] as one of the most distinctive and successful composers of his generation."
Gramophone Critics' Choice 1993
Recording date: 5-7 October 1991
Recording venue: All Saints' Church, Petersham
Engineer: Mike Hatch for Floating Earth
Producer: Colin Matthews
Editing & mastering: Marian Freman for Modus Music
Cover image: Gareth Hugh Davies, 'From Oysters to Emperors'
(P) 1993 NMC Recordings Ltd