Varcoe, Stephen

Stephen Varcoe is one of Britain’s most distinguished baritones, especially acclaimed in the field of Baroque music and in the song repertoire. He has made about 150 recordings, collaborating with John Eliot Gardiner for Philips, Erato and DG Archiv on discs of Purcell, Handel and Bach, and has joined Richard Hickox for numerous releases of Haydn, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Grainger and Britten on Chandos. His musically fruitful relationship with Hyperion Records has produced many fine recital discs, from the romantic and sensuous French songs of Hahn, Chabrier and Fauré with Graham Johnson to the quintessentially English Finzi, Gurney, Parry, Stanford and Armstrong Gibbs with Clifford Benson and Roger Vignoles. With Graham Johnson, Stephen was the second artist after Dame Janet Baker to be invited to interpret Schubert for the celebrated complete Hyperion series. His versatility also encompasses recordings of twentieth century works by Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Nigel Osborne, Thea Musgrave and John Tavener.

Dobing, Duke

Duke Dobing made his début with the English Chamber Orchestra when he was eighteen and participated in a number of Aldeburgh Festival concerts and recordings conducted by Benjamin Britten. He was Principal Flute of the English Sinfonia and of the City of London Sinfonia, where he made over eighty CDs in 25 years. In 2000 he became the Orchestra’s Development Director, then Head of External Relations at Aldeburgh Music and is now Director of Development with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Manning, Jane


Jane Manning was born in Norwich and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and in Switzerland. In her long career she has covered an exceptionally wide repertoire and has sung at many of the world’s leading Festivals and concert halls, appearing regularly in USA, Australasia and all over Europe as well as London, her home since 1965.Her engagements have included Bach under Karl Richter, Salieri under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, major operatic roles by Mozart, Purcell, Lully, Britten and Kurt Weill and countless BBC broadcasts of the whole range of recital repertoire, as well as many Promenade Concerts .

She is of course especially renowned as an interpreter of contemporary music and has given more than 350 world premieres, working closely with composers such as Bennett, Birtwistle, Boulez, Cage, Carter, Maxwell Davies, Knussen and Weir. Her extensive discography includes, as well as pieces by many British composers, major works by Messiaen, Satie, Berg, Dallapiccola, Schoenberg, and Ligeti.

Image Credit: 
Malcolm Crowthers

Hickox, Richard


Richard Hickox was one of the most active and well-known conductors in Britain, with a strong international reputation, especially for performing music of his native country. He began conducting at the age of 16 and, after studies at the Royal College of Music and Queen's College, where he was an organ scholar, he founded the City of London Sinfonia in 1971, of which he remained musical director until his death.

In 1972 he became organist and master of music at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, remaining in that position until 1982. In 1977 he was appointed conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and in 1982 became the music director of the Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He is credited with re-establishing that orchestra as an ensemble of stature, confirmed by a highly successful tour of the United States and a complete Beethoven symphony recording cycle for the ASV label. He was associate conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra from 1982 to 1985, and took the same title at the London Symphony Orchestra in 1985. He shared leadership duties with Simon Standage for Collegium Musicum 90, a period-instrument group the two founded.

All this activity made Hickox a very familiar face on the British music scene. With his various choral and orchestral ensembles he frequently appeared at the major British music festivals and at the BBC Proms Concerts. He participated in several notable special projects, including a BBC video production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and an appearance in the Istanbul Festival leading a production of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio inside the actual sultans' seraglio in the Topkapi Museum. He also provided music for a Ken Russell film for the BBC on the wives of great composers.

He guest conducted around the world, including frequent appearances with the Los Angeles Opera and the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo. He made over 300 recordings and won numerous awards, including a Gramophone Award in 1992 for his account of Britten's War Requiem, and three Gramophone Awards, a Diapason d'Or, the Deutsche Schalplattenpreis, and a Grammy for his recording of Britten's Peter Grimes in 1995 on the Chandos label, probably the most honored classical recording of the last quarter of the twentieth century. His recordings appeared on the ASV, Argo, EMI, and Virgin labels, and in the early '90s he had been an exclusive Chandos artist. More recording awards were received in 2001 and 2006 for the music of Vaughan Williams and Stanford, respectively. In 2005, he was appointed director of the Opera Australia. Hickox died of a heart attack following a recording session in Wales in November 2008.

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While I Am Goya, The Sickle and Remembering Esenin share a common inspiration in Russian poetry of the last century, the Flute Concerto provides a contrast in its neo-Baroque concerto grosso style.

These recordings were originally released on Unicorn-Kanchana in 1983.


'A welcome re-issue: the Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, one of Osborne's best scores and, indeed, one of the best flute concertos, alternates between glassy explosiveness and glassy calm.'
The Sunday Times


The Ancora Series is supported by Arts Council England


Recording date: 7-8 February 1983

Engineer: Bob Auger 
Producer: Antony Hodgson
Remastering: Marian Tryggvason

Cover image: Photo: Malcolm Crowthers

(P) 1984 Unicorn-Kanchana Records

Universal Edition
Catalogue number:
NMC D087
Release Date:
11 January 2003