Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields

Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble was created in 1967 to perform the larger chamber works – from quintets to octets – with players who customarily work together, instead of the usual string quartet with additional guests. Drawn from the principal players of the orchestra, the Chamber Ensemble tours as a string octet, string sextet, and in other configurations including winds. Its touring commitments are extensive and have included visits to France, Germany, Spain and Australia, as well as North and South America. Recording contracts with Philips Classics, Hyperion, and Chandos have led to the release of over thirty CDs by the Chamber Ensemble.

Marriner, Sir Neville

Sir Neville
Sir Neville Marriner, CH, CBE (born 15 April 1924) is an English conductor and violinist, born in Lincoln, England, and studied at the Royal College of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. He played the violin in the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Martin String Quartet and London Symphony Orchestra,[1] playing with the last two for 13 years.[2] He later formed the Jacobean Ensemble with Thurston Dart before going to Hancock, Maine, in the United States to study conducting with Pierre Monteux at his school there. In 1958, he founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields chamber orchestra and recorded copiously with them. Marriner was the first music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, from 1969 to 1978. From 1979 to 1986, he was music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. He was principal conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1989.
Image Credit: 
Hiroyuki Ito

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

Bach Choir

Bach Choir
Founded in 1876, The Bach Choir is recognised as one of the world’s leading choruses, building upon a tradition that combines musical excellence with creativity and innovation. From the first performance in Britain of Bach’s Mass in B minor to the soundtrack for Ridley Scott’s 2012 epic Prometheus, their musical heritage is as rich as it is diverse. Directed by David Hill, one of the country’s most eminent conductors, they regularly perform and record across London and the UK in prestigious venues, from the Royal Albert Hall to Abbey Road Studios. Described by the London Evening Standard as ‘probably the finest independent choir in the world’, they value the freedom that their independence brings, allowing them to work with the very best conductors, orchestras, and soloists, and to choose the music they perform. To date they have sung over 200 works in more than 80 venues, and continue to share their work with audiences around the world.

Philharmonia Orchestra

Philharmonia Orchestra

Led by its Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia has a pioneering approach to the role of the modern-day symphony orchestra, reaching new audiences and participants through audience development, digital technology and learning and participation programmes. Based in London, but with residencies in cities throughout England and a thriving international touring programme and global digital reach, the Philharmonia engages with a world-wide audience.

Willcocks, Sir David

Sir David
Sir David Valentine Willcocks CBE MC (30 December 1919 – 17 September 2015) was a British choral conductor, organist, composer and music administrator. He was particularly well known for his association with the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, which he directed from 1957 to 1974, making frequent broadcasts and recordings. Several of the descants and carol arrangements he wrote for the annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols were published in the series of books Carols for Choirs which he edited along with Reginald Jacques and John Rutter. He was also director of the Royal College of Music in London.
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NMC's Ancora series continues with a joint 70th birthday tribute to Nicholas Maw and Richard Rodney Bennett:

Life Studies, written for the virtuoso players of The Academy of St Martin-in-the Fields (the performers on this recording), is a series of vibrant character studies which range from the intensity of Penderecki and lyricism of Britten to a jazzy double bass solo (in Study V).

Richard Rodney Bennett's dramatic cantata Spells sets a sequence of haunting invocations by Kathleen Raine; it is performed by its dedicatee, soprano Jane Manning, with The Philharmonia Orchestra, Bach Choir and Sir David Willcocks.

Originally released on Continuum Records in 1992.


"Maw treads a completely resolved path in his Life Studies between Bergian reserve and Tippett-like buoyant ecstasy... This is sheerly brilliant writing and the Academy trounces the challenge. [Jane Manning in Spells] is in splendid voice - try the Spell of Safekeeping - where she is at her wonderful best. Two brilliant retrievals from the fearsome mid-1970s."
MusicWeb 2006


Recording date: 1978

Recording venue: Walthamstow Town Hall

Engineers: Stan Gooddall, Colin Moorfoot (Life Studies), Stan Goodall, John Pellowe (Spells)
Producers: James Mallinson (Life Studies), Chris Hazell (Spells)

Editing & mastering: David Lefeber

Cover image: Photo of Nicholas Maw by Maurice Foxall; photo of Richard Rodney Bennett by Malcolm Crowthers

(P) 1991 CL Continuum Ltd

Faber Music
Chester Novello
Catalogue number:
NMC D085
Release Date:
5 January 2006