London Sinfonietta

London Sinfonietta

The London Sinfonietta's mission is to place the best contemporary classical music at the heart of today's culture; engaging and challenging the public through inspiring performances of the highest standard, and taking risks to develop new work and talent.

The ensemble is Resident Orchestra at Southbank Centre with headquarters at Kings Place, and continues to take the best contemporary music to venues and festivals across the UK and worldwide with a busy touring schedule. Since its inaugural concert in 1968 - giving the world premiere of Sir John Tavener's The Whale - the London Sinfonietta's commitment to making new music has seen it commission over 300 works, and premiere many hundreds more.
The core of the London Sinfonietta is 18 Principal Players, representing some of the best solo and ensemble musicians in the world. The ensemble has just launched its Emerging Artists Programme, which will give professional musicians at the start of promising and brilliant careers the opportunity to work alongside those Principal Players on stage across the season.

The London Sinfonietta's recordings present a catalogue of 20th-century classics, on numerous prestigious labels as well as the ensemble's own London Sinfonietta Label. Most recently, a performance of Philip Cashian's Piano Concerto was released on NMC.

Wilson-Johnson, David


The British baritone David Wilson-Johnson was born in Northampton, studied Modern Languages at St Catharine's College, Cambridge and singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he won many prizes including the Dove Prize for most distinguished student. In the early days he sang in the choirs of St Margaret's Westminster (Richard Hickox), The London Oratory, (John Hoban) the BBC Singers (John Poole) and the Monteverdi Choir (John Eliot Gardiner.) Since then, over a career already spanning forty years, he has been a guest of the major opera houses and orchestras and festivals worldwide. He has sung under the most distinguished conductors.

In 2006 he decided to retire from the operatic stage and his last performances were the title roles in Tippett's King Priam (Nationale Reisopera and BBC Proms), Albeniz's Merlin (Teatro Real Madrid), Shostakovitch's The Nose under Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (Netherlands Opera) and Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise (Edinburgh Festival).

Recent concert projects included a tour with Sir Simon Rattle and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment of Schumann's Paradies und die Peri as well as tours with Frans Bruggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century singing Die Schöpfung and Beethoven's 9th Symphony. He sang the title role in Owen Wingrave in Tapiola with Stefan Asbury, Tippett's A Child of our Time with Sir Andrew Davis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Elgar's Dream of Gerontius under Vladimir Ashkenazy with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

David Wilson-Johnson teaches in Amsterdam and London and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

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GRAMOPHONE AWARD 1980 (originally issued on Decca)

An Ancora reissue of the acclaimed recording by the London Sinfonietta under David Atherton, with soloists including Phyllis Bryn-Julson, David Wilson-Johnson and John Tomlinson.

Premiered in 1968 at Aldeburgh, Punch and Judy - together with Verses for Ensembles and The Triumph of Time - firmly established Birtwistle as a leading voice in British music. It elaborates the traditional puppet-play into an opera of stylised violence and ritual: the simplicity of the children's entertainment contrasts with Punch's homicidal actions.


'This brilliantly sung and played account has a gripping luridness that makes it hard to imagine how the work - a 1960s expressionist masterpiece - could be done differently, never mind better. Setting a libretto of manic intellectuality by Stephen Pruslin, the opera moves with an implacable, raucous energy that is unique.' The Sunday Times

'Even if there were alternative recordings available this would be one to choose because it’s such a vivid performance. Congratulations, NMC for helping to keep new British music alive!'  Music Web

'powerful and challenging' New Classics

‘David Lefeber has done a sterling job of remastering. A triumph all round.’ Fanfare


The Ancora Series is supported by Arts Council England


Punch and Judy is published by Universal Edition (London) Ltd.


Punch and Judy was recorded in June-July 1979 at Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London.

Assistant Producer: ANDREW CORNALL
Recording Engineer: STANLEY GOODALL
Remastering: DAVID LEFEBER for Metier
Executive Producer: COLIN MATTHEWS


(P) 2007 ACE

Universal Edition
Catalogue number:
NMC D138
Release Date:
14 May 2007