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.
Elgar Howarth (b. 1935) studied music at Manchester University and the Royal Manchester College of Music, where his first study was composition. His conducting career began in the early 1970s and since then he has appeared regularly with all the leading British orchestras both in the concert hall and in the recording studio.
His operatic achievements cover a wide repertoire and include the world premiere of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre at the Stockholm Royal Opera, followed by productions of the same work in Hamburg, Paris and London. In 1985 he made his debut at Covent Garden with King Priam which he later performed with the same company at the Athens Festival. For Glyndebourne he has conducted The Barber of Seville, Falstaff, Nigel Osborne's The Electrification of the Soviet Union and Birtwistle's The Second Mrs Kong and The Last Supper. He conducted the world premiere of Birtwistle's Gawain at Covent Garden in May 1991 and the revivals in 1994 and 2000.
In addition to conducting English Northern Philharmonia from 1985-1989 he appears frequently with the sister company, Opera North (where he was music advisor from 1996-99).
He retains an interest in composing especially, as a former trumpet player, for brass instruments. His works are much recorded, particularly on Decca.
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.
- 01. The Triumph of Time: Crotchet= c.404'27"
- 02. The Triumph of Time: Fig 4, soprano sax4'01"
- 03. The Triumph of Time: Fig 10, muted horns2'41"
- 04. The Triumph of Time: Fig 14, senza tempo3'22"
- 05. The Triumph of Time: Fig 19, cor anglais/ flute duet1'37"
- 06. The Triumph of Time: Fig 21, central climax4'26"
- 07. The Triumph of Time: Fig 31, string chorale4'41"
- 08. The Triumph of Time: Fig 37, senza tempo2'29"
- 09. The Triumph of Time: Fig 39, cor anglais solo1'54"
- 10. Ritual Fragment11'23"
- 11. Gawain's Journey: Introduction2'23"
- 12. Gawain's Journey: The Opening of the Door1'43"
- 13. Gawain's Journey: The Challenge2'24"
- 14. Gawain's Journey: The Court becomes Visible2'19"
- 15. Gawain's Journey: He strikes the blow1'11"
- 16. Gawain's Journey: Lullaby1'50"
- 17. Gawain's Journey: Vision of the Hunt I1'19"
- 18. Gawain's Journey: Seduction Scene0'56"
- 19. Gawain's Journey: Vision of the Hunt II2'42"
- 20. Gawain's Journey: The Journey3'29"
- 21. Gawain's Journey: Vision of the Hunt III3'09"
- 22. Gawain's Journey: Morgan goes through into the Blizzard1'14"
The Triumph of Time is one of Birtwistle's most memorable images in sound: an immensely slow and baleful processional for vast orchestra, inspired by Breughel the Elder's engraving of the same name depicting Time as a remorseless destroyer. Birtwistle's 1992 opera Gawain was another of his large-scale treatments of the passing of time, and his orchestral paraphrase Gawain's Journey draws together music from various parts of the opera round its turning point of Gawain's journey northward from the court of King Arthur to fulfil his wager with the mysterious Green Knight. These two works are joined by a reissue of the London Sinfonietta's recording of Ritual Fragment, also released on NMC D009.
The Triumph of Time and Gawain's Journey were originally released on Collins Classics.
'It is good to have [these] excellent recordings of two of the composer's major orchestral works resurrected from their Collins Classics grave by the ever-welcome new-music specialist label NMC.'
The Daily Telegraph
Triumph of Time, Gawain's Journey
Recording date: January 1993
Recording venue: Blackheath Concert Halls, London
Engineer: Antony Howell
Producer: John H West
Recording date: 21 November 1991
Recording venue: Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead
Engineer: Tryggvi Tryggvason
Producers: Colin Matthews, Oliver Knussen
Editing & mastering: David Lefeber
Cover image: Photo: Malcolm Crowthers
Triumph of Time, Gawain's Journey (P) 1993 Lambourne Productions Ltd
Ritual Fragment (P) 1993 NMC Recordings Ltd