CARITAS CHAMBER CHOIR AND BENEDICT PREECE - THE ASH GROVE - RELEASING ON 26 AUGUST 2022, CHOATE, BELOVED LET US LOVE, 16 SEPTEMBER, CARLSSON, UBI CARITAS, 14 OCTOBER, COOKE, I SING OF A MAIDEN, 28 OCTOBER AND CATTLEY, WHAT CHILD IS THIS?, 11 NOVEMBER
The Caritas Chamber Choir and Benedict Preece's recording of traditional Welsh song The Ash Grove releases on all major digital service providers on 26 August 2022, followed by Eric Choate, Beloved, Let us Love, on 16 September, Mikael Carlsson, Ubi Caritas on 14 October, Phillip Cooke, I Sing of A Maiden on 28 October, and Sarah Cattley, What Child is this? on 11 November. These singles are a prelude to Caritas' Christmas album, released on 25 November 2022.
CRD Records releases violinist Maya Magub's album Canons on 7 October 2022. The album comprises Telemann's Six Canonic Sonatas and Mozart's Canons and Puzzle Canons. Maya is joined on the album by violinists Ben Jacobson, Marianne Thorsen and Jonathan Morton, with Jonathan Moerschel, viola and Richard Harwood, 'cello (CRD 3542).
Electronic press kit available for reviewers.
Maya Magub writes about Canons:
'The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the arts in many diverse ways, not all detrimental. History has always seen the arts flourish in times of hardship, and this was no different, spawning some incredible innovations out of necessity. Soon after news of the virus’ spread came to light, the movie studios here in Los Angeles found a solution to the restraints of lockdowns and social distancing by helping players like me to set up temporary home studios. Miraculously, we were able to record full movie scores remotely, and I found myself learning basic engineering skills. Many late nights wrestling with unfamiliar technology were soon rewarded by the opportunity to listen back immediately to my – and only my – playing; an amazing journey of self-discovery as a player.
With this new skill-set that had become part of everyday life for many musicians, I was excited to realise that it was possible to play ‘together’ with other musicians, despite not sharing a physical space, by recording separately.
It suddenly occurred to me that the perfect fit for this ‘remote chamber music’ was the musical canon. As people all over the world were struggling, and failing, to play together in real time over the Internet, they found themselves plagued by echoes and delays. What could be more perfect than a musical form that itself seems to have evolved out of a long echo?! The musical canon needs an even greater time separation between identical lines, demanding that one voice must literally lead, and the next react to what has already been played. I realised that canons could be a great way to collaborate. And if I was not in the same room as another player, why not collaborate across continents as well as across my own city? This was an opportunity to play with some of my favourite players in the world!
In our new age of Zoom, this process became more like sending a ‘musical letter’ by mail, each of us recording as a leader and then waiting to follow and be inspired by another player in the next canon. The project evolved into a truly creative collaboration, with emails and internet calls across time zones about musical ideas as well as the technical process of recording. I remember discussing tempo preferences from my car, and emails about “alternating trills” at a particular cadence point... I even received a photo of a moose slipping on an icy road in Norway on the wintery day that Marianne returned her microphones to the hire company! Our patience for the much slower pace of recording was rewarded by the delight of ‘opening’ a new performance from another musician, and the luxury of time to fully absorb it and respond.
With the constraints of recording in separate spaces and very different acoustics came the opportunity to position microphones very closely. Without using too much of each performer’s live acoustic and through close microphone positioning, we were able to capture a very ‘real’ and immediate sound which communicates vividly and could later be put into the same virtual acoustic or musical ‘space’. And with that came extra silver linings: such as the ability to virtually ‘walk off stage’ (through fading out and speaker panning) during the unending ‘puzzle’ canons!
The final bonus was being able to mix in Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio. We were suddenly able to make a huge feature out of our necessity to record separately, and it brought the project together in a remarkable way. With different voices seeming to appear from many different directions, there was now a whole extra dimension to the project that we had not envisioned at the start, and one that makes so much sense of the music; it’s hard to imagine a more fitting marriage of musical form and technical innovation. It was the most extraordinary and delightful experience to listen to Neil Stemp’s spatial mix for the first time and to be able to untangle each individual line so beautifully within the broader, more vertical structure. We had a lot of fun experimenting with virtual positioning of the many different voices in the multi-part canons and seeing how this affected the listener’s perception of the music.'
29 July: Telemann, Sonata No. 3 in D Major, TWV 40:120: I. Spirituoso
ULYSSES ARTS RELEASES SPINA AND BENIGNETTI PIANO DUO ALBUM: SCHUBERT FANTASIA, VARIATIONS AND TROUT QUINTET: 30 SEPTEMBER 2022
Ulysses Arts releases a new album of piano duet music by Schubert, played by the Spina - Benignetti Duo - Eleonora Spina and Michele Benignetti - on 30 September 2022 (UA220030). The album includes The Trout Quintet in Hugo Ulrich's version, Fantasia in F Minor, D.940, and Eight Variations in A-flat, D.813. The Fantasia is pre-released as an EP on 26 August 2022.
Laureates of numerous international music competition, the Duo performs regularly throughout worldwide. Highlights include recitals for live shows ‘Génération Jeunes Interprètes’ and ‘Génération France Musique - le Live’ at the Auditorium of the Maison de la Radio in Paris, broadcasts for France Musique national radio, recitals for the ‘Jeunes Talents’ concert series in Paris and at the Osaka Izumi Hall in Japan, a South African tour including the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, and their Mexico debut at the CENART Blas Galindo Auditorium in Mexico City and at Teatro de la Ciudad in Celaya. Their last tour in South Africa saw them playing to full venues in Johannesburg, Grahamstown, Hermanus, Potchefstroom, Pretoria, and several other cities. To quote the Potchefstroom Herald, 'their two pianos recital will be long-remembered'.
In 2019, Eleonora and Michele performed in Australia, with recitals in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Bateman’s Bay. In New Zealand, they performed at the Turner Center Kerikeri, Globe Theater Palmerston North, Wanganui Royal Opera House, and in Wellington, in China at the Guangzhou Opera House, Tianjin Grand Theatre, Shandong Grand Theatre, Nankai University, La Plantation Beijing, and Dalian Grand Theatere.
Eleonora and Michele both are both at the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse in Soissons, France. The are regular invitees to give masterclasses in Italy, China, at the Colombes Summer International Academy in Paris, at the Summer Music Academy of Flaine (France), at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music in Melbourne and at Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
The Spina - Benignetti Piano Duo are Official Yamaha Artists and have been sponsored by them since 2017.
'Characterized by continuous flow and melodic lyricism, qualities the virtuosic duo capture in their sterling interpretation.' Textura, April 2023
Fantasia in F minor on Spotify's Classical New Releases playlist.
NIMBUS RELEASES RACHMANINOFF SYMPHONY NO. 2 FOR TWO PIANOS WITH SIMON CALLAGHAN AND HIROAKI TAKENOUCHI ON 4 NOVEMBER 2022
4 November 2022
NI8110 Rachmaninoff Symphony No.2 Op. 27 for Two Pianos
Simon Callaghanand Hiroaki Takenouchi, pianos
'There is a tradition of composers arranging their own music for two pianos (Rachmaninoff did a lot), however he seems not to have arranged this particular Symphony Op.27 for two pianos! As it’s such great music, we decided to do it ourselves.' Hiro Takenouchi and Simon Callaghan
Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 Op. 27 for Two Pianos 2 x Scores
Third Movement from Symphony No. 2 Op. 27 for Two Pianos 2 x Scores
Read Robert Hugill's review of Simon Callaghan and Hiroaki Takenouchi's live performance of Rachmaninov Symphony No .2 at St John's Smith Square, London
Maureen Buja, Interlude, 18 Oct 2022
Daniel Jaffé, BBC Music Magazine, 24 Jan 2023
Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 29 April 2023
Click here to download Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 for Two Pianos from iTunes,
or stream from Apple Music
NIMBUS RELEASES ADRIAN WILLIAMS SYMPHONY NO. 1 AND PORTRAITS OF NED KELLY CHAMBER CONCERTO WITH THE ENGLISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY KENNETH WOODS ON 7 OCTOBER 2022
Release Date 7 October 2022
Adrian Williams, Symphony No. 1
Chamber Concerto: Portraits of Ned Kelly
English Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Woods, conductor
Symphony No. 1 - The first movement is perhaps the most straightforward, being basically founded on two themes, the first of which appears on violins and violas at the outset and which is used whole or in part throughout the entire symphony. It appears triumphant near the very end of the finale together with that movement’s own unique themes. The shorter scherzo is fairly rumbustious and virtuosic, harmonically dominated by major 2nds and 3rds and combinations of these. At about this time I saw the harrowing images of the wild fires in Australia, so much tragic loss of life, loss of habitat, the koalas rescued, many of which were so badly burned they were unable to survive. These images so affected me that the emotional impact found its way into the third (slow) movement, which I see as an extended lament or memorial. I felt the impulse to include two long, still sections featuring basses; the deathly, lifelessness of the forests after the fires. The Finale needed an injection of energy from its opening bars. I knew I wanted the movement to reach towards a tumultuous conclusion and this would be a slow process of development from a wistful solo violin theme, the forward energy being held back for some 6 minutes, thereafter inching its way to a point of no return. Adrian Williams, composer
Portraits of Ned Kelly Chamber Concerto - This remarkable work grew from Adrian Williams’ friendship with, Sidney Nolan, the great Australian painter. They were neighbours in the Welsh Borders region for most of the last forty years. Williams was given the invitation to use the piano at Nolan’s house, The Rodd, now the home of the Sidney Nolan Trust.
The Chamber Concerto is a musical response to Nolan’s most famous series of paintings, which depict scenes from the wild life of Australian bush-ranger, Ned Kelly, an outlaw, gang leader and convicted police-murderer who rampaged across Australia in the years prior to his arrest and execution in 1880. While the work is not strictly programmatic, the musical action does correspond in large part with the story of Kelly’s adventures, including his early criminal endeavours, his fierce encounters with the police, his capture, trial and execution. Kelly was the only member of his gang to survive their final encounter with law enforcement due to his use of a homemade set of body armour, which Nolan depicts to great effect in his images of Kelly. Williams’ music almost always has a virtuosic edge to it, but the demands placed on the musicians in this work are truly extraordinary, yet it is incredibly rewarding to play. In this sense, Williams’ designation of the work as a concerto is both telling and apt is it demands that everyone in the ensemble contributes their utmost in rhythmic precision, agility, accuracy in extremes of register and lyrical storytelling. A useful comparison might be made with Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel. Williams’ work is darker, stranger and funnier than Strauss’s with a pronounced surreal quality, but like its predecessor, it also becomes deeply poignant in its final pages. Kenneth Woods, conductor
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
'The playing is very impressive and delivers a compelling performance.'
George Pearce, Classical Music Daily
'The British symphony is alive and well.'
'Superb music, scintillatingly performed and recorded.'
Guy Rickards, 'My best classical recordings of 2022', The Christian Review
'Gripping and receive sterling realizations from Woods and the ESO.' Textura
'I would rate this new symphony a major success. Williams has a style that works beautifully with the large scale and the abstraction of symphonic writing.' Gavin Dixon, Fanfare 46/4
'Impressive pieces in terms of their ambition but also realization. ... Kenneth Woods directs with his customary attention to detail as goes a long way toward clarifying music that is ‘complex and luminous’ in spirit as by design.' Richard Whitehouse, Arcana
Sidney Nolan, The Ned Kelly Collection
BBC Culture: Sidney Nolan and the Story of Australian Art
Sidney Nolan Trust
NIMBUS RELEASES JAPANESE JOURNEY THREE WITH CHARLOTTE DE ROTHSCHILD AND ADRIAN FARMER: 2 SEPTEMBER 2022
Released on 2 September 2022
Nimbus NI6343 100 Years of Japanese Song: Japanese Journey Three
Charlotte de Rothschild, soprano, Adrian Farmer, piano
Japanese Journey Three takes us from North Island to South Island, and from ancient to modern poetry, as Charlotte de Rothschild skilfully takes us through the cultural landscape of Japan. Charlotte is still the only western performer to sing in perfect Japanese. This release is made available to support a three-week, 19-concert tour of Japan when Charlotte and Adrian will perform to more than 14,000 people.
“I never imagined, when I learnt my very first Japanese song Karatachi no hana - Quince Flower – by Yamada Kohsaku in 1991, that thirty years later I would be bringing out my fourth album of these beautiful songs. This release, like the others, is a mixture of “kakyoku”, the Japanese equivalent of Lieder or Chanson, and of “douyou”, popular songs that are sung in schools and then throughout life. It has truly been a wonderful journey of discovery and the songs on this CD show that the art of composition of these western-style songs continues on into the present day.” Charlotte de Rothschild
From 29th August to 17th September, Charlotte de Rothschild and Adrian Farmer will be touring Hokkaido, Japan, performing a selection of Japanese songs from this album.
Releasing on 2 September 2022
Emma Johnson, Songs of Celebration
Nimbus Alliance NI6431
Emma Johnson, clarinet, John Lenehan, piano
Gloucester Cathedral Choir, directed by Adrian Partington
The Pied Piper, by Jonathan Dove, for Narrator, Clarinet, Recorders, Children’s Voices and Piano:
'There are many theories about the meaning of this story: it might relate to the plague, to a natural
disaster, emigration, or a dancing mania. The piper might be a shaman, a recruiting agent, or Death. Robert Browning’s popular 1842 poem tells the mediaeval tale in lively rhyme and in 2009, Emma Johnson approached me with an enticing idea: she would become the Pied Piper, using her clarinet as the pipe, could I set Browning’s poem to music? I suggested that it could be even more exciting if she were to narrate the poem herself if I could write gaps into the clarinet part, allowing her just enough time to speak.' Jonathan Dove
'In recent times girls have been invited to sing in church and cathedral choirs. It was with this in mind that I considered writing a Christmas song for clarinet and higher voices setting one of my favourite medieval poems: the 15th century I Sing of a Maiden that is Makeless. The poem tells of the miracle of the divine birth and always brings to mind music I heard once in a Coptic Christian church in Cairo. I have retained their original Middle Eastern flavour, giving us a glimpse of how the earliest church music might have sounded. Towards the end of the song, clarinet and voices climb higher and higher to express the poet’s joy at the birth of Christ. I became so fascinated with composing for clarinet and upper voices that I found myself writing three more songs, all celebrating the Christmas story, grouped under the title, Songs of Celebration.
It was very gratifying to see the children in Gloucester cathedral choir singing with gusto, relishing its beat boxing and glissandi which felt at once incongruously modern and yet perfectly apposite in the cathedral surroundings. Carol of the Bells takes nuggets of the famous Ukrainian Carol by Mykola Leontovich and transforms them into a peal of bells ringing. It demands virtuoso singing from the choir and I am in awe at the panache with which these young singers perform it. Coventry Carol is from the mystery play traditionally performed in Coventry, England, in the 16th century (author unknown). Herod has ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two years old and the carol is a lullaby sung by their mothers. This has to be the most disturbing story in the Bible. In my setting the clarinet part is intended to evoke Rachel weeping for her children "and refusing to be comforted because they are no more".
Silent Night regularly tops charts of best loved carols and was written in 1818 by the Austrian musician Franz Xaver Gruber with lyrics by Joseph Mohr. To create an atmosphere of calm, I invited the children to sing the carol softly, like a lullaby, accompanied by rocking, running notes from the clarinet which could represent a cradle swinging to and fro. Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring from 1723 completes this album’s celebration of the Christmas story. The English translation is by Robert Bridges but the German lyrics, Jesus bleibet meine Freude (Jesus remains my joy) perhaps give more of the sense of sheer happiness in his faith expressed by Bach in this chorale, with its continuous bouncing triplets lapping around a noble theme.' Emma Johnson
Electronic press kit available for review use.
Pre-release single from The Pied Piper:
Alex Heffes re-releases his album Face to Face (PLAT14823) on 7 October 2022, re-mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos, and with new material, including for the first time on many digital sites: click here to discover more.
Face To Face is an album by Alex Heffes featuring collaborations with Matthew Barley, Tunde Jegede, Kawesa, Yasmin Levy, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Regina Spektor. Each track was improvised from scratch on the day of recording and features Alex on keyboards with one guest. Sessions were recorded in a series of spectacular locations including the giant ‘Turbine Hall’ of the Tate Gallery in London at night time (Matthew Barley), an empty glass roofed warehouse in the Bronx (Regina Spektor), Abbey Road’s legendary Studio 2 (Tunde Jegede) and on a hilltop overlooking Uganda’s capital city Kampala (Kawesa).
Alex comments: 'For years people asked me many variations of one particular question: “Where does your inspiration as a composer come from?” This inspired me to make a record - one that was entirely improvised - nothing prepared in advance. I chose six inspiring collaborators to record in six inspiring locations. My task: to commit to whatever happened in that space on that day, and make a piece of music. Face To Face is my answer to this question."
Why now? The 2022 mix celebrates ten years since the original release. The album has been fully re-mixed and mastered in stereo and Dolby Atmos to immerse the listener even more vividly into the atmosphere of the original sessions. The bonus track ‘Helios Rising’ has been newly included on the 2022 mix from the Abbey Road / Tunde Jegede sessions.
Face To Face was recorded and mixed by Grammy winning engineer and producer Peter Henderson and was captured on photo and film by photographer Rama Knight.
Alex Heffes on Apple Music Classical playlists
Face to Face is distributed by Platoon.
More streaming links for the album and for pre-release singles will be posted here.
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