Skempton takes on Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and brings it to life, using just solo voice (baritone) and small chamber ensemble. The result is a stunning, dark and hypnotic journey led by the almost constant, magnetic presence of Roderick Williams, for whose voice and dramatic capabilities the piece was conceived.
Only the Sound Remains takes its name from the opening line of The Mill-Water by English poet Edward Thomas. The piece is an evocation of loss and decay, where textures and melodies mysteriously recur, while others simply fade beautifully out of aural reach. It is written for 16 players, including solo viola.
This is a stunning premiere recording of two recent works by one of Britain’s finest living composers.