Music by Liz Johnson
One of the most individual and distinctive of today’s composers, Liz Johnson produces works that are perfectly set for their purpose – whether it be setting unusual poems, composing on themes from art, or describing her experiences with people and nature.
Four string quartets are accompanied by a number of chamber and vocal works of enormous interest and intriguing sonorities. The performers are among the top rank of today’s British musical world.
The two discs are almost 80 minutes each – a feast of new music! Available 19 May 2017.
Music by Lumsdaine and LeFanu
Two composers whose careers each stretch over 40 years and have been married for many years too; their music is very different but each derives inspiration in different ways from nature and wildlife. This album features Gemini, an ensemble with longstanding links to both composers and has been issued to celebrate David Lumsdaine’s 85th birthday and Nicola LeFanu’s 70th.
The album also features soprano Sarah Leonard in two vocal items and pianist Aleksander Szram in Mandala 3.
‘Artistic quality: Outstanding; Technical quality: Excellent’ (Audiophile Sound, Italy)
‘intriguing and enlightening’ (BBC Music Magazine)
A Different Game
Piano Trios by Rhona Clarke
Reviewing MSV 28556, which contained Rhona Clarke’s Second Piano Trio, one critic expressed the desire to hear much more of this exceptional composer’s work, and we are delighted to present this new disc adding the 3rd and 4th trios to No. 2, together with three other works played by individual members of the Fidelio Trio. Clarke’s original and bewitching style is evident in every work as it is also in her vocal piece … smiling like that … (on MSV 28558).
The Fidelio Trio give another top-ranking performance, demonstrating why their reputation as one of the world’s foremost ensembles continues to grow.
Kevin Raftery : Chamber Music
American composer Kevin Raftery has worked in London since 1989. His works are in the best post-modernist tradition of today – partly impressionistic and descriptive, partly ‘abstract’ – and in works such as Pleasantries displaying an individual sense of humour too. These works form a very satisfying programme with varying instrumentation and exceptional performances from three highly regarded ensembles. Available 19 May 2017.
Lydia Kakabdse: Concertato
Works for String Quartet
The music of Lydia Kakabadse is infused with the traditions of her family roots in Russia, Georgia, Austria and Greece and especially through the influence of Greek Orthodox chant. Her use of the so-called ‘Arabic scale’ also gives a touch of exotic piquancy to her chamber music. The pieces here are scored for the ‘alternative string quartet’ of violin, viola, cello and double bass and include two songs featuring mezzo-soprano Jess Dandy. A varied collection of works which we expect to garner as much praise as her recent choral CD (Cantica Sacra – DDA 25135).
The sound collective personnel on this CD is: Sara Trickey (violin), Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), Tim Lowe (cello) and Ben Griffiths (double bass).
‘This charming album is already one of our favourites. Kakabadse is British but has roots in Greece, Austria, Russia and Georgia, and it’s the mixture of cultures that gives this its charm. The music comes from Sound Collective, a group of musicians that works with composers, writers and educators to build new ways of appreciating and promoting chamber music. They’ve certainly succeeded with this.’
– Jeremy Condliffe (The Chronicle)
‘Lydia Kakabadse’s Russian/Georgian as well as Greek/Austrian descent, enriched by Arabian and medieval ideas, give birth to a an inspiring music mix. The Ensemble “sound collective” as well as singer Jess Dandy prove committed and high-class performers.’
– Uwe Krusch (Pizzicato)
Schoenberg and Bodley – Vocal Works
Two major cycles, extensive in duration and exceptionally powerful. Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 15 (Das Buch der hängenden Gärten) is a seminal, revolutionary work, composed in 1908–9 and which is considered by many to be the first truly modernist composition – certainly in vocal music. Today it still sounds exploratory and adventurous. Its 15 sections are all settings of poems by Stefan George.
In some ways, the song cycle A Girl by Seoírse Bodley is a modern equivalent, though in no way does it lack in complete originality. It was commissioned by Radio Telefis Eireann and premièred in 1978; its tragic story of a girl exiled from society was not uncommon in Ireland until very recently (and of course is still prevalent in many countries). Aylish Kerrigan is a specialist in contemporary vocal music and gives a stunning performance, wonderfully partnered by Dearbhla Collins.
Brilliant and Surprising Chamber Works
This is a superb collection of modern works for piccolo – most with piano but not all, and wonderfully performed to show the piccolo’s full range, which is wider and more varied in tone than many realise.
Natalie Schwaabe (piccolo) and Jan Philip Schulze (piano).
‘I found the attractive works and the assured playing of Natalie Schwaabe to sustain my interest through an entire CD’s worth of piccolo music. Natalie Schwaabe proves herself herein to be a piccolo player of consummate skill, and pianist Jan Philip Schulze is a most sympathetic and gifted collaborator in the pieces that utilize him. I found the entire CD to be captivating and well-worth exploring, and containing works that will bear up well on repeated listening. Highly recommended to collectors, even to those who might not consider themselves particularly adventurous.’
– David DeBoor Canfield (Fanfare)
‘Praise goes to Natalie Schwaabe, an authentic virtuoso of the piccolo, and the pianist Jan Philip Schulze, who manage to make [the programme] stimulating and engaging, with their performances lasting nearly an hour on this recording. Artistic Quality: Excellent. Technical quality; Good-Excellent’
– Andrea Bedetti (Audiophile Sound)