New CD/Download Information from Divine Art & Metier Records for February 2014
I outline below the details of three new CD titles from the Divine Art label group (including the Métier imprint), due for UK release on 3rd February 2014.The full press information is attached as PDF files (one for each). Additional to CD release, they will be available simultaneously as a download from all the usual outlets. Please also note that Divine Art/Metier is distributed in the UK via Select and via the Naxos Distribution Network in most territories around the world.
US/Canada journalists should request review samples via the Divine Art office in Vermont – firstname.lastname@example.org
DDV24148 “Aspirations” Piano Music of Marcus Blunt performed by Murray McLachlan
Marcus Blunt was born in Birmingham in 1947. Although around the age of 9 he had piano lessons from his father for a year or more, and made his first attempts at composition, his interest in music did not really take off until he was 14. He went on to study composition at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, graduating in 1970. He settled in Derby in 1976 as a teacher of woodwind instruments, before later moving to the Scottish Borders.
His output so far is mainly instrumental, for anything from piano solo to large orchestra, and has been performed internationally as well as throughout Britain and on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM.
This recording was originally released on Dunelm Records with limited availability and has been remastered. Of the original release, Jonathan Woolf on MusicWeb stated:
So a most enjoyable recital, attractively recorded, and played with typical sensitivity by a pianist fully in sympathy with the music’s demands and nature-mystic moments.
Murray McLachlan is editor of ‘Piano Professional’ Magazine, as well as Chair of the UK section of the European Piano Teachers’ Association (EPTA UK). As well as performing and teaching, he is well known internationally for his numerous articles on Piano technique and repertoire. This includes extended columns which have appeared in ‘International Piano’ ‘Pianist’ and ‘Piano’ Magazines. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Dundee for outstanding services to music and education. This follows on from a knighthood awarded in 1997 by the Order of St John of Jerusalem in recognition of his services to music in Malta.
MSV28541 Grieg “Piano Quintet” Completed by Michael Finnissy/Michael Finnissy “Grieg-Quintettsatz” – performed by Roderick Chadwick & The Kreutzer Quartet
Grieg wrote roughly 250 bars of a Piano Quintet in his ‘Kladdebok’ (sketchbook), immediately before the revisions that he made to ‘Peer Gynt’ for performances in 1892. This quintet ‘torso’ follows Sonata principles similar to those found in Brahms or Franck. He also made some use here of earlier sketches for a second Piano Concerto (1883 – 87). The manuscript, held in the Bergen Public Library, has been published in Volume 20 of the Grieg Gesamtausgabe [C.F.Peters, Frankfurt], and in Edvard Grieg: The Unfinished Chamber Music [A-R Editions, Inc. Middleton, Wisconsin], neither edition attempting to extend the work.
After some general research and experimentation with the material, Michael Finnissy decided to fashion a one-movement Kammersymphonie, in which the central ‘development section’ following on from Grieg’s exposition, consists of a scherzo (a Halling, with imitation of Hardanger fiddle music) and a ruminative slow movement (in the manner of the Poetic Tone-pictures’ Op.3), which then proceeds to a recapitulation-finale in which some of the material previously assigned to the strings appears in the piano part, and vice versa. This labour of love began in 2007 and produced two successive, but unsatisfactory, versions, both of which were performed in London. Final alterations and revisions were completed in the late Spring of 2012, approximately 120 years after Grieg laid down his pen, and – appropriately enough – received a definitive performance at the 2013 Bergen International Festival, by the Kreutzer String Quartet and Roderick Chadwick.
As Finnissy had decided to complete the Grieg Piano Quintet in B flat (EG118) as seamlessly, and as closely to the manner of Grieg, as possible, he thought – for fun – that he might shadow that ‘creative journey’ with one that was wholly his own, starting from a virtually identical point, but then diverging at the same moment that he had (in disguise) taken over from Grieg.
The exposition of this Quintet-movement, up to the break, follows Grieg’s Piano Quintet structure (and textural outlines) quite closely, drawing on sources and influences that were available to, even if not directly declared by, Grieg. The exposition closes with an extension of the first Scherzo-Halling that Finnissy wrote for EG 118. After the exposition-repeat the Quintettsatz behaves rather differently to the B flat Quintet, but delivering an equally satisfying listening experience.
Described by the Sunday Times as “possessor of devastating musicality and technique”, pianist Roderick Chadwickcombines his wide-ranging activity on the concert platform with diverse teaching and research interests. He has performed at many of Britain’s most prominent venues, including the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Wigmore Hall and Aldeburgh Festival, and made his London Southbank debut playing the Tippett Piano Concerto at the Queen Elizabeth Hall
MSV77204 “The Electrifying Oboe” Christopher Redgate with Ensemble Exposé
Roger Redgate: Concerto for Improvising Soloist and Two Ensembles*; David Gorton: Erinnerungsspiel**; Christopher Fox: Headlong; Michael Young: oboe_prosthesis; Edwin Roxburgh: at the still point of the turning world***; David Gorton: Schmetterlingspiel*; Christopher Fox: Broadway Boogie: Matthew Wright: English Landscape Painting**; Michael Young: oboe_prosthesis; Roger Redgate: Concerto for Improvising Soloist and Two Ensembles*
*Ensemble Exposé; **Matthew Wright (turntable/laptop);*** Paul Archbold (electronics); **** Milton Mermikides (electronics)
Two themes unite the works on these CDs: the first is the use of electronics and the second, the performer’s input into the compositional process. All of the works save one, Gorton’s Schmetterlingsspiel, employ electronics as part of the performance but in each work the electronics are used in very different ways. The performer’s input into the works also varies considerably.
Many of the works have included collaborative activity between the composer and performer; examples of these collaborative activities include demonstrating the musette to Christopher Fox through to an in-depth study of multiphonic resources with David Gorton and Matthew Wright. However, the performer’s input is also involved at the performance level itself. Gorton gives the performer structural choices in each of his pieces while in Redgate’s work the soloist’s “score simply outlines the overall structure of the work and is otherwise fully improvised.” Only the works of Christopher Fox do not ask the performer for this kind of interpretive activity.
Two of the works have been presented twice on the CDs: Redgate’s Concerto for Improvising Soloist and Two Ensembles and Young’s oboe_prosthesis. Each of these works involves very significant levels of improvisation from the soloist, and, in the case of the Redgate, from one of the ensembles as well. The results of such extensive improvisational input, (and in the case of the Young, remarkably varied responses from the electronics) are that the recordings offer significantly different performances and fascinating comparisons.
For over thirty years Christopher Redgate has specialised in contemporary repertoire and has performed across Europe as well as the USA, China and Australia. A three year Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship (2009-2012) at the Royal Academy of Music enabled him to re-think the key-work of the oboe and, in collaboration with Howarth of London a new instrument was developed: the Howarth-Redgate 21st Century Oboe. He now performs exclusively on this instrument. As a performer he has developed significantly several aspects of oboe technique; leading him to a re-evaluation of a number of performance practices. His concerts usually include solo improvisations, which allow him to further explore the more extreme areas of the oboe. Many composers have written for him including Michael Finnissy, Brian Ferneyhough, Richard Barrett, Sam Hayden, Roger Redgate, Edwin Roxburgh, Christopher Fox, James Clarke, Paul Archbold, Dorothy Ker, Michael Young, Fabrice Fitch, David Gorton, Rob Keeley, Joe Cutler, Edward Cowie, James Weeks and Gwyn Pritchard.
As usual, just let me know which samples you would like and I’ll mail on a first come, first served basis. Interviews can be arranged quite easily and quickly if you are interested. I look forward to hearing from you shortly. Review copies are available now.