Vision Of Sound Records & Publishing was launched in 1997 by critically-acclaimed London-born musician Simon Vincent, whose music has been described as “visionary and expressive”, “rich and surprising”, “exquisite”, “mesmerising”, “transcendental, yet unshakably earthbound”.
Full catalogue details are available via www.vision-of-sound.com
Simon Vincent is a composer / performer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music whose new contemporary classical composition Stations of the Cross is the focus of a 9-concert tour which will see the composition performed in Cathedrals and Churches including Wells Cathedral, St. Ann’s Manchester, St. Mungo’s Edinburgh, and Lincoln Cathedral where the work will receive its official premiere.
Inspired by William Fairbank’s installation in Lincoln Cathedral entitled Forest Stations (see http://www.williamfairbank.com/stations/stationindex.htm), and galvanised by a visit to Jerusalem in 2015, Simon has composed a substantial work for solo piano depicting the process of Christ’s spiritual, emotional and corporeal journey, accompanying His path to Crucifixion and subsequent Resurrection. The composition takes the form of 17 small movements and is characterised by sustained chords and melodic fragments which are intended as moments for refection and prayer.
The work and the tour itself intend to stimulate discussion of the relationship of the individual to both a society and a state which are not only capable of ‘looking away’ but also of allowing suffering. These are themes of truly vital relevance to us today and the audience is invited to discuss the work and its surrounding themes with Simon after each performance.
Tracklisting and Product Information
Track 1: Meditations on Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane; Track 2: First Offering: Opening; Track 3: Station I: Jesus , a man of truth, is condemned to death by the crowd, through their government; Track 4: Station II: The truth is beaten and flogged and roped to the execution beam; Track 5: Station III: He falls under pressure from without; Track 6: Station IV: He is helped by his mother; Track 7: Station V: He is helped by Simon of Cyrene; Track 8: Station VI: He is helped by Veronica, who wipes his face; Track 9: Station VII: He falls for the second time under pressure from within; Track 10: Station VIII: Jesus turning said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children”; Track 11: Station IX: Under great pressure from the crowd, he falls for a third time; Track 12: Station X: We strip him of his clothes; Track 13: Station XI: Jesus is held down by the crowd as the tools of government drive in the nails; Track 14: Station XII: He is executed on the cross; Track 15: Station XIII: The body of Jesus is held by his mother; Track 16: Station XIV: He is enclosed into his tomb; Track 17: Station XV: Illumination, Awareness, Enlightenment, insight, Inspiration, Understanding; Track 18: Second Offering: Conclusion
VOSCD-003 will be available as a mid-priced CD through Discovery Records Ltd. and as digital download, including 96kHz 24bit high resolution through www.vision-of-sound.com
Nominated in 2014 for a Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists, Simon Vincent is a performer and composer of acoustic and electronic music, who has challenged the boundaries of genre and musical expression with a highly personal language since the early 1990‘s.
“Visionary and expressive”, “rich and surprising”, “exquisite”, “mesmerising”, “transcendental, yet unshakably earthbound”, “masterful”, “Debussy-like”, Simon’s music has attracted praise and radio play from critics as varied as Ben Watson, Julian Cowley, Nick Luscombe, Massimo Ricci, Gilles Peterson, Fourtet, and has been reviewed internationally in many publications including The Wire, De:Bug, Knowledge Magazine, Dragon Jazz, Extranormal and Kudos.
Releasing work on Erstwhile Records, EMANEM, L’innomable, as well as own label Vision of Sound, Simon‘s unique work has led to appearances worldwide at the Glastonbury Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Akademie der Kunste (Berlin), ICA London, London Fashion Week, Club Transmediale (Berlin), National Museum (Stockholm), Progression Sessions (London), Huddersfeld Contemporary Music Festival, Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik (Darmstadt), Visiones Sonoras (Mexico City), Making New Waves (Budapest), >Sync 2013 Yekaterinburg, Q-02 Brussels, as well as on Resonance FM, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 3, Ministry of Sound Radio, XFM, and FM4-Austria among many others.
Simon has just completed 3 new works commissioned by London-based RPO trombonist Matthew Gee and is currently composing a new commission for Malmo-based pianist Jesper Olsson to be performed in 2018.
For more information visit www.simon-vincent.com
If you wish to hear selected electro-acoustic works, please click the link below:
The tour will also feature the earlier solo piano work Meditations on Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (2013) as well as a recent commission La Mia Coppa Trabocca (2016) for piano and 2-channel electronic playback, and Simon will present the new recording of Stations of the Cross, released on Vision Of Sound Records.
3rd April: Café Oto, London
13th April: St Ann’s, Manchester
18th April: (Premiere) Chapter House, Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln
20th April: St. Gregory’s, Canterbury
24th April: Wells Cathedral, Wells
27th April: St Mary Le Bow, London
5th May: Holy Trinity Church, Hull
6th May: St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
20th May: Anteros Arts Foundation, Norwich
The tour has been made possible through financial support from Arts Council England
Note for Editors and Journalists
Please request a review copy of the CD via email@example.com . Interviews with Simon Vincent can be quickly arranged as required.
The CD will be fully serviced to appropriate media contacts.
Advertising will include BBC Music magazine (May Issue).
An invitation only CD launch event will be held on 24th May at The Liberal Club in London. To be added to the guest list, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracklisting & CD Information
Frederick Delius (1862 – 1934): String Quartet in E minor RT VIII/8 (1917)
Frederick Delius (1862 – 1934): Two Movements from Original Version (1916)*
Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934): String Quartet in E minor, Op. 83
Naxos 8.573586 [Bar Code 747313358670] Single CD/Standard Jewel Case/Mid Price
Release Date: 12th May 2017 (also available on most streaming and download services from same date)
(with grateful thanks to Professor Daniel Grimley of Merton College, Oxford)
For a generation of musicians who lived through the terrifying events of the First World War, responding to the seemingly incomprehensible impact of the conflict became a compelling creative challenge. Many promising younger figures, such as George Butterworth and Ernest Farrar, paid the ultimate price, killed in action on the Western front. The legacy of the war left its mark in other ways on the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who spent two periods of active service as an ambulance orderly in France. Edward Elgar and Frederick Delius, close contemporaries but almost diametrically opposed personalities, were too old at the time of the war’s outbreak to be called up for military duty (though Elgar was briefly a member of his local Hampstead Constabulary). For both men, however, the war had a profound effect upon their later work, and it is impossible to separate their two remarkable string quartets from the historical circumstances of their creation.
Elgar’s initial response to the war was to engage energetically in patriotic music-making activities intended to raise the public spirit. But the strain induced by the harrowing news from the continent eventually precipitated a nervous breakdown in 1917. Elgar’s wife, Alice, arranged their removal from London to a rural cottage on the edge of the Sussex weald. It was here that Elgar finally began to recuperate and compose once more, completing a series of three new chamber pieces (the Violin Sonata, Piano Quintet, and String Quartet), alongside his Cello Concerto. Elgar began sketching the quartet in the latter half of 1918, just as the war ground brutally to its conclusion. The first performance of the work took place privately on 19 April 1919, and the public première was given at the Wigmore Hall on 21 May by an ensemble including violinists Albert Sammonds and W.H. Reed, violist Raymond Jeremy, and cellist Felix Salmond.
At the start of the war, Delius and his wife were living in the village of Grez-sur-Loing, just south of Paris. As the Germans advanced swiftly toward the River Marne in the conflict’s opening weeks, they were forced to leave their house temporarily and evacuate to Orléans, where Delius was deeply moved by the sight of wounded servicemen and other refugees. Though they returned briefly as the German line was repelled, Thomas Beecham persuaded them to travel to England in November 1914, where the Deliuses stayed for the next 8-9 months. Here, Delius embraced the opportunity to hear music being performed both in London and elsewhere. – at a Hallé Orchestra concert in Manchester, for example, he was introduced to the Harrison sisters, Beatrice and May, for whom he would later write his set of three string concertos and sonatas. The Deliuses returned to France permanently in late November 1915, and in a letter to Percy Grainger dated 11 January 1916, he wrote: ‘we are so glad to be back in Grez again – our Garden was terribly neglected so we are both working in it every afternoon – No gardener is to be had – Otherwise one does not feel the war here whatever.’ Delius began to write his String Quartet in the spring, completing the first version of the work (in three movements) in June. It received its first performance by the London String Quartet at the Aeolian Hall on 17 November 1916 (where Albert Sammonds was again the principal violin). The Musical Times wrote of ‘a serious contribution to musical art – the most important, in fact, that has been heard in London during the present season’. Delius was nevertheless dissatisfied with the score, and revised it the following year, reworking the outer movements, adding a scherzo (drawing on material from an earlier abandoned quartet written c. 1888), and completely recomposing the slow movement, Late Swallows.
Delius never destroyed the materials for the first (three-movement) version of his quartet, and the autograph score, sketches, and an incomplete set of copied parts survive in the British Library.
For this recording, the original 1916 versions of the opening movement and of Late Swallows have been reassembled, and they present a fascinating comparison with the more familiar later (1917) version of the quartet. The original version of the opening movement (marked Allegro moderato) was more heavily scored, and has a much richer, darker hue than the later revision. The differences between the two versions of Late Swallows are much more radical. Formally, the two versions follow the same basic plan, but the original version opens with an elaborate ascending arabesque in the first violin, suggesting perhaps the soaring flight of the summer migrants in the movement’s title. The middle section is also recomposed: the original music has a Mahlerian sense of poignancy. It will never be clear exactly why Delius changed his mind about the original version of his Quartet, but this rare glimpse into his compositional workshop is a significant discovery.
Hailed as ‘champions of British music’ by the Guardian/Observer, the Villiers Quartet was the winner of the 2015 Radcliffe Chamber Music Competition, and holds the position of Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University’s Faculty of Music. Named after Villiers Street in London’s colourful musical epicentre, the Villiers Quartet encompasses the grand and iconic spirit of the extraordinary music tradition in London. One of the most charismatic and “adventurous” quartets of the European chamber music scene, the Villiers Quartet has developed an international reputation for its performances of English composers including Elgar, Britten and Delius. The Quartet has been featured in numerous festivals including the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, the Brit Jazz Fest, the Hungerford Arts Festival and the British Music Society. Their internationally acclaimed VQ New Works Competition encourages audiences to interact with contemporary music performance online, and supports the creation of new works for string quartet. Known for championing the works of English composers, the VQ has presented master-classes at Dartmouth College, the University of Nottingham, Syracuse University, Goshen College, and the Indiana University South Bend. The VQ is also Quartet-in-Residence at Nottingham High School, where they oversee an extensive chamber music programme for young students. Their début recording for Naxos, Robert Still’s The Four String Quartets (8.571353), won high praise from Gramophone and received five stars in Classical Music Magazine. The VQ was the featured quartet on the soundtrack to the BBC television drama Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and they have been featured extensively on BBC Radio 3 in live performance and on the programme In Tune.
Marketing, Promotion and Further information
This new CD will be fully serviced to UK press and media. Advertising will include appropriate classical magazines both in print and online. Please request a review copy of the disc from email@example.com (and interview requests can be accommodated quickly via the same route).
This new CD follows two highly acclaimed releases on the Naxos imprint – Robert Still: The Four String Quartets (8.571353) and Peter Racine Fricker: The String Quartets (8.571374).
Both works will be performed in Concert on 17th May at the VQ Season at Nottingham High School and on 6th June at the Devizes Arts Festival. Other dates are in process of being confirmed.
An invitation only CD launch event will be held on 24th May at The Liberal Club in London. To be added to the guest list, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
VQ - Delius & Elgar Quartets - Press Release (536.2 KiB)
“Seeds of Time” (Meditations for Piano) – Composed by Mark Darvill-Evans – Performed by Siwan Rhys – CD/Download Information for Press & Media
The release of “Seeds of Time – Meditations for Piano”, introduces the listener to the music of composer Mark Darvill-Evans, most for the very first time. These fourteen inspiring and thought provoking pieces are performed by Siwan Rhys, who has worked closely with the composer to realise his vision in getting his music recorded.
This haunting music has gained early accolades for its beautifully simple form and delicacy that defies categorisation.
“Absorbing and elegant music, beautifully played” – Nick Mason, Pink Floyd
“A hypnotic and Zen-like quality which really keeps one involved” – Piers Lane, pianist
“A beautiful piece – the sounds kiss the air” – Resonance FM
Listening samples and more details can be viewed via http://www.theseedsoftime.co.uk
Tracklisting and Product Information
Clouds; Forgotten Kisses; Eternal; Footsteps; Endings; Branches Overhead; Promises; Lanterns; Serendipity; Sanctuary; Moonlight on Roses; Twilight; Rivers; Hide & Seek
Total Playing Time 65:00/Single CD/Full Price/DigiPack with booklet notes by the composer.
Prima Facie PFCD056 [Bar Code 0607128998785] UK Distribution via ProperNote. Release date 8th May 2017.
Mark Darvill-Evans draws on a wide range of musical influences and following study at Cardiff University developed a unique musical style that combines and builds on these foundations with ideas from other creative pursuits. His music has been used in advertising and won support from personalities as diverse as Piers Lane and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. Mark grew up in a musical family where his father was a church organist and the musical taste of his siblings veered toward more contemporary sounds. Mark has previously collaborated with composer Robert Szymanek and is married to former concert pianist, Jane.
Siwan Rhys studied piano at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Conservatoire National de Rennes, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has been awarded the Welsh National Blue Riband for music, and has subsequently vested into the Gorsedd of Bards. Siwan has been broadcast on BBC1, S4C, BBC Radio 3, and BBC Radio Cymru and has worked with the LSO, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Mahogany Opera Group, and Rambert Dance, working with conductors François-Xavier Roth, George Benjamin, Jesús López Cobos, Diego Masson, and Elgar Howarth.
Several of the pieces from “Seeds of Time” will be featured at the following performances by Siwan Rhys.
17th May Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2PF
(Bookable but Free) – Concert in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK
31st May St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London W1 J9LL (Bookable but Free)
Mark Darvill-Evans would like to invite the recipient of this email to a Press/Media launch event on 10th May at 6.00pm in the 1901 Arts Club near Waterloo, London SE1 8UE. Please RSVP to email@example.com
Note for Editors and Journalists
Please request a review copy of the CD via firstname.lastname@example.org . Interviews with Mark Darvill-Evans and/or Siwan Rhys can be quickly arranged as required.
The CD will be fully serviced to appropriate media contacts. Advertising is yet to be confirmed.
Listening samples can be previewed via www.theseedsoftime.co.uk – there is also a short video discussion between Mark and Siwan.
Together with Nimbus Alliance Records and Nimbus Music Publishing, composer Richard Blackford is very pleased to announce the release of a disc (also available as a download) of some of his recent instrumental pieces. Presented in chronological order of composition are his Violin Concerto (2007) – performed by Maria Gajdosova with the Brno Philharmonic conducted by Richard
Blackford; Clarinet Quintet (2009) performed by David Campbell (clarinet) with The Solstice String Quartet; The Better Angels of our Nature (2013) performed by Emily Pailthorpe with BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins [also available on Champs Hill CHRCD116 released in August 2016 to much critical acclaim]; Goodfellow (2015) performed by Daniel Pailthorpe (flute), Emily Pailthorpe (oboe) and Julian Milford (piano).
Violin Concerto finds its origin in a Violin Sonata written when Richard was just eighteen years of age. In 2007 Richard was invited to compose a neo-Classical Violin Concerto by the Brno Philharmonic for its gifted leader Maria Gajdosova. Composed in just five weeks, Blackford reworked his original sonata into this 25-minute concerto. It received a rapturous reaction, and the orchestra decided to record the piece, conducted by Richard himself.
Track 1: Allegro non troppo; Track 2: Andante; Track 3: Vivace
Clarinet Quintet received its premiere at the Aberystwyth Musicfest. Richard was inspired to write the piece by a semi-autobiographical novel “Full Moon” by Caradog Pritchard. It describes the childhood of a young boy growing up in North Wales, during and shortly after WW1. The Boy’s imagination is fed by both Chapel and local legends. His mother is declared insane and placed in an asylum and the Boy loses his mind with grief and the novel ends with his murder of a childhood sweetheart on the shores of the Black Lake. This darkly chromatic quintet is in three movements.
Track4: Lento – Molto Vivace; Track 5: Andante; Track 6: Furioso
The Better Angels of Our Nature was commissioned by Howarth of London for Emily Pailthorpe and premiered by her in 2012. Pailthorpe played the UK premiere of the concerto with the BBC SO in 2015, with a further performance given – again by Emily – at the Presteigne Festival on 30th August 2016.
The inspirational plea for reconciliation from Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address on March 4th 1861 was Richard Blackford’s starting point for a fifteen-minute concerto for oboe and strings for the virtuoso oboist, Emily Pailthorpe, to whom the work is dedicated. It is divided into two continuous movements, separated by Taps, the bugle call which is played traditionally for funerals or at sunset.
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Track 7: The Better Angels of our Nature
Goodfellow was written for three members of the Conchord Ensemble, a piece for flute, oboe and piano. Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck) appears in numerous literary manifestations and legends, but it is the Puck of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that caught Blackford’s imagination, and the two movements of this trio explore his mischievous, unpredictable personality and the interactions with the Athenian lovers and fairy queen Titania.
Track 8: Allegro con brio – Adagio; Track 9: Adagio – Allegro molto
The scores for two of the pieces on this release are available from Nimbus Music Publishing (all enquiries to email@example.com )
The Better Angels of our Nature NMP1005/ISMN 979-0-708129-04-2
Goodfellow (for flute, oboe & piano) NMP1017/ISMN 979-0-708129-26-4
Marketing and Promotion
The CD will be advertised in both BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone.
Physical review copies of the CD will not be distributed, but the audio files and CD booklet can be downloaded from:
Interviews with Richard Blackford are easily arranged – as are those with many of the performers featured on this release. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracklisting & CD Information
Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 35 (Grave. Doppio movimento (04:55); Scherzo (06:36); Marche funèbre: Lento (08:49); Finale. Presto. Sotto voce e legato (1:45); Ballade No. 1 Op. 23 (8:28); Ballade No. 2 Op. 38 (6:41); Ballade no. 3 Op. 47 (7:25); Ballade No. 4 Op. 52 (10:03); Fantaisie Op. 40 (12:19)
Challenge Classics CC72728 SACD [Bar Code 0608917272826]; Released on 10th February 2017.
Standard CD Jewel Case with card sleeve. Single CD released at Full Price. Simultaneous digital release through all download and streaming services.
This disc represents the second release from Angela Brownridge on Challenge Classics. Following on from her disc of Beethoven Sonatas (3, 23 & 30) from different periods, Angela continues to survey romantic masterpieces and presents here some of the cornerstones of Chopin’s creative output.
Sleeve notes are by eminent critic Bryce Morrison.
An interview with Angela Brownridge about this project can be viewed via
Hailed as a major star in classical music Angela Brownridge has been compared with such pianists as the legendary Solomon, Rachmaninov, Cherkassky, and Bolet. She began her life in an atmosphere of freedom and individualism virtually impossible to find today. Under the guidance of Maria Curcio, who had been a pupil of Schnabel for many years, she absorbed the ability to produce every nuance of the piano, and to present music flexibly and persuasively instead of concentrating on a single method of technique or continual displays of brilliance, learning to deal with the differing requirements of a varied range of composers which recalls Cortot in his prime. Indeed, by realising that many pianists of a bygone age played with far more individuality, magic, and inspiration than has become the fashion, she was able to develop her own unique personality. In an age which has become over-fascinated with mere technique, and which seeks the degree of ‘perfection’ offered by over-edited CDs, Angela’s playing restores spontaneity, character, and beauty of sound to the platform.
A child prodigy, equally talented in composition, extemporisation, and technically brilliant, Angela first performed in public at the age of seven, and a year later had several pieces published. By the age of ten she had given her first concerto performance, and in her early teens was appearing regularly as a recitalist and concerto performer throughout Great Britain and abroad. She later won a piano scholarship to Edinburgh University, and after graduating B. Mus. was awarded a further scholarship for a two-year period of study in Rome with Guido Agosti. As the winner of several competitions she was able to continue her studies with Maria Curcio in London, where she now lives.
Since then Angela has appeared in all the major London concert halls, and has visited Eastern and Western Europe, the USA, Canada, the Far East and Australia, as well as performing extensively in the UK. She has been a soloist with many leading orchestras and conductors, and Festival engagements include Bath, Edinburgh, Warwick, Newport Rhode Island, Bratislava, Brno, Hong Kong, and Maastricht.
Her recorded repertoire is very varied, including some first ever collections of the complete piano music of Barber, Gershwin, Kenneth Leighton and the complete piano concertos of Saint-Saëns.
Her recordings have received worldwide critical acclaim, several being voted “Critics’ Choice” by Hi-Fi News and Record of the Year by the Absolute Sound magazine of America. She has also appeared on BBC TV in programmes which have involved her in discussion about the music she has performed. She often gives lecture recitals and master classes, and maintains her love of improvisation which has led her on occasions into the world of jazz.
Angela has the below detailed concerts in her diary – many of which will feature some of the repertoire included in this new disc.
January 20th Oldham Town Hall
January 26th/27th Masterclass at Loughborough Endowed Schools/Recital the following day
February 17th Dr. Challoner’s School for Girls. Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire.
February 24th Dorset County Museum
March 4th Trinity Hall, Ringwood
March 25th Tincleton Gallery, Dorchester, Dorset
April 8th St. Mary’s Church, Barnes, South London
April 30th Cadogan Hall, London
May 16th Grange Park, Winchmore Hill, London. (Lunchtime)
May 30th Wesley’s Chapel. Old Street, London. (Lunchtime)
July 26th Chichester Cathedral.
Marketing, Promotion and Further information
Angela’s new CD will be fully serviced to UK press and media. Advertising will include appropriate classical magazines both in print and online.
Interview requests can be accommodated quickly, either in person or by telephone. Please request a review copy of the CD from email@example.com
Israeli soprano Varda Kotler will be making her London debut on Saturday 14th January 2017 at Conway Hall, commencing at 7.30pm.
Varda will be presenting a melodic song recital designed to present two sides of each composer – poetic and lyrical styles in contrast with humour and satire.
Featured Concert Repertoire
Mahler: Ich ging mit lust/Lob des Hohen Verstand; Schubert: Du bist die Ruh/Versunken; Brahms: Lerchengesang/Vergebliches Ständchen; Poulenc: Deux poems by Louis Aragon; Pauline Viardot: Hai Luli/Les Deux Roses; Debussy: Jane/Mandoline; Richard Strauss: Ständchen/Hat Gesagt, Bleibt’s Nicht Dabei; Andre Caplet: Le Corbeau et le Renard/Viens! Une flute invisible; Hugo Wolf: Die Bekherte/Ich hab in Penna
Varda Kotler will be accompanied by pianist Israel Kastoriano. In addition, actor Simon Mitelman (https://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/2290-6724-4751) will recite excerpts from the translations of the original source poems and texts.
Full details about the concert, together with a link to book tickets can be found by visiting:
Several of the pieces featured in the concert have been recorded and are available on Varda Kotler’s recently released CD “L’Heure Romantique” (on Forlane/Disques Dom).
Pucell: Music for a while; Mahler: Ich ging mit lust durch einen grünen wald/Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft/Liebst du um Schönheit; Schumann: Abend lied/Der Nussbaum/Du bist wie ein Blume/Die Meerfee/Erstes Grün; Bizet: Ma vie a son secret/Sonnet/Rose d’amour/Tarantelle/Guitare; Caplet: Le Corbeau et le Renard; Ravel: Vocalise-Étude (en form de Habanera); Paul Ben-Haim: Ariozo/Ballad (Songs without Words): A. Boskovitch: How beautiful you are (song of birds); Canteloube: Chorietan buruzagi/la pastura als camps/Lo fiolaire; Mozart: Parto, parto ma tu ben mio; Meyerbeer: Nobles Seigneurs, Salut!
Playing Time 73.10
UK physical release of “L’Heure Romantique” is via Discovery. Catalogue Number FOR16878 [Bar Code 3254870168781]. This single CD comes in a standard jewelcase and would be classed as mid-price. Booklet notes on the repertoire are by Varda Kotler and are in English. The lyrics for each piece are reproduced in the booklet in the language of performance along with a translation into English.
Varda Kotler is a native of Tel Aviv and a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. She studied voice with Netania Dovrat and continued her studies with Vera Roze in London and Rita Patane in New York and Italy.
She has sung at festivals, opera-houses and concerts in Israel and Europe (particularly in France) with the conductors: Pinchas Steinberg, Siegfried Kohler, Lawrence Foster, Kees Bakels, Arthur Fagen, Steven Sloan, Mendi Rodan and in New York with Hugo Weisgall and the New York Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Among her performances are: Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Requiem Mass in D-minor and the Vesperae Solennes. Bach’s Magnificat, Handel Cantatas, Berlioz Les Nuits d’été, and Berio’s Folk Songs. Varda sang the operatic roles of Cherubino, Siebel, Rosina, Stephano and Flora. Recitals, operas and concerts have taken her to: Paris, Monte-Carlo, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne and Messina Italy). She has received good reviews in the New York Times, Die Presse, Wiener-Zeitung, Der Standard, The Jerusalem Post, Giornale di Sicilia, Maariv, Yediot Aharonot and Haaretz.
Varda Kotler’s first CD Recital appeared in 1999 and the CD – “Melodies Londonienne” by Charles Gounod appeared in 2001 both on the French label REM Numerique Digital. The discs both received good reviews in Le Monde de la Musique, Repertoire, Chronique Musical, Opera International, L`Education Musicale and others. Her third CD “Melodies Londonienne” won the prize Victoires de la Musique Classique for 2002. The CD “BEN-HAIM Melodies” won the prize Victoires de la Musique Classique for 2005.
Israel Kastoriano was born in Istanbul, Turkey, where he began his piano studies. He subsequently studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem, Israel and the Mannes College of Music, New York, where he graduated with highest honours in both piano and orchestral conducting. During his seven year stay in the USA Kastoriano appeared in solo recital and chamber music concerts for radio and television as well as at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. He was assistant conductor to Mr. Leon Barzun at the National Orchestral Association. At the Tanglewood Festival he won first prize in piano with citations from Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa. He was also a finalist in the Bolzano piano competition, Italy.
Kastoriano is pianist and keyboard player of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and as such has collaborated with great conductors including Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Masur. He regularly tours with the orchestra. He is active as a solo and chamber musician, appearing regularly with the very best of Israeli and foreign musicians. He performs in a four-hand piano duo with Anat Sharon and has also performed extensively with cellists Michael Haran and Michel Strauss, flautist Yossi Arnheim, violinists Yigal Tuneh and Gerard Poulet, and clarinettist Richard Lesser, to name but a few. He regularly tours South and North America, Europe and Turkey as a chamber musician and recitalist.
His involvement with voice accompaniment brought him into collaboration with the New Israel Opera. He received a special invitation from Placido Domingo to serve as principal pianist and assistant conductor at the singing competition in Madrid. He was also the principal pianist at the Leonard Bernstein singing competition in Jerusalem, Israel.
If required a telephone interview with Ms Kotler in advance of her arrival can be quickly arranged.
Review copies of the CD are available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracklisting & CD Information
String Quartet No. 1 Op. 8 (1948-9); String Quartet No. 2 Op. 20 (1952-53); String Quartet No. 3 (1976) *; Adagio and Scherzo (1943) *
*World Premiere Recording
Composer & Repertoire Information
Peter Racine Fricker was undoubtedly one of the UK’s finest composers, sadly neglected and rejected by the English Establishment, in 1964 he moved to California where he took up a teaching position at UCSB. He continued to compose prolifically, returning to England occasionally.
Born on 5th September 1920 to parents who met during their service in the Mediterranean theatre of World War I, Fricker’s interest in music took root while he was a student at St Paul’s School. He was especially interested in organ performance, studying with Henry Wilson and Ralph Downes; he also formed an enduring friendship with fellow student Dennis Brain. Fricker entered the Royal College in 1937, continuing his study with Wilson and with Ernest Bullock. This training was thoroughly conservative in outlook, with reverent and obsessive attention paid to counterpoint that would forever remain a hallmark of Fricker’s musicianship, however much he may have strayed into new directions. At this time, his interest in composition vied with his interest in organ performance; he continued to consider a career as a concert organist until the late 1940s. He entered military service in 1941, maintaining his musical interests as best he could through the remainder of the war, most frequently composing piano music.
The “Adagio and Scherzo” for string quartet remains the most thoroughly developed work from this time. They were written in the summer of 1943, and were probably intended as the central movements of a formal quartet.
With the end of his military service, Fricker set about resuming his career in music straight away. Determined now to be a composer, he sought out the fervent environment at Morley College. It was here that he met his mentor, Matyas Seiber, (whom he later called “the greatest teacher of the 20th century”) and Michael Tippett. Among so many stimulating influences, Fricker began producing publishable work. His first important success was the Wind Quintet, Op. 5, which took the Clements Prize of 1947 which Dennis Brain took into his repertoire with great and lasting enthusiasm. Fricker then turned to the string quartet in the summer of 1948 as he sought to build a solid base for his catalogue, and successes accumulated at a breathtaking pace. His Op. 8 was started on 14th July and finished on 5th November. He submitted it for the Edwin Evans Prize: though he lost to Elizabeth Maconchy, the committee made honourable mention of him.
His First Symphony, Op. 9, completed in February 1949, was awarded the 1949 Koussevitzky Prize, and was scheduled for a première performance at the 1950 Cheltenham Festival thereby heightening awareness of Fricker as a serious composer. The Op. 8 String Quartet received its première in London in September followed by the Amadeus Quartet’s performance on 11th October and they featured it the following summer on European tour to much critical acclaim. The quartet is cast in one movement, but within this casing an unusual organization of three-movement form may be felt.
A steady flow of compositions followed – mostly concerti. Fricker followed Tippet as Director of Music at Morley College, a post he held for 12 years. By the summer of 1952 Fricker was writing another quartet at the Amadeus’s behest, which he completed in 1953. Despite the warm reception that the Second Quartet received, Fricker would not revisit the medium for twenty years – at the time there was a lack of enthusiasm from publishers for the quartet genre. Elliott Carter’s Third String Quartet changed this view: Fricker dedicated his own Third Quartet to Carter “in admiration”, writing without a commission, and completing it at the end of 1976. Sadly enough, the Quartet went un-played until he suggested it for the 1984 Cheltenham Festival. Fricker was delighted with the very successful performance by the Chilingirian Quartet on 19th July.
Though he began thinking about a Fourth Quartet in the summer of 1989, he was, by then, stricken with terminal cancer and struggling to finish the commissions he had at work. He died in Santa Barbara on 1st February 1990.
The Villiers Quartet was the winner of the 2015 Radcliffe Chamber Music Competition, and holds the position of Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University’s Faculty of Music. Named after Villiers Street in London’s colourful musical epicentre, the Villiers Quartet encompasses the grand and iconic spirit of the extraordinary music tradition in London. One of the most charismatic and “adventurous” quartets of the European chamber music scene, the Villiers Quartet has developed an international reputation for its performances of English composers including Elgar, Britten and Delius. The Quartet has been featured in numerous festivals including the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, the Brit Jazz Fest, the Hungerford Arts Festival and the British Music Society. Their internationally acclaimed VQ New Works Competition encourages audiences to interact with contemporary music performance online, and supports the creation of new works for string quartet. Known for championing the works of English composers, the VQ has presented master-classes at Dartmouth College, the University of Nottingham, Syracuse University, Goshen College, and the Indiana University South Bend. The VQ is also Quartet-in-Residence at Nottingham High School, where they oversee an extensive chamber music programme for young students. Their début recording for Naxos, Robert Still’s The Four String Quartets (8.571353), won high praise from Gramophone and received five stars in Classical Music Magazine. The VQ was the featured quartet on the soundtrack to the BBC television drama Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and they have been featured extensively on BBC Radio 3 in live performance and on the programme “In Tune”.
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VQ - Fricker Quartets - Press Release (476.3 KiB)