Cover Howard Skempton: Chamber Works

Album info

Album-Release:
2019

HRA-Release:
17.10.2019

Label: First Hand Records

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Vocal

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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Formats & Prices

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FLAC 96 $ 14.00
  • Howard Skempton (b. 1947):
  • 1Man and Bat25:34
  • Piano Concerto (Version for Piano & String Quartet):
  • 2Piano Concerto (Version for Piano & String Quartet): I. —03:24
  • 3Piano Concerto (Version for Piano & String Quartet): II. —02:38
  • 4Piano Concerto (Version for Piano & String Quartet): III. —02:53
  • 5Piano Concerto (Version for Piano & String Quartet): IV. —03:03
  • 6Piano Concerto (Version for Piano & String Quartet): V. —04:09
  • The Moon Is Flashing (Version for Tenor & Chamber Ensemble):
  • 7The Moon Is Flashing (Version for Tenor & Chamber Ensemble): I. The Moon Is Flashing01:52
  • 8The Moon Is Flashing (Version for Tenor & Chamber Ensemble): II. A Day in 3 Wipes03:48
  • 9The Moon Is Flashing (Version for Tenor & Chamber Ensemble): III. Snake13:32
  • Howard Skempton:
  • 10Eternity's Sunrise09:17
  • Total Runtime01:10:10

Info for Howard Skempton: Chamber Works



This album of premiere recordings of works by Howard Skempton, including ‘Man and Bat’, the Piano Concerto, ‘The Moon is Flashing’ and ‘Eternity’s Sunrise’, features possibly the greatest baritone of our time Roderick Williams, the celebrated tenor James Gilchrist, leading chamber pianist TimHorton and the fantastic Ensemble 360.

Howard Skempton was born in Chester in 1947 and has worked as a composer, accordionist and music publisher. He studied in London with Cornelius Cardew which helped him to discover a musical language of great simplicity. Since then he has continued to write undeflected by compositional trends, producing a corpus of more than 300 works- many pieces being miniatures for solo piano or accordion. Skempton calls these pieces ‘the central nervous system’ of his work. His catalogue of works is as diverse as it is long, ranging from pieces for solo cello and guitar to the Chamber Concerto for fifteen players, the Concerto for Hurdy-Gurdy and Percussion, and Lento, premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1991. His works are performed on this new release by Ensemble 360 alongside pianist Tim Horton, and vocalists Roderick Williams and James Gilchrist.

He [Skempton] has gifted us yet another tour de force for the gleeful performer and audiences are in for a real treat.” (Roderick Williams on Man and Bat)

“I think it’s a wonderful piece. I have no idea why it works and hangs together as a whole, but it does, I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I loved this piece” (James Gilchrist on The Moon is Flashing)

Roderick Williams, baritone
James Gilchrist, tenor
Tim Horton, piano
Ensemble 360:
Benjamin Nabarro, violin
Claudia Ajmone-Marsan, violin
Ruth Gibson, viola
Gemma Rosefield, cello



Roderick Williams
performs a wide repertoire, from baroque to contemporary music, in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital. He won the Singer of the Year Award in the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards and was awarded the OBE for services to music in June 2017.

He works regularly with all of the major UK opera houses with roles including Papageno / Die Zauberflöte, Don Alfonso / Cosi fan tutte, the title role in Billy Budd, the title role in Il ritorno di Ulisse and has also sung world premieres of operas by, among others, David Sawer, Sally Beamish, Michael van der Aa and Robert Saxton.

Roderick Williams has sung with all the BBC orchestras, and many other ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, Britten Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Academy of Ancient Music, The Sixteen, Le Concert Spirituel, Rias Kammerchor and Bach Collegium Japan. His many festival appearances include the BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, Bath and Melbourne. In 2015 he sang Christus in Peter Sellars’ staging of the St John Passion with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and performed the role again with both the Berlin Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in 2019.

Recent and future engagements include Oronte in Charpentier’s Medée, Toby Kramer in Van der Aa’s Sunken Garden, Don Alfonso/Così, the baritone role in a staging of Britten’s War Requiem and Sharpless / Madame Butterfly for English National Opera, the title role in Eugene Onegin for Garsington Opera, Van der Aa’s After Life at Melbourne State Theatre, Van der Aa’s Sunken Garden at Opera de Lyon, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and with Dallas Opera, the title role in Billy Budd for Opera North and at the Aldeburgh Festival, Papageno Die Zauberflöte and Ulisse Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a concert performance of Ned Keene/Peter Grimes with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Last Night of the 2014 BBC Proms, as well as concert performances with many of the world’s leading orchestras and ensembles including a European tour with the New York Philharmonic in 2020. He is also an accomplished recital artist who can be heard at venues and festivals including Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, LSO St Luke’s, the Perth Concert Hall, Oxford Lieder Festival, London Song Festival, the Musikverein, Vienna, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and on Radio 3, where he has participated in Iain Burnside’s Voices programme.

His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for Naxos. He is in the process of recording the three Schubert cycles with Iain Burnside for Chandos.

Roderick Williams is also a composer and has had works premiered at the Wigmore and Barbican Halls, the Purcell Room and live on national radio. He was Artistic Director of Leeds Lieder + in April 2016.

James Gilchrist
began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996. His musical interest was fired at a young age, singing first as a chorister in the choir of New College, Oxford, and later as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge.

James’ extensive concert repertoire has seen him perform in major concert halls throughout the world with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Bernard Labadie, Harry Christophers, Harry Bicket and the late Richard Hickox. Recent highlights have included Britten’s Church Parables with performances in St Petersburg, London and at the Aldeburgh Festival, Handel’s L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato with the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Teatro Real, Madrid, Solomon with Les Violons du Roy, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri and Die Schöpfung at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Britten’s Nocturne with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and War Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. In J.S. Bach’s great Passions of St John and St Matthew, James works consistently at the highest level and is recognised as the finest Evangelist of his generation; as one recent BBC Proms reviewer noted, ‘he hasn’t become a one-man Evangelist industry by chance’.

A prolific and versatile recitalist, James enjoys imaginative and varied programming in collaborations with pianists Anna Tilbrook and Julius Drake, and harpist Alison Nicholls. Recent appearances include a Schubertiade weekend at St John Smith Square and Schwanengesang coupled with Beethoven An die Ferne Geliebte at the Wigmore Hall. James recently returned to the Wigmore Hall to begin his project with Anna Tilbrook, Schumann and the English Romantics, pairing Schumann song cycles with new commissions from leading composers, Sally Beamish, Julian Philips and Jonathan Dove, setting English poetry of the Romantic period.

James’ impressive discography includes the title role in Albert Herring and Vaughan Williams’ A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, St John Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Finzi song cycle Oh Fair To See, Elizabethan Lute Songs When Laura Smiles with Matthew Wadsworth, Leighton Earth Sweet Earth, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge, Finzi songs and Britten’s Winter Words for Linn Records and the critically-acclaimed recordings of Schubert’s song cycles for Orchid Classics. James and Anna Tilbrook have recently released a new disc of Schumann song cycles for Linn Records.

Recent engagements include performances with The King’s Consort at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest; concert performances of Semele with Concerto Köln, and Hercules with the English Concert; Handel’s Messiah with Boston Handel and Haydn Society; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and with the Academy of Ancient Music; a recital with Julius Drake at the Concertgebouw and Haydn’s Creation with Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia and in a new staged production for Garsington Opera and Ballet Rambert, as well as appearing as the Evangelist in St Matthew Passion across Europe with the Monteverdi Choir.

This season, highlights include Handel L’Allegro with Stuttgart Bachakademie; Haydn Creation at Sadler’s Wells (Garsington Opera / Ballet Rambert) and in Denmark (Aarhus Symphony Orchestra); Christmas Oratorio across Europe with Windsbacher Knabenchor; and appearances at the Lammermuir, Roman River, Hatfield House and Oxford Lieder festivals. James will also curate a concert series of Bach and Purcell for the Academy of Ancient Music, and appears in the role of Reverend Horace Adams in Britten’s Peter Grimes for Bergen National Opera and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Tim Horton
is one of the leading chamber pianists of his generation. He is a founder member of both the Leonore Piano Trio and Ensemble 360 and has been a regular guest pianist with the Nash Ensemble.

In recent years he has also been gaining a reputation as a solo pianist. He presented a complete Beethoven Sonata cycle at the Crucible Studio, Sheffield for Music in the Round between 2011 and 2015, where he is currently engaged in a cycle of Schubert Sonatas, and was invited to make his solo debut at Wigmore Hall in 2016 where he will be giving further solo recitals in the coming seasons.

Following two performances of Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle at Symphony Hall, Birmingham and the Royal Festival Hall, London in 1995, at the recommendation of Alfred Brendel, Tim was asked to give concerts with the RLPO, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.

With the Leonore Piano Trio, Tim has given concerts throughout the UK, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Europe. They have performed a cycle of the complete Beethoven Trios at King’s Place, London and have repeated the cycle at various venues since then. They have produced five discs for Hyperion, the latest of which, the first disc in a complete Parry Trio cycle appeared in February 2019. They have also recorded the complete Piano Trios of David Matthews for Toccata Classics. Future plans include further cycles of the Beethoven Trios and concerts at the Wigmore Hall and throughout the UK and Europe.

With Ensemble 360, a mixed group of strings, wind and piano that took up residency at the Crucible Studio in Sheffield in 2005, he has performed to great acclaim throughout the UK and abroad. The Ensemble presents an annual nine-day festival in May, in collaboration with Music in the Round, which this year includes a day devoted to the music of Brahms, performances of works by Thomas Ades, Messiaen and Britten and several children’s events. The Ensemble has also recorded discs of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Spohr and Poulenc.

Tim has performed regularly at the Aldeburgh, Bath, Elverum, Plush, Presteigne, Midsummer Music and North Norfolk festivals. In 2018 he was invited to curate two weekends of concerts at the Plush Festival in Dorset. The repertoire included music from Gesualdo, through Bach, Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms, to Stockhausen, Kurtag, Boulez and Michael Berkeley performed by the Fieri Consort, The Heath Quartet, Sir Andras Schiff and many close colleagues from the world of chamber music.

Tim has performed with many leading chamber musicians including the Elias, Vertavo and Talich Quartets, Paul Lewis, Imogen Cooper, Alasdair Beatson, Bjorg Lewis, Robin Ireland (with whom he has released two discs), Peter Cropper, Adrian Brendel and Rachel Roberts.

Booklet for Howard Skempton: Chamber Works

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