This stunning six piece contemporary music band presents its most recent commissions - new music from five of Britain’s most exciting composers. These works were commissioned and premiered by The New Music Players over a three year cycle of concerts creating new repertoire for the ensemble’s virtuoso musicians: Rowland Sutherland (flutes), Fiona Cross (clarinets), Mieko Kanno (violin), Michael Atkinson (cello), Richard Casey (piano), Tim Palmer (percussion).
This CD additionally features the voice of Louise Mott in The Sibyl of Cumae, a brilliant young singer who has already sung principal roles with Almeida, Opera Group, ENO, WNO and BBC Proms. Her recordings include Marthe in Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust under Philippe Herreweghe for Harmonia Mundi. The double-bassist Paul Sherman, principal with ECO and Opus 20, also joins the group for this work.
Each work occupies its own highly individual territory. But the works have in common an impulse to embrace wider, non-musical concerns and programmes. For James Wood, Crying Bird, Echoing Star brings together two long-held fascinations, namely birdsong and the star patterns of the constellations. Gordon McPherson writes that his piece is a call to young composers to ask themselves what’s really important to their own writing. Edward Dudley Hughes’s work evokes the semi-mythical Sibyl of Cumae’s possession by the god Apollo and her arduous spirit journeys to the underworld. Rowland Sutherland’s work explores the sounds and colours of distant places as they invigorate the imagination. Finally, Rolf Hind’s The Horse Sacrifice is inspired by a crucial and elaborate part of Vedic (early Hindu) ritual.
The New Music Players was founded by the composer Edward Dudley Hughes and is one of the most engaging of the new independent contemporary classical ensembles. It has made several commercial CDs, worked with leading composers, broadcast many times on BBC Radio 3, appeared at major UK Festivals, toured in Europe and is currently Ensemble-In-Residence at the University of York.
The recording and commissions were supported by a grant from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts.