LATEST NEWS

 

A NEW WORK OF POIGNANT SIGNIFICANCE

EM Records is delighted to present a recording of choral works by contemporary composer Paul Carr, whose lyrical and intensely touching works never fail to move and delight. This disc contains the World Première recording of ‘The Light of Love – A Requiem Mass’ (2020), alongside his setting of Psalm 23 (2014, rev. 2017).

 

Carr’s more recent ‘The Light of Love’, scored for mixed-voice choir, soprano saxophone, cello, harp and organ, is modelled on Mozart’s famous Requiem. As a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional requiem mass, Carr’s piece sets a new text in English (by librettist Euan Tait) alongside the usual Latin text. Written in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the circumstances surrounding the work’s composition and recording have been imbued with particular significance both for the composer and for all participants in the recording process.

 

‘The Light of Love’ (EMR CD068) is now released and available to buy from our online shop: please click here to make your purchase. Full details of the recording, including a track listing, are available on this page.

‘COLLOQUY’

The profound bond between plucked instruments and English music has existed since the Renaissance, especially with the outstanding lute music of John Dowland. This epoch is considered as the golden age of plucked instruments and has inspired English composers repeatedly thereafter through to the 20th century. For example, one of the most influential works written in the 20th century for the classical guitar, Benjamin Britten’s ‘Nocturnal after John Dowland’, was based upon ‘Come, Heavy Sleep’ from Dowland’s ‘First Book of Songs’ (1597).

 

As a tribute to the long-standing history of the guitar repertoire, the German guitar duo Duo Guitartes offers in this disc works by John Dowland, Peter Philips, John Johnson, Henry Purcell, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Peter Maxwell Davies, Stephen Dodgson and Joseph Phibbs, a programme which was initially performed at the English Music Festival in May 2017. The majority of these works are new arrangements for guitar duo by Duo Guitartes. ‘Serenade’ (2014), composed by Joseph Phibbs and dedicated to the duo, also receives its World Première recording on this wide-ranging release.

 

Please click here to enjoy extracts from the recording or to read more details; to purchase the disc from our online shop, please follow this link.

LATEST RELEASES: ‘PHOENIX’

EM Records is pleased to announce the release of a new disc of enchanting English oboe and piano music featuring Nicola Hands (oboe) and Jonathan Pease (piano). Named after the ‘Phoenix Sonata’ (2010) by Paul Patterson, this album promotes new contemporary work and arrangements for oboe / cor anglais and piano (three World Première recordings feature here) alongside other gems of the repertoire.

 

First on the disc is ‘Four Country Dances’ (2010) by Richard Rodney Bennett, a piece that embraces a new approach to traditional dance forms. The dances are characterised by faithful, expressive statements of familiar melodies by the oboe, supported by rich, chromatic piano accompaniments that betray the composer’s stature as a jazz pianist. This is followed by William Alwyn’s Oboe Sonata (1934), which has been often overlooked in favour of sonatas by his contemporaries such as Edmund Rubbra or York Bowen. Defying the usual sonata form, the work adopts a more sedate, contemplative style, making great demands of the oboist in terms of stamina and control.

 

The four subsequent tracks are by living composers, starting with the character piece ‘Snake’ (1990) by Michael Berkeley, written for the unusual instrumentation of solo cor anglais, and a dance-inspired work by Jonathan Dove for oboe and piano – ‘Music for a Lovelorn Lenanshee’ (1993). Following this is a brand-new ‘Nocturne’ (2020) for cor anglais and piano, written by Jonathan Pease and specifically dedicated to Nicola, that lends a deeply personal touch to this album. The piece depicts a journey along the Westbourne Canal, a route connecting the homes of the two musicians, and shows the versatility of the cor anglais, an instrument whose range, agility and expressive qualities are often underestimated. The penultimate piece of the disc is Paul Patterson’s ‘Phoenix Sonata’ (2010), recorded for the first time in this release. A powerful work aptly inspired by the mythical bird of fire, Patterson’s piece is a condensed version of his concerto for oboe and string orchestra. The CD ends with a new arrangement by Robert Threlfall of music by Delius from his ‘Dance Rhapsody’ no.1 (1908). The arrangement requires the oboist to play both oboe and cor anglais, and casts Delius’s familiar music in an interesting new light.

 

Full details of the recording, including a track listing and audio extracts, are available on this page. To purchase the disc from our online shop, please click here.

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REVIEWS
Beautifully shaped by Benjamin Frith... Beguiling sounds, graced by the tawny richness and unexaggerated line of Richard Jenkinson’s cello playing... The sense of purpose and sureness of line of Ian Venables’ music is pure oxygen.
EMR CD31 | BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
Exquisitely rewarding... Ravishing accounts.
EMR CD029 | CHOIR AND ORGAN
This is music of great beauty and integrity and the performances fully do it justice. It would be criminal to let it pass you by.

EMR CD028 | INTERNATIONAL
RECORD REVIEW

The Bridge Quartet approach these pieces with a sympathetic and insightful warmth, and confirm their ambassadorial credentials for British chamber music. A lovely, radiant disc.
EMR CD025 | Gramophone
Duncan Honeybourne’s playing is astonishingly affectionate, yet never saccharine... Honeybourne plays with suave confidence.
EMR CD024 | INTERNATIONAL PIANO
Rupert Marshall-Luck is an ideal interpreter: generously but not effusively lyrical; agile and athletic... The warm, folk-song like slow movement is at times almost painfully beautiful, with a shimmering pastoral central section... Marshall-Luck is, again, indefatigable and keenly picks up on the work’s melancholic strain.  Finely recorded and with comprehensive booklet notes, this is a must for fans of 20th-century English repertoire.
EMR CD023 | THE STRAD