Errollyn Wallen - Photography: Orchestral Works
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Label: NMC Recordings
Cat No: NMCD221
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 18th March 2016
ArtistsMatthew Sharp (cello)
The Continuum Ensemble
Tim Harries (bass guitar)
Errollyn Wallen (voice)
Errollyn Wallen’s music is both immediately familiar and entirely original. She combines popular styles, aspects of minimalism, baroque counterpoint, modernist rhythms, and lush romantic textures and draws on influences around her. Many of the works on this album have personal associations and are written for long-standing musical collaborators and friends who appear on this recording.
The Cello Concerto combines passion and beauty with a fearless, rigorous technique. It fuses the cello tradition of Bach to Britten with bluesy ostinatos, angular modernist jolts and an immersive string texture. Bach is also the influence in the 4-movement work Photography, with the second movement quoting Sinfonia No.14 (BWV 800).
If Bach provides one of the mainstays of Errollyn’s kaleidoscopic idiom, the other most obvious one is Purcell. The final track In Earth eerily adapts and distorts Dido's famous lament, using popular music delivery with Errollyn on vocals and jazz musician Tim Harries on bass guitar, accompanied by Quartet X.
Errollyn Wallen was born in Belize and moved to England when she was two years old. She founded Ensemble X in 1990 in order to compose classical music for a handpicked group of brilliant musicians. Her music has been played in outer space on the NASA STS-115 mission, and was broadcast to a billion people around the world when she was commissioned to write a piece for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Her works include commissions by the BBC, Royal Opera House, Wigmore Hall, Brodsky Quartet, Welsh National Opera and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. She was the first black woman to have her work performed at the BBC Proms and the first female recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music.
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