Gavin Bryars - Nothing Like the Sun | GB Records BCGBCD24

Gavin Bryars - Nothing Like the Sun


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Label: GB Records

Cat No: BCGBCD24

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 15th July 2016



Peyee Chen (soprano)
John Potter (tenor)
Gavin Friday (speaking voice)
Gavin Bryars Ensemble


Bryars, Gavin

Nothing like the Sun (8 Shakespeare sonnets)


Peyee Chen (soprano)
John Potter (tenor)
Gavin Friday (speaking voice)
Gavin Bryars Ensemble


Recorded live in Adelaide in 2015, this album consists of Gavin Bryars’ settings of Shakespeare sonnets with singers John Potter and Peyee Chen and guest artist Gavin Friday as narrator, accompanied by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble.

Nothing Like the Sun began life as a commission from Opera North and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2007. At the time Bryars had already produced four books of madrigals, chiefly of Petrarch. He says: ‘Shakespeare’s sonnets, like Petrarch’s, are full of wonderful technical subtlety and although the form of the Shakespeare sonnet, with its three quatrains and a couplet, is different from Petrarch’s, this enabled me to arrive at a shape for the musical setting.

‘In selecting the works to set, I preferred to focus on those that are more philosophical, choosing sonnets that contrast the relative permanence of art against the impermanence of human life, that focus on ideas of memory, on the passage of time, and which, when dealing with love, do so in a more abstract way. I narrowed this down to eight sonnets: and each sonnet is set twice – first spoken within a musical accompaniment and then sung. These more abstract sonnets, reflecting as they do on concepts of impermanence and mortality, are inevitably pervaded with melancholy, a quintessentially Elizabethan quality.’

It is being released in Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year when there is a great deal of focus on this event.

Gavin Bryars Ensemble:
- Anna Coleman (bass clarinet, clarinet)
- James Woodrow (electric guitar, acoustic guitar)
- Rebecca Lagos (percussion)
- Roland Peelman (piano)
- Morgan Goff (viola)
- Imants Larsens (viola)
- Nick Cooper (cello)
- Gavin Bryars (double bass)

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