Skempton - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Only the Sound Remains | NMC Recordings NMCD234

Skempton - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Only the Sound Remains

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Label: NMC Recordings

Cat No: NMCD234

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 21st April 2017

Contents

Artists

Roderick Williams (baritone)
Christopher Yates (viola)
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Conductor

Martyn Brabbins

Works

Skempton, Howard

Only the Sound Remains
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Artists

Roderick Williams (baritone)
Christopher Yates (viola)
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Conductor

Martyn Brabbins

About

Perfectly crafted, deceptively simplistic and distinctively individual, Howard Skempton's compositions have a soundworld all of their own. This new full-length album on NMC perfectly displays his experimental, yet sonorous and tonal music.

Skempton takes on Coleridge's epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and brings it to life, using just solo voice (baritone) and small chamber ensemble. The result is a stunning, dark and hypnotic journey led by the almost constant, magnetic presence of Roderick Williams, for whose voice and dramatic capabilities the piece was conceived.

Only the Sound Remains takes its name from the opening line of The Mill-Water by English poet Edward Thomas. The piece is an evocation of loss and decay, where textures, and melodies mysteriously recur, while others simply fade beautifully out of aural reach. It is written for sixteen players, including solo viola.

This is a stunning premiere recording of two recent works by one of Britain's finest living composers.

Skempton's hugely successful Lento for orchestra, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, is available on NMCD005.

Reviews

The vocal line [in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner] is necessarily dominant, given the wealth of imagery to be conveyed, though it helps when Roderick Williams has a clarity of enunciation second to none. The instrumental accompaniment for string quintet, horn and double bass is no less acutely judged; notably in those brief interludes which elide between textual excisions and crystalise the musicís emotional essence to haunting effect. ... Superbly recorded and informatively annotated, this is a valuable addition to Skemptonís expanding discography and welcome acknowledgement of his significance in his 70th year.  Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone June 2017
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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