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Emily Howard - Torus | NMC Recordings NMCD274

Emily Howard - Torus

£12.69

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Label: NMC Recordings

Cat No: NMCD274

Barcode: 5023363027403

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 28th April 2023

Contents

Artists

BBC Philharmonic
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Conductors

Vimbayi Kaziboni
Mark Wigglesworth
Gabriella Teychenne
Martyn Brabbins

Works

Howard, Emily

Antisphere
Compass
Torus
sphere

Artists

BBC Philharmonic
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Conductors

Vimbayi Kaziboni
Mark Wigglesworth
Gabriella Teychenne
Martyn Brabbins

About

Emily Howard is a multi-award-winning composer who is deeply fascinated with the "poetry" that can be found in mathematical shapes and processes. The development of a series of geometry-inspired orchestral works has been central to her creative practice over recent years, and these Orchestral Geometries make up three of the four pieces on Howard's new album, Torus.

The work which gives the album its name, Torus, was a 2016 BBC Proms Commission described by The Times as "visionary", and was the winner of the orchestral category of the 2017 British Composer Awards. Here the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins bring to life Howard's meditation on the shape which her collaborator, the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy describes in his notes for the album as "a finite flat geometry where top and bottom are joined into a cylinder which is then connected at both ends to make a doughnut shape." Howard translates this into vivid music punctuated with continual oscillations and pulsations, with the void in the centre of the shape playing a vital part in this music of stark contrasts.

Antisphere, which was featured in the Barbican's high-profile Life Rewired season in 2019, interprets the impossibly concave imaginary shape of its namesake. An uncanny panorama of "huge gyrations" and "estranged pitches" (Paul Griffiths), are heard here performed by the BBC Philharmonic with conductor Vimbayi Kaziboni.

Although she is inspired by the intricate mathematical properties of each form, Howard goes further to produce her Orchestral Geometries. She meditates on each form, its distinct character and "shape-energy", saying, "the musical score often emerges through the consideration of multiple journeys around the imagined entity, from multiple viewpoints." During the composition of the smallerscale work sphere, Howard imagined travelling across the convex surface of the shape, encountering different landscapes which are brought to life in this recording by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

The newest work on the album is Compass for string septet (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with conductor Gabriella Teychenné) and solo percussionist (Julian Warburton). Howard conceives of this piece as a synthesis and evolution of her Orchestral Geometries, elaborating on the soundworlds of all three geometric forms, producing music which is more weird, more abstract, perhaps symbolising a new chapter in the composer's body of work.

This new album follows Magnetite, the critically-acclaimed portrait disc which NMC released in 2016 as part of the label's Debut Disc series.

Reviews

These recordings sit on the edge of discomfort, relishing in the stark contrasts of timbres available to an orchestra. Oscillating between these extremes, this is music-making at its most dynamic.
BBC Music Magazine
however grandly cosmic the thinking from which these compositions start out, the end results are intensely human as well as deeply satisfying.
Gramophone
[Torus] unfolds as a beautiful adagio for strings overlaid with stronger pulsations […] Emily Howard has been really lucky with all the performances and recordings on this new album, it's a fine showcase for her orchestral scores and her geometrical explorations.
Record Review (BBC Radio 3)

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