N Clarke - The Prophecies of Merlin | Naxos 8579127

N Clarke - The Prophecies of Merlin


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Label: Naxos

Cat No: 8579127

Barcode: 0747313912773

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 23rd June 2023



Peter Sheppard Skaerved (violin)
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra


Neil Thomson


Clarke, Nigel

The Prophecies of Merlin


Peter Sheppard Skaerved (violin)
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra


Neil Thomson


The Brussels-based British composer Nigel Clarke is renowned for his virtuosic style, and an uncompromising contemporary musical language that speaks with an authentic voice to today’s audiences. This world-premiere recording of his symphony for violin and orchestra The Prophecies of Merlin is inspired by the 12th-century text De gestis Britonum by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and it casts the soloist as the maddened Merlin, either raging alone or caught up in the wild tumult of the orchestra. This score brims with rhythmic drive and bravura orchestration, juxtaposing savage musical outbursts with moments of sheer transcendental beauty.

Nigel Clarke is amongst a select handful of highly regarded British composers whose work has been performed to great acclaim internationally. His Naxos recordings have until now been largely in the field of brass and wind band music. These include his cornet concerto Mysteries of the Horizon (8574097) which was much admired in MusicWeb International: ‘Nigel Clarke’s music for band is as superbly crafted and serious in intent as his output for other forces.’ With The Prophecies of Merlin we are delighted to be able to expand this repertoire with a full-blooded orchestral work topped by an internationally renowned soloist.

Grammy Award-nominated violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved is the dedicatee of over 400 works for solo violin. His association with Nigel Clarke dates back to 1984. He has recorded over 70 albums, previously having worked with Nigel Clarke on The Miraculous Violin and Black Fire (8570429).

Neil Thomson has been principal conductor and artistic director of the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra since 2014, leading the orchestra to national prominence with its championing of Brazilian and contemporary repertoire. He also enjoys a busy international career working with all the major UK orchestras and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (Osesp), WDR Rundfunkorchester, Lahti Symphony Orchestra and the Romanian National Orchestra, among others. He has performed with many distinguished soloists including Dame Felicity Lott, Sir Thomas Allen, Sir James Galway, Nelson Freire, Jean Louis Steuerman and Antonio Meneses.

The internationally renowned ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra is known for its exceptional programming, the orchestra combining 19th-century repertoire with contemporary works and rarely performed pieces from other periods. Its recordings for labels such as Capriccio, Orfeo, Oehms Classics, Naxos and others have given it a central place in the record catalogues.

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