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 George Benjamin Conducts

NI5964 Into The Little Hill, Dream of the Song, Flight - Conducted by the Composer

Into The Little Hill is based on the Pied Piper story, allowing audiences an immediate entry point into the opera’s dramaturgy. But Crimp’s re-telling simultaneously updates the story, with its politicians, photographs, and limousines, and opens up further mythic dimensions to the narrative. The drama of Into the Little Hill is concise, clear, and simultaneously ambiguous, even chilling. Benjamin says, ‘Martin’s text is hard-edged, formal, and hyper-condensed’. The reason for its musical and dramatic success is Benjamin’s unerring feeling for expressive characterisation. Each layer of Into the Little Hill’s score is immediately identifiable, from the Crowd’s baying cries of ‘Kill them’ right at the start of the piece, to the rodentine scurrying of the rat’s music, and the Mother’s lamenting grief in the last scene.

Dream of the Song is a mysteriously sensual and sensually strange song-cycle for countertenor, a halo of female voices that are similar in register, but so different in timbre and sound and expression, and orchestra. The counter-tenor sings poems, in English, by Jewish poets of 11th century Andalucia, themselves inspired by Arabic poetry of earlier centuries. There are images of ravishment and wonder here - moonlight, the celestial tent of the sky, a dream of a gazelle, a harp, a flute - but they are always undercut by other ideas. Above all, it’s the gossamer rapier of Benjamin’s music that cuts to the heart of these settings.

Written in his late teens: Flight, for solo flute, whose swooping crests and curlicues are fervently relished in Michael Cox’s performance. Benjamin describes the piece as ‘inspired by the sight of birds soaring and dipping over the peaks of the Swiss Alps’.  Listening to the piece you’ll hear a panoply of songs surfing the musical thermals in the alpine ether: low, long-breathed cries and calls, filigree flocks of ornamentation in the atmospheric heights of the flute’s register, a chorus of vapours conjured by a single instrument.

GEORGE BENJAMIN AND NIMBUS


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Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, UK
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From the Catalogue

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George Benjamin is Knighted in the
Queens Birthday Honours

Goerge Benjamin sat at Desk

Nimbus send their heartfelt congratulations to composer and conductor George Benjamin who was Knighted by the Queen in this summers Birthday Honours.
 
George made his first recording for Nimbus in 1980 aged just 19 following a highly successful Prom performance. We have enjoyed an exclusive recording relationship for more than 35 years which has delivered nine discs covering the orchestral, chamber music and opera compositions most with the composer conducting.
 
Adrian Farmer, Music Director for Nimbus commented “This is such a well deserved honour and one which we hope will bring the wonderful sound world that George creates to a wider audience. Our most recent release presenting George’s first opera ‘Into The Little Hill’ retells the well known Pied Piper story whist shining a stark light on our attitudes towards new people arriving in our community. We send our love and sincere congratulations to Sir George and wish for many more years of this most precious partnership.”

All CDs featuring the works of Sir George Benjamin will be discounted until 31st July 2017, click here to view the catalogue

Sir Mark Elder - Hallé
Sir Mark Elder is awarded the
Companion of Honour
The Hallé Concerts Society and its global manufacturing and distribution partner Nimbus / Wyastone is delighted that Sir Mark Elder is to be awarded the Companion of Honour, a special award granted to those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time. There are only ever 65 members at any one time, currently include actress Dame Maggie Smith, Lord Coe, Stephen Hawking, John Major and Desmond Tutu.
 
Speaking to Classic FM, Sir Mark said “It was a great surprise, it’s a great thrill and if it has something to do with my wonderful orchestra in Manchester then I’m very happy. It’s so important that the creative life of a country is celebrated at all levels and by everybody, that everybody believes the creative work of a country helps to define what that country is. And the very broad spectrum should be a big part of that. Music says something to people in their lives, whichever sort of music that is, that can’t be replaced by anything else.”
 
Sir Mark has been Music Director of the Hallé since 2000. Sir Mark remains a regular visitor to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Lyric Opera of Chicago and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He was awarded the CBE in 1989 and knighted in 2008. Under his artistic leadership, the Hallé has launched its own CD label, inaugurated a Youth Orchestra, Youth Choirs and a Children’s Choir, embarked on a number of critically acclaimed foreign tours and established a new rehearsal, recording and event venue at Hallé St Peter’s in Manchester. Since Mark Elder’s appointment in Manchester, the Hallé has achieved widespread acclaim from both audience and critics. Awards have come from Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Diapason, the South Bank Show and the Royal Philharmonic Society (of which Sir Mark was awarded Honorary Membership in 2011).
 
Mark Elder’s next appearance with the Hallé will be on Sunday 20 August at the Edinburgh Festival in a performance of Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust.

To view all of the Hallé catalogue, click here

 

 

Ransom Wilson recording Faure Fantaisie

To purchase In the Age of Ravel with Ransom Wilson and François Dumont visit our website

Latest Reviews

George Benjamin - Into the Little Hill CDGeorge Benjamin, Into the Little Hill
Be ready. The opening of George Benjamin’s 40 minute opera Into the Little Hill gives quite a jolt when heard live, and the effect is magnified in the purely auditory realm of CD.  With the composer at the helm. The result is first rate, conveying the power of this ancient tale that holds up an unforgiving mirror to contemporary society. Altogether essential listening.  Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine

Hallé - Parsifal CD
Wagner, Parsifal
Elder had turned the Hallé into a northern powerhouse of its own … but this performance of Parsifal, recorded from a BBC Prom in 2013, is a testament to Elder’s ability to draw the very best from an orchestra. Throughout, Elder’s grand view also finds room for telling details. Neil Fisher, The Times

Gordon Crosse CDGordon Crosse
The Concerto for Chamber Orchestra, composed in 1962, has three short movements. One of the features of this work is the use of a motif derived from the chimes of Magdalen College, Oxford: this can be heard quoted or alluded to throughout the Concerto. [It] is an immediately accessible work, even to listeners who eschew modernism in their normal musical itineraries. MusicWeb

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sales@wyastone.co.uk