Author Archive for Divine Art Recording Group

Contemporary jazz from Panayiotis Demopoulos

The name of Greek (English trained) pianist/composer Panayiotis Demopoulos will be appearing regularly in Divine Art Group news. He is planning new recordings of both solo piano music and chamber works, and meanwhile the spring will see him in a different genre altogether, that of contemporary jazz. His solo improvisational Suite ‘Nina’s Clock’ was recorded in England by ASC and is to appear on the Métier Jazz label – but will be of interest to followers of contemporary ‘classical music’ too. Due in the late spring or summer (dates to be confirmed) on Métier Jazz MJD 72405.

John McLeod’s complete solo piano works

There are few composers whose genius is fully realised in their own era – but one of them must be John McLeod, a Scot with a truly international voice.

A new double CD/digital album will be issued in summer 2018 by Métier, the contemporary-music division of the Divine Art Group, containing McLeod’s complete (to date) music for solo piano. All are live concert performances by fellow Scot Murray McLachlan, whose previous recordings for Divine Art, and earlier for Olympia, have drawn unstinting praise. This will be a major pianistic recording in all senses, to be released as Métier MSV 77207. One piece is performed not by Murray, but by his daughter, 15-year-old Rose McLachlan; a debut for a very promising star of the future!

Music for two pianos…

… and percussion.  Bartok’s Concerto and Camilleri’s  Sonata,  for this combination, are joined by Stravinsky’s own 2-piano transcription of The Rite of Spring in another fine reissue from the Dunelm Records catalog. Murray McLachlan and Kathryn Page (pianos), Heather Corbett and Stephen Burke (percussion). To be issued at mid price (CD and digital) in April 2018.

Sir John Manduell dies at 89

The veteran English composer Sir John Manduell has died at the age of 89. He passed away suddenly at 9 am on October 25 probably from an aortic embolism.

Sir John was born in Johannesburg but of English parents. He had a long career at the BBC, moving swiftly up the ranks and was responsible for setting up the first all-day music radio service (now known as Radio 3). At 40, he left to enter academic life, becoming the founding Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in 1971. He composed relatively little, but most of his works are substantial and important contributions. His Double Concerto in its revised version for oboe and cor anglais, and his Flutes Concerto, were both recorded by the Manchester Sinfonia and issued along with Double Concertos by Gordon Crosse on the Métier Records album “Mixed Doubles” (MSV 77201).

Divine Art founder Stephen Sutton says “I was honoured to meet Sir John (already almost totally paralysed) at a CD launch about four years ago in Manchester. His legacy, though small in quantity, was very high in quality of inspiration and craftsmanship. He will be missed especially by the Manchester musical circle and the myriads of students and teachers who worked under his oversight at the RNCM.”

Coming soon: a tribute album for John McCabe

In every sense, John McCabe was a leading light in both British and international musical life; he was in love with music from a very early age, and all through his life he remained fascinated by discovering new or neglected composers; as a highly skilled pianist he had a wide repertoire ranging from Haydn to the contemporary work of such composers as Hoddinott, Mathias, Michael Tippett and many others whose work he helped to introduce. As a composer his work on all levels was outstanding and his death in 2015 robbed us of a fine craftsman.

Several composers of high esteem wrote pieces in McCabe’s honour in 2016, and these have been collected along with some works written for his 70th birthday in 2009; many of them have had successful concert performances and now are to be issued in an album entitled ‘A Garland for John McCabe’. The production has been organised by recorder player John Turner with active and esteemed participation by the composer’s widow, Monica McCabe. The works are written for combinations of clarinet, viola and recorder with piano and are performed by Linda Merrick (clarinet), Alistair Vennart (viola), John Turner (recorder) and Peter Lawson (piano). Each soloist is regarded as a foremost exponent of their instrument and have appeared on many current Divine Art/Métier recordings as well as work with other labels.

The album of McCabe’s piano music, ‘Tenebrae’, by Tamami Honma has been one of Métier’s most enduringly popular titles (MSVCD 92071). Shopshire Star called McCabe “one of our foremost contemporary composers” and described the recording as “an astounding work of breathtaking beauty”.

‘A Garland for John McCabe’ will be released in March 2018 on Divine Art DDA 25166.

Full track list (alphabetical order of composer surnames):
James Francis Brown: Evening Changes
Gary Carpenter: Edradour
Peter Dickinson: A Rag for McCabe
Martin Ellerby: Nocturnes and Dawn
Anthony Gilbert: The Flame has Ceased
Edward Gregson: John’s Farewell
Christopher Gunning: Danse des Fourmis
Emily Howard: Outback
John Joubert: Exequy
Rob Keeley: Elegy for John McCabe
Malcolm Lipkin: In Memoriam John McCabe
William Marshall: Little Passacaglia
David Matthews: Chaconne
Elis Pehkonen: Lament for the Turtle-Dove
Robert Saxton: A Little Prelude for John McCabe
Gerard Schurmann: Memento
Howard Skempton: Highland Song
Robin Walker: And Will You Walk Beside Me Down the Lane?
Raymond Warren: In Nomine

Nan Schwartz to release orchestral album on Divine Art

Grammy winner, 5-time Grammy nominee and seven-time Emmy nominee Nan Schwartz, is unquestionably America’s most renowned woman composer except for one notable exception – her own symphonic works for the concert stage had, until now, previously never been recorded.  This remarkable omission from the classical music-recording catalogue has finally been rectified with this extraordinary album, conducted by the eminent New York-based Australian conductor, Kevin Purcell.

The album will be released in the spring in both CD and digital formats (dda 25165). Kevin Purcell conducts The Synchron Stage Orchestra, Wien and the Bratislava Studio Symphony Orchestra.

Friends for many years, it was only by chance that when Nan sent Kevin her symphonic tone-poem for Trumpet and Orchestra (Angels Among Us) to review did the Australian maestro casually enquire, “Nan, what else have you composed for the concert stage that no-one knows about?”  And the answer to that question gave birth to 2018’s most highly anticipated classical album. Taking two years to produce, across three continents, the 83-piece orchestra Vienna sessions are augmented by the crème-de-la-crème of New York’s finest Jazz musicians combining to create the orchestral masterpieces Aspirations and Perspectives.

The four works by Nan Schwartz on this album are ingeniously coupled with the premiere recording of Australian composer Brenton Broadstock’s astoundingly evocative Concerto For Orchestra: an homage to the iconic Miles Davis album ‘Kind of Blue’.

Artist and album receive international awards

Pianist Burkard Schliessmann has been distinguished with the award of three Silver Medals at the 2017 Global Music Awards. Known as “music’s golden seal of approval”, the Global Music Awards honored Schliessmann as an instrumentalist and for ‘Outstanding Achievements as a Classical Artist’, as well as for his Divine Art album ‘Chronological Chopin’.

New Skempton album for 2018

Howard Skempton is one of Britain’s most individual and skilful composers. A new album of his chamber works has been recorded for release early next year by Métier (our new-music branch) by the British ensemble Sirinu.

The new album is titled ‘The Man, Hurdy-Gurdy and Me’ which gives a hint that Skempton’s works here may include non-traditional instruments and indeed his flair for fascinating and unusual instrumental pairings is a feature of the program – not often does a major composer’s chamber music involve the Hurdy-Gurdy, medieval instruments, or the accordion or even the Indonesian gamelan trio of saron, peking and gendèr.

‘The Man, Hurdy-Gurdy and Me’ (currently at editing and mastering stage) will be scheduled for release in early Spring 2018 on Métier MSV 28580

We wish Howard a very happy birthday, as he enters his 71st year!

New Métier album to focus on Bass Clarinet

Leading British clarinettist Ian Mitchell is to record a program of music for bass clarinet for Métier Records, the new-music arm of Divine Art. The purpose of the album will be to demonstrate that the bass clarinet is not just an optional orchestral instrument but is effective in chamber music for small ensembles. Joined by his long-established and renowned group Gemini, Mitchell will present an album containing many new works some of which have been commissioned by Mitchell and Gemini. The recording sessions are to take place, with Métier Productions producer/engineer David Lefeber, during the autumn for release in mid-2018. Other soloists taking part are soprano Alison Wells and pianist Aleksander Szram.

The genius of Artyomov

Following critical acclaim for the two recent albums of Symphonies and other works by Vyacheslav Artyomov (DDA 25143 and 25144) we are working with him on a project to re-issue almost all of the previous recordings of his magnificent music, most of this is being licensed from Melodiya and we hope to conclude the paperwork on the deal very soon. There should be material for seven albums – one actually includes new recordings (of ‘Sola Fide’ a ballet suite) while the re-issued recordings will be issued on the mid price Diversions label – we hope to schedule these for release over next spring and summer. At the same time plans are in hand for another new album… of which more news soon.

American Art Song album from Métier

Irish mezzo-soprano Aylish Kerrigan is following up her two recent Métier albums with one devoted to the vocal works of Charles Ives and Henry Cowell.  In many ways the two (though not at all alike) share the distinction of being exceptionally individual in their writing. Ms Kerrigan, who is accompanied by pianist Vladimir Valdivia, has spent several years honing her individual approach to these unusual and often eccentric pieces to bring out their essence, making them personal statements from composer and singer to listener. The album also includes two short piano solo works by Cowell, and two with flute or piccolo obbligato (supplied by William Dowdall).

The release will be scheduled for late spring 2018. Meanwhile, Ms Kerrigan is now busy recording her next project – a vocal album devoted to Kurt Weill, the composer who in live performance is most identified with the singer.

Ms Kerrigan’s repertoire ranges from Irish Ballads, German Lieder and Theatre Music to a wide range of contemporary compositions. She is a renowned vocal pedagogue and gives concerts, master classes and lectures world-wide. Her one-woman Broadway shows have won her acclaim in Paris, Dublin, New York and Berlin.

Re-issues from Dunelm Records

Since acquiring Dunelm Records back in 2007 we have re-released several of their fine recordings on the Diversions and Metier labels at a lower price. A new batch of re-releases is now being prepared for the spring of 2018. This will include vols 1-5 of the series of organ recordings by Ronald Frost (Organs of North West England) – volumes 6 and 7 are already available for streaming on Primephonic and purchase on iTunes – as well as contemporary piano music and chamber works.  More information to follow – watch this space!

November Releases

Look out for three new albums in November (our last issues of 2017). We are delighted to present Volume 6 of the Carson Cooman organ music series (“The Cloak with the Stars”). Cooman also appears, this time as performer, in Andreas Willscher’s Organ Symphonies 19 & 20 and a suite ‘The Beatitudes’; and from Métier we focus on works for solo violin and violin/viola duo by Michael Alec Rose, currently teaching at Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

New Music for a New Oboe, Volume 2

Foremost English oboist (and specialist in advanced techniques) Christopher Redgate is putting the finishing touches to his latest Métier album, “New Music for a New Oboe, vol. 2”. This was originally due to appear in 2014 but Chris suffered a stroke (from which happily he is now totally recovered) and this delayed progress. Now scheduled for release in the first part of 2018, the album will contain new/recent works by Christopher Fox, Dorothy Ker, Paul Archbold, Edward Cowie and Sam Hayden – all first recordings. The album, like its predecessor (vol. 1 – MSV 28529) features the Howarth-Redgate oboe specially developed to cater for the more challenging requirements of the avant-garde, including multiphonics. The oboe was manufactured by Howarth of London.

Four English Poetry and Song Society Recordings

The EPSS has supported the long and vibrant tradition of English art-song for many years.

These EPSS recordings were made on portable recording equipment and with less than ideal microphone placement and are not to our usual modern standard. However, they contain fine performances and many very unfamiliar and exquisite songs, which will delight any lover of late-Romantic vocal music

Shropshire Lads

Settings of the poems of A.E. Housman by E.J. Moeran, Arthur Somervell, Arnold Bax, Benjamin Burrows, Brian Daubney, Margaret Wegener, Clive Pollard, Calvin Bowman and Stephen Duro. Plus the five excellent finalists in the EPSS competition of 2006.

Songs of Dorset

Here we have fine settings of Thomas Hardy and the dialect poems of William Barnes from Gerald Finzi, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arthur Somervell, Clive Carey, Roger Lord, Alison Edgar, Judith Bailey and Brian Daubney. Works by the five finalists in the EPSS competition of 2001 are also included.

The Great War

Some of the best known and most moving of English poetry came from the horrors of the 1914-8 war. Here texts by Siegried Sassoon, A.E. Housman, Rupert Brooke, F.W. Harvey and more in settings by Ivor Gurney, Geraint Lewis, John Ireland, Geoffrey Kimpton, Margaret Wegener, John R. Williamson, Duncan Reid, Dennis Wickens, Elaine Hugh-Jones and Jerome Kern. Works by the seven finalists in the 2004 EPSS competition are included.

Lights Out

A wide ranging recital of art songs from Henry Purcell, E.J. Moeran, Ivor Gurney, Sulyen Caradon, Samuel Wesley, Jeffrey Whitton, Sarah Rodgers, Alison Edgar and Laura Shur.

Burkard Schliessmann on Classica!

German pianist Burkard Schliessmann has several upcoming performances of works by Godowsky and Liszt airing on Classica.

Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938)

Piano-Paraphrases of Strauss-Songs and Symphonic Metamorphoses on Waltzes and Themes of Johann Strauss.
Die Fledermaus – Alt-Wien (“Old Vienna”), “Whose Yesterdays look backwards with a Smile through Tears”, Triakontameron, No. 11 – Wienerisch – Ein Künstlerleben



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Franz Liszt (1811-1886):

Piano Transcriptions of Schubert Songs.
Die Forelle – Auf dem Wasser zu singen – Horch, horch! Die Lerch’ im Ätherblau! – Leise flehen meine Lieder – Aufenthalt – Der Erlkönig


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Explore Burkard Schliessmann’s Divine Art Recordings

Performance of Kevin Malone’s “The Last Memory”

Kevin Malone‘s composition “The Last Memory” will be performed to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing at the Party’s public launch at Manchester School of Art on 21 July. The event is generating an inquiry report on how the arts can influence senior government policy makers when drafting legislation regarding about issues of physical and mental health. This is one of the key works on MSV 25138 ‘Mind Music’ proceeds from which are donated to Parkinson’s UK, a major charity in this field.

The performance will be given by Lynsey Marsh, former principal clarinetist with the Hallé Orchestra. Both Lynsey and Kevin lost their fathers to Alzheimer’s, and the work has been recorded by Lynsey, released in February 2017 on Divine Art CD “Mind Music” which is focused on music influenced by neurological disorders.

Malone’s piece is the sole work being performed at the launch. It features a solo clarinetist on stage with a digital delay device which creates 12 identical receding echoes into the performance space, thus providing 13 live musical lines trapped in repeating loops of disorientation, an experience Malone witnessed as his father’s Alzheimer’s condition increased.

The performance is also being broadcast by Vintage FM radio.

Rhona Clarke’s “A Different Game” on Lyric FM

Bernard Clarke is broadcasting pieces from Rhona Clarke’s A Different Game (Metier MSV 28561) on three consecutive Nova Programmes (Lyric FM, Sundays 20.00-22.00):

  • 23 July: con coro
  • 30 July: In Umbra
  • 6 August: A Different Game (entire trio)

New Music from Michael Alec Rose

In early 2018, Metier will release an album of music by Michael Alec Rose for solo violin and violin/viola duo, featuring violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved (pictured) and Diana Mathews (viola). Titled ‘Il Ritorno’, for one of the main pieces, the album will be on MSV 28574.

Rose has received 30 annual awards in composition from ASCAP and has been commissioned by the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Blair and Mendelssohn String Quartets, the Nashville Symphony, and others. His music has been performed widely in the United States, as well as in Europe and South America. He is Associate Professor of Composition at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music in Tennessee.

New From Madeleine Mitchell

Working at top speed on a new album for violinist Madeleine Mitchell of contemporary though lyrical (not avant-garde) works by British composers – includng pieces by David Matthews, Michael Berkeley, Michael Nyman, Sadie Harrison and Judith Weir and the Violin Concerto Soft Stillness by Guto Puw – we are aiming for an October release (DDA 25160) though there are several factors out of our hands which could affect that plan.