Archive for Stephen’s Desk

The passing of composer Laura Shur

We are sad to report that composer Laura Shur died recently.

Born and raised in Glasgow, Laura studied at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music, and graduated with a Diploma in Musical Education. She then took further study at Jordanhill Teacher Training College to gain a School Teaching Diploma and also gained the ARCM (Associate of the Royal College of Music) in piano performance.

She has spent her life mainly teaching, both in high schools and at the Royal Scottish Academy as well as with private students. However she also maintained a performing career, enjoying a debut at the Royal Festival Hall, and several BBC broadcasts as a soloist as well as working with chamber ensembles. Her over 50 compositions have been published by a number of companies including Universal, Novello and others. Several of her pieces for piano six-hands and piano duets were included in Trinity College of Music’s syllabus – Trinity also commissioned 20 of her Trios.

Laura Shur’s song ‘The Smile’, performed by contralto Georgina Colwell with pianist Nigel Foster, was included in the album ‘Lights Out’ produced for the English Poetry and Song Society and released in 2017 (Diversions DDV 24165).

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.

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.

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 Project Notes

  • May 25: We seem to be inundated with new recording projects. Soon to be announced will be a new double album of artsong, for the English Poetry and Song Society; we’re prequelling this new recording with the re-issue of four live concert recitals made between 2002 and 2006 (Diversions DDV 24162-5, August 2017). Many new chamber music discs are on the way from both sides of the Atlantic – more news soon!
  • May 2: Having just finished work on the fifth volume of Organ music by Carson Cooman, for release in July, we have just started on the next two! This wonderful series is attracting fine reviews, and given Mr Cooman’s rate of productivity we see it continuing for quite some time. Look out soon for news of two albums of fine Piano Trios from the late 19th and early 20th century – all world premieres too.