Ed Hughes: When The Flame Dies (CD-DVD)


Catalogue No: MSV 77203
EAN/UPC: 809730720390
Artists: , , , , , ,
Release Date: November 2013
Genres: ,
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 57:24

A new opera, with libretto by Roger Morris based on the Orpheus legend, a main character alluding to Jean Cocteau, by British composer Ed Hughes. A stunning work in one Act, it is presented here in both audio CD and a DVD of the concert performance recording. The DVD also contains a short film by Sheryl Jenkins “‘The Symptoms of his Madness were as Follows”.

DVD: dual sided, PAL & NTSC compatible, region 0 (universal play)

A fine performance by top British soloists, New Music Players, conducted by Carlos del Cueto.

The soloists are:
EDWARD GRINT baritone (Poet)
LUCY WILLIAMS mezzo-soprano (Princess Death)
JULIAN PODGER tenor (Orpheus)
EMILY PHILIPS soprano (Eurydice)
ANDREW RADLEY counter-tenor (Raymond)
DVD: dual sided, PAL & NTSC compatible, region 0 (universal play)

Track Listing

    Ed Hughes:

  1. I. When the Flame Dies – Can’t write (2:09)
  2. II. When the Flame Dies – My love is dead (2:04)
  3. III. When the Flame Dies – If only… (4:16)
  4. IV. When the Flame Dies – Before you pull the trigger (3:10)
  5. V. When the Flame Dies – Eternal Orpheus (3:46)
  6. VI. When the Flame Dies – Interlude I (1:41)
  7. VII. When the Flame Dies – I am Orpheus (3:44)
  8. VIII. When the Flame Dies – I am forever the singer (4:34)
  9. IX. When the Flame Dies – You wanted her dead! (3:36)
  10. X. When the Flame Dies – Interlude 2 – I am the killer (3:43)
  11. XI. When the Flame Dies – Our perfect hours (3:49)
  12. XII. When the Flame Dies – Aren’t you going to answer it? (5:50)
  13. XIII. When the Flame Dies – There are no memories (2:19)
  14. XIV. When the Flame Dies – The rising of the sap (6:12)
  15. XV. When the Flame Dies – Killer in the poet’s mask (1:48)
  16. XVI. When the Flame Dies – The candle is burnt out (5:50)


Classical CD Choice / North London Press

An intriguing Cocteau-esque opera that resists reaching for easy harmonic comforts… there is no gainsaying the vocal skills of the persuasive soloists, notably the mezzo-soprano Lucy Williams, who characterises her role with conviction.

” —Barry Forshaw

This is a different kind of operatic proposition. Concise, it nevertheless manages to pack considerable punch. Hughes’s music fizzes with invention … there is a Stravinskian sparkle to the writing. The performance is very well realised, well cast, performed with commitment, and accurately recorded.

” —Leo Chadburn (edited from joint review of 3 DVDs)
Rick Jones Music Blog

Lucy Williams, haughty and beautiful, expressing much through her exquisite singing… an absorbing piece and an exciting introduction to Ed Hughes’ music.

” —Rick Jones
International Record Review

Morris’s libretto is extensive and often intricate in content, thereby placing a premium on the composer’s ability to convey dramatic meaning at the same time as sustaining a convincing theatrical continuity. This Hughes achieves admirably, whether in terms of maintaining a satisfactory balance between voices and instruments or of enriching the vocal lines with writing which sustains an intrinsic musical interest. The cast here is a persuasive one – dominated by Edward Grint’s emotive and increasingly self-regarding Poet, and the sensuous yet calculating appeal of Lucy Williams’s Princess. Hopefully Hughes’s piece will soon secure a full staging: in the meantime, this release enables one to get to grips with one of the more arresting and distinctive chamber operas to have emerged in the UK over recent years.

” —Richard Whitehouse

Edward Grint as the Poet and Lucy Williams as the Princess bring a sense of dramatic engagement to their conversational lines… the looks that Grint flashes between the two competing demands on his attention are quite gripping. In fact the video [of the concert performance] adds a whole new dimension to the work…engages not only the listener’s intellect but sympathy and compassion as well. Carlos del Cueto gets superlatively assured playing from the small chamber orchestra. It would be hard to imagine the performance being bettered. The recording is well balanced. I certainly didn’t have any objection to sitting through the work twice, once on CD and once n DVD. That is surely a sign of a piece that has real depth.

” —Paul Corfield Godfrey

Beware: this opera may take you hostage with its ability to get under your skin. As with any good opera, this one convincingly creates its own logic. Roger Morris’s libretto gains much of its entrancing quality through the leeway of ambiguity. The 12-member ensemble reveals much effective compositional strategy … and just plain alchemy. The question is not if you like it but if you can tear yourself away from it.

” —David Patrick Stearns
L'avant-Scène Opéra (France)

The device with video and light projections is the best possible approach to this beautiful piece. Brilliant, energetic music, whose most immediately noticeable quality is its clarity… the language is open and attractive, very harmonically inventive. Five young singers, all excellent … an instrumental ensemble very precise and directed with great attention and we have here all the ingredients for a production of high standing.

” —Pierre Rigaudière (attempt at translation: Stephen Sutton
Forum Opera (France)

It is the exciting orchestral treatment which wins through in this short chamber opera, with the shimmering timbres of the twelve instrumentalists of New Music Players, often bolstered by electronics. Edward Grint, recently seen at the Musée d’Orsay in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, proves very comfortable in the main role, while Lucy Williams [as Princess Death] leads the game with authority. Andrew Radley, as Raymond Radiquet, gives a good performance and is rewarded with a long soliloquy near the end of the work.

” —Laurent Bury (translation by Stephen Sutton)