Mandala 3


Catalogue No: MSV 28565
EAN/UPC: 809730856525
Artists: , , ,
Composers: ,
Release Date: February 2017
Genres: ,
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 76:34

Both composers represented on this album are well respected members of the new music scene both with 40 years of experience behind them; they are also husband and wife. They also share a passion for nature which is reflected in their music. David Lumsdaine, though now living in England, is Australia’s senior composer. His music is wonderfully dramatic and wide ranging; Nicola LeFanu has been for many years a leading figure in Women in Music; her mother Elizabeth Maconchy was also a very highly respected composer.

The ensemble Gemini has been associated with both composers for decades; introducing new works from both of them to the repertoire. This album is being released to celebrate Nicola’s 70th birthday and (belatedly) David’s 85th. All the works are recorded here for the first time and will demonstrate why their work is still considered fresh, vibrant and relevant.

Track Listing

Nicola LeFanu:

    1. I. Invisible Places – I (1:44)
    2. II. Invisible Places – II (0:31)
    3. III. Invisible Places – III (1:00)
    4. IV. Invisible Places – IV (0:42)
    5. V. Invisible Places – V (0:22)
    6. VI. Invisible Places – VI (0:30)
    7. VII. Invisible Places – VII (1:03)
    8. VIII. Invisible Places – VIII (0:52)
    9. IX. Invisible Places – IX (0:44)
    10. X. Invisible Places – X (0:38)
    11. XI. Invisible Places – XI (1:18)
    12. XII. Invisible Places – XII (1:59)
    13. XIII. Invisible Places – XIII (0:36)
    14. XIV. Invisible Places – XIV (0:41)
    15. XV. Invisible Places – XV (0:47)
    16. XVI. Invisible Places – XVI (2:13)

David Lumsdaine:

    1. fire in leaf and grass (2:16)

Nicola LeFanu:

    1. Trio 2: Song for Peter (18:28)

David Lumsdaine:

  1. I. Mandala 3 – I. Chorale (4:05)
  2. II. Mandala 3 – II. Sonata (10:33)
  3. III. Mandala 3 – III. Fantasia (25:04)



Lefanu’s Invisible Places (1986) is a remarkable and succinct clarinet quintet. The major work, however, is Mandala 3. The musical treatment ranges far and wide, but [Lumsdaine’s] style is unified and the effect haunting. This is a work that stays long in the memory. Fine performances throughout by the marvellous group Gemini and the various soloists.

” —Guy Rickards
The Clarinet

The compositional style and harmonic language of both composers is highly complex and adventurous… it is very individual, drawing upon many influences and diverse techniques. Gemini is one of Britain’s most important and most durable contemporary music ensembles. Gemini can certainly be regarded as ideal interpreters of this music. These are indeed excellent and fully committed performances.

” —David Ross

This is an excellent release of music by two significant composers who happen to be married to each other. Mandala 3 is an extremely striking and individual piece, and this new recording is very welcome. This is important music by two master composers beautifully performed by their frequent collaborators. Recommended.

” —Carson Cooman
MusicWeb International

This disc enterprisingly combines two pieces by Elizabeth Maconchy’s daughter Nicola LeFanu with two by her husband David Lumsdaine – a welcome juxtaposition even if the music of the two composers is not conspicuously similar in style. I find it difficult to imagine that this music could be better performed than here. The playing here [in Mandala 3] is superlative. All the recordings, like the performances themselves, are clear and present.

” —Paul Corfield Godfrey
Loudmouth (Music Trust of Australia)

[Mandala 3] is powerful music, an intense and absorbing work which receives virtuosic performances. Soprano Sarah Leonard, one of Britain’s most respected and versatile artists,a masterly performance [in the vocal works]. Superb writing for the cello and clarinet showcases the considerable skills of Sophie Harris and Ian Mitchell. Caroline Balding and David Angel (violins), Yuko Inoue (viola) and Jo Cole (cello) give outstanding performances. The excellent booklet that accompanies this CD is full of information. All in all, an impressive production.

” —Gwen Bennett
The Chronicle

Lumsdaine and LeFanu clearly like the imagery and while they might be talking about the literal universe, the music circles a more central theme, whether it’s a clarinet linking up discrete pieces of music in the opening track or questioning the centre of the music in the title track. It doesn’t sound like the work of veterans, rather the work of rebellious youngsters. It is modern… but then again, it’s not harsh— and there are some gentle, even beautiful moments.

” —Jeremy Condliffe
Planet Hugill

This disc showcases some significant music by two major contemporary composers. It also showcases a series of enduring relationships, that between Gemini and the composers, and the fact that Lumsdaine and LeFanu are married. The various players of Gemini along with their guests give powerful and committed performances. – Star rating: 4.0

” —Robert Hugill
Audiophile Sound

Among the four works, the first and last are definitely those that strike most decidedly; it’s worth mentioning all the performers, starting with soprano Sarah Leonard. For lovers of contemporary music. Artistic Quality: Outstanding; Technical quality : Excellent

” —Andrea Bedetti
BBC Music Magazine

Listening to the disc is something like being party to an intimate, intelligent and far-ranging conversation among old friends. Nicola LeFanu is renowned for works of imaginative beauty… David Lumsdaine’s Mandala 3… proves a gloriously strange and moving piece.. affecting and mysterious. [An] intriguing and enlightening disc. Performance ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Recording ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

” —Kate Wakeling
The Classical Reviewer

[Invisible Places] is a work that takes the listener on a tremendous journey, packing so much in its sixteen minutes. All three performers are quite superb in this hauntingly intense work (Trio II). [Mandala 3] is a remarkable, tantalising piece full of wonderful ideas. All of the performances are superb; the recording is excellent as are the notes from the composers that include full English texts within a nicely illustrated booklet all of which makes this new release highly recommendable.

” —Bruce Reader
MusicWeb International

Nicola LeFanu’s Invisible Places is a magical work. The language is modernistic, but hardly off-putting. There is much in the pages of this score that is quite lovely. David Lumsdaine’s ‘fire in leaf and grass’ is beautiful. [Song for Peter] explores the words with great effect. It is haunting and quite unforgettable in its impact. There is a powerful enchantment [in Mandala 3]… I feel that it is an important work. The performance of all four works is excellent. This is a fascinating release from Métier… this album is exceptional in the presentation of interesting, moving and often downright gorgeous music.

” —John France
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music

Well performed by the chamber ensemble Gemini. [Mandala 3] is an eerie, masterful work both with Bach both inside it as it were, and outside of it looking in… it is a joy to hear. Mandala 3 makes this program very desirable; the other works give much contrasting interest. In all the album provides much pleasure and a good taste of what Lumsdaine and LeFanu have been doing. I am glad to have it to repeat the experience, probably many times. Very recommended.

” —Grego Edwards