With music that is "anarchic and cartoonishly fun" (BBC Radio 3), Ryan Latimer's first portrait album Antiarkie is the latest in NMC Recordings' Debut Disc series.
As his earliest exposure to orchestral music, the playful, frenetic, visceral nature of cartoon soundtracks remains a prominent aspect of Ryan's work. The title track Antiarkie is a tribute and commentary on this characterful music with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Pierre-André Valade, equipping a clattering range of percussion to achieve the effect of 'wild and irregular chaos'.
This child-like energy is ever-present in the piano and percussion duet Slink & Stride, commissioned and performed by Psappha. A selection of short tunes and motifs jostle and reanimate "often subtly entwining themselves or sometimes taking more striding leaps." (Ryan Latimer)
Oliver Knussen and the Royal Academy of Music's new music group Manson Ensemble take on the intricate weaving gestures of Mills Mess. An amateur juggler himself, Ryan takes the piece's name and inspiration from the juggling pattern created by Steve Mills in the 1970s. The abrupt, twitchy changes of mood and rhythm convey the heightened precariousness as the spectacle becomes more flamboyant.
Ryan turns to Herman Melville’s classic 1851 novel Moby-Dick for his Crouch End Festival Chorus commission Frigates & Folly with the BBC Concert Orchestra and David Temple. This piece focuses on the ship's tragically optimistic Second Mate, Stubb, whose sarcastic quips and witty songs include a silly ditty making light of a looming typhoon, a surreal dream scene involving a badger-haired merman imparting important life lessons, a drinking song and a depiction of the steadfast sun amidst the chaos of the cosmos.
The song cycle Speaking of Letters and Dancing uses three short poems to explore the effect of distance and proximity in a personal relationship, brought to life by mezzo-soprano Rosie Middleton and Loki Ensemble with conductor Daniele Rosina. The first two movements use the texts of Polish poet and playwright Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska and explore the anticipation and anxiousness of receiving a long-awaited letter from a loved one with unexpectedly heart-breaking consequences, as well as the intimacy and joy of dancing with others. The collection concludes with Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa’s refined, compact poem Summer Night which depicts an evening so still that "even the stars, galaxies apart, might whisper intimately
to each other." (Paul Conway)
Constructing a "meta-ensemble" from the peculiar collection of instruments at his disposal, Divertimento, performed by Britten Sinfonia, plays with time-honoured genres with glimpses of baroque-inspired fantasias, modernist violin gestures, and deconstructed quotes from Mozart’s Oboe Quartet.
NMC’s Debut Discs are crucial calling cards, invaluable for showcasing composers to a wider public, giving them the opportunity to present a first full portrait album of their work. Debut Discs has to date supported 20 releases.
BBC Symphony Orchestra
BBC Concert Orchestra
Crouch End Festival Chorus
Pierre-André Valade conductor
David Temple conductor
Garry Walker conductor
Rosie Middleton mezzo-soprano
Daniele Rosina conductor
Oliver Knussen conductor
FEATURED IN THE GUARDIAN'S TOP 10 'HIDDEN GEMS' 2021
"Mills Mess...makes a great introduction to Latimer’s cheerfully anarchic musical world. From the high-energy, cartoon-inspired Antiarkie, to the piano and percussion duet Slink & Stride, to his theatrical response to Melville’s Moby Dick. Ryan Latimer was identified as part of a Next Wave of composers on a London Sinfonietta recording back in 2015, and this is his Debut Disc on NMC – he’s no longer sharing the bill. An excellent showcase." BBC Radio 3 Record Review
"NMC's Debut Disc series offers composers a rare opportunity to compile complete albums of their work. These portrait collections tend to be of an extremely high standard - indeed Ryan Latimer's offering impresses for its breadth and quality." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ BBC Music Magazine
"Playful, complex, brightly characterful with a vivid sense of rhythm, this new portrait disc from NMC paints a vibrant picture of Ryan Latimer's music." Planet Hugill
"Latimer identifies creative playfulness as an essential feature of his artistic credo, and his energetic, hugely enjoyable, sometimes anarchic, tonal scores, full of humor without precluding sideways glances at serious subjects, add up to a body of work of great originality and unmistakable individuality of approach." Records International
This recording was made possible with support from PRS Foundation Composers' Fund and the RVW Trust.
The John S Cohen Foundation
The Garrick Charitable Trust
Nicholas and Judith Goodison's Charitable Settlement
The Leche Trust
The Mercers' Charitable Foundation
Stanley Picker Trust
The Steel Charitable Trust
James and Anne Rushton
and everyone who donated through NMC's Debut Disc Appeal.
Antiarkie was recorded by the BBC at the Barbican Hall, London on 24 March 2016 and first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 30 April 2016
ROBERT WINTER Recording Engineer
ANN MCKAY Producer
Divertimento was recorded by the BBC at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge on 9 April 2013 and first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 26 April 2013
CHRIS ROUSE Recording Engineer
CHRIS WINES Producer
Frigates & Folly was recorded by the BBC at the Barbican Hall, London on 24 October 2018 and first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 16 November 2018
ROBERT WINTER Recording Engineer
NEIL VARLEY Producer
Mills Mess was a live-concert recording at Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London on 30 January 2015
DAVID GLEESON Recording Engineer
Slink & Stride was recorded at Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester on 27 May 2021
ROB KELLEDY & JOE REISER Recording Engineers
RYAN LATIMER Producer
Speaking of Letters & Dancing was recorded at Elgar Concert Hall, University of Birmingham on 6 May 2021
LUKE MORRISH-THOMAS Recording Engineer & Producer
RYAN LATIMER Producer
Moby Dick was recorded at Studio 1, University of Surrey on 19-22 August 2014
DAVID LEFEBER Recording Engineer & Producer
DAVID LEFEBER Mastering
Catalogue number: NMCD267
Release date: 24 September 2021