Release date: 23 April 2021
With music that is 'sleek, hot, earthy, and physical', Tansy Davies's first orchestral album, Nature, brings together four exuberant works from the last decade.
In a piece which questions the very nature of a piano concerto, pianist Huw Watkins shows off the physicality of the piano in Nature, with it transforming into an 'athletic figure, running fearlessly through dense forest at night, invoking spirits.' Coupled with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group led by Oliver Knussen, here is music that sets 'the heart and mind in motion.' The Telegraph
Re-Greening hands-over control to the 164 teenage musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, who sing and play, create and shape the sound without a conductor's guiding hand. Commissioned by NYOGB, this celebration of youth and Spring loosely follows the Shamanic Wheel of the Year, an annual cycle consisting of the year’s most prominent solar events (solstices and equinoxes) and the midpoints between them.
Distilled from Davies' Between Worlds ('a musically superb meditation on grief and transcendence', TimeOut), the suite What Did We See? weaves together material from the opera into four orchestral movements, becoming a 'highly charged realisation of the poetic drama we created in response to the events of 9/11.' Tansy Davies.
The Norweigan Radio Orchestra with Karen Kamensek also features in Davies's Dune of Footprints. Inspired by the Cave of Niaux in southwestern France, this piece searches out spaces in 'tunnels of slowly shifting harmony' as Davies says, creating an organic ebb and flow. 'Sudden cascades dive down into deep darkness, where flinty textures emerge from shadows, then forming small cells that push to resume the forward motion.' Tansy Davies
Norwegian Radio Orchestra
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
Karen Kamensek conductor
Oliver Knussen conductor
Huw Watkins piano
GRAMOPHONE'S 'ESSENTIAL NEW ALBUM'
"...the glinting, melodically fragmented Davies piano concerto that gives the album its title is another showstopper." The New York Times
"On this new release, Dune of Footsteps and the suite What Did We See? – performed by The Norwegian Radio Orchestra – display the sweep, fluency and textural subtleties that have become increasingly evident as Tansy Davies’s compositional voice has matured." The Wire
"For something entirely positive and heart-warming, the short piece Re-greening (2015), which Davies wrote for the NYOGB to play and sing without a conductor, is wonderfully deft and touching...Perhaps, it says, just perhaps, a truly green rebirth is still possible – environmental resurrection, not global extinction?" Gramophone
"Re-greening is an optimistic work, teeming with life, bursts of energy, chirrups of nature birds and animals and burgeoning vegetation in the orchestra with big, broad harmonies underneath...it sounds absolutely glorious and I think it’s a work that sounds really unique and special to these particular circumstances of a youth orchestra. It’s the wonder of the National Youth Orchestra that they commissioned this and it could be performed by many of our other fantastic youth orchestras from around the country and around the world indeed." Gillian Moore
"Davies’s distinctive language – ideally rendered by the NYO – gives an edgy update to the so-called Cow Pat School-style of music popularised by Vaughan Williams, Finzi, et al." ★★★★★ BBC Music Magazine
Nature was recorded by BBC Radio 3 at CBSO Centre, Birmingham on 10 May 2014.
TOM PARNELL Sound Engineer
CHRIS WINES Recording Producer
Re-greening was recorded by BBC Radio 3 at the BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London 8 August 2015.
ROBERT WINTER Sound Engineer
DAVID GALLAGHER Recording Producer
What Did We See? and Dune of Footprints were recorded by Norwegian Radio at the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Festival, Marmorsalen, Sentralen, Oslo, Norway on 14 September 2018
BJARNE DANKEL Sound Engineer
GEOFF MILES Recording Producer
DAVID LEFEBER Mastering
Cat. No.: NMC D260
Release date: 23 April 2021