Mary Bellamy: Behind the transparent surface

Mary Bellamy: Behind the transparent surface

Huddersfield Contemporary Records
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Release date: 28 April 2023

Behind the transparent surface showcases Mary Bellamy’s characteristic sonic craftsmanship. Since 2017, Bellamy has become increasingly fascinated with the phenomenon of motion and finding ways to create movement through musical means. Bellamy’s music creates a uniquely immediate experience, constantly moving forward, unfurling new ideas, motives, and material in playful, unpredictable ways, resulting in a record that is organic, impulsive, and spontaneous.

Each of the five works presented explores a unique sound world, created through close collaboration and experimentation with the musicians. Behind the transparent surface, performed by Ensemble MusikFabrik, pairs the unique timbres of the Harry Partch instruments with a small ensemble, crafting vivid passages of light and shadow, inspired by the work of James Turrell. Rift, performed by Australia’s ELISION Ensemble, similarly takes the unusual combination of percussion, harp, and double bass, and crafts a series of sonic outbursts, cracking, ripping, and tearing through a vivid series of sonic rifts. Unfurling utilises Christopher Redgate’s unique lupophon to explore uncharted timbral territory for the instrument, with Philip Thomas providing accompaniment from the inside of the piano. Semblance, for bass flute, realised here by Richard Craig, focuses on different approaches to interspersing, layering, and accumulating sound, constantly transform the emerging timbre. Finally, Dual Impulse, performed by International Contemporary Ensemble member Ross Karre, utilises close-miking techniques to enhance the resonance of percussion instruments, creating a massive, rich and vibrant resonance for each percussion strike.

Mary Bellamy is a composer based in Sheffield. She studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Sheffield University where she gained her PhD in 2003. Mary joined the staff at the University of Huddersfield in 2006 where she is currently a senior lecturer, head of undergraduate composition and the co-director of the Centre for Research in New Music. Her pieces have been performed by leading international ensembles such as Ensemble Musikfabrik, the Bozzini Quartet, ELISION Ensemble, the London Sinfonietta, and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and by renowned soloists Richard Craig, Séverine Ballon, Genevieve Lacey, Francesco Dillon, and Ross Karre.



"Alongside more familiar sounds, Bellamy weaves four instruments invented by Harry Partch to create a strikingly original album" The Guardian


Behind the transparent surface (2020)
Ensemble Musikfabrik
Helen Bledsoe: flute, harmonic canon
Carl Rosman: bass clarinet, harmonic canon
Dirk Rothbrust: percussion, spoils of war, bass marimba
Hannah Weirich: violin, adapted viola
Dirk Wietheger: cello
Conducted by Aaron Cassidy
Recorded and mixed by Stephan Schmidt at Studio des Ensemble Musikfabrik on 10 March 2020

Rift (2019)
ELISION Ensemble
Marshall McGuire: harp
Peter Neville: percussion
Rohan Dasika: contrabass
Recorded and mixed by Alistair McLean at The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre on 14 May 2022

Unfurling (2019)
Christopher Redgate: lupophon
Philip Thomas: piano
Recorded and mixed by Alex Bonney at St Paul’s Hall on 11 June 2019

Semblance (2011)
Richard Craig: bass flute
Recorded and mixed by Alex Bonney at St Paul’s Hall on 29 October 2022

Dual Impulse (2021)
Ross Karre: percussion
Recorded by Andrew Garver at Joseph R. Clonick Hall, Oberlin Conservatory on
16 December 2022
Edited and mixed by Alex Bonney
Mastered by Richard Scott

Catalogue number: HCR28CD
Release date: 28 April 2023