Charlotte Bray: At the Speed of Stillness

Charlotte Bray: At the Speed of Stillness

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At the Speed of Stillness, commissioned by Aldeburgh World Orchestra, explores paradoxes of energy and movement: 'the hummingbird motionless as a star' (in Dora Maar's description), or the contained energy of a power station. Caught in Treetops, a violin concerto written for Alexandra Wood and BCMG, takes its inspiration from two poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Federico García Lorca, while also drawing on the relentless energy of Sonny Rollins.

Two song-cycles make explicit Bray's close relationship with poetry: Fire Burning in Snow sets three poems by Nicki Jackowska exploring desire, obsession and loss - also the subject of Songs from 'Yellow Leaves', a sequence of haikus based on Shakespeare's sonnets. The album is completed by the energetic piano quartet Replay, and Oneiroi, a dark study for piano.

This album is part of our Debut Discs series.

Aldeburgh World Orchestra
Sir Mark Elder conductor
Lucy Schaufer mezzo-soprano
Alexandra Wood violin
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Huw Watkins piano
Oliver Knussen conductor
Claire Booth soprano
Andrew Matthews-Owen piano




‘A sharp ear and a vigorous imagination … the music’s inventiveness and textural control are unmistakable.’ The Sunday Times

'Charlotte Bray is now at the forefront of younger British composers … her future development can only be followed with the greatest interest’ Gramophone

‘Those who proclaim that classical music is a dead or dying art cannot have heard the music of Charlotte Bray; nor can those who lament the demise of the classical recording industry have heard the superb performances on NMC’s expertly-presented At the Speed of Stillness.’ A Voice for the Arts  

'An impressive sound ... it really pinned my ears back' Ivan Hewitt, BBC Radio 3 CD Review

‘These performances must have thrilled the composer and the recording is ideal. NMC provide all of the sung texts and Bray's notes are not too detailed but mostly illuminating. Well worth exploring.’ Music Web International

‘Charlotte Bray’s music displays steely determination and an expansively colourful textural palette. Her NMC portrait CD supplies an abundant view of these characteristics. The title work is particularly impressive; it is filled with piquant yet often spacious harmonies, frequent juxtapositions of orchestral groupings, and lithe pacing.’ Sequenza21



Produced in association with BBC Radio 3

Specially created for the London 2012 Festival, the Aldeburgh World Orchestra project was supported with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with a generous gift from General Electric on behalf of Sir William Castell. Bursaries for orchestral players were awarded by The British Council (players from Egypt, Jordan and Palestine) and by the Leverhulme Trust.

With thanks to the trusts, foundations and individuals who have invested in NMC’s Debut Discs series:

The Astor Foundation
The John S Cohen Foundation
Colwinston Charitable Trust
The Fenton Arts Trust
Nicholas and Judith Goodison
Mercers' Charitable Foundation
Stanley Picker Trust
The Radcliffe Trust
The Richard Thomas Foundation
RVW Trust
Jennifer Roslyn Wingate

& the individuals who donated through The Big Give Christmas Challenge December 2011


At the Speed of Stillness was recorded on 18 July 2012 at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk.
Recording Producer/Engineer STEVE PORTNOI

Caught in Treetops was recorded live on 26 June 2011 at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk for BBC Radio 3 and first broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in Hear & Now on 16 July 2011.
Recording Producer SAM PHILLIPS/ LES PRATT
Recording Engineer TIM ARCHER

Fire Burning in Snow, Yellow Leaves, Replay and Oneiroi were recorded on 27-28 February 2014 at St Silas Church, Kentish Town, London.
Recording Producer/ Engineer DAVID LEFEBER

Digital Editing/ Mastering DAVID LEFEBER

Caught in Treetops (P) 2011 BBC • At the Speed of Stillness (P) 2014 Aldeburgh Music • Fire Burning in Snow, Yellow Leaves, Replay, Oneiroi (P) 2014 NMC Recordings Ltd
© 2014 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number: NMC D202
Release Date: 20 October 2014