Explore Ensemble: Perfect Offering

Explore Ensemble: Perfect Offering

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Huddersfield Contemporary Records
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Release date: 26 May 2023

Perfect Offering invites the listener to journey with the ensemble, inhabiting and exploring four vibrant, imaginary landscapes. Each is underlined by themes of place and space, ecstasy and tranquillity, lightness and darkness, as well as ambience, transience, refraction, and silence. There is a diverse interest in harmony evident in the music collected here – each composer exhibits a distinctive idiolect, ranging from Cassandra Miller’s entirely white note radiance to Rebecca Saunders’ haunting atonal timbralism, Lisa Illean’s spectrally-tinged, weathered sounds, and Lawrence Dunn’s wonky and surrealist tonalities.

This album bears the fruit of an awakening. Explore Ensemble’s pent-up energies – confined and distracted during the pandemic – were at last released over the course of 2022, with a return to concerts and recordings. That busy year was filled with reconnection and growth. This album presents Explore Ensemble’s resulting perspective on chamber music repertoire. It is music that, by invoking either actual or imagined spaces, goes beyond the “chamber” and the genre’s historical allegiance to the slippery notion of musical autonomy.

Huddersfield Contemporary Records is excited to announce that Perfect Offering is the first release from NMC Recordings in a 3D audio format, with both stereo and 3D audio mixes crafted by Explore Ensemble artistic director and album producer Nicholas Moroz. While the CD and digital download versions have been carefully mastered for the perfect stereo listening experience, listeners on Apple Music and TIDAL will be able to use the platforms' integration with Dolby Atmos to realise each track of the release as an immersive, spatial mix. Apple Music users with the correct headphones can take advantage of the head tracking feature to feel as though they are sitting right in the sweet spot of the concert hall, while purchasers of the digital download of Perfect Offering will get a taste of this experience through an exclusive, bonus binaural mix of Rebecca Saunder’s murmurs.

Described by Kate Molleson (BBC Radio 3) as one of the UK’s ‘top new music bands’, Explore Ensemble is a London chamber group which performs, commissions, and promotes new music. Built around a core sextet, Explore Ensemble's reputation for outstanding performances and inventive curation stems from its advocacy of some of the most original composers of today, combined with its revival of landmark works from the recent past. In 2021, Explore Ensemble was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Ensemble Prize to support its artistic and organisational development.

TRACKLISTING

1) Perfect Offering - Cassandra Miller
2) Weather a Rare Blue - Lisa Illean
3) Suite - Lawrence Dunn
4) murmurs - Rebecca Saunders

Explore Ensemble: Nicholas Moroz (artistic director), Taylor MacLennan (flute) Philip Haworth (oboe), Alex Roberts (clarinets), Angela Wai Nok Hui (percussion), Joseph Havlat (piano - tracks 2, 4 [first piano]), Siwan Rhys (piano - tracks 1, 3, 4 [second piano]), David López Ibáñez (violin), Oscar Perks (violin), Morag Robertson (viola), Deni Teo (cello)


AUDIO


REVIEWS

"this immersive mix is a particular gift for listeners at home" New York Times

"Miller is astonishingly successful at evoking those bell resonances, the shimmering, the strange polyphonic patterns, the sheer power of the sound as it grows to that cathartic climax and then slowly dies away. Skillful writing, well played." BBC Radio 3 Record Review

'A remarkable album, by a wonderful ensemble.' Morning Star

"The four works on this album […] hang together nicely and create a profound little musical world […] the ideas are all different, but the program succeeds as few other contemporary recordings do in establishing common points of reference." All Music

RECORDING CREDITS

Cassandra Miller’s Perfect Offering is published by Faber Music.
Recorded on 29 January 2023 at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Lisa Illean’s Weather a Rare Blue is published by Faber Music and commissioned by
Explore Ensemble with the support of the Hinrichsen Foundation.
Recorded on 19 October 2022 at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Lawrence Dunn’s Suite commissioned by Explore Ensemble with support from the
Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, the Genesis Foundation Kickstart Fund, the RVW Trust,
the Hinrichsen Foundation, and co-commissioned by the Wigmore Hall.
Recorded on 19 October 2022 at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Rebecca Saunders’ murmurs published by C. F. Peters Ltd & Co. KG.
Recorded on 17 October 2022 at Henry Wood Hall, London.

This album was made possible thanks to the generous support of Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Ensemble Prize and the Vaughan Williams Foundation.

Release date: 26 May 2023
Catalogue no.: HCR29CD