Helen Grime: Night Songs

Helen Grime: Night Songs

NMC Recordings
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Helen Grime's Debut Disc contrasts orchestral works – including her first Hallé commission,the nocturne Near Midnight (2013) – with smaller-scale pieces featuring the Hallé Soloists. The earliest work here, Virga, is a densely-packed miniature, taking its title from precipitation which evaporates before it reaches the ground; its textures are dominated by falling cascades of woodwind droplets. Night Songs was commissioned for the 2012 BBC Proms and premiered by the BBC SO and Oliver Knussen.

Other works include Into the faded air - a string sextet titled after a line from T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets – the Clarinet Concerto, featuring Hallé principal Lynsey Marsh, and Everyone Sang – inspired by Siegfried Sassoon.

Lynsey Marsh clarinet
Hallé Soloists
Hallé Orchestra
Jamie Phillips conductor
Sir Mark Elder conductor




‘ … Music that is active and teems with incident while compelling in the complexity of colour, rhythm and yearning expressiveness. Her deft handling of a large orchestra is also a joy in music that seems to resonate within itself, secrets enshrined therein […] Near Midnight is singularly impressive.’ Classical Source

‘Glittery, incisive, full of leaping lines and incandescent climaxes’ Sunday Times

‘The writing is finely textured, dense but airy, ornamental but never decorative.’ The Guardian

‘Compelling works which all bear the distinctive voice of this young composer, here championed with real commitment and the Hallé (and, indeed, NMC). A strong recommendation’ Gramophone Editor’s Choice

‘Excellent performances … glistening coloristic orchestral palette and unerring sense of pacing – with strong gestures succeeded by passages of fragile delicacy and a coda that beguilingly vanishes into thin air.’ Musical America Blogs on Virga

‘Periods of calm and a more reflective mood are sustained – as opposed to the more volatile form of much contemporary music. This is her music’s greatest strength: there is a mature, appropriate balance of affects that isn’t nearly as tiring as some of the more unabashedly “modernist” music.’ American Record Guide

‘Helen Grime (b.1981) is revealed on this disc as a young composer of vivid imagination and an unerring instinct for attractive sound that is alternately brilliant and delicate, and everything interesting.' Classical Ear

‘This disc is a treat for those who look for the subtle richness of contemporary orchestral technique without avant-garde excesses’ Classical Ear

'Grime is a composer with an individual voice, a keen ear for sonority, and a craftsman-like facility' Classical Music Magazine


Hinrichsen Foundation Logo     

With thanks to The Hinrichsen Foundation for supporting NMC’s Hallé Series through its New Initiatives programme, and to The Zochonis Charitable Trust for its support of this series.

NMC is grateful for the support of the Hallé and of Music Sales Ltd in making this recording.

Thanks to the trusts, foundations and individuals who have invested in NMC’s Debut Discs series:
The Astor Foundation
The Boltini Trust
The John S Cohen 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
and to the individuals who donated through The Big Give Christmas Challenge December 2011.


Night Songs and Everyone Sang were recorded on 13-15 September 2013.

COLIN MATTHEWS Recording Producer
STEVE PORTNOI Recording Engineer

A Cold Spring and the Clarinet Concerto were recorded on 6-7 December 2013; Into the faded air was recorded on 3 March 2014; and Virga and Near Midnight were recorded on 10-11 March 2014.

JEREMY HAYES Recording Producer
STEVE PORTNOI Recording Engineer

All works were recorded at Hallé St Peter’s, Ancoats, Manchester.

STEVE PORTNOI Digital Editing / Mastering
COLIN MATTHEWS Executive Producer for NMC

P & C 2014 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number: NMC D199
Release Date: 22 September 2014