Joe Cutler's debut portrait album Bartlebooth (NMC D134) was released on NMC in 2008 and was one of ’Gramophone Magazines Top 20 Releases of the Year. His music has been described as ‘propulsive’ (BBC Music Magazine), ‘alluring (Scotsman), ‘neurotic (Re-Diffusion) and ‘the best thing to come out of Neasden since Twiggy’ (Gramophone).
Released to mark Joe's 50th birthday, this album features six works, all with typically wild and amusing titles that make you curious to find out more. Take Karembeu’s Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder, for example, a work that combines influences from jazz, contemporary classical, and post-minimalism, inspired by YouTube videos of the French footballer Christian Karembeu demonstrating the importance of short passing and the combination of movement and control. There's also McNulty, a piece commissioned by the Fidelio Trio in 2016, that gets some inspiration from a deeply flawed character of that name in the American TV drama The Wire.
Elsewhereness, an ‘occasional’ piece, written for the opening of the newly built Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, is performed by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra under conductor Mirga Grazinytè-Tyla (Music Director of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra). It explores 'the metaphysics of place, of moving from one building as it is dismantled to the new one as it rises from its foundations'.
In Akhmatova Fragments, written for soprano Sarah Leonard, and he captures the fleeting moods of the poems beautifully. The two remaining pieces For Frederic Lagnau and Sikorski B are named after two composers who have been a great influence on Cutler. They are performed by Workers Union Ensemble and Cutler's collective Noszferatu respectively.
Sarah Leonard soprano
Daniele Rosina conductor
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra
Mirga Gražinytè-Tyla conductor
Workers Union Ensemble
Emulsion Sinfonietta feat Iain Ballamy saxophone
ALLMUSIC EDITOR'S CHOICE NOVEMBER 2018
'Suffused with an infectious joy in sound’ The Journal of Music
'Cutler is a post-minimalist, lending the repetitive style new contexts. Alongside folk, pop and jazz influences are those, less likely, of football ... and TV drama' Sunday Times
‘Cutler’s music is profoundly characterful … a varied and wonderfully entertaining disc.’ Planet Hugill
‘This lively British composer writes jumbled, sometimes crazy pieces produced by hurling many kinds of music into the pot and giving them a quizzical stir’ The Times
‘humorous … whimsical … this album has been rewarded with commercial success – if you investigate it, you will hear how this has happened.’ AllMusic
‘music of quirky dancing energy and humour mingled with mystery … delightfully unpredictable’ The Telegraph ★★★★
'For those yet to hear the earlier discs, ‘Elsewhereness’ proves a no less enticing entry into his inimitable sound world.' Gramophone
'Splendid sound. Energetic, brilliant music' BBC Radio 3 Record Review
‘Elsewhereness is full of brilliantly achieved flamboyance’ Classical Music Magazine ★★★★★
‘Cutler has an exciting voice of kaleidoscopic vocabulary’ Classical Music Magazine ★★★★★
‘The music’s fluidity of style and shifting identities never become wearing: one of Cutler’s strengths is his timing, both comedic and musical’ The Arts Desk
'eclectic, decidedly here-and-now music ... laugh-out-loud funny' Fanfare
'Elsewhereness is a curtain raiser ... Mirga Gražinytè-Tyla, a real fire ball of a conductor, leads the proceedings with a will.' MusicWeb International
'Joe Cutler's wonderfully bonkers, zany Elsewhereness on the poineering NMC label' Clasical Explorer
With special thanks to PRS Foundation for supporting the composition of Elsewhereness through The Composers' Fund.
This recording was supported with research funding from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University.
NMC is grateful to the RVW Trust for supporting the recording of this album.
Elsewhereness was recorded at the Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 11 March 2018. McNulty was recorded in the Performance Space, City University on 20 June 2017. Akhmatova Fragments was recorded in Studio 1, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 24 April 2018. Sikorski B was recorded at the Adrian Boult Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 27 August 2008. Karembeu’s Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder was recorded in Studio 1, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 21 March 2018
SIMON HALL Recording Producer & Engineer
For Frederic Lagnau was recorded at the Recital Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 29 October 2013
MATTHEW O’MALLEY Recording Producer & Engineer
SIMON HALL Mastering