Sea Eagle (Music for Horn)

Sea Eagle (Music for Horn)

NMC Recordings
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Richard Watkins is one of the most sought-after horn players of his generation. He was Principal Horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra for twelve years, and is currently a member of the Nash Ensemble and a founder member of London Winds. Closely associated with promoting contemporary music for the horn, Richard Watkins has given premieres of concertos by Maxwell-Davies, Osborne, Lindberg, Muldowney, LeFanu, and Colin and David Matthews.

The title work on this album is Peter Maxwell Davies' solo horn piece Sea Eagle (1982). It was initially considered by many to be impossible to play but is now regarded as an essential part of the horn repertoire and is even a set-piece for the prestigious Munich Horn Competition.

Richard is joined on this recording by a stellar line-up of chamber musicians, including Paul Watkins and Huw Watkins for an unusual combination of horn, cello and piano (C Matthews & Holloway), and tenor Mark Padmore to present the unmistakable soundworld of Gerald Barry. His setting of Lewis Carroll’s famous poem Jabberwocky – which is first sung in French, with expressive legato phrases, and then repeated more forcefully in German – features some delightfully unconventional horn writing.

Richard Watkins horn
Paul Watkins cello
Huw Watkins piano
Mark Padmore tenor
The Nash Ensemble



'The horn in this interesting British Isles sequence combines with other instruments and a voice, like an atom claimed by different molecules' Sunday Times

'NMC's enterprising and thoroughly absorbing sequence shows [Richard Watkins] to be a imperious exponent of his craft and a wonderfully instinctive musician to boot ... a most valuable collection in every respect' Gramophone

‘The quality of the works on offer here should make this release appeal well beyond the ranks of new music aficionados … (with) near-flawless performances.’ BBC Music Magazine

‘Linking the varied selection is Richard Watkins’s state-of-the-art horn-playing. His sound is firm and sonorous, with no trace of that exasperating fizziness of tone.’ BBC Music Magazine

(Jabberwocky) is gorgeously over-the-top … The style? Imagine Erik Satie on crack cocaine.’ BBC Music Magazine

'Colin Matthew's Three of a tonal and has many moments of real beauty, but it speaks a modern musical language' American Record Guide

'(Jabberwocky) is entirely raucous in the best sense of the word and is a perfect marriage to Lewis Caroll's nonsensical text.' Limelight Magazine


Huw Watkins’ Trio was recorded at Menuhin Hall, Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham, Surrey on 24 January 2011; Sea Eagle was recorded at the same venue on 24 January 2014. Jabberwocky was recorded at All Saints Church, East Finchley, London on 17 June 2014. Prayer for a great man, Three of a Kind and Robin Holloway’s Trio were recorded at Menuhin Hall on 13-14 September 2014.

Recording Producer/Engineer: DAVID LEFEBER 

David Matthews’ Horn Quintet was recorded live for BBC Radio 3 at Wigmore Hall, London on 18 October 2014.

Recording Producer: MICHAEL EMERY 

Recording Engineer: MICHAEL BACON 

Digital Editing/Mastering: DAVID LEFEBER

Executive Producer for NMC: COLIN MATTHEWS 

(P) 2015 BBC - David Matthews’ Horn Quintet (tracks 9-10)
(P) 2015 NMC - Recordings Ltd Sea Eagle, Jabberwocky, Three of a kind, Watkins: Trio, Prayer for a great man, and Holloway: Trio 
© 2015 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number: NMC D203
Release Date: 16 March 2015