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TWO NEW RELEASES FROM EM RECORDS

June 2021 sees the release of two new recordings on the EM Records label. ‘Crépuscule’ (EMR CD069) is the debut disc from the young, dynamic and award-winning Aurora Trio. This feast of exciting and characterful English music for flute, viola and harp includes five World Première recordings alongside established masterworks such as Arnold Bax’s ‘Elegaic Trio’ and William Alwyn’s ‘Naïades’.

 

The late-evening performances of The New Foxtrot Serenaders have been a highlight of each English Music Festival for the past six years, resulting in much toe-tapping and even dancing in the aisles; and EM Records is delighted to have committed this scintillating band, with its suave and charming band-leader Graham Wright, to compact disc in ‘Buttonhole & Tails’ (EMR CD072). Works featured on the disc include favourites such as ‘Run, Rabbit, Run’, ‘Could You Please Oblige Us with a Bren Gun?’, ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ and ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’; and other works range from ‘Love Is the Sweetest Thing’ to Noel Gay’s ‘Leaning on a Lamp-Post’. These nostalgic works are presented in previously unrecorded arrangements by the late John Ashworth, pianist and arranger to the band for many years, and to whose memory the recording is dedicated.

PIANO WORKS OF PASSION AND DRAMA

‘De Profundis Clamavi’ is a two-disc recording of English piano music, contrasting three dramatic sonatas with a vibrant selection of shorter pieces ranging from the sublimely poetic to the darkly rhapsodic. Frank Bridge began writing his grandiose Piano Sonata in 1921, in the wake of the First World War, and it is suffused with a mood of desolation and torment. Contemporary composer Richard Pantcheff’s own sonata was completed in 2017 and evokes a similarly intense emotional landscape; hence the quotation from Psalm 130 that gives the album its name (“Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord”). Also here making its first recorded appearance, the 1938 Sonata by Christopher Edmunds bubbles over with vivid pianistic colours, melting tenderness and and irresistible romantic warmth.

 

The three sonatas are complemented and contextualised by Parry’s delicious ‘Shulbrede Tunes’ — affectionate portraits of the composer’s family and their Sussex home — plus the first recordings of two stunning romantic showpieces by a composer better known for his vocal writing, Cecil Armstrong Gibbs. Three unpublished — and previously unrecorded — gems by Edgar Bainton add further distinctiveness to the disc.

A NEW WORK OF POIGNANT SIGNIFICANCE

EM Records is delighted to present a recording of choral works by contemporary composer Paul Carr, whose lyrical and intensely touching works never fail to move and delight. This disc contains the World Première recording of ‘The Light of Love – A Requiem Mass’ (2020), alongside his setting of Psalm 23 (2014, rev. 2017).

 

Carr’s more recent ‘The Light of Love’, scored for mixed-voice choir, soprano saxophone, cello, harp and organ, is modelled on Mozart’s famous Requiem. As a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional requiem mass, Carr’s piece sets a new text in English (by librettist Euan Tait) alongside the usual Latin text. Written in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the circumstances surrounding the work’s composition and recording have been imbued with particular significance both for the composer and for all participants in the recording process.

 

‘The Light of Love’ (EMR CD068) is now released and available to buy from our online shop: please click here to make your purchase. Full details of the recording, including a track listing, are available on this page.

‘COLLOQUY’

The profound bond between plucked instruments and English music has existed since the Renaissance, especially with the outstanding lute music of John Dowland. This epoch is considered as the golden age of plucked instruments and has inspired English composers repeatedly thereafter through to the 20th century. For example, one of the most influential works written in the 20th century for the classical guitar, Benjamin Britten’s ‘Nocturnal after John Dowland’, was based upon ‘Come, Heavy Sleep’ from Dowland’s ‘First Book of Songs’ (1597).

 

As a tribute to the long-standing history of the guitar repertoire, the German guitar duo Duo Guitartes offers in this disc works by John Dowland, Peter Philips, John Johnson, Henry Purcell, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Peter Maxwell Davies, Stephen Dodgson and Joseph Phibbs, a programme which was initially performed at the English Music Festival in May 2017. The majority of these works are new arrangements for guitar duo by Duo Guitartes. ‘Serenade’ (2014), composed by Joseph Phibbs and dedicated to the duo, also receives its World Première recording on this wide-ranging release.

 

Please click here to enjoy extracts from the recording or to read more details; to purchase the disc from our online shop, please follow this link.

FOUNDATION SUBSCRIPTIONS

Are you one of our regular supporters, and do you tend to purchase many of our discs? If so, why not sign up as a Foundation Subscriber to EM Records? Foundation Subscribers receive a number of benefits, such as having EM Records discs delivered direct to their door immediately upon release, receiving a pair of free tickets to all EM Records launches and events, and receiving all the benefits due to individual disc subscribers. In return, Foundation Subscribers provide much-needed regular annual income to EM Records, which allows us to plan more securely for the future, as well as the moral support that is important to a small label such as ourselves. A Foundation Subsription costs £120 per year. Visit our online shop to sign up!

REVIEWS
Beautifully shaped by Benjamin Frith... Beguiling sounds, graced by the tawny richness and unexaggerated line of Richard Jenkinson’s cello playing... The sense of purpose and sureness of line of Ian Venables’ music is pure oxygen.
EMR CD31 | BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
Exquisitely rewarding... Ravishing accounts.
EMR CD029 | CHOIR AND ORGAN
This is music of great beauty and integrity and the performances fully do it justice. It would be criminal to let it pass you by.

EMR CD028 | INTERNATIONAL
RECORD REVIEW

The Bridge Quartet approach these pieces with a sympathetic and insightful warmth, and confirm their ambassadorial credentials for British chamber music. A lovely, radiant disc.
EMR CD025 | Gramophone
Duncan Honeybourne’s playing is astonishingly affectionate, yet never saccharine... Honeybourne plays with suave confidence.
EMR CD024 | INTERNATIONAL PIANO
Rupert Marshall-Luck is an ideal interpreter: generously but not effusively lyrical; agile and athletic... The warm, folk-song like slow movement is at times almost painfully beautiful, with a shimmering pastoral central section... Marshall-Luck is, again, indefatigable and keenly picks up on the work’s melancholic strain.  Finely recorded and with comprehensive booklet notes, this is a must for fans of 20th-century English repertoire.
EMR CD023 | THE STRAD