DISC SUBSCRIPTIONS

Many of our exciting and groundbreaking discs could not be recorded if it were not for the generosity of subscribers. For a suggested minimum donation of £50, supporters to a disc receive the following:

 

A mention as a named subscriber in the CD booklet
A pair of free tickets to the launch event, held at a major venue
A complimentary signed copy of the CD immediately upon its release

 

We are currently inviting subscriptions for two major recording projects. Please follow the link at the ends of the descriptions below to support either or both!

 

 

‘SAGA’

EM Records is seeking to raise the funds necessary to record a fascinating disc of World Première recordings of works by Norman O’Neill, Gustav Holst, Frederick Delius, Cyril Scott and Havergal Brian with the BBC Concert Orchestra and celebrated baritone Roderick Williams.

 

O’Neill’s orchestral baritone scena ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ sets words by John Keats. First performed at the Queen’s Hall in 1910, such was its success that the work received a number of subsequent performances, and the music critic Francis Toye described the scena as “an altogether delightful piece of work, full of imagination, poetry and sensitive response to the varying atmosphere of the poem”. At one such concert, ‘La Belle Dame’ was paired with the World Première performance of Gustav Holst’s ‘Beni Mora’, so it is fitting that we also feature on this disc the World Première recording of another early Holst work: the scena for baritone and orchestra ‘Ornulf’s Drapa’. Based on William Archer’s translation of Ibsen’s ‘The Vikings of Helgeland’, this was composed in 1898 and revised two years later. Although written while Holst was still in his twenties, it is a typically characterful, individual and assured work.

 

Havergal Brian’s ‘Legend’ was discovered amongst the composer’s papers after his death but is thought to date from as early as 1919. Although the work was scored by Brian for violin and piano, the nature of the piano writing is suggestive of orchestral accompaniment and the Havergal Brian Society has therefore commissioned the definitive orchestrated version of this work for this recording. The piece intersperses darkly brooding episodes with passionate outbursts and builds to a surging climax before a quietly meditative coda.

 

As a young man in the early 1900s, Cyril Scott was one of English music’s enfants terribles; musically very sophisticated for his time and immensely popular. In the late 1900s, he set the romantic, but melancholy, Scottish ‘Ballad of Fair Helen of Kirkonnel’ for baritone and piano / orchestra, which tells the tragic tale of a young man who shoots his beloved when she intercepts a bullet intended for his rival. ‘The Times’ stated in its review of the first performance with Beecham in 1905 that the work’s “vigour and originality, together with the ingenious if at times bizarre orchestration, make it really effective”.

 

The final work on the disc will be Delius’s ‘Petite Suite d’Orchestre’. Composed in Paris in May 1889, Delius described it to Grieg in June 1889 as “a little ‘Suite d’orchestre’ in five movements – ‘Marche’, ‘Berceuse’, ‘Scherzo’, ‘Duo’ and ‘Tema con Variation’, which has come off quite well.” Of these short movements only the ‘Marche’ has been performed before, in its revised version as ‘Marche Caprice’. This disc thus comprises the World Première recording and first complete performance of the ‘Petite Suite d’Orchestre’.

 

 

Please follow this link to subscribe to the disc.

GURNEY AND ELGAR: A NEW LIGHT

The Sonata for Violin and Piano, op.82, of Edward Elgar is a work whose presence in recording catalogues has been steadily strengthening during the last few years. Last year, however, the prestigious German publishing house G. Henle Verlag issued a new scholarly-critical edition of the work which draws on all the extant sources – the composition sketches and drafts, a proof copy annotated by Elgar, and the first edition – and, in the process, clarifies and resolves the anomalies which remained in the edition published by Novello in 1919 and which has been the score principally used by performers since. EM Records is therefore delighted to be including on its forthcoming disc a recording of this well-loved Sonata which uses the new Henle edition, in the process revealing unsuspected subtleties of expression and a new fusion with the composer’s original intentions.

 

Elgar’s Sonata is one of his last completed works, and it will be complemented on the recording by three of the composer’s earliest offerings – which are also certainly among his most popular. ‘Salut d’Amour’, op.12, and ‘Chanson de Nuit’ and ‘Chanson de Matin’, together constituting op.15, are, again, presented using scholarly-critical editions from G. Henle Verlag, casting a refreshing light on these beautifully-crafted miniatures.

 

EM Records was privileged to release, in 2013, the first-ever recording of a violin-and-piano sonata by Ivor Gurney; and we are therefore thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to record the same composer’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in D major, dedicated to Gurney’s friend and fellow war poet F.W. Harvey. Although the manuscript is undated, evidence suggests the work was rigorously tried through, if not performed: in particular, the violin part (copied out by Gurney’s champion Marion Scott) incorporates fingering and other technical suggestions; and performance timings are also noted. Like the shifting light cast by a windswept sky, the Sonata contrasts exuberant energy and passionate outbursts with moments of quiet solemnity and brooding introspection. It is a richly rewarding discovery.

 

 

Please follow this link to subscribe to the disc.

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