Archive for News

12 Harpsichord Suites of Johann Froberger

Veteran English harpsichordist Gilbert Rowland returns to the studio in July 2018 to record 12 of the Harpsichord Suites of Johann Froberger for Athene Records, the early-music imprint of Divine Art. This follows Rowland’s survey on 6 CDs of the suites by Handel and his recent 3-CD box of the suites by Johann Mattheson which has become one of the label’s best sellers of 2017 and received international critical praise.

Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667) was a highly accomplished composer of the middle baroque and is usually credited with inventing the ‘baroque suite’ used with variations by Bach, Handel and countless other composers; certainly it was his idea to set the ‘backbone’ of the Suite as the four dance movements of allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue. He was extremely prolific and Stephen Sutton, CEO at Divine Art, is hopeful that this will be the first of a series eventually containing all of Froberger’s harpsichord music – this may be a challenge as considerable numbers of works have been recently discovered so the ‘complete’ works may not be established for some time! This first volume will be released late 2018/early 2019 but the exact date has not been yet finalized.

New Music from Basil Athanasiadis

‘Soft Light’, the new album from Basil Athanasiadis, will be a fascinating mix of Greek and Japanese influences. Athanasiadis’ works are characterized by a strong visual identity, brought to life on this album by the ensemble Shonorities. Our CEO, Stephen Sutton, is “delighted to have signed a composer with such a unique and exotic blend of styles”.

Athanasiadis studied at the National Conservatoire of Athens and in the UK at Trinity College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, and Canterbury Christ Church University. He explored Japanese and Western instruments as a Special Foreign Researcher at the Tokyo University of the Arts and has previously released three CDs with Sargasso Records. His scores are published by United Music Publishers and Oxford University Press.

Shonorities, founded by Athanasiadis, is a diverse group of performers and composers committed to promoting a range of repertoire that encompasses a wide spectrum of musical styles including old, contemporary and traditional pieces. By blending a variety of musical cultures, Shonorities aims to show the potential of the cross cultural collaboration in the contemporary music creation. The collaboration with choreographers and dancers, lighting designers and the inclusion of electronics enhance the performance experience. The unity of the concerts is achieved by introducing a theme that underscores the repertoire.

Shonorities personnel on this recording: Shie Shoji (voice); Naomi Sato (sh­ō and soprano saxophone); Stelios Chatsiiosifidis (violin); Lin Lin (flute); Jasmina Samssuli (piano)

To be released in mid 2018 on MSV 28584.

Métier to release a new ‘single’

Métier Records will add to its fast-growing catalog of contemporary music a ‘single’ which will include two works with a total playing time of 24 minutes and which will be offered at budget price. The two works are both for electronics: ‘Aeolus’ is by Irish composer Gráinne Mulvey, and ‘Untouch’ is from Christopher Fox. Both composers produce works in a wide variety of styles and instrumentation which are ‘cutting-edge’ yet musically entertaining and well constructed. Each composer ‘manages’ the electronics for their piece on this mini-album.

To be released in mid 2018, catalog number MDS 29006.

Coull Quartet celebrates 40 years at Warwick

The Coull Quartet celebrates its 40th anniversary as Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Warwick, UK this year. They perform a series of concerts on campus, collaborate with many academic departments, support scholarships given to string players and much more.

We’re excited to work with them on a 2018 release: They will perform on Christopher Redgate’s second volume of ‘New Music for a New Oboe’, coming out in March. The album will include pieces specially commissioned by Sam Hayden, Edward Cowie, Paul Archbold, Dorothy Ker and Christopher Fox.

Season’s Greetings

To all our customers, our best wishes for the Holidays whichever religion you follow (if any..) and thanks for your support of the best of recorded music. If we have in any small way infused your life with the Spirit of Music then our travail is not in vain. As our original motto (due for a re-launch?) went , “The Divine Art of Musick toucheth the verry Soule”
Stephen Sutton, CEO

Teresa Cahill honored with two awards

Congratulations to Teresa Cahill who was honored with two achievement awards this year: The Elgar Medal (previous winners include Ashkenazy and Barenboim), and the Sir Charles Santley Memorial Award from the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

New recording of music by Naji Hakim

Among a full schedule for 2018 is a new recording of works by Naji Hakim centering on organ and harpsichord. The main soloist is Simon Leach, joined for two works by violinists Benedict Holland, and for one each by recorder player John Turner and tenor Ranald McCusker, the latter singing a plainsong introduction to the program.

Simon Leach’s connection with the composer goes back to 1992, when Leach was awarded a bursary, while a student at the RNCM, to study with Hakim in Paris. He has developed his career to a high level and has performed with the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, and other top orchestras; he is a regular performer on the BBC Daily Service and since 2001 has been organist at Holy Name Church in Manchester which has a long and celebrated musical tradition.

In addition to being the recipient of many international awards throughout his career, including one from Pope Benediktus XVI, Hakim has held extended positions as organist at both the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Paris and at the l’église de la Trinité, in succession to Olivier Messiaen. He is now professor of musical analysis at the Conservatoire National de Région de Boulogne-Billancourt, and visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

The new album, working title ‘Embrace of Fire’, is to be recorded on March 5-7, 2018 at Holy Name Church, Manchester, England with engineer/producer Richard Scott and will be released in CD and digital formats later in 2018 (MSV 28583).

Music for two pianos…

… and percussion.  Bartok’s Concerto and Camilleri’s  Sonata,  for this combination, are joined by Stravinsky’s own 2-piano transcription of The Rite of Spring in another fine reissue from the Dunelm Records catalog. Murray McLachlan and Kathryn Page (pianos), Heather Corbett and Stephen Burke (percussion). To be issued at mid price (CD and digital) in April 2018.

Sir John Manduell dies at 89

The veteran English composer Sir John Manduell has died at the age of 89. He passed away suddenly at 9 am on October 25 probably from an aortic embolism.

Sir John was born in Johannesburg but of English parents. He had a long career at the BBC, moving swiftly up the ranks and was responsible for setting up the first all-day music radio service (now known as Radio 3). At 40, he left to enter academic life, becoming the founding Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in 1971. He composed relatively little, but most of his works are substantial and important contributions. His Double Concerto in its revised version for oboe and cor anglais, and his Flutes Concerto, were both recorded by the Manchester Sinfonia and issued along with Double Concertos by Gordon Crosse on the Métier Records album “Mixed Doubles” (MSV 77201).

Divine Art founder Stephen Sutton says “I was honoured to meet Sir John (already almost totally paralysed) at a CD launch about four years ago in Manchester. His legacy, though small in quantity, was very high in quality of inspiration and craftsmanship. He will be missed especially by the Manchester musical circle and the myriads of students and teachers who worked under his oversight at the RNCM.”

Coming soon: a tribute album for John McCabe

In every sense, John McCabe was a leading light in both British and international musical life; he was in love with music from a very early age, and all through his life he remained fascinated by discovering new or neglected composers; as a highly skilled pianist he had a wide repertoire ranging from Haydn to the contemporary work of such composers as Hoddinott, Mathias, Michael Tippett and many others whose work he helped to introduce. As a composer his work on all levels was outstanding and his death in 2015 robbed us of a fine craftsman.

Several composers of high esteem wrote pieces in McCabe’s honour in 2016, and these have been collected along with some works written for his 70th birthday in 2009; many of them have had successful concert performances and now are to be issued in an album entitled ‘A Garland for John McCabe’. The production has been organised by recorder player John Turner with active and esteemed participation by the composer’s widow, Monica McCabe. The works are written for combinations of clarinet, viola and recorder with piano and are performed by Linda Merrick (clarinet), Alistair Vennart (viola), John Turner (recorder) and Peter Lawson (piano). Each soloist is regarded as a foremost exponent of their instrument and have appeared on many current Divine Art/Métier recordings as well as work with other labels.

The album of McCabe’s piano music, ‘Tenebrae’, by Tamami Honma has been one of Métier’s most enduringly popular titles (MSVCD 92071). Shopshire Star called McCabe “one of our foremost contemporary composers” and described the recording as “an astounding work of breathtaking beauty”.

‘A Garland for John McCabe’ will be released in March 2018 on Divine Art DDA 25166.

Full track list (alphabetical order of composer surnames):
James Francis Brown: Evening Changes
Gary Carpenter: Edradour
Peter Dickinson: A Rag for McCabe
Martin Ellerby: Nocturnes and Dawn
Anthony Gilbert: The Flame has Ceased
Edward Gregson: John’s Farewell
Christopher Gunning: Danse des Fourmis
Emily Howard: Outback
John Joubert: Exequy
Rob Keeley: Elegy for John McCabe
Malcolm Lipkin: In Memoriam John McCabe
William Marshall: Little Passacaglia
David Matthews: Chaconne
Elis Pehkonen: Lament for the Turtle-Dove
Robert Saxton: A Little Prelude for John McCabe
Gerard Schurmann: Memento
Howard Skempton: Highland Song
Robin Walker: And Will You Walk Beside Me Down the Lane?
Raymond Warren: In Nomine

Nan Schwartz to release orchestral album on Divine Art

Grammy winner, 5-time Grammy nominee and seven-time Emmy nominee Nan Schwartz, is unquestionably America’s most renowned woman composer except for one notable exception – her own symphonic works for the concert stage had, until now, previously never been recorded.  This remarkable omission from the classical music-recording catalogue has finally been rectified with this extraordinary album, conducted by the eminent New York-based Australian conductor, Kevin Purcell.

The album will be released in the spring in both CD and digital formats (dda 25165). Kevin Purcell conducts The Synchron Stage Orchestra, Wien and the Bratislava Studio Symphony Orchestra.

Friends for many years, it was only by chance that when Nan sent Kevin her symphonic tone-poem for Trumpet and Orchestra (Angels Among Us) to review did the Australian maestro casually enquire, “Nan, what else have you composed for the concert stage that no-one knows about?”  And the answer to that question gave birth to 2018’s most highly anticipated classical album. Taking two years to produce, across three continents, the 83-piece orchestra Vienna sessions are augmented by the crème-de-la-crème of New York’s finest Jazz musicians combining to create the orchestral masterpieces Aspirations and Perspectives.

The four works by Nan Schwartz on this album are ingeniously coupled with the premiere recording of Australian composer Brenton Broadstock’s astoundingly evocative Concerto For Orchestra: an homage to the iconic Miles Davis album ‘Kind of Blue’.

Artist and album receive international awards

Pianist Burkard Schliessmann has been distinguished with the award of three Silver Medals at the 2017 Global Music Awards. Known as “music’s golden seal of approval”, the Global Music Awards honored Schliessmann as an instrumentalist and for ‘Outstanding Achievements as a Classical Artist’, as well as for his Divine Art album ‘Chronological Chopin’.

New Skempton album for 2018

Howard Skempton is one of Britain’s most individual and skilful composers. A new album of his chamber works has been recorded for release early next year by Métier (our new-music branch) by the British ensemble Sirinu.

The new album is titled ‘The Man, Hurdy-Gurdy and Me’ which gives a hint that Skempton’s works here may include non-traditional instruments and indeed his flair for fascinating and unusual instrumental pairings is a feature of the program – not often does a major composer’s chamber music involve the Hurdy-Gurdy, medieval instruments, or the accordion or even the Indonesian gamelan trio of saron, peking and gendèr.

‘The Man, Hurdy-Gurdy and Me’ (currently at editing and mastering stage) will be scheduled for release in early Spring 2018 on Métier MSV 28580

We wish Howard a very happy birthday, as he enters his 71st year!

New Métier album to focus on Bass Clarinet

Leading British clarinettist Ian Mitchell is to record a program of music for bass clarinet for Métier Records, the new-music arm of Divine Art. The purpose of the album will be to demonstrate that the bass clarinet is not just an optional orchestral instrument but is effective in chamber music for small ensembles. Joined by his long-established and renowned group Gemini, Mitchell will present an album containing many new works some of which have been commissioned by Mitchell and Gemini. The recording sessions are to take place, with Métier Productions producer/engineer David Lefeber, during the autumn for release in mid-2018. Other soloists taking part are soprano Alison Wells and pianist Aleksander Szram.

The genius of Artyomov

Following critical acclaim for the two recent albums of Symphonies and other works by Vyacheslav Artyomov (DDA 25143 and 25144) we are working with him on a project to re-issue almost all of the previous recordings of his magnificent music, most of this is being licensed from Melodiya and we hope to conclude the paperwork on the deal very soon. There should be material for seven albums – one actually includes new recordings (of ‘Sola Fide’ a ballet suite) while the re-issued recordings will be issued on the mid price Diversions label – we hope to schedule these for release over next spring and summer. At the same time plans are in hand for another new album… of which more news soon.

American Art Song album from Métier

Irish mezzo-soprano Aylish Kerrigan is following up her two recent Métier albums with one devoted to the vocal works of Charles Ives and Henry Cowell.  In many ways the two (though not at all alike) share the distinction of being exceptionally individual in their writing. Ms Kerrigan, who is accompanied by pianist Vladimir Valdivia, has spent several years honing her individual approach to these unusual and often eccentric pieces to bring out their essence, making them personal statements from composer and singer to listener. The album also includes two short piano solo works by Cowell, and two with flute or piccolo obbligato (supplied by William Dowdall).

The release will be scheduled for late spring 2018. Meanwhile, Ms Kerrigan is now busy recording her next project – a vocal album devoted to Kurt Weill, the composer who in live performance is most identified with the singer.

Ms Kerrigan’s repertoire ranges from Irish Ballads, German Lieder and Theatre Music to a wide range of contemporary compositions. She is a renowned vocal pedagogue and gives concerts, master classes and lectures world-wide. Her one-woman Broadway shows have won her acclaim in Paris, Dublin, New York and Berlin.

Re-issues from Dunelm Records

Since acquiring Dunelm Records back in 2007 we have re-released several of their fine recordings on the Diversions and Metier labels at a lower price. A new batch of re-releases is now being prepared for the spring of 2018. This will include vols 1-5 of the series of organ recordings by Ronald Frost (Organs of North West England) – volumes 6 and 7 are already available for streaming on Primephonic and purchase on iTunes – as well as contemporary piano music and chamber works.  More information to follow – watch this space!

November Releases

Look out for three new albums in November (our last issues of 2017). We are delighted to present Volume 6 of the Carson Cooman organ music series (“The Cloak with the Stars”). Cooman also appears, this time as performer, in Andreas Willscher’s Organ Symphonies 19 & 20 and a suite ‘The Beatitudes’; and from Métier we focus on works for solo violin and violin/viola duo by Michael Alec Rose, currently teaching at Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

Burkard Schliessmann on Classica!

German pianist Burkard Schliessmann has several upcoming performances of works by Godowsky and Liszt airing on Classica.

Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938)

Piano-Paraphrases of Strauss-Songs and Symphonic Metamorphoses on Waltzes and Themes of Johann Strauss.
Die Fledermaus – Alt-Wien (“Old Vienna”), “Whose Yesterdays look backwards with a Smile through Tears”, Triakontameron, No. 11 – Wienerisch – Ein Künstlerleben



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Franz Liszt (1811-1886):

Piano Transcriptions of Schubert Songs.
Die Forelle – Auf dem Wasser zu singen – Horch, horch! Die Lerch’ im Ätherblau! – Leise flehen meine Lieder – Aufenthalt – Der Erlkönig


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Explore Burkard Schliessmann’s Divine Art Recordings