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Jesse Owens & Preludes In Our Time: OUT NOW
The Philharmonia Orchestra are heard in all their majesty on the incidental music from Michael Stimpson's opera, Jesse Owens, a work about the legendary US athlete who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics of 1936. This is accompanied by a collection of songs from the opera, arranged for soprano, baritone, and piano, in which singers Abigail Kelly and Johnny Herford beautifully illustrate the breadth of the work, the struggle, humour, and achievements of the greatest Olympian ever. These two works are complimented by Preludes In Our Time, for solo piano. Written while the world was looking towards the Beijing Olympics, this unique collection is enchantingly performed by Megumi Fujita, who also accompanies the singers.
"Stimpson’s expressive, immediately accessible music reveals hints of the blues and period popular music, but mostly it has a firm classical grounding, evoking the dignity and historical importance of Owens’s life and achievements"
"Much fine, humane music, which it is worth anyone’s while getting to know"
Stone Records presents two of the UK's finest musicians, Roderick Williams (baritone) and Sioned Williams (harp) in a superb performance of Michael Stimpson's Dylan, a biographical song cycle of Wales's most renowned poet, Dylan Thomas. Through his own wonderful texts and poems, Dylan's life is traced from his childhood in Wales, through his fiery marriage to Caitlin and love of alcohol (Bottled God), to his untimely death in New York in 1953. Dylan is paired with The Drowning of Capel Celyn (Boddi Capel Celyn) for solo harp, a work Sioned commissioned from Michael to mark her 60th birthday. Capel Celyn, a village near Bala in North Wales, was flooded in 1965 to create a reservoir for Liverpool. People were devastated as the water rushed into the valley, drowning the Chapel, Quaker Meeting House, Post Office, and a number of cottages. Set in five movements, the work evokes Capel Celyn in first light, the marching protesters and the violence of the flooding.
"a superb performance of a winning work"
"Stimpson's settings of the poetry and prose enhanced the imagery, the mystery, the dark moods, the wartime horrors and the enigmatic verses dedicated to his wife Caitlin"
"Roderick Williams’s performance of all this is, quite simply, superb"
"The impeccable, sensitively shaded playing by Williams, and the addition of a substantial work to the limited original repertoire for baritone and harp, make this CD an important disc to
add to your collection"
Harp Magazine (UKHA)
The CD features String Quartet No.1 (Robben Island) performed by the Allegri String Quartet. Composed to celebrate the end of apartheid, it is accompanied by a performance of A Walk Into War, a work for tenor and piano quintet based on the delightful writings of Laurie Lee.