“What an astonishing year for British symphonies on disc… Philip Sawyers‘s classically structured Third, however, out-compels its rivals in sweep, scope and and the ESO’s gripping performance” Congrats to April Fredrick, soprano, and producer Simon Fox-Gal, but especially to Philip. We’re so proud of our affiliation with him as our John McCabe Composer-in-Association, a collaboration which has […]
Filmed between recording sessions for Ken’s latest Nimbus CD, Ken and producer Phil Rowlands talk about his new orchestration of Brahms’ largest chamber music work.
This is another real YouTube treasure. I’m conducting this mini-masterpiece tomorrow for the first time in about 20 years, but it’s a piece you hear (or least I hear) all the time, and there are many good performances out there under Bernstein’s baton (and others). The most famous, and most often seen and heard, recording […]
More international praise for John Joubert – Composer‘s magnificent Jane Eyre- An Opera in Two Acts on SOMM Recordings, this time from Classica in France. ‘The vocal distribution of this creatiòn in Birmingham is of astounding beauty. April Fredrick assumes from end to end an overwhelming role with a palette that evolves from alto to coloratura soprano with supreme […]
A little update on the Brahms Piano Quartet orchestration project, for those of you interested…. A quick summary of how we got to where we are! The arrangement had its genesis in 2008 in Ischia when the idea came to me. I spent a good chunk of that summer annotating my score of the original […]
I find myself thinking of Bartók today. For me, he seemed to rise to the musical challenges of the early 20th C with more vision and creativity than anyone else. In his music, we find blood and mathematics, folks songs and atonal cells, head and heart, earth and dreams. Who is to say who the […]
Wonderful new FIVE STAR review in The Times for An Eventful Morning in East London: 21st C. Violin Concertos with Harriet Mackenzie; Get your copy: https://eso.co.uk/…/an-eventful-morning-in-east-london-21st…/ “Mackenzie’s playing is rivetingly incisive throughout, and Kenneth Woods, conductor obtains exemplary accompaniments from the English String Orchestra and English Symphony Orchestra.” Classical review: Harriet Mackenzie: An Eventful Morning in East […]
This past Sunday afternoon, I conducted the ESO in a performance of Tchaikovksy’s String Serenade which marked the end of our main 2016-7 season. Between now and our return from the summer holidays, my colleagues are doing some fascinating chamber music concerts, the Bach B minor Mass with the wonderful Sarah MacDonald guest conducting, and […]
That Allan Holdsworth died this week in relative poverty and obscurity (at least considering his enormous artistic legacy) is a sad but completely predictable sign of the times. I first encountered Holdsworth as an ambitious young guitar player. Even then, in what in retrospect was his heyday, he was the kind of musician […]
ESO/Woods review – Pritchard’s vibrant violin concerto captures sound of the sea Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Kenneth Woods led the English String Orchestra through a strong programme of new work that included Deborah Pritchard’s concerto inspired by Maggi ‘s Hambling’s art Maggi Hambling is the most musical of painters. Her giant Scallop sculpture on Aldeburgh beach is inscribed […]
Where does an opera really take place? Why, on the stage, I hear you say. Of course, that’s true, but not quite the truth. Der Rosenkavalier and The Magic Flute might take place on the same stage in the same week, but they clearly don’t take place in the same place. Of course, in the […]
John Joubert’s musical language is original yet familiar, subtle yet direct. Firmly rooted in tonality, his harmonic vocabulary is highly sophisticated and personal, and he seems to have a particular knack for energising traditional harmonies through clashes, bi-tonality and harmonic extension. Joubert’s Jane Eyre is the work of a melodist of the highest order who […]
The English Symphony Orchestra’s 21st C. Symphony Project: Nine symphonies, nine composers, one orchestra.
From the latest issue of Musical Opinion Magazine. My manifesto explaining the thinking behind the 21st C. Symphony Project. Subscribe to the magazine here. On 28 February, 2017, the English Symphony Orchestra will premiere the Third Symphony by Philip Sawyers, the first work in a cycle of nine new symphonies to be commissioned by […]
I cannot recall the last concert I attended that included a Symphony by Haydn and one by Mozart, and also embracing an impressive recent English work. Kenneth Woods, the English Symphony Orchestra’s Artistic Director, has already revived what was a fairly moribund organisation and turned it into something vibrant and ambitious. At Kings Place, Woods included a […]
Poulenc’s frothy, frivolous and rather sexy ballet Les biches does not seem, at first glance, to be the sort of piece to make a hardened muso well up with emotion, but it had just that effect on me about a week ago as I listened to it for the first time in ages. “Les biches” […]