Chamber Opera for small orchestra, percussion and voice
Co-commission with Live Music Now
World premiere: 23 July 2020 at Parco Ex-Eridania di Parma
Lamberto Curtoni cello
Simone Rubino voice, vibraphone and percussion
Ensemble from Filharmonica Arturo Toscanini
Commissioned by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust
Poems by Sabrina Mahfouz
World Premiere: 9 June 2019 King’s Place, London
Sarah-Jane Lewis soprano
Members of Multi-Story Orchestra
Co-commissioned by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestre Sinfónica de Galicia, Antwerp and London Philharmonic Orchestras
World premiere: 18 and 19 January 2019
Bram van Sambeek bassoon
Leszek Wachnik bassoon
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Niklas Willén conductor
Spanish premiere: 9 November 2019
Bram van Sambeek bassoon
Steve Harriswangler bassoon
Orquestre Sinfónica de Galicia
Ruman Gamba conductor
Belgian premiere: rearranged to February 2022
Bram van Sambeek bassoon
Pieter Nuytten bassoon
Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä conductor
Read Bram’s blog about the genesis and premiere of the concerto here
Matthias Schorn clarinet
Gerold Huber piano
Commissioned by Anna Lucia Richter with support from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust
World premiere: 8 January 2019
German premiere: 25 January 2019
“Holliger, here, is inspired by the short funeral music (D. 79) that a 16-year-old Schubert had written for himself: the voice, piano and clarinet explore together or separately all the nuances of the Schubertian sound. Most admirable here, perhaps, is the way Holliger, rather than just writing a bravura piece for her [Richter], penetrates the heart of his young interpreter’s vocal identity to feed his own writing, giving us a kind of sound X-ray of this performer’s extraordinary gift.”
Dominique Adrian, ResMusica, 11 January 2019
“Reliquien is… a very interesting examination of texts by Schubert… Richter’s interpretation was outstanding, every word, every phrasing expressed with intelligence and skill. And the soprano makes no difference between Holliger, Spohr and Schubert. All songs were performed with the same intensity and seriousness.”
Alain Steffen, Tageblatt, 10 January 2019
“…the direct effect [of the music] is undeniably physical and spiritual. The shaping of the work by the three protagonists at the premiere in the presence of the composer was exemplary.”
Uwe Krusch, Pizzicato, 10 January 2019
World première performances, 2017:
Sala dei Notari, Perugia – 17 March
Tongyeong Concert Hall, Tongyeong, South Korea – 30 April
Premiered on BBT website on 25 October 2016.
Co-commissioned with Wigmore Hall with the support of André Hoffmann, president of the Fondation Hoffmann, a Swiss grant-making foundation, and anonymous donors
World premiere 20 December 2014, Zaterdagmatinee at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam with Dutch Radio Philharmonic conducted by Markus Stenz
The composer writes:
“My new Recorder Concerto which I especially composed for Erik Bosgraaf has become yet one of my most personal and biographical works and has an enormous emotional impact.”
Jeths’ Recorder Concerto tops the genre *****
“Those who thought that a quiet-sounding renaissance recorder would lose out to an outsized modern symphony orchestra had not counted on [Willem Jeths]. Jeths has a great feeling for the concerto… and [his] Recorder Concerto can claim right away to be one of his best compositions in this genre.
“Jeths’ long melodies – and they are proper melodies – were played by Erik Bosgraaf with a tremendous sense of line and phasing.”
Peter van der Lint, Trouw, Amsterdam, 22 December 2014
Watch a video of the world premiere of Willem Jeths’ Recorder Concerto
World premiere 6 December 2014, Lahti.
Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Okku Kamu.
Co-commissioned by Borletti-Buitoni Trust, on behalf of Bram van Sambeek, with Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
“Dutchman Bram van Sambeek understands Fagerlund’s language and was able to transform the voice of the bassoon into a wizard’s voice which, in the Sibelius Hall’s woodwind-friendly acoustic, appeared to originate from the ceiling and intoxicatingly envelop the audience. The atmosphere of an incantation ritual was satisfyingly many-layered: the mix included shamanistic drums, keening, lamentations and incantations and Fagerlund brilliantly balanced agony and animistic joy of life.”
Auli Särkiö, Rondo Classic, 6 December 2014
Shamanism à la Fagerlund
“The piece [Mana] grabs the audience’s attention from the very first note, with the bassoon a kind of sorcerer driving ahead, trance-like, on a breathtaking journey through ever-changing exterior and interior landscapes…A magical wind instrumentalist, Bram van Sambeek is one of the few bassoon players to have chosen a career as a soloist and chamber musician and he mastered effortlessly the hair-raising technical challenges that pepper Fagerlund’s score.”
Mats Liljeroos, Hufvudstadsbladet, 7 December 2014
Watch a video of the world premiere of Sebastian Fagerlund’s Mana with Bram van Sambeek
World premiere 23 February 2014 with London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding, Barbican Centre, London. Second performance 14 May 2014 with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Third performance 13 February 2015 with RTE National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Damian Iorio.
“Walker, playing with staggering virtuosity and charm, kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout, and brought the house down at the end.”
Tim Ashley, The Guardian 26 February 2014
“Adam Walker seemed up for every challenge thrown at him. The opening veered between agitation and calm, cascades of obsessive repetition giving way to something more lyrical. Then came a movement of soulful rhapsody, Walker’s flute calling out longingly, the rest of the orchestra responding in kind… Flute-players may end up being grateful for the way that this new concerto expands their repertoire.”
Nick Kimberley, London Evening Standard 24 Feb 2014
Commissioned by Borletti-Buitoni Trust, London Symphony Orchestra, Fidelio Charitable Trust and Walker Watkins Consortium.
Hear an excerpt from the second performance, given by Adam Walker, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and
conductor Duncan Ward, from the 2014 Vale of Glamorgan Festival, recorded by the BBC, 14 May 2014
The concerto was recorded for NMC with Adam Walker accompanied by The Hallé and Ryal Wigglesworth, released in 2018.
Premiere 19 October 2013 with Aurora Orchestra at King’s Place, London, as part of ‘Bach Unwrapped’ series.
Dutch premiere 31 March & 1 April 2016, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam with Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and Gordan Nikolic, then 9 April at Philharmonie, Haarlem.
Co-commissioned for Erik Bosgraaf by Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and Aurora Orchestra.
Anna Meredith has taken the starting point of origami paper-folding for a set of songs for solo recorder player Erik Bosgraaf, ensemble and electronics. Each song is pop-song length and will live very much in its own ‘world’ and features a different one of Erik’s many recorders. In origami there are a set of foundation folds which form the base structure for additional or more complicated moves: blintz, kite, fish, bomb, square, bird and frog. Anna has composed songs drawing on each of these varied origami foundations.
Each of Anna’s songs references these structures either directly through music which links to the structure and mechanism of these folds or indirectly through textures such as an ensemble of paper scrunchers and tearers while birds circle overhead. Anna is drawn to the immersive possibilities of these short pieces and is thinking of them in many ways like a set of songs where Erik is a soloist but not in a traditional ‘concerto’ format and he someties simply plays a couple of notes in order to build the right feel and where everything is about creating these miniaturised, fragile yet robust, sharp and intricate worlds.
Premiere 18, 19, 20 September 2013 in Bergen with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Manze;
Further performances on:
13 December 2013 in Vara and 14 December 2013 in Gothenburg with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mario Venzago;
23, 24 January 2014 with Copenhagen Philharmonic, conducted by Lan Shui
Co-commissioned for Tine Thing Helseth by Borletti-Buitoni Trust with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
“Inspired by Hummel’s and Haydn’s classical trumpet concertos, Sørensen … has composed a robust work quite typical for our time – a work which I absolutely believe will find its place at the great concert venues in the time to come.”
Bergens Tidende, 21 September 2013
Hear an excerpt from the premiere performance recorded by NRK Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, 19 September 2013
Premiere 20 June 2013 at the Festspiele Mecklenburg Vorpommern.
Commissioned by Borletti-Buitoni Trust for Byol Kang and Boris Kusnezow.
World premiere 24 May 2013 in Groningen with North Netherlands Orchestra conducted by Kasper de Roo
Commissioned for Erik Bosgraaf by Borletti-Buitoni Trust.
“Kang-Shin, written for recorder phenomenon Erik Bosgraaf by Korean composer Ji Youn Kang, displayed a beautiful array of painting with sound.”
Paul Herruer, Dagblad van het Noorden
The composer writes:
“This new composition for Recorder, Orchestra and Live Electronics is inspired by traditional Korean Shamanic rituals. Traditional Korean ritual music, being rhythmical, furious and noisy, yields new ways to looking at – and perhaps listening to – the Orchestra. Furthermore, the practice of these rituals gives us different perspectives on the role of the solo musician relative to ensemble playing.”
Ji Youn Kang
World premiere 19 March 2013 with Sinfonia Viva conducted by Gergely Madaras, Assembly Rooms Derby;
Australian premiere 1 June 2013 with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey.
Co-commissioned for O Duo by Borletti-Buitoni Trust, Sinfonia Viva, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Fidelio Charitable Trust.
The composer cites ritual, dance and song as the three key elements of this work. The four movements – Earshot, At the Double, Breaking Silence (Secret Song) and Hook – harness the brilliant technique and animated physicality of Cox and Gunnell, from the opening reveille, through wisps of melodic and lyrical percussion calls in the third movement, to virtuosic drumming and dance-like loops, drops and grooves in the finale.
Premieres 15 March 2013 Stavangar and 3 April 2013 at Wigmore Hall, London.
Co-commissioned by Kathryn Stott and Borletti-Buitoni Trust on behalf of Tine Thing Helseth.
Helical Strake explores the ideas of air frequencies and flows, relentless wind and things on the edge of collapse – and is described by the composer as a real test of stamina for both players who need to be perfectly synchronised for the entire duration of this ten-minute piece.
Hear an excerpt from the UK premiere performance recorded live at London’s Wigmore Hall by BBC Radio 3. Kathryn Stott introduces the work from the stage.
World premiere 20 November 2012, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Commissioned for Nicolas Altstaedt and Pekka Kuusisto by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
The composer writes:
“This duo is built on a simple harmonic structure, the repetition of a single chord (with particular reference to Ravel’s Sonata), evoking a dance between the instrumentalists, as the title suggests. Written for a Finnish violinist and a Franco-German cellist, the music contrasts hot and cold, calm and exuberance, as if in a dialogue between a Nordic and a Latin. These notions are purely anecdotal, however, as the music tries above all to find a consistent and eloquent narrative line, through a dialogue that is sometimes harmonious, sometimes disjointed. As an interlude between the moderato “Ballade” and the breathless “Signals”, the short second movement “Songe” is a smaller relative (like a little brother) of the central movement of the concerto for string quartet and orchestra “Elea” entitled “Pôle” inspired by a certain modern minimalism, with accents from a Hungarian musical style.”
Raphaël Merlin (cello, Quatuor Ébène)
World premiere 15 May 2012 with Seattle Symphony, conducted by Gerard Schwarz;
European premiere 28 March 2014 with Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, conducted by Tito Muñoz.
Commissioned for Shai Wosner by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
“magnificent performance… profoundly rewarding and no end fascinating.”
Bernard Jacobson, Seen and Heard International 22 May 2012
Hear an excerpt from the world premiere performance (movement 3) courtesy of Seattle Symphony
World premiere 2 March 2012 with The Hague Residentie Orkest, conducted by Santtu Rouvali
Finnish premiere 29 March 2012 with Oulu Sinfonia Finland, conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing
UK premiere 10 May 2012 with BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Vedernikov at Barbican, London
Japanese premiere with Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Martyn Brabbins
Commissioned by Jörgen van Rijen with the support of Borletti-Buitoni Trust
“Forget the stereotype of a lumbering, comedy instrument; van Rijen and Aho turned the trombone into a fount of melodic grace and gambolling, cradled over four generous movements by an equally refined orchestra”
Geoff Brown, The Times 16 May 2012
“the trombone was mournful or jaunty but always lyrical. While the whole piece was expertly crafted, busy percussion hinted at Latin show-tunes bursting to get out.”
Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard 11 May 2012
Hear an excerpt (movement 4) from world premiere performance, courtesy of The Hague Residentie Orkest
Premiere 14 April 2011 Hanover, presented by ProMusica Hannover
Commissioned for Colin Currie and Håkan Hardenberger
by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
“In this world premiere Håkan Hardenberger played in the highest register and didn’t fail in delivering the top notes. Meanwhile Colin Currie not only established a strong rhythm section but also created harmonious sounds with his instruments.”
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, 18 April 2011
Premiere 17 December 2010 Barbican, London
BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jiří Bēlohlávek
Commissioned for Alexei Ogrintchouk by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
and the BBC
“the concerto dazzles like a 100-watt bulb in a hall of mirrors…the restless energy of Ogrintchouk’s performance could power the Barbican’s stage lights for months…”
Erica Jeal, The Guardian 21 December 2010
“The small patterns swelled into big ones, swooping up and down the entire range of the oboe with a virtuosity that had to be heard to be believed.”
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph 20 December 2010
Premiere 22 October 2010 Barbican, London (BBCSO 80th birthday concert)
BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Robertson
Co-commissioned for O Duo by Borletti-Buitoni Trust and the BBC
“Stephen McNeff’s ConcertO Duo, written for the outrageously talented percussionists O Duo… plays to their strengths by exploiting split-second timing and staggering virtuosity on anything that could reasonably be hit with a stick.”
Barry Millington London Evening Standard 25 October 2010
“This was an engaging work that made imaginative use of the instruments and staging, from whistles and untuned percussion recalling a carnival dance, to the more dark, funereal atmosphere created by tubular bells.”
Hannah Gill, Bachtrack 24 October 2010
Premiere 19 February 2010 Vredenburg, Utrecht and 20 February 2010 Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam
Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic and Cappella Amsterdam conducted by Otto Tausk
Co-commissioned for Ralph van Raat by Borletti-Buitoni Trust with Dutch Broadcaster NPS
A recording of the premiere performances has been released on CD by Naxos.
Hear an excerpt of the live recording from the Amsterdam premiere, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam 20 February 2010, courtesy of NPS
Premiere 10 October 2009 Graz, Austria RSO Wien conducted by Peter Eötvös
Co-commissioned for Antoine Tamestit by Borletti-Buitoni Trust with ORF, Musikprotokoll Graz, Wien Modern, DSO Berlin and Betty Freeman
“The work is entirely original, astoundingly complex and, ultimately, gloriously rewarding and uplifting.”
Larry L. Lash, MusicalAmerica.com 8 December 2009
“Antoine Tamestit played it with virtuosity and a heartwarming tone”
Salzburger Nachrichten, 12 October 2009
Hear an excerpt from live recording of the premiere courtesy of ORF
Premiere 14 May 2008 Symphony Hall Birmingham with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins
Winner of British Composer Award 2009 for Orchestral Composition
Nominated for RPS Award 2009 for Large Scale Composition
To be recorded for NMC Records, 29 July 2014 with Halle Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Collon
Co-commissioned for Colin Currie by Borletti-Buitoni Trust with CBSO
“This work shows an extraordinary sense of beguiling and haunting instrumental sonorities, defining a piece of breathtaking originality, imagination, invention and wit.”
Citation, British Composer Awards 2009
“Currie’s virtosic performance confirmed that the percussion repertory has been enriched.”
John Allison, Sunday Telegraph May 2008
Hear an excerpt from live recording of the premiere courtesy of BBC Radio 3
Premiere 15 March 2008 City Halls, Glasgow with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins
Co-commissioned for Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore by Borletti-Buitoni Trust with BBCSSO
“Glanert whisks us on a journey through space to Mars.The seed material is a little scale in thirds running up and down. In itself it is nothing. But Glanert the magician turns it into a pulsing particle of matter, constantly mutating and exploding. Moore and Crawford-Phillips proved ideal spacemen, with Brabbins and the orchestra riding alongside.”
Geoff Brown, The Times 18 March 2008
Premiere at the Verbier Festival 2006
Commissioned for Colin Currie and Håkan Hardenberger
by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
“Maric’s sparse, rarefied sound-world is here matched by an extraordinarily sensitive response by both players. It’s magic.”
Robert Levett, IRR November 2007
“Enthralling stuff, every second of it.”
Tim Ashley, Guardian 17 February 2007
Text: Lavinia Greenlaw
Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Christanne Stotijn (mezzo), Christian Poltéra (cello), Soovin Kim (violin), Colin Currie (percussion), Shai Wosner (piano)
Premiere 30 September 2006 Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh
Commissioned for BBT Tour Ensemble by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
“a humorous finale piece which brought together all six musicians in perfect harmony”
Die Welt 6 October 2006
Premiere 22 April 2006 Barbican, London
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Osmo Vänskä
Co-commissioned for Martin Fröst by Borletti-Buitoni Trust with BBCSO
“a work of beguiling beauty and huge excitement.”
Hilary Finch, The Times 25 April 2006
“An atmospheric piece, it moves from a tempestuous opening via achingly beautiful solo passages and a vibrant scherzo to a dazzling, multi-phonic coda. The perfect showcase for the remarkable skills of the Swedish soloist Fröst.”
Anthony Holden, The Observer 30 April 2006
Recording Aho Clarinet Concerto Martin Fröst, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä, BIS-SACD-1463
Premiere on US recital tour, 2005/06
Commissioned for Jonathan Biss by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
“…a grab-bag of contemporary sounds that the bemused composer encounters on his journey through our high-tech world, interrupted occasionally by nostalgic strains from The Missouri Waltz struggling to compete.”
Broadstreet Review, 3 January 2006
Premiere at the Cheltenham Festival, July 2004
Co-commissioned for Katona Twins by Borletti-Buitoni Trust with
Young Concert Artists Trust
“… the beauty of the glassy second movement and the brittle clarity of the final chase…… leaves you wanting more: the brilliant Katona twins are clearly capable of it.”
The Times, 6 July 2004