NEW RELEASE 2021
'for clarinet and strings'
Rebecca Clarke, Tony Coe, Sadie Harrison,
Nicola LeFanu, Cyril Scott, Howard Skempton
Released 2018 (CD of the year)
Chamber music by Philip Grange
This is the third disc of music by Grange recorded by Gemini. Both the previous discs were chosen as Disc of the Year in Gramophone magazine. This disc includes the piano quartet Tiers of Time an homage to Grange's friend and fellow composer John Casken, the solo cello Elegy, homage to the poet Edward Thomas, the Piano Trio: Homage to Chagall and the most recent work, the major sextet Shifting Thresholds an homage to Samuel Beckett.
Gemini: |Ieana Ruhemann flutes, Catriona Scott clarinets, Joby Burgess percussion, Aleksander Szram piano, Caroline Balding violin, Rose Redgrave, viola, Sophie Harris cello, Ian Mitchell conductor
This disc arose from a prize in the Prudential Awards, which provided initial funding to record three major but neglected works: Cyril Scott's Clarinet Quintet; Howard Skempton's Gemini Dances for ensemble - a bonus track; and Rebecca Clarke's Prelude, Allegro and Pastorale for clarinet and viola, together with more recent pieces by Sadie Harrison (for clarinet, viola, narrators and clap sticks), Nicola LeFanu (Songs without Words for clarinet and string trio), Howard Skempton's Lullaby for cello and clarinet, and jazz legend Tony Coe's miniature tone poem for clarinet and string quartet. This is not a clarinet feature disc however, but a programme of fine works involving that instrument ‘in the mix’.
Homage chamber music by Philip Grange MSV28591
The third disc Gemini has recorded of music by Grange (see below) marking not only his 60th birthday, but also a relationship stretching back almost 30 years.
Gemini’s playing of these four remarkable works is first-class. I think that special honours ought to go to Sophie Harris for her extraordinary performance of the Elegy for solo cello.
John France (MusicWeb International
Bass Clarinet and Friends - a miscellany MSV28579
There is much variety among the styles and instrumentation of these wonderfully played works such that the listener will be held rapt through the duration of this program. Lovers of well-written chamber music in varying contemporary styles will definitely not want to miss this set.
David DeBoor Canfield (Fanfare)
This highly-imaginative programme explores a diverse range of music: from the romantic certainties of York Bowen’s remarkable Phantasy Quintet to Jonathan Harvey’s ebullient The Riot, by way of the Latin-infused sounds of Dave Smith’s Aragonesca. It is thoroughly enjoyable from the first track to the last.
John France (MusicWeb International)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Ave Maris Stella Metier/Divine Art MSV28503
Sunday Times Contemporary CD of the Year
“Ave Maris Stella (1975) reaffirms itself as a tour de force of ear-gripping virtuosity…Absolutely superb.’’ Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine
Fiercely difficult to play though the music is – and it is meant to be unconducted, like true chamber music – it
comes over here with an idiomatic ease and brilliance that make the work seem truly classical.
Paul Driver, Sunday Times
What a little gem of a disc this is, making up in density (and intensity!) what it lacks in length. Sir Peter
Maxwell Davies has written some fine chamber music in recent times...two of the four works here go back to
the mid-1970s – Ave Maris Stella and Psalm 124, Star-Folded and Economies of Scale date from 2000 and
2002 respectively. They are all given fine, committed performances by the chamber ensemble Gemini under
its director and clarinettist Ian Mitchell.
As if the quality of the music and the performances weren’t enough, the listener is also provided with a
superb set of booklet notes by the University of Surrey’s Christopher Mark. International Record Review
Peter Maxwell Davies: Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot DVD ARC02001-2
Recorded live at Orkney's St Magnus Festival, Wells' account proves this 1974 theatre piece still has the
power to shock...Beautifully filmed with fine sound. Classical Music
...in a performance such as that given by Alison Wells, the pathos and fractured humanity at its core pin you
to your seat. In every perfectly imagined body gesture, facial expression and manipulation of her soprano, Wells showed a virtuoso understanding of Miss Donnithorne, her Reel, her Rant and her recitatives. She ran
up the aisle as the bosun’s whistle piped her into eternity... Hilary Finch, The Times
...It’s performed superbly here. What also distinguishes this DVD version of the work is that it actually consists
of two films, in which scenes from a live performance are intercut with film images of the story transposed to a
modern setting. In fleeting visual scenes from the narrative, we encounter Eliza Donnithorne alone in her
increasingly threadbare wedding dress, later terrorized by young men in the neighbourhood, ageing, going
mad, the wedding feast still on the nuptial table but in ever more alarming states of putrefaction…Davies’s
crystalline, transparent music is a marvel: lucidly conceived, its textures brilliantly coloured, the work is in a
modernist style that remains beguiling and irresistible (especially when played as superbly as it is by the
Gemini ensemble here). Building to a conclusion of ironic glory, the score is also wonderfully diverse, replete
with stylistic allusions to music hall, bel canto, cabaret and more. Opera magazine
Nicola LeFanu/David Lumsdaine: Mandala 3 Metier/Divine Art msv28565 ʽʽIt is powerful music, an intense and absorbing work which receives virtuosic performances from pianist
Aleksander Szram and members of the Gemini Ensemble.ˮ Loud Mouth (Australian Arts Trust)
This is important music by two master composers beautifully performed by their frequent collaborators.
Recommended. Carson Cooman Fanfare
As the warm introductory note from musical director Ian Mitchell suggests, this disc stems from friendships
both music and personal; between composers David Lumsdaine and Nicola LeFanu, and chamber ensemble
Gemini. Indeed, listening to the disc is something like being party to an intimate, intelligent and far-ranging
conversation among old friends.
British composer...LeFanu’s Trio 2: Song for Peter (1983) for soprano, clarinet and cello is by turns fierce and
meditative, pondering ideas of mortality through texts by Emily Dickinson, Chekhov, Ted Hughes and Sara
Teasdale, and performed here with particular poise and fire by soprano Sarah Leonard. Invisible Places (1986)
for string quartet and clarinet takes Italo Calvino’s beguiling Invisible Cities as its starting point, capturing the
book’s seamless shifts between micro- and macrocosm in the score’s inventive textural contrasts.
The central work on the disc is Australian David Lumsdaine’s Mandala 3 (1978) for chamber ensemble, which
proves a gloriously strange and moving piece. A ‘meditation’ on the final chorus of the St. Matthew Passion,
the work weaves bold new lines around transcribed excerpts of Bach’s score to create an affecting and
mysterious piece...a fine performance to complete this intriguing and enlightening disc.
Kate Wakeling, BBC Music Magazine
David Lumsdaine: Aria for Edward John Eyre/ What Shall I Sing?
CD NMC D007 *
''Gemini virtuosic and thrilling as ever." The Gramophone
David Lumsdaine: A tree telling of Orpheus Metier, msv 28519 *
“...passages of simple and beautiful calm over hazy harmonies...the performers enter Lumsdaine’s musical world with skill and enthusiasm” MusicWeb
Philip Grange: Dark Labyrinths Black Box BBM1038 **
Gramophone Magazine Critics’ Choice as CD of the Year
Philip Grange: Darkness Visible Metier MSV CD92083
Gramophone Magazine Critics’ Choice as CD of the Year
“…one of the most distinctive minds of his generation…Finely prepared performances from Gemini…” The Gramophone
Beatrix Potter: The Tailor of Gloucester (music Douglas Young)
VHS 0411 93702-2 (Thames TV commission - broadcast worldwide)
John White: Fashion Music (our tribute to Tchaikovsky Year '93) *
CD Austrian label LondonHall. docu3
BBC Music Magazine one of the Top Forty CDs of the Year
Stephen Goss: The Garden of Cosmic Speculation Cadenza CACD0604 *
…inspired by Charles Jenck’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Goss’s "The Garden of Cosmic Speculation"
was first performed in…2005. In Jenck’s Garden, a series of visual metaphors are used to enable the visitor
to contemplate certain fundamental aspects of the universe. But the garden is not dull; it is visually
stimulating and full of a sense of fun and excitement. Goss’s piece similarly mixes genres and styles,
seriousness and fun. Quotes, references and ciphers litter the score, sometimes these are obvious and
sometimes less so. This is a piece that responds to repeated listening. It is a tribute to Goss’s skill and the
skill of the players that the results sound natural and obvious, never overly contrived. This is chamber music
of rare skill and played by a very fine ensemble. Gemini commissioned the piece as a companion to
Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Goss makes references to Messiaen’s harmonies and textures.
[his] language is… extremely expressive and his textures are frequently very open…definitely a piece
which can be sampled by those who shy away from contemporary music. Music Web
Tim Ewers: Squaring the Circle Guild GMCD7379*
Tim Ewers' compositions presented here are without exception skilfully crafted by a composer who has a keen ear for instrumental color, details, balance, as well as structural proportion. These are modern works which have melodic (albeit non-tonal) and rhythmic flow. Squaring the Circle is highly recommended to general
listeners of contemporary music and to clarinettists and keyboard percussionists, who may discover a recital gem of substance. This is a terrific CD. The Clarinet
Geoffrey Poole: Septembral Metier MSV CD92061 *
Camden Reeves: Night Descending Cadenza Music CACD0807 *
Lindsay Cooper: A View from the Bridge Double CD Impetus
IMP CD29831 **
Giles Easterbrook: The Moon Underwater Prima Facie PFCD002
Howard Skempton: Gemini Dances Unknown Public
vol. 8 Sensuality: essence and nonsense
Gemini Collection Vol.1:
Mozart, folk songs, Cuban dances, new music...
cassette only BM101
Gemini Collection Vol. 2: from Bolivia to Bengal
Haydn, Rebecca Clarke, Bruce Nockles, Lol Coxhill, Chris Hobbs, medieval and folk
music, music by children cassette only BM102
Music by Nicola LeFanu: LP Chandos ABR1017 (Not currently available)