Coming Up For Air | NMC Recordings HCR22CD

Coming Up For Air


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Label: NMC Recordings

Cat No: HCR22CD

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 15th November 2019



Kathryn Williams (flute)


Kathryn Williams (flute)


For many composers – Bach, Handel and Mozart among them – the fact that woodwind players need to breathe from time to time appears to be an inconvenience, an unwanted interruption to the long-flowing line, the continuous stream of activity. Breath breaks becomes a barrier. But what if breathing itself was part of the music, rather than one of many hidden mechanisms that make it happen? Flautist Kathryn Williams has faced chronic respiratory conditions which caused the connections between her body, breath and musical expression to be severed. A successful sinus operation in 2016 enabled her to resume her performance career and Coming Up For Air began as a response to her recovery. Kathryn was forced to approach her performances one breath at a time, so single-breath pieces were able to demonstrate some of the ways she was able to stitch these relationships back together. The result is an ever-growing body of work that has proven to be therapeutic, both musically and physically.

This album collects 40 different responses to one straightforward question - what can be communicated in a single breath? This limitation has inspired a wide range of approaches – some composers have contributed a melody, some have foregrounded a physiological challenge, others have offered a single sound, and others still have created their own playful exceptions to the prompt. The contributions are from composers of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. The youngest composer represented is just eight years old, and the album brings together aesthetically diverse artists including Chaya Czernowin, Oliver Coates, Amber Priestley, Andy Ingamells, Larry Goves, Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Newton Armstrong, Mary Bellamy, Stephen Chase, Sarah Hennies, Mauricio Pauly, and Brian Ferneyhough, who is represented here by the brief excerpt from Unity Capsule that provided the original inspiration for the project.

1. Joanna Ward - One, Breathe
2. Newton Armstrong - Two Canons for Kathryn
3. Patrick Ellis - Breath, Patterns, Bends
4. Megan Grace Beugger - Asthmatic inhalation & exhalation
5. Angela Elizabeth Slater - A Moments Breath
6. Jack Sheen - (it’s really you strolling by)
7. Matthew Welton - Poem in a single breath
8. Daisy Ellen Holden - Waves
9. Chaya Czernowin - breathing etude I
10. Jenny Jackson - Expel
11. Nina Whiteman - Thread
12. John Aulich - Just a different wolf
13. Laurie Tompkins - Bistro Legende
14. Stephen Chase - Feet. Can’t. Fail. (slight return)
15. Charlotte Marlow & Chrissie Pinney - Breathless
16. Cee Haines - DOOO
17. Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian - Breathing Up
18. Emilia Williams - Gerbil Behaviour
19. Amber Priestley - It involves beautiful tightropes of logic on which one has to walk.
20. Andy Ingamells & Kathryn Williams - Aquafifer (after Hermeto Pascoal)
21. Larry Goves - Air Pressure (after Bruce Nauman)
22. Ewan Campbell - Polar Vortex
23. Lucio Tasca - One breath
24. Mark Dyer - Memento for Kathryn (and being able to hold that forever)
25. Lucy Hale - When we breathe
26. David Pocknee - Gray Winter Grimes
27. Scott McLaughlin - Like skipping stones on a lake
28. Lauren Marshall - SUCK/BLOW
29. Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh & Kathryn Williams - PIXERCISE 1
30. Max Erwin - Inventory
31. Lavender Rodriguez - I didn’t say that he did
32. Alex Bonney - Resonant Ripples
33. Mary Bellamy - Atom
34. Robert Crehan - Save Your Breath
35. Eleanor Cully - Snow geese
36. Oliver Coates & chrysanthemum bear - Leif
37. Mauricio Pauly & Gabriel Montagné - H-Yodo Draft 4
38. Brian Ferneyhough - excerpt, Unity Capsule (Senza misura, page 19, third system, to the end)
39. Sarah Hennies - Packing it in
40. Vitalija Glovackyte - Untitled

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