LeFanu - The Crimson Bird and other Orchestral Works
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Label: NMC Recordings
Cat No: NMCD255
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 25th September 2020
ArtistsRachel Nicholls (soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
RTE National Symphony Orchestra
ConductorsNorman del Mar
The Hidden Landscape was commissioned by the BBC and first performed at the BBC Proms on 7 August 1973. It is this live recording (digitally remastered) that opens the album. Listening to this piece, and the work that follows (Columbia Falls) is rather like looking at the overall shape and contour of a landscape towards a distant horizon. LeFanu is, in life as well as art, a traveller and never happier than when she is outdoors. ‘I am not an urban person,’ she says, ‘I need to be outside, using ears and eyes.’
The short orchestral piece Threnody was inspired by Brendan Kennelly’s The Trojan Women (his version of Euripides’ tragedy) which was to become the catalyst for LeFanu's much larger work, The Crimson Bird. The text is from the poem Siege by John Fuller and examines the bond between mother and son as it is tested within an environment of war and terror. LeFanu says ‘It’s an exploration of love, fear and death. Siege has a universal scope that speaks to human experience throughout time. Coverage from conflict zones under siege fills our TV screens every day.’
Nicola was born in England in 1947 to Irish parents; her mother was the composer Elizabeth Maconchy.
‘LeFanu is renowned for works of imaginative beauty, often drawing on diverse extra-musical prompts’ – BBC Music Magazine
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