LeFanu - The Crimson Bird and other Orchestral Works | NMC Recordings NMCD255

LeFanu - The Crimson Bird and other Orchestral Works

£11.88

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Label: NMC Recordings

Cat No: NMCD255

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 25th September 2020

Contents

Artists

Rachel Nicholls (soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
RTE National Symphony Orchestra

Conductors

Norman del Mar
Colman Pearce
Gavin Maloney
Ilan Volkov

Works

LeFanu, Nicola

Columbia Falls
The Crimson Bird
The Hidden Landscape
Threnody

Artists

Rachel Nicholls (soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
RTE National Symphony Orchestra

Conductors

Norman del Mar
Colman Pearce
Gavin Maloney
Ilan Volkov

About

Here, for the first time together, are four of Nicola LeFanu’s remarkable orchestral landscapes, written over a 45-year period. They are hidden and revelatory, imagined and remembered, liminal and arcadian, raw and sophisticated. Of all the works in her prolific output (including operas, music theatre, chamber works, songs) it is perhaps in these large-scale orchestral pieces that LeFanu’s exploratory spirit stands out the most, translating the language of each landscape she traverses into a unique sonic topography.

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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