1. ARC-EN-CIEL 4:25
for two violins
Peter Sheppard Skærved & Mihailo Trandafilovski
2. Magnets, Lava, Crystals 13:34
for clarinet in Bb and string quartet
Roger Heaton / Kreutzer Quartet
in five movements
1. dots, lines, curves 3:41
2. Tracing Space 3:48
3. Momentum 2:13
4. Landing 3:13
5. Enfolding Arc 3:52
for two cellos
Neil & Eve Heyde
8-11. Ripple Effect
for solo piano
12-15. CHETIRI (FOUR)
1. VOZDUH (AIR) 6:35
2. VODA (WATER) 5:51
3. ZEMJA (EARTH) 4:20
4. OGAN (FIRE) 5:16
for 24-voice mixed choir and string quartet
New London Chamber Choir / Kreutzer Quartet / Aidan Oliver
Total playing time: 72:16
I am deeply thankful to have developed long-standing creative relationships, in my work as a composer, with some exceptionally imaginative and dedicated musicians. These collaborations are fundamental to me: they have given me space to explore musical ideas without compromise, to develop models I genuinely find exciting, and to look forward, in every piece, to new horizons. From such background, I am thrilled to bring together several of my recent works on this CD.
Some concepts around which the music gravitates:
- Networks: harmonic (linking harmonic series, just intervals, quarter tones and equal temperament); textural; structural; within, and between pieces.
- Physical aspects: the acoustical properties of sound; resonance; idiomatic sonorities based on instrument construction and sound production.
- Polarity: from small scale organization of the material, to general concepts, and ultimately, to the complementarity between such concepts and instinct.
I should, perhaps, say here, that I do not believe the conceptual side of the music on this CD is a necessary starting point for listening. But, for anyone interested, here is some more detailed background:
ARC-EN-CIEL (2013) was written
for Peter Sheppard Skærved and myself, and first
performed at the British Museum in London. The two of us have played together
in the Kreutzer Quartet, and as a duo, for about eight years. One of our most
performed pieces is Scelsi’s Arc-en-ciel – a fantastically economical piece, in which most of the material
gravitates between D5 and E5. I took the opposite approach: ‘white’ comes from
the natural resonance of pure fifths (the tuning of the instrument), splitting
in colors as the fundamental gives rise to the harmonic spectrum. Similarly, a
single bow stroke leads to techniques that showcase some expressive
possibilities of the instrument. The title of the piece also refers to the
overall shape/structure, arc-like both in terms of harmony, and phrasing.
Magnets, Lava, Crystals (2011; originally released by Clarinet Classics in 2013) was commissioned by Roger Heaton, and premiered at Wilton’s Music Hall in London. I met and first worked with Roger in 2010 at the Pharos Contemporary Music Festival in Cyprus, discovering that we shared a number of musical interests: for example, idiomatic sonorities as related to the nature of different instruments and sound production, or composers such as Scelsi and Radulescu. The title of the piece links to both the compositional process and the music itself. Italo Calvino, in Exactitude, one of the essays in his Six Memos for the Next Millennium, points to the contrasting images of crystal (‘self-organizing system’) and flame (‘order out of noise’) as two alternative models in biology, language and literature. Both aspects are explored in this piece, and can be thought of as different ways of looking at the musical material.
was written for Neil and Eve Heyde. Shortly after I
joined the Kreutzer Quartet, Neil suggested I write a piece for two cellos that
would introduce a student cellist to contemporary technical challenges. We
jointly looked at possible sounds and techniques: from the glissando universe
of Gloria Coates, through the extended sound-world of Lachenmann, to white noise, stomping etc. I think the
original idea might have got a bit out of hand at some point in the
compositional process – I wouldn’t call the end result ‘pedagogical’.
Nevertheless, the piece requires a ‘physical’ performance in which extended
instrumental techniques are fully integrated with pitched material – in a
way, stretching conventional playing movements into a new physical space, and
resulting with a different ‘choreography’. At the same time, the five movements
of (S)PACING balance
the musical pace/organisation in time.
Ripple Effect (2010), commissioned by the Macedonian Composers’ Association and premiered by pianist Ana Gaceva, explores a harmonic environment based on C – but, on one level, the harmonic spectrum in this case is necessarily limited by equal temperament. However, here too, I was interested in sonorities that the instrument naturally encourages, which led to the idea of having two harmonic planes: the relatively sparse surface material gradually, throughout the four movements, leads to more complex harmonic relationships, resulting from the continuous use of the sustain pedal.
In CHETIRI (FOUR) (2012), a single impulse gives rise to four ‘elemental’ movements, based on haiku poems by the Macedonian writer Vladimir Martinovski. It was commissioned by the New London Chamber Choir, and the specific/unusual combination of a relatively large vocal group and a string quartet (by its nature, a more intimate, chamber music medium) was influential in generating various aspects of the piece. This complements the four interrelated poems: breaths are paralleled in waves; a ‘flying’ thought is brought back to earth by a raindrop; a bee falling through a black hole/into earth; light and sound on either side of midnight … Some aspects of the music specifically relate to the text: for example, the growing, expanding breaths/waves in the first movement, or the extreme textural contrasts in the third; in another way, the music and text are related through both breaking down and exploring the words/sounds – single phonemes, transitions, syllables are used to create texture, and similarly, a net of harmonic relationships is built connecting harmonic series, resonances based on the tuning (pure fifths) of the string instruments, and equal temperament.
Four Haikus by Vladimir Martinovski
(selection from И ВОДА И ЗЕМЈА И ОГАН И ВОЗДУХ)
Translated by Rumena Bužarovska
Дишам со очи
затворени: секој нов
здив е бран морски
со мислите ... ме врати
една капка дожд
Пчелка во калта –
во црна дупка
Точно пред полноќ
светна ... грмежот стигна
со новиот ден!
With my eyelids closed
I inhale: every new breath
is a wave of sea.
I drifted somewhere
far away in my thoughts...
A raindrop brought me back.
A bee in the mud –
A bright star being swallowed
by a black hole.
Lightning struck before
midnight... the thunder arrived
in the new day!
Peter Sheppard Skærved is the dedicatee of well over 200 works for solo violin, by composers
such as George Rochberg, Judith Weir, Michael Finnissy, and Hans Werner Henze.
His discography is extensive, ranging from cycles of sonatas by Beethoven and
Telemann, the complete quartets of David Matthews, Michael Tippett,
and cycles of concerti from Haydn to Henze. He has
won awards from the BBC Music Magazine, been nominated for a Gramophone Award,
as well as a GRAMMY for a concerto recording in 2007. Peter is the only British
violinist to have been invited to play on Paganini’s violin il
Cannone more than once (five times in particular),
and is also acclaimed for his collaborative work with museums, working
regularly with the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Galleries,
Victoria and Albert Museum and worldwide. He plays on a 1698 Stradivari owned
by Joseph Joachim from the collections of the Royal Academy of Music, where he
is the Fellow of Performance Studies.
Roger Heaton, clarinettist and conductor, studied at the Royal Academy of Music, King’s College London and Huddersfield University. He performs with such groups as the Kreutzer and Smith String Quartets and the Fidelio Trio and is a member of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble. He was a member of the London Sinfonietta, and has played with leading performers of new music including the Arditti Quartet and Pierre Yves Artaud. He was Music Director and Conductor of Rambert Dance Company during the 1990s and Clarinet Professor at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (1982-94); he is currently Professor of Music at Bath Spa University, UK. His most recent CDs include the chamber music of Hugh Wood (Toccata), solo works by Tom Johnson (Ants/Silenzio Rome) and clarinet quintets by Morton Feldman and Christopher Fox (Metier). His book The Versatile Clarinet (Routledge) was published in 2006; he has contributed chapters to the Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music and the Cambridge History of Musical Performance.
The Kreutzer Quartet has forged an enviable reputation as one of Europe’s most dynamic and innovative string quartets. They regularly appear at many of the leading Festivals, including the Venice Biennale and Warsaw Autumn. They are the dedicatees of numerous works, and over many years have established creative partnerships with composers including Sir Michael Tippett, David Matthews, Michael Finnissy, Judith Weir, Luca Francesconi, Poul Ruders and Haflidi Hallgrimsson. They have a particularly strong relationship to a cross-section of leading American composers, having collaborated intensively with the great George Rochberg in the last few years of his life, as well as working closely with figures such as Elliott Schwartz, and the prolific symphonist Gloria Coates. As recording artists they have won critical acclaim for their discs on the Naxos, Metier, Toccata Classics and NMC labels. Their work in collaboration with art galleries has garnered much attention, and large audiences. They are currently Ensemble in Residence at Goldsmiths - University of London, and at Wilton’s Music Hall.
As a soloist and chamber musician Neil Heyde has appeared throughout Europe, and in the USA and Australia, broadcasting for the BBC, WDR, ORF, Radio France, RAI, NRK, DR, Netherlands Radio and many other networks. Since the mid 90s he has been the cellist of the Kreutzer Quartet and he now heads the postgraduate programmes at the Royal Academy of Music, where his work focuses on the relationships between performers and composers – past and present. He has commissioned and premiered many solo and chamber pieces and edited Faber’s series of 19th-century music for stringed instruments. A DVD film and documentary of his work on Brian Ferneyhough’s extraordinary Time and Motion Study II for solo cello and electronics made by Colin Still is available on YouTube via the Institute of Musical Research.
Eve Heyde is a freelance cellist based in London. She performs with a wide variety of chamber ensembles and has regularly appeared and recorded with the string ensemble Longbow, directed by Peter Sheppard Skærved. After reading music at Oxford University she went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Professor David Strange, and was nominated to perform with the Nash Ensemble and Britten Sinfonia in programmes of Stravinsky and Birtwistle. She has been Principal Cello of the Royal Academy’s Concert Orchestra under Edward Gardner, and has also worked there with Christoph von Dohnanyi, Semyon Bychkov and Trevor Pinnock, as well as performing in in masterclasses with Ralph Kirshbaum, Christoph Richter and Guy Johnston.
Eve works with the London Contemporary Orchestra, with whom she has appeared in projects including collaborations with Jonny Greenwood at the Roundhouse and Goldfrapp at the Royal Albert Hall. Recent work in her varied portfolio ranges from playing with the Orpheus Sinfonia and Heinrich Schiff at Cadogan Hall to an exclusive Sondheim anniversary performance at the West End’s Palace Theatre, and work with music video.
Described by the Sunday Times as ‘possessor of devastating musicality and technique’, pianist Roderick Chadwick has forged a career performing both mainstream repertoire and working with composers around the world. Recent appearances have included the Bergen International Festival with violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved; in 2013 he and the Kreutzer Quartet gave the world première of Michael Finnissy’s completion of Grieg’s Piano Quintet at the Festival, followed up by an acclaimed recording of the Quintet on the Métier label. Chadwick has also played in recitals at Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre, Tokyo Kioi Hall and Opera City, Kennedy Center Washington and Seoul Arts Centre.
As a member of the British ensembles Plus Minus and CHROMA he has performed at the Ultima (Oslo), TRANSIT (Belgium), Huddersfield and Aldeburgh Festivals amongst others. He has recorded music by a wide range of composers from Brahms, Godowsky and Duruflé to Stockhausen and Gloria Coates, given live performances in BBC Radio 3’s Beethoven and Schubert Festivals, and also been heard on Radio France and KBS Korea.
Roderick Chadwick lives in London and teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was recently awarded the title of Reader in Music.
Founded in 1981 by James Wood, the New London Chamber Choir (NLCC) is one of Europe’s foremost vocal
ensembles. It has given many world and British premières and continues to
commission and promote new work. NLCC has enjoyed close working relationships
with composers including Jonathan Harvey, Mauricio Kagel,
György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Toru Takemitsu, and Iannis Xenakis – several of whom have written works
especially for it. NLCC has worked with ensembles including Ensemble InterContemporain, London Sinfonietta,
Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Champ d’Action, Ictus,
Amadinda, Raschèr Saxophone
Quartet, Kreutzer Quartet and Percussive Rotterdam, as well as the Michael
Clark, Mark Morris and Rambert dance companies and
Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion. Recent work has included
a celebration of Harvey’s work, new works by Macedonian composers with the
Kreutzer Quartet, Philip Glass’s Knee Plays (Einstein on the Beach)
in the London Contemporary Music Festival, Prokofiev’s Ivan
the Terrible (live accompaniment to Eisenstein’s film) with
Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra, a
WW1-themed concert at the British Library and the world première of John Tavener’s Flood of
Beauty with the Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Voices under Martyn Brabbins.
In January 2015, the choir welcomed Matthew Hamilton, its newly appointed
Musical Director, with Animals!, an eclectic programme
including the UK premiere of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s Four Madrigals from
the Natural World at Wilton’s Music Hall.
Aidan Oliver pursues a diverse career at the heart of London’s musical life, working variously as conductor, chorus master and music staff with organisations including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, and Westminster Abbey.
For the Philharmonia Orchestra he directs Philharmonia Voices, an elite professional chorus which he founded in 2004 and which collaborates with the orchestra on many of its most high-profile projects. Working particularly closely with the orchestra’s Principal Conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Aidan has also collaborated with conductors including Ashkenazy, Maazel, Schiff, Dohnányi and John Wilson. For the Royal Opera House, Aidan has worked as freelance music staff on numerous productions, while for English National Opera, Aidan has acted as Guest Chorus Master for productions including Beethoven Fidelio and Britten Peter Grimes. Since 2003 he has been Director of Music at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, where the organist is Thomas Trotter and services include many high-profile occasions connected with Parliament.
Aidan Oliver began his musical career as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, later studying at Eton College and at King’s College Cambridge. After graduating with a double First in Classics, he pursued further studies at Harvard University, the National Opera Studio and King’s College London.
Macedonian-born composer, violinist and educator Mihailo Trandafilovski studied at Michigan State
University and the Royal College of Music in London. His music
has been released, among others, by LORELT (portrait CD, 2011), Clarinet
Classics and SOCOM, and performed throughout Europe, America and Japan by
leading contemporary music specialists, including clarinettist Roger Heaton,
violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, the Kreutzer Quartet, Lontano
(UK), Quatuor Diotima
(France), Pierrot Lunaire
and Reconsil ensembles (Austria), mmm… (Japan), Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, ConTempora
(Macedonia) and the European
Contemporary Composers Orchestra. He is a violinist in the
Kreutzer Quartet, with whom he has performed and recorded extensively; has an
avid interest in the application of new music to pedagogy, for which he was
awarded his doctorate; and has led a number of shared projects among the arts, both in the
UK and internationally, promoting contemporary artistic creativity to a wider
Tracks 1 & 8-11 recorded in St Michael’s Church, Highgate, London on 15th January 2014.
Tracks 12-15 recorded in All Saints Church, Tooting, London on 16th March 2013. Engineer and editor: Jonathan Haskell.
Track 2 recorded in All Saints Church, East Finchley, London on 5th July 2012. Engineer: Morgan Roberts. Mastered by The Classical Recording Company. Originally released by Clarinet Classics in 2013.
Tracks 3-7 recorded at 41 Parkgate Road, London on 21st June 2014. Engineer and editor: Graham Williams.
Mastered by The Speech Recording Studio.
Assistant producers (tracks 12-15): Marius Skærved and Elo Masing.
Producers: Mihailo Trandafilovski and Simon Weir (track 2).
CD edited and mastered by Jonathan Haskell (Astounding Sounds).
All images by Mark Sullivan.
Three of the pieces on this CD (Magnets, Lava, Crystals,
(S)PACING and CHETIRI) were first performed at Wilton’s Music Hall in London – a place of special atmosphere and wonderful acoustics – as a resident ensemble there over the past few years, my friends from the Kreutzer Quartet and I have had the ideal musical home.
Thanks to Clemency Cooke and Christopher Nesbit for the location to record (S)PACING.
Special thanks to Minjas Zugik for his generosity and vision.
This CD is dedicated to Louisa – her love and support are boundless.
Innova is supported by an endowment from the
Philip Blackburn, director, design
Chris Campbell, operations director
Steve McPherson, publicist