Signum Classics are proud to announce The Brunel Ensemble’s first disc on Signum Classics – Red Leaves. No ensemble other ensemble is as committed to the performance of such works from all decades of the twentieth century. Formed in 1992, the group gives thrilling performances under Christopher Austin’s inspired direction.
John McCabe’s Red Leaves was commissioned by the European Community Chamber Orchestra and the 1991 Istanbul Festival. Composer Malcom Williamson studied with Elisabeth Lutyens (as did Robert Saxton) and he was Master of the Queen’s Music until his death in 2003. One of Lutyens’ first major success was a setting of Rimbaud, O Saisons, O Chateau encored at the first performance in 1947 – but noteable for having previously been turned down by the BBC as unsingable!
The McCabe and Williamson pieces are linked by the common theme of nature, the latter being inspired by Australian landscape and history. It was commissioned for the 150th Anniversary of the State of Victoria.
For his anniversary greeting of 1986 on the occasion of his colleague’s half century, Robert Saxton presented his Birthday Piece for Richard Rodney Bennett. In which he chose in time-honoured manner to extract from Bennett’s name the musical notes available as a thematic cipher, and to fashion them after his own manner into a bracing invention for strings.
Performance ★★★★ Sound ★★★★ A valuable and distinctive release – BBC Music Magazine