In the middle of the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley and a team of festival musicians took time to record two song cycles by Ravel: Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé and his Chansons Madécasses. We will be releasing these later in the year alongside Ravel's magnificent piano trio with Hugo Ticciati, Katya Apekisheva and Jamie Walton.
We are thrilled to finally confirm the news that we will be building a recording studio in a converted barn over the coming year. Set within the panoramic vale of Westerdale, the coming months will be full steam ahead in terms of construction and fundraising to install the very best equipment in order for the studio to function internationally. Do visit the Ayriel Studios website for update and video diaries as from October!
It was an enormous pleasure to record mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley with pianist Adam Johnson in Schumann's glorious song cycle 'Frauenliebe und -leben'. This will be released in September 2017 alongside Schubert's haunting 'Arpeggione' sonata, recorded the day after by cellist Jamie Walton with Adam Johnson.
Back in 2015, when we gave the world premiere at the festival, this extraordinary piece presented different challenges not least because it was performed in such a large venue in which we needed to project the work in a different way. The Quartetto di Cremona and Jamie teamed up with baritone David Stout who gave a superb, operatic rendition of his part and this lent itself to the vast space very effectively.
Here, recording at the Priory, we wanted to approach it afresh, as if we were yet to explore this musical language. The circumstances of a world premiere recording, which was quite far removed from the adrenalin and intensity of the festival, lent itself to an equally contrasted interpretation; the quartet and I were joined by lyric bass-baritone John Savournin and we set about this very much with Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes in mind, bearing in mind that we were also recording by the sea.
This is partly why A Sea of Cold Flame is set alongside Britten, whose Lachrymae conjures up a similar atmosphere, influenced by John Dowland's melancholia, in turn lending an influence to Peter Maxwell Davies himself. The lineage is strong and it is in many ways deeply moving, particularly as the music from all three composers lack sentiment.
'Max’ had only recently passed away three months before but his spirit was at the forefront of this recording - if not there directly. Our affection for him as a person transferred equally onto our wonder at this new work, one of his last and one which he composed during his tenure at our festival. It’s a vital work in every sense of the word.