Friday 25 November 2022

La terra impareggiabile: NMC Recordings' Annual Friends' and Supporters' Celebration

Richard Causton: La terra imparregiabile
To Pushkin House last night (24 November 2022) for NMC Recordings' Annual Friends' and Supporters' Celebration, its first such in-person event for three years. Besides celebrating three years of exciting recordings, the event was a chance to hear some live music and, of course, catch up with people.

Baritone Marcus Farnsworth and pianist Huw Watkins performed three songs from Richard Causton's song cycle La terra impareggiabile. Setting poems by Sicilian-born poet Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-1968), the ten songs of the cycle were composed between 1996 and 2007, and refined over a further decade, forming the mainstay of Causton's output during that period. The complete cycle forms the centrepiece of the recent disc of Causton's music, La terra impareggiabile.

The composer Imogen Holst is an important figure in NMC's history. Imogen Holst was determined that the income from her father's estate be used to support new music and she created the Holst Foundation with this purpose, and the foundation was an early supporter of NMC Records. As a reflection of this, NMC has set up the Imogen Holst fund to allow the company to continue its mission of supporting new music by young and not so young British composers.

We heard some of Imogen Holst's music, her A Hymn to Christ sung by four National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellows (NYCGB). Since 2018, NMC has had a partnership with NYCGB for the Young Composers scheme whereby three composers work for a year with the various choirs of NYCGB, artistic director & principal conductor Ben Parry and a range of composer mentors. The scheme comprises residential courses, workshops, peer and professional mentoring and performance showcases, and a digital release on NMC.

On Thursday the four NYCGB Fellows sang The Waiting Sky by Oliver Tarney, who is one of the mentors on the scheme, and a work by Kristina Arakelyan, My Love is Come to Me which features on the January 2022 release, NYCGB Young Composers 3 which also features music by Anna Disley-Simpson, Alex Ho and Derri Joseph Lewis. And NYCGB Young Composers 4 will be released in January 2023.

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