REQUIEM – CD RECORDING FOR DELPHIAN
AT MERTON COLLEGE, OXFORD
Rehearsals for a new recording of the composer’s Requiem with choir and orchestra got underway on the 28th June. In the light of the Government’s Covid regulations Merton’s Director of Music, Benjamin Nicholas was required to conduct a socially distanced choir and orchestra. Given the logistical challenges involved the recording was a remarkable achievement.
The choir and orchestra spanned the entire length of the chapel and Delphian’s producer, Paul Baxter had to place a battery of microphones to cover all bases and record the magnificent Dobson organ which is situated in the ante-chapel. The singing was sensational throughtout and the orchestral playing peerless.
The following morning the choir recorded the composer’s most recent composition: a setting of Psalm 67, God Be Merciful. This recording also includes the composer’s Rhapsody for Organ, performed by Ben Nicholas, together with premiere recordings of Herbert Howells’ The House of the Mind (as originally conceived for choir, strings and organ) and the anthems Like as the Hart and O pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS SOCIETY
150th Anniversary Commission
Ian Venables has received a major commission from the RVW Society to compose a chamber song cycle to celebrate Vaughan Williams’ 150th Anniversary in October 2022. The composer is delighted with this prestigious commission as RVW’s music has been one of his lifelong passions and guiding influences. The song cycle, scored for tenor, string quartet and piano, will consist of poems specifically chosen to reflect various aspect of RVW’s life and creative concerns.
COMMISSION FROM THE DELIUS SOCIETY
The Delius Society has invited a number of leading British composers to write a short work that will broadly complement Delius’ own music, life and and interests. As part of this innovative project, Ian Venables has agreed to compose a song for soprano, viola and piano. The work will be premiered in London in June 2022 in a programme that will also include works by Delius. The concert will be performed by professional musicians and winners of The Delius Prize.
NEW FROM NAXOS RECORDS: THE ENGLISH SONG COLLECTION
“Rich, diverse, acclaimed”
This handsome box set brings together all 25 recordings that formed the acclaimed Naxos ‘English Song Series’.
Ian Venables’ CD recording ‘On the Wings of Love’ was the first in the series by a living composer.
To discover more, including a short YouTube promotional video CLICK HERE
“George Hall enjoys a song composer as fine as Finzi and Gurney”
‘Expertly crafted, the results offer something genuinely personal and at times profound. Andrew Kennedy is the expressive, articulate tenor, Iain Burnside the outstanding accompanist.’ ( BBC Music Magazine)
‘With great liveliness and energy in his singing and a broad palette of vocal color, Kennedy’s performance is both invigorating and tender. English song singing doesn’t get better than this. Iain Burnside has been the anchor for this project, and his collaboration again is exemplary.’ ( American Record Guide)
For the BBC Music Magazine’s 5* Review: ‘Giving voice to Venables’ CLICK HERE
‘COMPOSERS IN LOCKDOWN’
In the latest issue Vol 11, 2021 of ‘Spirited’; the English Music Festival’s Gazette ,the editor, Graham Wiffen invited six contemporary composers to share their experiences of ‘Lockdown’ and how it affected their daily lives and impacted on their creativity
To read the online Q/A’s between the Graham Wiffen and the composer please CLICK HERE
To read the full ‘Spirited’ article please CLICK HERE
REQUIEM – PREMIERE RECORDING ON SOMM RECORDS
“Venables is the most significant British composer for voices to have emerged since Britten’s death forty-three years ago. [Venables’ Requiem] is both profoundly moving and highly original” Robert Matthew-Walker (The Organ)
“A subtle but gripping performance… If you think of new English music as hard on the ear and bereft of melody, Venables will force you to reconsider” Simon Heffer (The Telegraph)
“Even on just one hearing I’m in no doubt that this is a work of considerable importance and stature” – John Quinn for (SEEN AND HEARD)
“A Contemplative Work of Profound Beauty” – Robert Hugill
Ian Venables’ Requiem was commissioned by Bryce and Cynthia Somerville and was premiered at Gloucester Cathedral in November 2019, performed by the Choir of Gloucester Cathedral under the direction of Adrian Partington and organist, Jonathan Hope. This premiere recording on the award winning SOMM label also includes the first recording of the composer’s anthem O Sing Aloud To God and other works in the English choral tradition by Joubert and Sanders and the premiere recording of Ivor Gurney’s short anthem, God Mastering Me.
REQUIEM – CD REVIEW by Geoffrey Atkinson
“A major work from Ian Venables is always most welcome, but a masterpiece like this leaves me almost speechless” (Geoffrey Atkinson, BMS)
The Gramophone – Online ‘Blog’
A 21st century Requiem: Why did I write a work I didn’t want to write?
Ian Venables reflects upon his largest scale work to date and discusses how an unlikely commission took him in a creative direction that he never thought possible
TO READ – PLEASE CLICK HERE
REQUIEM – CD REVIEW by Robert Hugill
“This is a lovely disc, and the work itself is highly practical in terms of forces and size. It gets a fine performance from Adrian Partington and the Gloucester forces and the disc is bound to win a lot of friends for this richly sophisticated work. And I hope, tempt other choirs into performing it”.
PRESTO MUSIC – INTERVIEW
By David Smith
“bringing a melodious work of quiet profundity to a broader public”
CD REVIEWS OF REQUIEM FOR MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL
“Contemporary choral music which maintains a sense of continuity with the past, yet with a style of its own … first-rate recording”. Brian Wilson
“This is a CD to be recommended … The main event is clearly Ian Venables transcendent Requiem, which surely takes its place with Fauré, Duruflé and Howells”. John France
“A profoundly heartfelt work which contemplates more the grief of death than the anticipation of eternal peace… A disc for all lovers of the English cathedral tradition”. Marc Rochester
REQUIEM CD REVIEW
By James Manheim for ALL MUSIC
” … a shifting atmosphere that holds the listener’s attention at every moment … top-notch…”
“This is an important new setting of the requiem mass”.
SONGS AND SONG CYCLES – SIGNUM CLASSICS – NEW RELEASE
” … Venables is a very fine composer of songs, with a real feel for poetry…” Mark Pullinger (The Gramophone)
For further information and to order this Signum Classics CD please click HERE:
“This is, make no mistake, a superb disc” Geoffrey Atkinson (BMS Review)
This latest CD for Signum Classics brings together a collection of premiere recordings of the composer’s songs and song cycles. The centrepiece of the disc is a recording of Remember This – a cantata for soprano, tenor and piano quintet performed by Mary Bevan, Allan Clayton, the Carducci String Quartet and pianist, Graham J Lloyd. The linking ‘theme’ throughout the album is that ‘Love’ is eternal and that it transcends our earthly life. At this difficult time is hoped that the music may bring some consolation to those who listen.
“A notable addition to the discography of English song … [and] … an essential purchase for all collectors who appreciate English song” John Quinn (Musicweb International)
For John Quinn’s Review please click HERE
Signum Classics fourth disc on the label to include his songs …
“An impressive testament to Ian’s significant voice as a writer of contemporary British art song” Robert Hugill
To read Robert Hugill’s recent interview with the composer please click the link above.
‘A Lad’s Love’ – Brian Giebler (tenor) and Steven McGhee (piano)
Debut English Song CD
Brian Giebler is an extraordinarily gifted young singer who has been singled out by The New York Times, for his “lovely tone and deep expressively”. This award winning tenor’s debut CD, A Lad’s Love, presents an imaginatively conceived programme of English songs that “brings together the beauty created by Britain’s poets and composers in the face of lost youth, lost time, Lost love, Lost friends, and lost life in the turbulence years of the early 20th century.”
In his booklet notes, Brian Giebler explained the idea behind the album and of his keen interest in the song settings of A.E Housman. He had performed, with the pianist Steven McGhee Ivor Gurney’s song cycle, Ludlow and Teme for his final degree recital and “Ever since that first outing, we have wanted to record the work. A.E.Housman’s poetry, set by Gurney , was so affecting that we started digging for other settings by lesser-known British composers of that time”. That led us to John Ireland’s songs, and ultimately to living composer Ian Venables’ 21st Century setting of “Because I liked you better”.