Described as “the world's greatest undiscovered composer" by San Francisco's Other Minds Festival of contemporary music, Jack Body writes in a sound world that hooks you the moment you hear it. This is only the second CD dedicated to the New Zealander's music, making these world première recordings indispensable in bringing his remarkable and highly accessible scores to wider audiences. Enjoy!!
Jack Body is one of New Zealand’s leading composers. His fascination with Asian traditional music has had a profound impact on music which often tells ‘dark stories of repression and unjust political imprisonment’ (New Zealand Listener). Body’s opera Alley tells the extraordinary life of Rewi Alley, whose powerful experiences in China are reflected in these specially orchestrated arias. Palaran: Poems of Love and War draws on the subtleties of Javanese gamelan and traditional vocal styles, while Poems of Solitary Delight gives a musical context to Japanese poet Tachibana Akemi’s light-hearted meditations on solitary pleasures. In contrast My Name is Mok Bhon references Cambodian traditional music to express the trauma and anguish of the Khmer Rouge years.
Listen to an excerpt from track 13 Poems of Solitary Delights
About the Composer and Artists
Jack Body has composed ensemble, vocal, orchestral and electro-acoustic music, as well as film music, music-theatre and image/sound installations. He has been commissioned and performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, the New Zealand String Quartet and NZTrio, as well as international ensembles such as the Amsterdam Atlas Ensemble, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Song Company (Sydney), and Kronos Quartet, for whom he has written four works.
Kenneth Young is one of New Zealand's leading conductors and composers. He works regularly with all the major orchestras in New Zealand and Australia while also making appearances in Europe and Japan. His numerous recordings of New Zealand and Australian orchestral music have been internationally recognised.
Founded in 1946, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performs some one hundred symphonic concerts each year, as well as dozens of dedicated concerts for children and small communities. In 2010, the NZSO completed its most successful international tour to date, appearing at the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern, the Victoria Hall, Geneva, the Shanghai World Expo and the Musikverein, Vienna.
Lyell Cresswell, one of New Zealand’s most distinguished composers, is represented on this recording by three examples of his mastery of the orchestral sound world. His PianoConcerto is cast in seven movements, written in memory of his fellow composer Edward Harper, and suffused in expressive intensity, by turns grieving and unsettled. I Paesaggidell’anima explores affinities between music and art through imaginary landscape patterns. The Concerto for Orchestra and String Quartet is ingeniously constructed and pursues the idea of progression from solo voices, to quartet interplay and finally to a unanimous voice.
New Zealand-born composer Jenny McLeod’s wide musical background is here distilled into three works of highly enjoyable directness. The Emperor and theNightingale is a colourful score which accompanies the narration of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and Three Celebrations conjures scenes of landscape and recreation familiar to New Zealanders. Performed by Grand Prix du Disque Liszt winning soloist Eugene Albulescu, the virtuoso Rock Concerto draws on popular music styles, placing these references in a strongly classical structure.
“The New Zealand players ought to know this fine music, and it doesn’t take long for them to convince you that they certainly do. [Symphonies 1 and 2] are strongly crafted, closely argued, conservative pieces written for the standard Brahmsian orchestra, and never for a moment do they outstay their welcome. James Judd leads his orchestra in big, bold performances that make the best possible case for this music. His assured handling of the fragmented textures and melodic lines in the Third Symphony has particular command and fluency.” - David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Described as “often beautiful and sometimes frightening” (NZ Listener), Ross Harris’s Symphony No 2 is a setting of poems on the subject of New Zealand soldiers shot for desertion in World War One. Writer Vincent O’Sullivan’s deeply felt descriptions of violence, love and tragedy are reflected in a moving and dramatic score. Symphony No3 is inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall, and develops and transforms klezmer-like tunes as its basic material. These symphonies were composed for the Auckland Philharmonia, and both won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award.
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