Nigel Clarke. The Prophecies of Merlin.

Nigel Clarke is among a select group of highly regarded British composers whose work has been well received internationally. His previous Naxos recordings have been largely in the field of brass and wind band music, including his cornet concerto Mysteries of the Horizon, which was adjudged ‘superbly crafted and serious in intent.’ (MusicWeb International) With The Prophecies of Merlin we are delighted to be able to expand this repertoire with a full-blooded orchestral work featuring the acclaimed violin soloist Peter Sheppard Skærved.

Nigel CLARKE (b. 1960)
The Prophecies of Merlin
Symphony for Violin and Orchestra

Peter Sheppard Skærved, Violin
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Neil Thomson

The Brussels-based British composer Nigel Clarke is renowned for his virtuosic style, and an uncompromising contemporary musical language that speaks with an authentic voice to today’s audiences. This world premiere recording of his symphony for violin and orchestra The Prophecies of Merlin is inspired by the 12th-century text De gestis Britonum by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and it casts the soloist as the maddened Merlin, either raging alone or caught up in the wild tumult of the orchestra. This score brims with rhythmic drive and bravura orchestration, juxtaposing savage musical outbursts with moments of sheer transcendental beauty.

Listen to an extract from Tapestry III: Severn Sea
About the Artists
Peter Sheppard Skærved | © Anna Jagenbrein
© Anna Jagenbrein

Peter Sheppard Skærved enjoys international renown for his performances of an extensive range of solo repertoire, including major works written for him not only by established ‘greats’ such as Hans Werner Henze and George Rochberg, but also by the many young composers with whom he collaborates worldwide. A GRAMMY-nominated recording artist, he has one hundred critically acclaimed albums to his name. He is the founder and leader of the Kreutzer Quartet, long celebrated as one of the UK’s pioneering ensembles.

Neil Thomson | © Rafaella Pessoa
© Rafaella Pessoa

Neil Thomson has been principal conductor and artistic director of Brazil's Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra since 2014, leading the orchestra to national prominence with its championing of Brazilian and contemporary repertoire. He also enjoys a busy international career working with all the major UK orchestras together with others in Europe, Asia and Brazil.

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra | © Nancy Horowitz
© Nancy Horowitz
The ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra is a paragon of Viennese orchestral tradition. Its exceptional programming combines 19th-century repertoire with contemporary works and rarely performed pieces from other periods. All its performances are broadcast on the radio. The ensemble also regularly appears at major festivals in Austria and internationally as well as enjoying an excellent reputation as an opera orchestra through its collaboration with the Theater an der Wien.
More albums featuring works by Nigel Clarke
Mysteries of the Horizon
Dial ‘H’ for Hitchcock • Swift Severn’s Flood • Earthrise

Vanhoorne • Grimethorpe Colliery Band • Clarke • Thornton • Smith
‘ … [Clarke] is an example of a first-class musician who enthusiastically (and instinctively) seizes the unique sonic opportunities offered by this medium.’
MusicWeb International
Samurai • Black Fire • The Miraculous Violin

Skærved • Hutchinson • Band of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth • Longbow • Davis
‘This is a well produced recording which contains a fantastic array of works. The playing is consistently excellent and the diversity in Clarke’s output is impressive. Unmissable.’
MusicWeb International
‘Nigel Clarke’s Equiano … is done with intricacy and sensitivity … it develops a frenetic angular energy.’
MusicWeb International
Clarke • Turnbull • Santandreu

Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble • Thomas
‘Very impressive.’
American Record Guide

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