CD label featuring world premières by British composers.
Prima Facie is the meeting of two minds - Giles Easterbrook and Stephen Plews - both known in the music industry as champions of new music. They have produced or promoted hundreds of projects, many of which have won awards or been recognised as outstanding contributions to the arts.
Beren and Lúthien
Following the successful release last year of The Fall of Gondolin, the closing segment of the series of ‘epic scenes’ drawn from J R R Tolkien’s posthumous writings for The Silmarillion, Prima Facie Records in collaboration with Volante Opera Productions now presents a recording on 2 CDs of Beren and Lúthien, Part Two of Paul Corfield Godfrey’s cycle written during the period 1982-97 and employing a large variety of posthumously published texts by the author with the permission of the Tolkien Estate. The cycle, extending in performance over four evenings, is the largest-scale work of classical music written in Wales in the twentieth century, demanding a full roster of solo singers, chorus and orchestra, but has only ever been performed in excerpts until now.
As before, the singers are all professional artists from Welsh National Opera, and the sets make available for the first time a fully representative recording of the music with the complete lyrics by Tolkien. Because of budgetary and other constraints, the orchestra is represented by sampled sets (using the sounds of real instruments) which have been carefully balanced and adjusted in collaboration with the composer to obtain as close a result to the sound of an actual orchestra as possible. Commenting on this aspect, Brian Wilson in a review of The Fall of Gondolin for Music Web International remarked “I wondered how well this would work, but need have had no apprehensions; it works very well and it’s the only way such a project could have been realised. I need only say that the music is often hauntingly beautiful.”
The booklet with this set of Beren and Lúthien explains the methods of production in greater detail, and also includes an essay by the composer on the manner in which the author’s text has been adapted for music. Chris Seeman, reviewing The Fall of Gondolin for the Tolkien Music Website, remarked that the work “delivers nearly two hours of pure Tolkienian epic – Tolkienian not simply by virtue of its subject matter but more importantly by its libretto, which is 100% Tolkien’s own text. Or rather texts. In order to flesh out each essential movement of the story, Godfrey has made eclectic use of a variety of texts pertaining to the tale, much as the published Silmarillion was synthesised by Christopher Tolkien from the different manuscripts available to him.” He described the set as “a superb rendition of an unparalleled story [whose] greatest virtue lies in its ability to enhance rather than overshadow that story.”
This musical work was composed before the publication of Beren and Lúthien by J R R Tolkien, ed. C R Tolkien, in 2017 and is not associated with it. The literary work is © The Tolkien Estate Limited and C R Tolkien 2017. BEREN AND LÚTHIEN is a trade mark of The Tolkien Estate Limited
Available to Order -
The Road Less Travelled (PFCD111) £10.00
Piano music by Geoff Cummings-Knight - performed by Duncan Honeybourne
Piano Sonata no 1
Selected preludes from Book 1 and 2
"I am particularly proud to be involved with another exciting and worthy project energised by my friend and colleague, pianist Duncan Honeybourne.
Duncan approached me to record piano music by Geoff Cummings-Knight.
There is a degree of urgency to this as Geoff is in very poor health; his wife and many supporters are keen that there is a record of this esteemed composers work.
Having now recorded Geoff's music I agree with Duncan that it is both lyrical and contemporary and fits in with the philosphy of my Prima Facie label, namely to promote and preserve British Contemporary Music.
We made a short film (on my iPhone and without a page turner) to give you a taste of Geoff's music.
We are still trying to raise enough money to release the album asap, so with this in mind please purchase a copy here, for £10 including P&P."
Geoff Cummings-Knight was born in Colwyn Bay in 1947. A strong urge to compose first exhibited itself at the age of eight, and by the age of eighteen Geoff had completed 18 piano sonatas, most of which have since been destroyed. He later studied music at the Birmingham School of Music (now the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), Goldsmith's College and Leeds University, and his numerous compositions include a symphony, a piano concerto, chamber works, songs, choral settings and stage works. In 1986 Geoff was a finalist in the Barclaycard Composer of the Year competition and in 1998 his work was featured in the TV series "Heartland FM". His works have been widely performed and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and his Piano Concerto, premiered in 1985 by Philip Challis and the Worthing Symphony Orchestra, received a further acclaimed performance in Birmingham's Adrian Boult Hall. As a teacher of music and drama for over thirty years, Geoff composed several musicals and cantatas for schools, plus a full-scale drama concerning the true story behind Shakespeare's 'Merchant of Venice'. Geoff is also a successful radio presenter, responsible for many hundreds of classical radio programmes on all manner of subjects.
Duncan Honeybourne enjoys a diverse profile as a pianist and in music education. His concerto debut in 1998 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and the National Concert Hall, Dublin, was broadcast on radio and television, and recital debuts included London, Paris, and international festivals in Belgium and Switzerland. Duncan has toured extensively as soloist and chamber musician, broadcasting frequently for the BBC and radio networks worldwide. His many recordings reflect his interest in 20th and 21st century British piano music. He is a Tutor in Piano at the University of Southampton.
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Reviews for Preludes to Chopin:
"Brilliantly captures both the musical and the technical content…well judged and beautifully played." John France, Music Web International
This recording has a uniquely special sound, which drapes the music in a round, full, Romantic tone-colour.” Radio 100.7 Luxembourg
"The commercial success of this release shows how strongly audiences hunger for fresh interpretations of mainstream repertory, and a fresh interpretation is exactly what you get.“ James Manheim, AllMusic