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New for Summer 2017

Postcards from Oslo (PFCD071) £12.50 More Details

Dan Styffe double bass

Prima Facie Records is pleased to announce the release of 'Postcards from Oslo' (PFCD071) performed by Dan Styffe (double bass).

This is a collection of new and existing compositions for solo double bass, the second CD in a series of recordings featuring the instrument. The first, 'Postcards from Prague' (PFCD049), featured David Heyes.

The project was energised by Prima Facie producer Steve Plews and he says “I first met Dan Styffe in 2005 when we recorded a concerto for two double basses by Kevin Malone (my friend David Heyes was the other bassist). I stayed in touch with Dan and composed a couple of pieces for him. I had always admired his sound. I like the way that as a classical bassist he has a very musical feel, more like that of a jazz musician, so that, whilst he has an impeccable sense of time, the sound he projects doesn’t feel as rigid as some players. We decided to put a collection of new compositions together by composers from around the world who had an interest in solo bass. The composers featured are Simon Garcia, John Alexander, Teppo Hauta-aho, Sadie Harrison, Terje Viken, Marcus Paus, Bernard Salles and the baroque composer Marin Marais; there is also one of my pieces, 'Coltrane'.

I was particularly intrigued by the instrument Dan plays. The instrument is a work of art and was made by Gasparo da Salò (the name given to Gasparo Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and an expert double bass player and violinist). Gasparo Bertolotti 'da Salò' was one of the greatest Brescian makers. He was born into a family of musicians in Salò and played the violin himself. The details of his training are unclear, but we know that soon after 1562 he moved to Brescia, where he established a successful violin making business lasting over 40 years."

Born in Sweden, Dan Styffe has based most of his professional life in Norway. He studied with Göran Nyberg, Knut Guettler and Gary Karr; he served one year as Gary Karr ́s Assistant. His first professional job was Principal Bass in The Norwegian Opera Orchestra, followed by Principal Bass in The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. He is now Co-Principal in The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Styffe is also Professor of double bass at The Norwegian Academy of Music and at Barratt Due ́s Institute of Music, Oslo. He has a successful career as soloist / chamber musician and this is his 7th solo CD. He appears regularly at international festivals and Conventions and often serves on juries at international solo competitions. He plays a Gasparo da Saló bass owned by the foundation Dextra Musica/Sparebankstiftelsen DNB. Dextra Musica has invested in fine old Italian string instruments and lends them to talented Norwegian musicians. The Foundation also supports contemporary instrument makers by buying their instruments and lending them to Norwegian students.

Alan Rawsthorne : A Portrait (PFCD063) £12.50 More Details

Woodwind concertos and chamber works

The recordings of three of the works on this disc, the Quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello (No.1), Studies on a Theme by Bach for string trio, together with the Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra, were included on a CD released by ASC in 2002. This disc is no longer available, and as the Quartet and the Studies were the first and only available recordings, and there is presently only one other available recording of the Oboe Concerto, it was considered that a re-release would be welcome and worthwhile. The original coupling was with two of Rawsthorne’s choral works, but rather than repeat this it was decided to include new recordings of further chamber music and the Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra. In the case of the Clarinet Concerto this provided an opportunity to include the premiere recording of the published, original ending, but with the medium of the CD it has also been possible to include the revised ending, so either version can be programmed and listened to. Though there are already recordings of the Sonata for Cello and Piano available, it is such a fine and important work that a further interpretation is more than justified. The very attractive arrangement of Brother James’s Air, also for cello and piano, is a premiere recording. “A Most Eloquent Music”, from the incidental music Rawsthorne composed for the 1961 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet, has been included on a CD released by the RSC, but the recording is introduced into this programme also – it is, after all, the year in which the four- hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death is being commemorated.

The Complete Piano Works of John McCabe Volume 1 (PFCD055) £12.50 More Details

Jane Ford - piano

Three Impromptus for Piano (1959): i
Three Impromptus for Piano (1959): ii
Three Impromptus for Piano (1959): iii
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Capriccio
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Aria
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Elegia
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Toccata
Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964) Notturno
Paraphrase on 'Mary, Queen of Scots' (Study No 5) (1979) Prelude
Paraphrase on 'Mary, Queen of Scots' (Study No 5) (1979) Fugue
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Swans at Stratford
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) On the beach
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Champagne Waltz
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Sports car
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) A game of darts
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) Forlane
Afternoons And Afterwards (1981) The artful dodger
Lamentation Rag (1982)
Snowfall in Winter (Study No. 9 Homage à Debussy) (2003)
Tunstall Chimes (Study No. 10 Homage à Ravel) (2004)
Epithalamium (Study No. 11 Homage to Mussorgsky) (2006)
Berceuse (2011)

John McCabe's contribution to 20th and 21st Century music in every genre except the grandest of opera is hard to overvalue, for its variety, quality and boundless invention within a consistent self-contained aesthetic. It is often thoughtful or delicate but can achieve great, organically generated, expressive force, seen nowhere more clearly than in the keyboard works. The piano music overall is a hugely rewarding treasure house for performers interested in contemporary repertoire: it contains things that disturb, things that beguile, things that intrigue, things of complexity, things of startling simplicity and virtuosic tours-de-force. While never holding back from making great demands on players' technique or relishing sonoric possibilities, bravura writing is the outcome of thematic development or structural working rather than indulgence in gratuitous pyrotechnics. The greatest masterpieces, are broad in outline, meticulous in detail; the lightest trifles effective and engaging; all are original in concept, technicality and articulation, distinguished by clarity of vision, process and expression, powerful without rhetoric or light without triviality. The commonality of intent in McCabe's kaleidoscopic expressive range lies not in the genre - he was not a slave to genre - but in the mind and imagination of the composer.

Described by the ‘Times’ as ‘gifted’ and by ‘Music and Vision Magazine’ as ‘spellbinding’, Jane Ford is a musician of both passion and sensitivity. Her extensive performing career has included performances throughout Britain and abroad, at venues such as the Palau de la Musica (Valencia), the Palais D’Alan (France) and in London: St John’s Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Purcell Room, where she performed a World Premiere. Jane regularly appears as soloist for concertos, and in recent years has performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, all 5 Beethoven Concertos and Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Concerto with the St. John’s Festival Orchestra in Chester. Jane has won numerous prizes at International competitions and broadcast on both television and radio, including a recital for BBC radio 3.


Prima Facie Records

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.

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