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Prima Facie Records

CD label featuring world premières by British composers

Giles Stephen
Prima Facie Records was formed by the meeting of two minds – Stephen Plews and the late Giles Easterbrook – 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.

Prima Facie

Giles Easterbrook (1949-2021)

Giles Easterbook

Prima Facie Records are deeply sorry to announce the death on September 1st 2021 of their co-founder and mentor Giles Easterbook. Giles was a multi-talented music publisher and producer whose friendship, and passion for music, will be much missed.

From the early 1970s Giles worked in most areas of musical life, as concert promoter, composer and artist’s representative, theatre-music writer, director and arranger, performing and composing competition adjudicator, ensemble director and tour manager, panellist, broadcaster, member of several music support trusts, cofounder of the Chameleon Composers Group, on committees of music organisations including WASBE, the Redcliffe and Park Lane Group concerts.

As publisher he was head of music promotion at Novello for many years before single-handedly developing the innovative, then independent Maecenas Contemporary catalogue. As writer he contributed to publications including New Grove Dictionary of Music, Contemporary Composers and Encyclopaedia Britannica, wrote reviews and items for the national and international press, researched and authenticated for several publications, wrote countless programme notes and was four times nominated for ‘Best CD Liner Notes’ Grammy Awards.

RIP Giles

Prima Facie

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Kenneth Hamilton plays Liszt Volume 1: Death and Transfiguration (PFCD167/168) £15.00

Kenneth Hamilton – piano

CD 1
1. Funérailles (Harmonies poétiques et religieuses) 11'58''
2. Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (Harmonies poétiques et religieuses) 15'29''
3. Csárdás Macabre 7'12''
4. Pensée des Morts (Harmonies poétiques et religieuses)12'14''
5. Nuages Gris 2'40''
6. Sonata in b minor27'23''
CD 2
1. Ballade no. 2 in b minor 14'36''
2. En rêve (Nocturne) 2'09''
3. Abschied (Farewell): Russian Folksong 2'30''
4. Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth 6'08''
5. Dem Andenken Petofis 3'36''
6. Ave Maria (Harmonies poétiques et religieuses) 6'29''
7. Schubert/Liszt: Impromptu in Gb major 6'19''
8. Prelude on “Weinen, klagen” 5'43''
9. La Lugubre Gondola 1 4'21''
10. Romance 3'21''
11. Romance Oubliée 3'28''
12. Die Lorelei 6'29''
13. In Festo Transfigurationis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi 2'31''
14. Wagner/Liszt: Isoldens Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde 7'11''

Death and Transfiguration CD

This is a Liszt recording with a difference: repertoire reflecting love, death and transfiguration, memory and nostalgia, performed by internationally renowned pianist and Liszt expert Kenneth Hamilton. It goes without saying that Hamilton has intensively studied the original scores of these pieces, but in addition he has sought out and taken seriously Liszt’s often ignored recommendations on their interpretation, passed down from the many reminiscences and recordings of students who worked closely with the composer. He has, in effect, tried to think like a Liszt pupil, to immerse himself in a performance tradition that goes beyond the printed text, and to respect Liszt’s long legacy of teaching his own music.

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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The Last Letter – Symphony No. 1 – Seagull Nebula (PFCD164) £12.50

Composed by Michael Csányi-Wills
Performed by Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra – Conductor Mark Eager, Cello Steffan Morris

The Last Letter (7:44)
Symphony No. 1 – Andantino (8:10)
Symphony No. 1 – Scherzo (5:44)
Symphony No. 1 – Sarabande (12:38)
Symphony No. 1 – Con Moto (8:51)
Seagull Nebula (12:05)

Prima Facie is pleased to announce the fourth release in its collaboration with Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mark Eager. The disc features the world première recordings of Michael Csányi-Wills’ 'The Last Letter' and 'Seagull Nebula', alongside the previously-released, masterly 'Symphony No. 1'.

'The Last Letter', originally written for Soprano and Piano, but arranged for Cello and Orchestra for the Welsh Sinfonia in 2013, reflects on the deepy-moving last letter written by Csányi-Wills' great-grandmother Iréne Csányi.

'Seagull Nebula' was commissioned by Mark Eager and the Welsh Sinfonia, and sets out to describe a journey through space towards the Seagull Nebula, which was discovered by Welsh amateur astronomer Isaac Roberts.

This symphony is a significant, large scale work - brilliantly orchestrated, and a wonderful showcase for the talented students of Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra.

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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The Complete Solo Piano Music of John Joubert (1927-2019) (PFCD162/163) £15.00

Duncan Honeybourne - piano

Disc One:
1 Piano Sonata no.1 Sonata in One Movement, Op. 24
2-4 Piano Sonata no.2, Op71
5-7 Piano Sonata no.3, Op. 157

Disc Two:
1 Evocations - a rhapsody for piano
2-6 Dance Suite, Op. 21
7 Lyric Fantasy on themes from the opera Jane Eyre

Piano Music of John Joubert

Duncan Honeybourne’s recording of Joubert’s piano music was first released by Prima Facie in February 2019, a few weeks after the composer’s death. This second edition offers something extra: a remarkable work from Joubert’s years as a student at the Royal Academy of Music. In December 2020 Joubert’s daughter Anna discovered the manuscript of Evocations, a rhapsody for piano, which John had written at the age of 22. Honeybourne writes: "I felt that we should add Evocations to my existing recording of Joubert’s piano music, to offer a truly complete conspectus of this very distinctive composer’s writing for solo piano. This new set of two discs is the result."

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Romantic Piano Encores (PFCD160) £12.50

Kenneth Hamilton – piano

An Official Classical Chart Top10 Recording
An AllMusic Editor’s Choice Recording
A Music Web International Recording of the Month

1. J. S. Bach/Alexander Siloti: Prelude in b minor (2’49”)
2. John Dowland/Percy Grainger: “Now, O now, I needs must part” (3’46”)
3. J. S. Bach/Charles Valentin Alkan: Siciliano (2’03”)
4. Felix Mendelssohn: Fantasy on the Irish Air “The Last Rose of Summer” (7’19”)
5. Percy Grainger: Irish Tune from County Derry (3’38”)
6. Robert Schumann/Franz Liszt: Widmung (3‘24“)
7. Richard Strauss/Percy Grainger: Rosenkavalier Ramble (6’42”)
8. Percy Grainger: Colonial Song (5’51”)
9. Johann Strauß/Ignaz Friedman: Voices of Spring Waltz (9’39”)
10. Edward Elgar: In Smyrna (3’35“)
11. Camille Saint-Saëns/Lawrence Glover: The Swan* (2’09”)
12. Ignaz Paderewski: Nocturne in Bb major, op. 16 no. 4 (4’00”)
13. Peter Tchaikovsky/Sergei Rachmaninov: Lullaby (4’50”)
14. Leopold Godowsky: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Johann Strauss’s ‘Artist’s Life’ Waltz (14’55”)
* First Recording
Total running time: 74’46”

Romantic Piano Encores CD

Kenneth Hamilton writes:
"This is an album of pieces I’ve long loved to play. It’s also a paradox: encores without a preceding programme; musical icing without the cake. But the tracks here were at least recorded as “encores”—played in joyful relaxation and relief towards the end of sessions largely devoted to other albums. Some of the pieces are pretty short, including the premiere recording of the elegant arrangement of Saint-Saëns’ Swan by one of my teachers, the late Lawrence Glover. Three of them – Mendelssohn’s quirky “Last Rose of Summer”, Grainger’s luscious Rosenkavalier Ramble, and Ignaz Friedman’s fabulous version of Voices of Spring – are fairly substantial, and the anchors of the programme. The final track (Godowsky’s Symphonic Metamorphosis on the “Artist’s Life” Waltz) is even longer. It’s really too long, I admit, to be an encore in a public concert, but it’s undeniably a lot of fun, and makes a great close for a CD. Hopefully, listeners will be both shaken and stirred."

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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A Pianist's I Ching (PFCD150/151/152) 3-CD set £16.99

Composed and performed by Geoffrey Poole


A Pianist's I Ching CD

In the opinion of critic and author Stephen Johnson, “Humour and hushed awe, lyrical poetry and spiky playfulness, romantic yearning and teasing irony – the range is immense, conveyed through a chain of endlessly inventive miniatures, beautifully conceived for the piano, and beautifully played by the composer himself.”

"This remarkable three-disc set... the stylistic range is enormous... you can dip in anywhere and expect to snatch delight". Paul Driver, Sunday Times, 11/04/2021 

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Stockhausen: Stimmung (PFCD153) £12.50

Composed by Karlheinz Stockhausen – performed by Electric Phoenix

Models 1-51

Electric Phoenix recorded in live performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, on 6th April 1997, by John Whiting.

Stimmung CD

A remarkable, live performance of Stimmung by Electric Phoenix, featuring singers Nicole Tibbe, Judith Rees, Nancy Long, Daryl Runswick, Michael Dore and Terry Edwards, and John Whiting (sound)

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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A Celebration of Conductor and Composer STEPHEN WILKINSON (PFCD147) £12.50

BBC Northern Singers and William Byrd Singers

Late Afternoon in November* Peter Dickinson 11.35
As I walked out Arr: Wilkinson 5.04
Visions John McCabe 10.13
Rowing down the Tide Arr: Wilkinson 3.23
Betjeman's Bells Arr: Wilkinson – Poem by John Betjeman
- Wantage Bells 2.21
- Uffington 2.22
- Bristol 2.18
The Lark in the Clear Air Arr: Wilkinson 4.09
Siberia John McCabe 7.15
The Piper o' Dundee Arr: Wilkinson 2.02
Sequentia in tempore Natali Sancti David Ellis 6.21
That Time of Year (soloist John Powell) Wilkinson 3.54

All titles performed by The William Byrd Singers except *Late Afternoon in November, performed by The BBC Northern Singers.

Stephen Wilkinson Celebration CD

Our first release of 2021 is 'A Celebration of Conductor and Composer STEPHEN WILKINSON' (PFCD147), which features a collection of previously released recordings – ASC CS CD58 'Best of the Byrds' – of works by John McCabe, David Ellis and Stephen Wilkinson himself, performed by the William Byrd Singers and conducted by Wilkinson. Prima Facie are delighted to add a world première release of a recording of 'Late Afternoon in November' by Peter Dickinson, commissioned by the BBC for Wilkinson and the BBC Northern Singers for their twenty-first anniversary.

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Contemporary Piano Soundbites (PFCD140) £12.50

Composers in Lockdown 2020 - Duncan Honeybourne (piano)

John Casken (b.1949) Tempus Plangendi (2.55)
Phillip Cooke (b.1980) The Turtle Dove (3.04)
David Jennings (b.1972) Melancholy. A Fragment (3.31)
Marcus Blunt (b.1947) Prelude to Better Times (1.57)
Clive Jenkins (b.1938) Quicksilver (2.35)
Francis Pott (b.1957) Poem of the Air (4.18)
John McLeod (b.1934) A Dark Waltz (2.10)
David Lancaster (b.1960) Angelus (5.47)
David Power (b.1962) Joy (1.23)
Sadie Harrison (b.1965) In the Air... (3.04)
Simon Clarkson (b.1964) Everyone Sang (3.33)
Adam Gorb (b.1958) After the Darkness (5.23)
Graham Fitkin (b.1963) R Zero (6.12)
Liz Dilnot Johnson (b.1964) A Little Lockdown Lyric (1.57)
Benjamin Oliver (b.1981) From the Sublime to the Ridiculous (5.31)
Hayley Jenkins (b.1990) I hear you Mr Blackbird - Before March 23rd, 2020 (1.10)
Hayley Jenkins (b.1990) I hear you Mr Blackbird - After March 23rd, 2020 (2.36)
Charlotte Marlow (b.1992) Wayfaring (2.52)
Zoe Sones (b.1998) Rona (3.59)
Luke Whitlock (b.1978) Refractions of Light (4.52)
Ludo Geloen (b.1962) Paralysis (3.39)
Paul Henley (b.1959) Adagietto (3.05)
Peter Facer (b.1987) Diabolical Dance (3.33)

Contemporary Piano Soundbites CD

"Contemporary Piano Soundbites is a collection of solo piano miniatures composed during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown and premiered on video during the months of April, May and June. The project, which ranked in the top 10% of Just Giving fundraisers nationally during the month of April 2020, has already raised well over £2000 for the Help Musicians UK Coronavirus Hardship Fund, supporting musician colleagues struggling in the current situation. The disc, recorded in July 2020 under conditions of social distancing, presents a representative selection from the online series. It celebrates the diversity of styles embraced by a broad cross section of professional composers working today, and it was an invigorating experience to record an entire disc of pieces which hadn’t existed less than four months earlier! Especially stimulating and exciting is the juxtaposition of several leading senior composers with some of their most gifted younger colleagues. Several young composers make their first appearances on disc." Duncan Honeybourne

For more details, please see the CD web page

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Featured Artists

Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton
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Mark Darvill-Evans


Giles Easterbrook album download

The Moon Underwater CD cover

Giles Easterbrook, co-founder of Prima Facie Records, who sadly passed away on September 1st, 2021, composed music characterised by a ‘pronounced, sometimes astringent melodic gift’, ‘rhythmic subtlety’ and ‘an original, often unexpected harmonic sense’. 

Giles’ 2010 CD 'The Moon Underwater' has been out of print for some time, and as a tribute to him, Prima Facie Records have decided to make the music from the CD available, free, for streaming and high-quality download.

You can access the album at The Moon Underwater

ASC / Prima Facie at 25 – Concert

St Paul's concert poster

A special concert to celebrate 25 years of ASC / Prima Facie Records – and the 60th birthday of founder Stephen Plews – was held on 18th September 2021. The concert was in memory of our co-founder Giles Easterbrook.

Performers at the concert included Victoria String Quartet, pianists Alessandra Pompili and Simon Passmoe, recorderist John Turner, jazz duo Gavin Barras and Stephen Plews, and the Pleyel Ensemble. The varied programme featured music by Mozart, Britten and others.

Read more on the Prima Facie blog

Kenneth Hamilton

Romantic Piano Encores Allmusic

Prima Facie are pleased to announce that Kenneth Hamilton's 'Romantic Piano Encores' is an ALLMUSIC Editor's Choice CD. Read the review, and for more details / audio samples see the CD webpage.

David Golightly CD in preparation

We are pleased to be involved in a project recording music by David Golightly - an extensive biography and list of works can be found here.

Featured in this short clip is the Lawson Trio recording at the RNCM on 07/04/21, performing an extract from David’s intensely personal and moving work 'Letters of Regret'.

Prima Facie will be releasing a CD of David’s work featuring the world premiere recording of Letters of Regret, and existing works 'Moods for Solo Clarinet', 'Piano Sonata No 1' and David’s epic 'Symphony No 1'.

Ruth Gipps – BBC Radio feature and CD pre-order

Opalescence CD
A new Prima Facie CD of piano and chamber music by Ruth Gipps, performed by Joseph Spooner (cello) David Heyes (double bass) and Duncan Honeybourne (piano), will be available soon. In celebration of her centenary, Gipps was featured as 'Composer of the Week' by BBC Radio 3 in a series of five programmes from Monday 08.03.21. You can can pre-order 'Opalescence' here:

Kenneth Hamilton radio interview

More Preludes to Chopin CD
Prima Facie artist Kenneth Hamilton is featured on the US radio show 'Conducting Conversations', discussing his new CD 'More Preludes to Chopin'. The show features music from the CD and discusses Kenneth's career. Listen here:


Byzantium Connection
Review for The Byzantium Connection:
"There is much here to enjoy, whether you like classical, jazz, improvisation, contemporary, or just enjoy hearing really good music. A great CD with much to offer." David Heyes, Bass Magazine

Contemporary Piano Soundbites
Reviews for Contemporary Piano Soundbites:
"...this remarkable set of pieces...the recital seems to me perfect in every way. Duncan Honeybourne is a great champion for all these composers." John France, MusicWeb International
"The standard of the compositions and their interest and accessibility are all high...The recording is natural and warm...The booklet essay gives excellent background information on each of the composers and on their pieces." Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International

John Joubert piano Music
Reviews for The Piano Music of John Joubert:
"(Joubert’s complete piano music) is featured here in glittering performances from Duncan Honeybourne… The performances are fluent and powerful, alive to the full range of Joubert’s mercurial invention." International Piano, July 2019
"These are bold piano works that have earned their place in classical music history." British Music Society Journal, 2019
"This CD is a landmark with all Joubert's piano music... Honeybourne is totally sympathetic throughout this CD - a well-recorded claim for a neglected chapter in British piano music." (*****5 stars) Musical Opinion, Jan-March 2020

Ronald Stevenson Vol 2 CD
Reviews for Kenneth Hamilton Plays Ronald Stevenson Volume 2:
"I cannot fault the wonderful performance by Kenneth Hamilton of these works. The recording is always clear and bright. The entire programme is a subtle balance between original music and arrangements which well-reflects Stevenson’s achievement." John France, Music Web International
"A well-constructed, varied recital…performed with commendable verve." Guy Rickards, International Piano Magazine

Preludes to Chopin CD
MusicWeb Recording of the Month review for On the Shoreline
"The playing on this CD is outstanding. Every piece is delivered with care, commitment and obvious enthusiasm."

Preludes to Chopin CD
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

Return of the Nightingales CD
Excellent reviews
for Sadie Harrison's Return of the Nightingales