Prima Facie

CDs with online ordering

The Last Letter – Symphony No. 1 – Seagull Nebula (PFCD164) £12.50/£17.50

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

Reviews for the previous release of Symphony No. 1 (PFCD136):
'Cinematic…fiery' Freya Parr, BBC Music Magazine
"Wonderfully rich orchestral sonorities… I suppose the LSO would play with a bit more security and finesse - though not much more - but I doubt they would match the sheer commitment and passion of these student players." Kevin Mandry, British Music Society
"I have little hesitation in proclaiming a major work... Mark Eager obtains superlative results from his players." Paul Corfield Godfrey, Music Web International

Last Letter CD

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.

Award winning composer and pianist Michael Csányi-Wills has written works ranging from chamber, choral and orchestral music to scores for a wide range of of successful films. He has been composer in residence with the Welsh Sinfonia since September 2013. His recent orchestral works have been widely performed throughout the UK, while regular commissions have given him an international audience in Europe, Australia and the USA.

In his collaboration with Prima Facie, conductor Mark Eager is keen to promote both new music by notable contemporary composers and hitherto forgotten music by the great figures of the past. His previous disc of Debussy premières with the same orchestra attracted particular praise from Geoff Brown in The Times: "The novelty that really made me excited this week was Debussy's Chinese ballet score No-ja-li, another unfinished work, originally earmarked for a 1914 London stage revue, more recently restored to life in a brilliantly effective reconstruction by Robert Orledge. Its première performance by the excellent Cardiff University forces is the highlight of City of Light: New Discoveries."

'Symphony No. 1' recorded and mastered by Phil Hardman 1-2 February 2020 at Cardiff University Concert Hall – produced by Michael Csányi-Wills, assisted by Lisa Logan
'The Last Letter' and 'Seagull Nebula' recorded and Mastered by Phil Hardman 13/14 March 2021 in Cardiff University Concert Hall – produced by Michael Csányi-Wills
Cover Painting 'Turmoil' by Nunziatina Del Vecchio
Executive production Helen Conway and Steve Plews

Read Michael Csányi-Wills on the background to the new works 'The Last Letter' and 'Seagull Nebula'.

Read Michael Csányi-Wills and Mark Eager discussing Symphony No. 1.

Michael Csányi-Wills

Michael Csányi-Wills
Michael Csányi-Wills has written many works of varying sizes, ranging from solo instrumental pieces, to Jazz crossover concept albums to over 35 film scores. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and was composer in residence with the Welsh Sinfonia from 2013-2016. His orchestral works have been widely performed throughout the UK with various commissions taking him around Europe, Australia, China and the USA, where his violin concerto was performed by Tatiana Berman, conducted by Jose Luis Gomez for the Constella Arts Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Toccata Classics released a disc of his orchestral songs to critical acclaim, recorded in 2015 which were performed by Nicky Spence, Jacques Imbrailo and Ilona Domnich, conducted by Mark Eager. One of these songs, The Last Letter has been performed numerous times across the USA, Australia, Canada, and Europe. His “Nocturne for Yodit Tekle” recorded by the Ukrainian Festival Orchestra, conducted by Paul Mann, was released by Toccata Classics in December 2019.

Recent works include 2 song cycles “The Long Lost Songs” and "12 Songs On Horizons Far” which form the basis of a collaborative project with James Robinson-May funded by the Arts Council / National Lottery. The aim of the project is to introduce both classical art song and concepts of autism in music to schools and centres of further education across the country. Also written in 2019, a feature length original score for the film 'Sideshow', starring Les Dennis and Anthony Head, will be released in 2020.

In 2012 Michael was appointed head of composition at the World Heart Beat Academy in London, which supports talented young musicians of all backgrounds, awarding scholarships and bursaries to many children who would otherwise have no access to music. In addition to teaching and composition, Michael also conducts the WHB academy orchestra, and is associate conductor with the BBC Ariel Orchestra. Michael has also produced and engineered several classical discs for Naxos, Nimbus and Toccata Classics.