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Return of the Nightingales (PFCD072) £12.50/£17.50

Music for Solo Piano by Sadie Harrison
Performed by Philippa Harrison, Duncan Honeybourne, Ian Pace and Renée Reznek


Return of the Nightingales (2013)
Par-feshani-ye ‘eshq: Six Pieces after Bidel (2013–14)
Lunae: Four Nocturnes (2012)
Shadows: Six Portraits of William Baines (2013)
Four Jazz Portraits (2014)
The Souls of Flowers (2016, rev. 2017)
Northern Lights (2015)
Luna ... for Nicola (2017) after ‘The Crimson Bird’

"a box of delights, wrapped up in a musical package!.. Sadie Harrison is a terrific and inspired composer of music for the 21st century... tremendous addition to contemporary piano music" Peter Byrom Smith, sounds magazine
"All of the pianists are excellent in conjuring up Ms Harrison’s sound world" British Music Society Newsletter
"This largely reflective album is gentle, wistful and jolly by turns." Musical Opinion
"a wonderful example of Sadie’s compositional breadth and rich imagination and a lovely introduction to her colourful and accessible music" Frances Wilson ('The Cross-Eyed Pianist'); listed as one of the recordings of 2017
"Much of interest for the inquiring listener and player alike." Gramophone
"Ian Pace's performance is stunning... superbly performed by Duncan Honeybourne... An important disc" International Piano magazine
"This is wonderfully rewarding, varied and enjoyable disc, proof that contemporary piano music can be tuneful, attractive and entirely accessible." The Cross-Eyed Pianist

Artwork of Afghan woman extracting a piano through the wall of a house

'Return of the Nightingales: Music for Solo Piano' (PFCD072) features eight world première recordings of solo piano works by Sadie Harrison, composed between 2013 and 2017.

‘Return of the Nightingales' is a celebration of four pianists with whom Sadie has collaborated extensively over the past decade - Philippa Harrison, Duncan Honeybourne, Ian Pace and Renée Reznek. As the majority of the pieces were premiered by these pianists, the disc is a showcase not just of Sadie’s music but also of each performer - from the hyper-virtuosity of Ian Pace in the title work, to the quirky vivacity of Philippa Harrison in Four Jazz Portraits (2014); and from Renée Reznek’s highly coloured interpretation of Par-feshani-ye ‘eshq (2013-14) to Duncan Honeybourne’s sumptuously expressive renditions of Lunae (2012) and Shadows (2013). As such, the disc offers a unique insight into a range of contemporary piano performances, an unusual contribution where the emphasis is as much on the players as the composer herself.

Sadie Harrison’s piano works are performed and broadcast all over the world, and are part of the core repertoire of many international pianists. Her music is joyfully multi-referential, acknowledging Bartók, Berg, Chopin, Debussy and jazz greats such as Evans, Waller and Monk. Sadie’s passion for the cultures of Persia and Afghanistan has also found expression in works which weave traditional folk music into starkly modernist pieces, finding news means to celebrate the diversity of musical languages across continents and centuries. The range of references in these works - boogie-woogie to 1920’s Hollywood film scores, machine-gun rattle to British folksongs, Methodist hymns to an Afghan singer’s chant - are threaded together by birdsong, which features in almost every work on the disc, an eternal music around which the pieces revolve.

Recorded on 17-18 April 2017 at Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton
Producer: Sadie Harrison
Recording engineer: Steve Plews
Audio editing & mastering: Phil Hardman

Sadie Harrison

Sadie Harrison

Sadie’s music is performed and broadcast internationally. She is Composer-in-Residence with Cuatro Puntos (USA) and Kunstler Bei Wu Sculpturepark (Germany), supported by Arts Council England and PRSF, and Composer-in-Association with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. She was appointed Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths College, London in recognition of her unique research work on Afghanistan. Sadie’s music is published by UYMP, Recital Music and ABRSM. Image: Bella West Photography.

Ian Pace

Ian Pace is a pianist of long-established reputation, specialising in the farthest reaches of musical modernism and transcendental virtuosity, as well as a writer and musicologist focusing on issues of performance, music and society and the avant-garde.

Duncan Honeybourne

Duncan Honeybourne has established a rich and diverse career as a pianist and in music education. His playing has been commended for its “suave confidence” (International Piano), “terrific intensity and touches of panache” (International Record Review) and “delicate chemistry of touch and arm weight” (Gramophone).

Renee Reznek

Renee Reznek is a distinguished performer with a wide and varied repertoire. She specialises in Twentieth century and contemporary music and has given many first performances of works, many of which have been written for her.

Philippa Harrison

Philippa Harrison has an extensive and varied career performing as soloist and chamber musician throughout the UK and abroad. Her work as a chamber musician has been widely praised, featuring a broad repertoire and specialising in contemporary music.