Songs from the Exotic
Sandra Lissenden (soprano), Andrew Sparling (clarinet)
& Katharine Durran (piano)

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"Pioneering ensemble"

The Guardian




"Finely tuned balance"

The Scotsman




"Expert performances throughout"





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The award-winning trio
performs a rich and celebratory collection of new music specially commissioned from nine of Britain's most exuberant living composers:

Laurence Crane
Michael Finnissy
Aidan Fisher
Haflidi Hallgrimsson
Sadie Harrison
Nick Hayes
Gabriel Jackson
Howard Skempton
Judith Weir

Laurence Crane sets his own eccentric text I saw Alexander Balanescu in Safeways (from his cycle Weirdi  -  this is the "Tapestry mix"!).

Michael Finnissy's setting of texts adapted from Joseph Crawhall's A Beuk o' Newcassel Sangs has justly become something of a classic of its time, with its searing and poignantly expressive use of the C clarinet's microtones and its linear yet rhythmically highly complex piano part.

Aidan Fisher creates a relative colossus of a musical structure from B.C.Leale's four-line poem Leviathan, climaxing with a quotation from Ravel's great piano piece Ondine.

Syrpa is the Icelandic word for a group of songs or poems; these three Haflidi Hallgrimsson settings (the first two are Traditional Icelandic texts, the third a poem by the 20th century Icelander Magnus Asgeirsson) all concern children - a lullaby, a nonsense song and a comic reflection on the problems of bringing up a young son.

Nani ka itou is Sadie Harrison's musical response to three "wakas" - 31 syllable poems written by geisha at the Courts of Imperial Japan during the period 820 - 950 AD.

Nick Hayes's settings of Christopher Nankivell's poems The Basket are clever, moving and wacky…

Richard George Elliott wrote his poem French Song specifically for its setting by Gabriel Jackson; the result is a particularly integrated composition in which the sound of the French language seems to flow from the poet's knowledge of the composer's music - and vice versa.

Howard Skempton's music is best known for its lyricism and its concision; Mary Webb is best known for her novels Precious Bane and Gone to Earth and her short, concise poems. Colomen is an exception for both poet and composer  -  an extended narrative work, treated to supremely economical and beautifully effective music.

Judith Weir's Songs from the Exotic comprise settings of two Serbian Folk Poems, an anonymous Renaissance Spanish Song and a Hebridean Folk Poem. Michael Finnissy's masterly "completion" to create TAPESTRY's own Songs from the Exotic (on the rocks) has found its place at the heart of the ensemble's recital repertoire, forming as it does the perfect complement to TAPESTRY's original "raison d'être", Schubert's masterpiece Shepherd on the Rock!

All the works on this disc have introductory notes by the composers and the performers. In addition there are notes on A Beuk o' Newcassel Sangs by the Geordie folklore specialist Jane Purdon. The disc was produced by Daryl Runswick.


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Katharine Durran

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