British composer Nigel Clarke's major works; 'A Richer Dust' and 'Mysteries of the Horizon' have been recorded for a brand new CD featuring the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Belgian cornet star Harmen Vanhoorne.
The release on the Toccata Classics label is the latest artistic landmark for the composer's repertoire — and one that has already brought him and the cornet player widespread critical acclaim.
A Richer Dust
Commissioned by Dr Reed Thomas and the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Wind Ensemble, 'A Richer Dust for Speaker and Wind Orchestra' was first premiered in 2015.
Accompanied by an evocative text by the Danish writer Malene Sheppard Skærved, it explores what it means to live with violence and extremism — the constant companions of human history.
The intertwined text and music, ideas and images, weave together voices ranging from those of historically significant figures through to the voiceless, ordinary people living in extraordinary times.
It was given a UK premiere in an acclaimed performance by The Band of the Irish Guards under the direction of Bandmaster Andrew Porter at the iconic Guards Chapel in Birdcage Walk.
Debt of gratitude
The composer served with the regimental band between 1982 and 1986 and has openly stated his debt of gratitude for his time with them and their openness to perform the work, as he told 4BR.
"I believe the work grows in relevance the more it is performed," Nigel told 4BR.
"Unfortunately that is because we live in an age when violence and extremism is almost an everyday part of daily life around the world. I've been deeply moved by the performances given of the work and honoured that such significant ensembles have premiered it on both sides of the Atlantic."
It's a work that explores different aspects of the instrument as a solo voice — and Harmen brings them all to life. I think Magritte would be as thrilled as I am with the end result. He is a truly inspiring musicianNigel Clarke
Meanwhile, Nigel is equally delighted that 'Mysteries of the Horizon' — inspired by four famous surrealist paintings of Rene Magritte is also brought to a wider audience, especially as it is performed by the soloist it was written for.
"Harmen is such a wonderful talent — a player of complete musical gifts and artistry. It would have been almost criminal not to have been able to have the concerto recorded by him.
His performance of the brass band version premiered at the RNCM Festival of Brass in 2013 accompanied by Tredegar Band was simply remarkable.
It's a work that explores different aspects of the instrument as a solo voice — and Harmen brings them all to life. I think Magritte would be as thrilled as I am with the end result. He is a truly inspiring musician."
An article on 'A Richer Dust' can be found on 4BR here: