Keisuke Okazaki (violin) & Jonathan Powell (piano)
Esbjerg Ensemble, Christopher Austin
Morgan Hayes won the Guildhall School of Music & Drama's coveted Lutoslawski Prize in 1995; he subsequently studied with Michael Finnissy, Simon Bainbridge and Robert Saxton.
This is Morgan's first full-length CD.
Port Rhombus is a transcription of a work by drum & bass/electronica artist Squarepusher who appears on Warp Records.
You can hear the original piece on YouTube here http://youtu.be/kSnhXGVTdbk
"Morgan Hayes captured an elegiac melancholy in his transformation of Squarepusher’s Port Rhombus" Tom Service, Guardian
This is the first time leading Danish group Esbjerg Ensemble has recorded for a UK label. Morgan Hayes’ delicate yet manic Violin Concerto forms the centrepiece to this debut release on NMC showcasing his instrumental and ensemble music. Included are his transcription of Squarepusher's Port Rhombus, commissioned for the South Bank Centre's 2003 Ether Festival, which captures the beauty and fragility of this experimental drum'n'bass work from 1996; Lucky Speech for solo violin, inspired by a character from Beckett’s Waiting for Godot; a collection of piano miniatures Strides Book I & II; and the dramatic solo piano work Puppet Theatre, which refers to the title of the painting by Paul Klee, featured on the front cover of this CD.
“Okazaki offers two solos, both inspired by Lucky in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Powell is soloist in the densely expressionistic Slippage (1999), for piano and ensemble, and by himself plays four typically pungent works, including two books of the miniatures series Strides. Hayes’s version of Squarepusher’s Port Rhombus makes a striking overture.” Sunday Times, 6th November 2011
“Even without the literary subtext...the Concerto is a beautifully wrought piece, with long, expressive lines punctuated by fierce collisions, and underpinned with a clear tonal scheme.” The Guardian, 24th November 2011 ***
“Hayes makes witty assemblages out of brilliantly coloured shards and balletic gestures. Wonderful performances; luminous and warm recorded sound.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 ****
“The most substantial piece is the Violin Concerto, which is beautifully played by Keisuke Okazaki and the Esbjerg Ensemble. Among the other pieces are some witty piano miniatures played by Jonathan Powell, and a delightful arrangement of Squarepusher’s “Port Rhombus”.” The Telegraph, 2nd December 2011 ****
“If the composer is new to you, Lucky's Speech could be a good introduction...The startle factor is high. Expect spontaneity and, in the piano pieces particularly, an impression that the gestural activity has been borne out of improvisation...NMC has given Hayes an attractive visiting card which makes me curious to follow what he will do next.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2012