Howard Skempton is a professional composer whose works have been published by Oxford University Press since 1994. His best known work is "Lento" (1990), commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Much of his music is available on CD. The OUP website includes discography, a biography and details of recent compositions.
Howard's string quartet,Tendrils, written for the 2004 Huddersfield Festival, won the Royal Philharmonic Society award for chamber-scale composition. Tendrils also won the Chamber Music category in the BBC Radio 3's British Composer Awards. 'The Moon is Flashing' won the 2008 award in the vocal category. This CD of miniatures intersperses choral works with solo piano pieces. The texts for the choral works come from Mary Webb, Edward Thomas, Emerson, Judith Cramond and Longfellow. Liner notes by the composer, who also supervised the choral recording sessions.
Exaudi was proclaimed by Gramophone magazine as “…one of the most sensationally gifted vocal groups performing in the UK at the moment”. James Weeks founded EXAUDI in 2002, and maintains a busy international touring and recording schedule with the group. He was appointed Musical Director of the New London Chamber Choir in 2007.
Pianist Daniel Becker has built a reputation for insightful interpretations of 20th and 21st century music. He was first prizewinner at the British Contemporary Piano Competition in 2003, where he also won the Sonic Arts Network Prize for his performance of Jonathan Harvey’s Tombeau de Messiaen.
“You hear, you enjoy, and then think about how more cavalier composers freeload off the surface of jazz...Skempton sounds like the future to me.”
“The care taken over the selection of pieces makes this anthology a representative one: never in doubt are the variety and depth of his thinking within its chosen limits...Skempton invariably 'explains' his texts as effortlessly as EXAUDI renders his settings.”
23rd December 2010
“Skempton is the master of the unassuming miniature, and each of these tiny pieces says more in just a couple of minutes (or just seconds in some cases) than many composers manage in 10 times as long...his choral writing is exquisite, too, sometimes intricately chromatic, sometimes blamelessly diatonic”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.