Rosemary Hardy, Mary King, Hugh Herrington, Stephen Richardson, Stephen Rhys-Williams, Andres Gallacher, London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen (conductor)
DKPCD 9044 – 5060332661732
Knussen’s one-act opera which brilliantly matches the grotesque fantasy of Sendak’s children’s book of the same name.
‘The LP recording of Oliver Knussen’s fantasy opera is pretty remarkable, but the CD version is stunning. The impression to begin with is of sitting in a very good front stall—close enough to need to turn your head as the cast move about the stage… On record one notices the imaginativeness of Knussen’s sounds more: in a way, they can provide more evocative scenery than even Sendak can.’ Gramophone
‘The record presents the piece with all the bite of a live performance…….. The brilliant recording vividly conveys a sense of presence and space.’ Penguin Guide
Music Theatre Wales, Scottish Opera Ensemble, Michael Rafferty (conductor)
DKPCD 9100 – 053068910026
The chamber opera, The Martyrdom of St. Magnus, is one of the finest of Maxwell Davies’ Orkney-inspired pieces. The Unicorn performance presented here is the only available recording.
‘it grips from the very first moment, an unaccompanied vocal line emerging from silence and apparent darkness, and doesn’t let go for the whole of the opera’s 72-minute span… The performance is a fine one, splendidly paced and of powerful impetus; the recording is extremely clear, yet spacious and very atmospheric.’ Gramophone
1-9 The Martyrdom of St. Magnus
Mary Thomas, Julius Eastman, The Fires of London, Peter Maxwell Davies
DKPCD 9052 – 053068905220
In repertoire terms, this Unicorn record is an unrivalled release. Peter Maxwell Davies’ exploration of extreme mental states finds the Fires of London and Mary Thomas in fine form. A true testimony to the late composer’s art.
‘The Eight Songs are 18-years old now, and the Maggot is 13, but their shock-value has not yet worn off……. The performances are astonishingly accomplished (and the earlier of the two pieces is as much a pretext for astonishing performance as anything else)…. The Fires of London, in both their 1970 and 1984 line-ups, play with extraordinary pungency and precision, and both recordings have an alarming immediacy.’ Gramophone