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The Gardener of Aleppo - chamber works by John Pickard

Composer John Pickard
Performer Susan Bickley
Nash Ensemble
Martyn Brabbins, conductor
Period Contemporary
Catalogue Number BIS-2461 SACD
EAN 7318599924618
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date May 2020
Total time 79'22

Winner of a Gramophone Award 2021: Contemporary Category

Four previous releases on BIS have all featured John Pickard’s music for large orchestra – or, in the case of the Gaia Symphony (BIS-2061), large brass band. This new disc, on the other hand, presents scorings ranging from a solo oboe to a chamber ensemble of eight players. The seven works cover just over 30 years; the earliest one, Serenata Concertata, was Pickard’s first paid commission &&&written at the age of twenty. In his liner notes, Pickard notes that he has an aversion to repeating himself: ‘so each new work tends to be a reaction against the character, structure and technique of the previous one… The result has been a body of work with a wide expressive range and this disc gives some indication of that. The pieces on it are grouped in a broad progression from the serious to the more lighthearted.’

The two opening works are indeed inspired by serious matters – the background to The Gardener of Aleppo is the war in Syria, while Daughters of Zion, the only vocal work on the disc, sets a text that reflects on anti-Jewish aspects of certain Early Christian celebrations. In the latter work, Susan Bickley joins the players of the celebrated Nash Ensemble, who go on to lighter fare in Three Chicken Studies (Pickard himself has kept chickens as pets) and Ghost Train, a perpetuum mobile built on a cantus firmus derived from the Dies iræ theme. For this and the other chamber ensemble pieces the conductor Martyn Brabbins, a longtime collaborator of Pickard’s, wields his baton.
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  John Pickard
  The Gardener of Aleppo
01 The Gardener of Aleppo, for flute, viola and harp 11'08
  Daughters of Zion
02 Daughters of Zion, for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble 8'06
03 Snowbound, for bass clarinet, cello and piano 10'16
  Serenata Concertata, for solo flute and chamber ensemble 20'35
04 Cadenza I 3'20
05 Aria I 4'30
06 Scherzo-Notturno 4'33
07 Cadenza II 2'13
08 Aria II 5'59
  Three Chicken Studies, for solo oboe 4'20
09 I. Laying 1'46
10 II. Feeding 1'30
11 III. Fighting 1'04
  The Phagotus of Afranio, A Capriccio for bassoon and piano
12 The Phagotus of Afranio 10'26
  Ghost-Train, for chamber ensemble
13 Ghost-Train 12'40
  Album total 79'22
ComposerPickard, John
FluteDavies, Philippa
ViolaDickinson, Scott
HarpWakeford, Lucy
Mezzo-sopranoBickley, Susan
Chamber ensembleNash Ensemble
Bass clarinetRobertson, Martin
CelloBrendel, Adrian
PianoBrown, Ian
OboeHulse, Gareth
BassoonLeveaux, Ursula

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