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Hew Watkins : Symphony

Alina Ibragimova violin • Adam Walker flute
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner conductor
Hallé / Ryan Wigglesworth conductor

NMC D224

D147 Cover
• Huw Watkins' Symphony was commissioned by The Hallé Concerts Society, and funded by the Britten-Pears Foundation.

• Watkins' first album In my craft or sullen art (NMC D164) features in NMC's Debut Discs series.   ‘music with a depth of thought and subtlety of execution that continues to reward more deeply on each successive listening’ Tempo Magazine

• Watkins' Four Fables (2018) for clarinet and piano trio, which premiered at Three Choirs Festival, is currently being toured throughout the UK.

Welsh-born Huw Watkins is one of today's leading composer-pianists and this album (his second for NMC Recordings) showcases his vibrant, lyrical and impeccably crafted orchestral writing.

Both the Flute and Violin Concertos were composed for soloists with whom he already had a close working relationship.   Adam Walker is the principal flautist for the London Symphony Orchestra, who Watkins describes as having an “amazing sound and control of his instrument.”   The delicate orchestration in the Flute Concerto allows the solo flute to take flight as it weaves in and out with skittish motifs.

Alina Ibragimova is the soloist in the Violin Concerto, premiered at the BBC Proms in 2010.   The piece harnesses Ibragimova's dynamic and intense, fiercely intelligent playing, switching from attacking virtuosity and molten lyricism, often in an instant.   The result is dramatic and utterly compelling.

In this album's liner notes, Steph Power writes that Watkins has ‘long seemed a symphonist in waiting, with a natural affinity for big-boned yet finely-wrought drama.’   Cast in two movements, Huw Watkins' Symphony does not strictly adhere to classical symphonic form.   Rather, the composer interprets this great tradition through his development of ideas and use of the orchestra.   The result is a thrilling, huge and percussive sound, brimming with excitement and energy.

Flute Concerto
[1.] I Allegro molto         7'05
[2.] II Andante         7'12
[3.] III Allegro molto         8'02
Adam Walker flute • Hallé • Ryan Wigglesworth conductor

Violin Concerto
[4.] I Allegro molto         7'13
[5.] II Andante         8'37
[6.] III Allegro molto         6'35
Alina Ibragimova violin • BBC Symphony Orchestra • Edward Gardner conductor

[7.] Allegro molto         10'49
[8.] Lento         11'05
Hallé • Ryan Wigglesworth conductor

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