Tarik O'Regan | A Celestial Map of the Sky
14th February 2017
A Celestial Map of the Sky is released by NMC Recordings on February 24. It is the first disc of O’Regan’s orchestral music and features works written between 2006 and 2014 performed by the Hallé Orchestra, Hallé Youth Choir, and the Manchester Grammar School Choir conducted Sir Mark Elder and Jamie Phillips.
The title work, A Celestial Map of the Sky, for chorus and orchestra, takes its inspiration from a pair of woodcuts carved by German polymath Albrecht Dürer in 1515, which are amongst the oldest known printed European star charts of the northern and southern celestial hemispheres. From this starting point, the piece takes the listener on a breathless voyage inspired by the changing world view hinted at in Dürer’s revolutionary images.
A deep-rooted interest in North African traditional music, shaped in part by the composer’s Algerian heritage, is integrated into two of the orchestral works on the album, which are influenced by and named after Algerian folk music forms: Raï and Chaâbi. First heard at the BBC Proms in 2010, Latent Manifest is an ingenious expansion of a single gesture from a Bach violin sonata, magnified across an orchestral canvas. The longest work on the disc, Fragments from Heart of Darkness is an orchestral reworking of music from O'Regan's chamber opera based on the novella by Joseph Conrad.
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A bonus download-only track is also available from the NMC Recordings website. Now fatal change is based on material taken from Chaâbi and reworked for countertenor (Ryland Angel) and violin (Lara St. John).
World Premiere | Mass Observation
A major new work for voices and percussion by O’Regan receives its world premiere on February 15.
Scored for chamber choir and six percussionists and lasting around 40 minutes, Mass Observation explores themes around surveillance and the conflicting human desires of the need to be seen and the urge for privacy. The piece has been commissioned for the University of Michigan Chamber Choir and its conductor Jerry Blackstone with support from the William K. and Delores S. Brehm Choral Commissioning Fund and the Barbara Abramoff Levy Fund.
Following its premiere at the University of Michigan, the piece will be recorded for commercial release in 2018.
View score | Watch trailer
Irish Tour | A Letter of Rights
Paul Hillier will conduct Chamber Choir Ireland and the Irish Chamber Orchestra in performances of A Letter of Rights in Limerick, Dublin and Belfast from February 23-26.
The cantata for choir, strings and percussion is a collaboration with writer Alice Goodman and was originally commissioned to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015.
These performances continue O’Regan’s relationship with Paul Hillier and Chamber Choir Ireland, for whom he composed the 60-minute Acallam na Senórach in 2010, a setting of Irish texts from the 12th and 13th centuries. On February 24 O’Regan and Hillier will lead a workshop with three emerging composers hosted by the Contemporary Music Centre at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.
View score | Watch trailer