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Martin Butler: Dirty Beasts

Simon Callow, narrator
New London Chamber Ensemble
Navarra Quartet
Martin Butler, piano

NMC D212

D212 Cover
• Actor/writer Simon Callow is best known for his role as Gareth in the hit fi lm Four Weddings and a Funeral. He frequently appears on stage and screen. Other films include Shakespeare in Love, Bright Young Things, Ace Ventura and Amadeus.

• Simon Callow's lifelong passion for classical music has seen him directing opera productions and appearing alongside orchestras around the world, as well as fronting documentaries and writing about composers and their work.

• Martin Butler’s substantial nonet Rondes d’Automne was premiered at the Cheltenham Music Festival by the New London Chamber Ensemble in 2011 and was shortlisted for an RPS Award.

• As a pianist, Martin Butler has been active as soloist and with a number of ensembles, and is a founder member of the improvising new music collective, Notes Inégales.

• 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl, author of Dirty Beasts.

“It's true!” I cried.   “I swear it, mummy!   There is a person in my tummy!” – The Tummy Beast

The title track Dirty Beasts, for speaker, piano, and wind quintet, is a deliciously gruesome but immediately accessible work which sets three verses from Roald Dahl's hilarious collection of poems. Narrator Simon Callow brings to life the stories of the Crocodile, Tummy Beast and Pig with a variety of gloriously ebullient regional accents, while Martin Butler's playfully evocative music is wonderfully realised by the New London Chamber Ensemble.

Martin's music is lyrical and strongly influenced by dance form, rhythms, jazz and improvisation. Rondes d'Automne for small ensemble explores the playing styles, textures and modal harmonies of American folk music. Fall for flute and piano and Lovesongs Waltzes for clarinet and piano have hints of delicate jazz and dance rhythms.

Composer-pianist Martin Butler performs two solo works on this album: Rumba Machine – a virtuosic fanfare-like piece – and Prelude Inégales, exploring ways in which material that has its roots in improvisation can be captured and worked on in more formal and strategic compositional ways.

1.-3. Dirty Beasts [8'39]
Simon Callow narrator • New London Chamber Ensemble • Martin Butler piano

4.-8. Down Hollow Winds [15'52]
New London Chamber Ensemble

9. Lovesongs Waltzes [11'22]
Neyire Ashworth clarinet • Martin Butler piano

10. Rumba Machine [4'33]
Martin Butler piano

11. Fall [6'05]
Robert Manasse flute • Martin Butler piano

12.-14. Preludes Inégales [13'29]
Martin Butler piano

15. Rondes d'Automne [17'21]
New London Chamber Ensemble • Navarra Quartet • Martin Butler conductor

NMC Recordings are distributed in Australia by
Rockian Trading, P.O.Box 44, Briar Hill, Vic, 3088, Australia
Telephone (03) 9432 4149 ~ Facsimile (03) 9444 6879