Errollyn Wallen: Photography
Matthew Sharp cello
Orchestra X / Nicholas Kok conductor
The Continuum Ensemble, Ensemble X / Philip Headlam conductor
Quartet X - Tim Harries bass - Errollyn Wallen voice
After reading Music at Goldsmiths’, King’s College London and King’s College Cambridge, Errollyn performed as a keyboard player with numerous bands, on the comedy circuit, ran a commercial recording studio and wrote the music and performed live as a tap-dancing hostess on a UK television game show.
She was the first black woman to have her work performed at the BBC Proms and the first female recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music.
Errollyn’s music has been played in outer space on the NASA STS-115 mission and at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Errollyn's Ensemble X motto is we don’t break down barriers in music
we don’t see any.
Wallen is that rare kind of composer: genuinely new, a breath of fresh air, someone who takes all of our preconceptions and stands them on their heads in kindly, loving fashion.
Errollyn’s music is both immediately familiar and entirely original. She combines popular styles, aspects of minimalism, baroque counterpoint, modernist rhythms, and lush romantic textures and draws on influences around her. Many of the works on this album have personal associations and are written for long-standing musical collaborators and friends who appear on this recording.
The Cello Concerto combines passion and beauty with a fearless, rigorous technique. It fuses the cello tradition of Bach to Britten with bluesy ostinatos, angular modernist jolts and an immersive string texture. Bach is also the influence in the 4-movement work Photography, with the second movement quoting Sinfonia No.14 (BWV 800).
If Bach provides one of the mainstays of Errollyn’s kaleidoscopic idiom, the other most obvious one is Purcell. The final track In Earth eerily adapts and distorts Dido's famous lament, using popular music delivery with Errollyn on vocals and jazz musician Tim Harries on bass guitar, accompanied by Quartet X.
Biography: Errollyn Wallen was born in Belize and moved to England when she was two years old. She founded Ensemble X in 1990 in order to compose classical music for a handpicked group of brilliant musicians. Her music has been played in outer space on the NASA STS-115 mission, and was broadcast to a billion people around the world when she was commissioned to write a piece for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Her works include commissions by the BBC, Royal Opera House, Wigmore Hall, Brodsky Quartet, Welsh National Opera and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. She was the first black woman to have her work performed at the BBC Proms and the first female recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music.
1. Cello Concerto [22’23]|
Matthew Sharp cello Ensemble X Nicholas Kok
2. Hunger [23’59]
The Continuum Ensemble Ensemble X Philip Headlam
3.-6. Photography [12’48]
Ensemble X Nicholas Kok
7. In Earth [8’02]
Quartet X Tim Harries bass guitar Errollyn Wallen voice
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