Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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Six new works from the toe-tappingly infectious Oliver Davis, this time the familiar piano/violin plus strings-based melodies and rhythms sharing the stage with a new work exploring the possibilities of a piano/viola/recorder/tuba quartet.
My aim when writing Arcadia was to create a piece which evoked an idyllic serene place. I considered writing an orchestral accompaniment to the solo piano part but decided that the piece’s charm lay in its simplicity. It is performed by Huw Watkins.
Gemini is a two-movement work for violin and strings and was written for violinist Kerenza Peacock. I wanted to explore some of the contrasting styles of Kerenza’s playing. The first movement has slow legato passages for solo violin which make use of Kerenza’s ability to draw a haunting sound from the instrument. The second movement reflects her ability to play folk style fiddle, but with a virtuosic twist.
Suite for piano and orchestra was written for Huw Watkins. The first movement opens with a solo piano passage, the theme of which is later quoted in the following allegro section. I used the opening piano melody in the brief slow movement to create the main theme for the last movement, which has a playful character.
Inferno was originally written as a short orchestral sketch. I subsequently revisited this anarchic piece and expanded the sketch into a single movement piece whilst adding a solo violin part, performed here by Kerenza Peacock.
In Spring 2018 I was approached by the Hanke Brothers who commissioned me to write a work on the theme of the four elements. The ensemble consists of piano, viola, recorder and tuba, a rare combination which results in a truly unique timbre. In Air, I used piano arpeggios in a relatively high register combined with a repetitive rhythmic pattern on the recorder part to convey a light, airborne feel. Water has a slower, more legato, flowing melody which is played by the tuba, viola and recorder, accompanied by the piano. To depict the flames of Fire, I indicated in the score to strum the strings of the piano in an upwards glissando. This was combined with a minor trill in the violin whilst the viola plays pizzicato. With Earth, I wanted to create a more grounded feel so anchored the music with long pedal notes in the tuba and used a repeated rhythmic pattern in the viola to propel the music towards its climactic ending. The Hanke Brothers premiered The Elements in Stuttgart on 14 July 2018 and recorded the work the following month at the Alte Zigarrenfabrik studios, Germany.
Oliver Davis © 2019