Howard Skempton: Ben Somewhen


Release Date: 3 September 2007
Label: NMC

This collection contrasts Skempton’s choral works  with chamber music, featuring title piece, Ben Somewhen, that was inspired by Ben Hartley’s drawings of rural life.


This collection contrasts Skempton’s choral works – including the dancing setting of Shelley’s The Voice of the Spirits and spiritual Rise Up, My Love – with chamber music ranging from the Suite from Delicate, for 2 cellos and percussion, to the exuberant (yet very English), Chamber Concerto. The title piece, Ben Somewhen, for solo double bass and ensemble (BCMG), and was inspired by Ben Hartley’s drawings of rural life.

Howard Skempton The Voice of the Spirits
The Bridge of Fire
Roundels of the Year
Rise up, my love

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“An enticing collection … EXAUDI and BCMG are manifestly attuned to the idiom, and recorded with ideal clarity. Informative notes from James Weeks and the composer enhance a release that confirms Skempton’s move to the centre of British new music as complete.”  Gramophone Magazine

“The simplicity of his music, and its tendency to brevity – there are eight works in this collection, the longest of them an 18-minute suite of ballet music – are all deceptive; what one gets within the smallest frame is something totally memorable, perfectly crafted and, in its way, unutterably strange… Each of these pieces, whether the four written for ensemble or those for chorus (settings of Shelley, Flecker, Drinkwater and the Song of Solomon), manages to do something exquisite and totally personal; how Skempton always does it with such economy is a wonder in itself.”  The Guardian

“This welcome collection of choral and chamber music generally manages to tread the fine line between over-complicating matters and sounding facile. EXAUDI is typically assured under the direction of James Weeks, masterfully pacing The Voice of the Spirits across its broad span.”  BBC Music Magazine

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