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Finnissy, Michael

Choralvorspiele / Andersen-Liederkreis

Finnissy, Michael : Choralvorspiele / Andersen-Liederkreis (Hat [now] ART)

Two works from English composer Michael Finnissy: "Choralvorspiele" for solo piano (Mark Knoop) in 8 parts, technically demanding choral preludes blending Norwegian and American melodies; and an 11-part work celebrating Hans Christian Andersen's lesser known paper cut-outs performed by Knoop and soprano Juliet Fraser, with texts from Andersen in German and English.

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product information:

Includes original texts in English and Danish as an attached 6 page booklet .

UPC: 752156021223

Label: Hat [now] ART
Catalog ID: hat(now)ART212
Squidco Product Code: 26251

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels w/ booklet

Choralvorspiele recorded at the Britten Studio, in Snape Maltings, UK on November 1st and nd, 2016, Andersen-Liederkreis recorded on August 21st and 22nd, 2017, by David Lefeber.


Michael Finnissy-composer

Juliet Fraser-soprano

Mark Knoop-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Michael Finnissy: I was born on 17th March 1946, at roughly 2 in the morning, at 77 Claverdale Road, Tulse Hill, London SW2. My parents were Rita Isolene (nee Parsonson) and George Norman Finnissy. At that time my father worked for the London County Council, assisting through his photographic documentation the assessment of damage to and re-building of London after the war.

I started to write music almost as soon as I could play the piano, aged about four and a half, and was tutored in both by my great aunt: Rose Louise Hopwood (Rosie).

I attended Hawes Down Infant and Junior schools, Bromley Technical High, and Beckenham and Penge Grammar schools. Music was not taught in any formal or examinable way, though not discouraged either. My best subjects were graphic art, mathematics and English literature.

I received the William Yeats Hurlstone composition-prize at the Croydon Music Festival, a factor which assisted my parents decision to let me apply to music college. I was awarded a Foundation Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music.

My composition teachers at the Royal College were Bernard Stevens and Humphrey Searle. I was subsequently awarded an Octavia travelling scholarship to study in Italy with Roman Vlad.

I earned money for my studies by playing the piano for dance-classes: Russian-style classical ballet with Maria Zybina, John O'Brien and Kathleen Crofton; and jazz with Matt Mattox. After my studies in Italy, and with no formal qualifications, I continued to work in dance. Freelancing, and at the London School of Contemporary Dance - where, with the encouragement of its course-director Pat Hutchinson, I founded a music department. During these years I worked with the choreographers Jane Dudley and Anna Sokolow from the pioneering era of modern dance, and in more experimental work by Richard Alston, Siobhan Davies, Jackie Lansley and Fergus Early.

My concert debut as a solo pianist was at the Galerie Schwartzes Kloster in Freiburg, playing a concert mostly of first performances, Howard Skempton and Oliver Knussen as well as my own.

In the meantime I had started to appear in Europe, firstly at the Gaudeamus Music Week in 1969 and thereafter until 1973, at Royan Festival (1974-6) and Donaueschingen.

In many of these events I was twinned with Brian Ferneyhough, a friend since student days. My initial attempts at serious composition teaching, at Dartington Summer School in the mid-seventies, were also partnered by him.

In England my early work had received encouragement from Ian Lake, Colin Mason and Martin Dalby. Two pieces had been published by International Music Publishers (Ascherberg), some others by edition modern in Munich and two by Suvini Zerboni in Milan. With the support of Bill Colleran I signed a contract with Universal Edition (London) in 1978, and subsequently with United Music Publishers and (in 1988) with my principal publisher Oxford University Press. Other works are available from Tre Media Verlag (Friederike Zimmermann) in Karlsruhe.

I had been a member of the ensemble Suoraan (founded by James Clarke and Richard Emsley) and then its artistic director since the early 1970s, I joined Ixion (founded and still directed by Andrew Toovey) in 1987 - in both of these groups I not only played the piano but also conducted concerts.

In the late 1980s I was invited by Justin Connolly to join the British section of the ISCM, and from 1990 until 1996 I served as its President, travelling widely to Europe, Asia and Latin America. I have since been elected to Honorary Membership of the society.

I have been attached to C.O.M.A. (initially known as the East London Late Starters Orchestra) since its inception, and been in residence as composer to the Victorian College of the Arts (in Melbourne, Australia) and to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney.

My principal teaching has been at the Royal Academy of Music (London), Winchester College, the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven (Belgium), and at the Universities of Sussex and (currently) Southampton.

My work has been recorded for CD by Metier, NMC, and Metronome in the UK, and Etcetera and BVHaast (Holland), CRI (USA), Artifact Music (Canada), and ABC Classics (Australia)."

-Michael Finnissy Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Juliet Fraser was educated at the Purcell School as a first-study oboist and then at Cambridge University where she read Music and History of Art. It was whilst a student there that she started singing, in the chapel choir of Clare College; subsequently she sang with professional choirs such as Polyphony, Tenebrae, the Monteverdi Choir, The King's Consort, The Tallis Scholars and BBC Singers. In early music, she has worked with European consorts Ensemble Polyharmonique and Gli Angeli Genève. She was a regular member of the soloists of Collegium Vocale Gent, directed by Philippe Herreweghe, for six years, performing and recording Renaissance polyphony by Lassus, Vitoria, Gesualdo and Byrd.

In new music, Juliet has performed as a soloist with Klangforum Wien, ICTUS, Plus-Minus, We Spoke: New Music Company, London Sinfonietta and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in festivals such as hcmf//, Tectonics Glasgow, Transit 20/21, Donaueschinger Musiktage, MaerzMusik and Wien Modern. Recently, she has created duo projects with pianist Mark Knoop and percussionist Maxime Echardour. She has premièred well over 100 works, many of which have been written for her, working particularly closely with composers Michael Finnissy, Bernhard Lang, Rebecca Saunders, Stefano Gervasoni, Frank Denyer, Christopher Fox, Matthew Shlomowitz, Cassandra Miller and Andrew Hamilton.

Juliet is principal soprano of EXAUDI, the acclaimed contemporary music vocal ensemble, which she founded in 2002 with composer/conductor James Weeks and with whom she makes regular appearances at major European festivals such as Aldeburgh, Spitalfields, hcmf//, ManiFeste, Festival d'Automne, Ars Musica, Wittener Tage and Darmstadt Ferienkurse. Opera roles include Neige in Catherine Kontz's NEIGE at Grand Théatre de Luxembourg (2013), Tina in Limbus Limbo by Stefano Gervasoni at Musica Strasbourg, Automne en Normandie, Opera de Reims and Opera Comique, Paris (2012), and Grace Hartigan in Larry Goves's I do this I do that (2011). Juliet has been nominated twice for an RPS Award in the Singer category and is currently supported by Aldeburgh Music's Open Space scheme. Her first dedicated solo disc, a recording of Morton Feldman's Three Voices, was released on the HatHut label in November 2016."

-Juliet Fraser Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"London based pianist and conductor Mark Knoop is known for his fearless performances and individual interpretations. He has commissioned and premièred countless new works and worked with many respected composers including Michael Finnissy, Joanna Bailie, Bryn Harrison, Bernhard Lang, Matthew Shlomowitz, Jennifer Walshe and Steven Kazuo Takasugi. His versatile technique and virtuosity also brings fresh approaches to the standard and 20th-century repertoire.

Mark performs regularly throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia and in New Zealand, South Korea, Mongolia, United States of America, Canada and at festivals including Transit (Leuven), Ultima (Oslo), Huddersfield, London Contemporary Music Festival, Borealis (Bergen), Spor (Århus), Athelas (Copenhagen), and MaerzMusik (Berlin).

He performs with various ensembles including Plus-Minus (London/Brussels) and Apartment House (London), and has conducted EXAUDI (London), Scenatet (Denmark), and London Sinfonietta. His recordings of music by John Cage, Richard Beaudoin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Peter Ablinger, and David Lumsdaine have been critically acclaimed."

-Mark Knoop Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Choralvorspiele: I. 2:30

2. Choralvorspiele: II. 4:03

3. Choralvorspiele: III. 4:04

4. Choralvorspiele: IV. 3:44

5. Choralvorspiele: V. 2:36

6. Choralvorspiele: VI. 1:52

7. Choralvorspiele: VII. 3:38

8. Choralvorspiele: VIII. 8:31

9. Andersen-Liederkreis: I. 6:00

10. Andersen-Liederkreis: II. 1:54

11. Andersen-Liederkreis: III. 1:55

12. Andersen-Liederkreis: IV. 3:27

13. Andersen-Liederkreis: V. 3:44

14. Andersen-Liederkreis: VI. 4:48

15. Andersen-Liederkreis: VII. 4:25

16. Andersen-Liederkreis: VIII. 5:44

17. Andersen-Liederkreis: IX. 4:42

18. Andersen-Liederkreis: X. 3:01

19. Andersen-Liederkreis: XI. 3:50

20. Andersen-Liederkreis: XII. 2:31
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"English composer and pianist Michael Finnissy (b. 1946) has served as a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, the University of Sussex, and is currently Professor of composition at the University of Southampton and Composer in Residence at St. John's College Cambridge. His works for the piano are especially notable for their extreme technique demands. He is concerned with the political aspects of music, and believes that all music is programmatic to some degree. That is, a composition exists in not just the composer's mind, but inside a culture that reflects both the extra-musical and purely musical concerns of the composer. "My music contains many musics, but impure, misremembered, smudged and melted, torn apart yet not completely erased." (Michael Finnissy) "Michael's music is gnarly, gristly even- one senses keenly that it is the product of an intellectual yet instinctive wrestling with the very philosophy of music."-Juliet Fraser

Includes original texts in English and Danish as an attached 6 page booklet .
Related Categories of Interest:

Hat Art
Compositional Forms
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings
Duo Recordings
Unusual Vocal Forms
New in Compositional Music

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