Prima Facie Records

CD label featuring world premières by British composers

Profiles of Giles Eaterbrook and Stephen Plews
Prima Facie Records was formed by the meeting of two minds – Stephen Plews and the late Giles Easterbrook – both known in the music industry as champions of new music. They have produced or promoted hundreds of projects, many of which have won awards or been recognised as outstanding contributions to the arts.

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British Piano Sonatas CD

British Piano Sonatas (PFCD221) £12.50/£17.50

Compositions by Gordon Jacob, Arnold Cooke and Nicholas Marshall
Duncan Honeybourne - piano

Region


Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) - Piano Sonata (1956)
Arnold Cooke (1906-2005) - Piano Sonata no. 2 (1965)
Nicholas Marshall (1942-) - Piano Sonata (2021)

This recital, recorded with the generous support of the Ida Carroll Trust, brings together three gritty and dramatic piano sonatas by British composers. Pianist Duncan Honeybourne, well known for his advocacy of 20th and 21st century British piano music, writes:

“It seems to me that these three sonatas stand well together. All are muscular, lyrical, assertive and impassioned, each with a real sense of organic growth and structural cohesion. All three composers had fully mastered their craft by the time they penned these mature and substantial works. It shows in the sureness of technique and the effectiveness and economy of the writing.”

For more details of this recording, please see the CD web page

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4 Nocturnes CD cover - Lord Byron portrait

Four Nocturnes / Viola Sonata (PFCD226) CD £12.50/£17.50 Vinyl £15/£20

Composed by Daryl Runswick. Featuring London Voices, National Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble conducted by Ben Parry, Caleb Sibley viola, Aleksander Szram piano

Format/Region


'Four Nocturnes' (1992-3, revised 2010; perf. London Voices & National Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Ben Parry) contains settings of Byron’s night poetry. The range of subjects and moods is enormous, from gothic black to risqué farce, and this provides the composer with a rich quarry for an extended piece.

In 'Viola Sonata' (2012, revised 2015; perf. Caleb Sibley, viola & Aleksander Szram, piano) the long melody heard at the beginning of the sonata is reintroduced many times in different guises. This gives the piece its unity, while the re-imagining – retrograding, inversion, canon, rhythmic compression, reduction to chords, etc – provides the variety.

For more details of this recording, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Chit Chat CD

Chit Chat (PFCD214) £12.50 (UK) / £17.50 (ROTW)

Music for two clavichords performed by Terence Charlston and Julian Perkins

Choose Country


How often does one encounter the rich sonority of two clavichords on two superb historical instruments? This project celebrates this rare and enchanting medium with a range of works written specifically for Terence Charlston and Julian Perkins by acclaimed composer-performers Iain Farrington and Héloïse Werner, in addition to works by Alexander J. Blustin, Peter Maxwell Davies, Nicola LeFanu, Timothy Roberts, Peter Thorne, and Charlston himself. Following their successful performances and online videos, Terence and Julian have committed this repertoire to disc – not least to encourage more people to discover a new world of sound. The music ranges in style from New Orleans Jazz to atonality with occasional forays into modern takes on old(er) styles. Special techniques are sometimes used to conjure up unusual sounds, such as the use of cloth wedges to strum the strings and fingers pressed against the strings to create plucking effects. While blend is important, each clavichord has a distinctive voice that enables the performers to have a musical chit-chat. Further colour is provided by the use of an unequal temperament that still allows the music to venture into distant harmonic realms. The recording features two unfretted clavichords by two renowned makers: one based on an instrument from about 1775 by Johann Heinrich Silbermann and made by Peter Bavington in London; the other based on one by Johann Emanuel Schön from 1748 and made by Andreas Hermert in Berlin.

For more details of this recording, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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The War of Wrath CD

The War of Wrath (PFCD208/209) Double CD £15.00

Composed by Paul Corfield Godfrey
Performed by Volante Opera

Choose Country

The cycle of “epic scenes from The Silmarillion” by Paul Corfield Godfrey, drawn from the posthumous writings of J R R Tolkien, was the largest-scale work of classical music written in Wales in the twentieth century, and has been recorded by Prima Facie over the course of the last five years. We are now pleased to release the concluding section of this work, written as recently as 2019-20, to bring to an end Tolkien’s description of the history of Middle-Earth in the First Age. The text, as before, employs a wide variety of posthumously published texts by the author with the permission of the Tolkien Estate. It not only features the return of roles and singers familiar from earlier parts of the cycle, but also introduces new characters such as Elrond, Galadriel and the great mariner Eärendil who will be familiar to readers of The Lord of the Rings. All the singers are professional artists from Welsh National Opera.

For more details of this recording, please see the CD web page

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Full moon in sky

Cloud Atlas (PFCD207) £12.50/£17.50

Wind Music of Philip Grange

Region

In Memoriam Giles Easterbrook (1949-2021)

This re-release in digipak format is a companion release to 'In Passing' (PFCD204) and is dedicated to the memory of Giles Easterbrook who, in his role as publisher and agent, made an important contribution in bringing all three pieces on this CD to fruition. He was heavily involved in the negotiations for the Clarinet Concerto and Cloud Atlas, and the former is published by the innovative Maecenas publishing house for which he created a contemporary music catalogue. With Bacchus Bagatelles he not only published the work, but even copied the parts! For Giles a publisher had a serious responsibility for the trust given by a composer, and as such he felt it important to represent a composer’s work as a whole, not just individual pieces: wise words that took me some time to appreciate.
Philip Grange

For more details of this recording, please see the CD web page

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Contemporary Music for Harpsichord Volume 2 CD

Inventions: Contemporary Music for Harpsichord Vol 2 (PFCD195) £12.50

Compositions by Stephen Dodgson and Elizabeth Maconchy
Performed by Katarzyna Kowalik

Region


Stephen Dodgson’s Sonata-Divisions date from 1982, and the fifth (and final) set of six Inventions from 1993. These two works, of which these are the first recordings, are played by Katarzyna Kowalik on her own harpsichord after Goujon, made by Andrew Garlick in 2012 – an ideal instrument for these works.

Elizabeth Maconchy composed only two works for solo harpsichord, which are recorded here for the first time. As Katarzyna began to work on the Maconchy pieces, she found that these sounded well when played on her Goujon. Dodgson’s and Maconchy’s own musical languages, though distinctly different, do have features in common, which becomes apparent when played on the same harpsichord. The decision was therefore made to record the entire programme on Katarzyna’s Garlick / Goujon.

The harpsichord’s contemporary repertoire has grown steadily, and in the third decade of the 21st century, composers are continuing to find inspiration from the instrument and its players. Having a contemporary repertoire has indeed enabled the harpsichord to achieve a maturity in which it is heard and appreciated in a way that enhances its long history and heritage, of which the music on the CD is especially representative.

For more details of this recording, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Music for Organ and other Instruments by Richard Pantcheff CD

Richard Pantcheff: Music for Organ and other Instruments (PFCD205) £12.50/£17.50

Neil Fulton flugelhorn, Benedict Holland violin, Simon Passmore organ

Region


Following on from the successful release of Passacaglia on a Theme of Benjamin Britten and Other Organ Works (PFCD174-5), organist Simon Passmore returns to the organ of St. Ann’s Church, Manchester, for this second volume of organ music by British composer Richard Pantcheff. This new disc comprises works for organ solo, as well as works written for organ with other instruments: Violin (Benedict Holland), and Flugelhorn (Neil Fulton). The programme contains highly melodic modal works, including the Sonata for Violin and Organ (Opus 74) and its forerunner ‘Agnus Dei’ (Opus 41). The more contemporary Nocturnus I (Opus 90, No.1) for Flugelhorn and Organ is complemented here by the solo organ work which completes the Nocturnus series of compositions, Nocturnus VI (Opus 90, No.6). Both works were completed while the composer was living in South Africa. Lastly, the six Chorale Preludes (2021/No.2) for solo organ are here recorded in full for the first time. Written during the depths of the pandemic, these sparse, elevated, works are like icons in music: where time seems to stand still, and the listener is immersed in the intense spiritual dialogue presented in the music.

For more details of this recording, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Metamorphosis CD

Metamorphosis (PFCD191) £12.50/£17.50

Contemporary Music for Harpsichord Volume 1 – performed by Duncan Honeybourne

Region


The 20th-century revival of the harpsichord initially enabled the playing of 17th and 18th century keyboard music on the instrument for which it was originally composed. But its sound gradually began to inspire 20th-century composers, and a contemporary repertoire of original harpsichord music developed.

The harpsichord’s contemporary repertoire has grown steadily, and in the third decade of the 21st century, composers are continuing to find inspiration from the instrument and its players. Having a contemporary repertoire has indeed enabled the harpsichord to achieve a maturity in which it is heard and appreciated in a way that enhances its long history and heritage, of which the music on the CD is especially representative.

Features compositions by Malcolm Lipkin, Kenneth Leighton, John McCabe and Ronald Stevenson.

For more details of Metamorphosis, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Pasture and Storm (PFCD193) £12.50/£17.50

New Music for Left Hand Piano and Ensembles
Composed by Sadie Harrison

Region


The Pasture & Storm Project brings together the composer Sadie Harrison, three pianists in Nicholas McCarthy, Sophia Benton and Tomáš Klement, the singer Peyee Chen, flautist Stephanie Gilbert, violinist Roger Huckle, and the Bristol Ensemble, conducted by John Pickard. The CD includes 8 new works written to celebrate the unique talents of the left-hand-only pianist.

The project came about initially through Sadie’s teaching the young pianist Sophia Benton. At school Sophia suffered a netball injury which eventually left her unable to play the piano with her right hand. Extraordinarily, a few weeks after meeting Sophia, Sadie met two people at her local gym, both rehabilitating after having strokes affecting their right sides and both amateur pianists. After inviting the internationally renowned virtuoso, left-hand-only pianist Nicholas McCarthy, to be part of the project, Sadie embarked on the composition of several new works – solo pieces, a chamber concerto, a piano quartet with percussion, piano duets, duos, and an extended song cycle. All these works, written during 2020-21, are presented on the CD.

For more details of Pasture and Storm, please see the CD web page

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Featured Artists

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News


New Release – Cuckoo: Seven New Works for Violin



Cuckoo

Cuckoo is the sixth solo album from acclaimed UK violinist Steve Bingham, and consists of premiere recordings of seven pieces, all commissioned by Bingham. Utilising everything from solo acoustic violin to 6-string electric violin, loops and recorded birdsong - via electronic backing, multi-layered violins and delay effects - it’s a heady mix of styles and compositional approaches which Bingham takes in his stride, revelling not only in the differences between the works but also in the unexpected links that crop up; palindromic elements, birdsong, loss and more.

New Release – Pantcheff Chamber Music



Chamber Music Volume 1

Following on from the highly successful release of three discs of Richard Pantcheff’s music for Organ solo (PFCD 174/5) and Organ with other Instruments (PFCD 205), Prima Facie Records has now embarked upon a project to record the Chamber and Instrumental Music of the same composer. Volume 1 of the series comprises world premiere recordings of a wide range of Richard Pantcheff’s chamber and instrumental compositions.

New Release – Kenneth Hamilton plays Pedro Faria Gomes



Scenes from Childhood

Portuguese composer Pedro Faria Gomes, whose imaginative and communicative music combines clear originality with a confident respect for tradition, turned to the piano during the global pandemic of 2020-2021. Sharing his initial sketches with pianist Kenneth Hamilton, his colleague at Cardiff University School of Music, led to a plan to compose a more elaborate work, to be premiered and recorded by Hamilton. The resultant, ten-movement, strikingly thought-provoking 'Suite J' is joined on this disc by the charmingly witty 'Sonatina', a gracefully concise companion piece. This is a nostalgically adult reflection on early childhood, and a moving, modern meditation on the music of earlier eras.

New release for December 2023



Choral Music by Richard Birley

This album features four choral compositions performed by the Rick Birley Singers, conducted by Richard Gowers, including an extended Advent Carol Succession.

Available now for download/streaming.

Annabelle Lawson interview


Composers Edition interviewed Annabelle Lawson about her album of Gordon Crosse’s piano music, which she describes as "this cluster of varied and consistently brilliant works". You can read the interview on the Composers Edition website.

Kenneth Hamilton interview


Kenneth Hamilton playing piano

In a fascinating interview with the Liszt Academy, Kenneth Hamilton discusses playing in Budapest, his approach to performing Liszt, and his series of Prima Facie Records CDs, 'Kenneth Hamilton plays Liszt'. You can read the interview on the Liszt Museum website

New for November 2023 – compositions by Daryl Runswick


CD cover with head and shoulders portrait of Lord Byron
Four Nocturnes / Viola Sonata (PFCD226)

'Four Nocturnes' (1992-3, revised 2010; perf. London Voices & National Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Ben Parry) contains settings of Byron’s night poetry. The range of subjects and moods is enormous, from gothic black to risqué farce, and this provides the composer with a rich quarry for an extended piece. In 'Viola Sonata' (2012, revised 2015; perf. Caleb Sibley, viola & Aleksander Szram, piano) the long melody heard at the beginning of the sonata is reintroduced many times in different guises. This gives the piece its unity, while the re-imagining – retrograding, inversion, canon, rhythmic compression, reduction to chords, etc – provides the variety.

Kenneth Hamilton on BBC Radio 3


BBC In Tune logo

Kenneth Hamilton appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune on 3rd October 2023 in interview with Sean Rafferty, including a broadcast of the Schubert/Liszt "Leise flehen meine Lieder" and Gounod/Liszt Hymn to St Cecilia from his album Kenneth Hamilton plays Liszt – Volume 2: Salon and Stage.

New for October 2023


full moon in sky with clouds
Cloud Atlas (PFCD207)

In Memoriam Giles Easterbrook (1949-2021). "This re-release in digipak format is a companion release to 'In Passing' (PFCD204) and is dedicated to the memory of Giles Easterbrook who, in his role as publisher and agent, made an important contribution in bringing all three pieces on this CD to fruition."
Philip Grange

Order here; available from distributors and for download/streaming in 2024.

Alison Truefitt Memorial Concert September 2023


poster listing performers at a concert

A celebration of the life of Alison Truefitt and the music of Daryl Runswick

Classical favourites and contemporary compositions and jazz performed by Duncan Honeybourne, Richard Casey, Simon Conning, Alessandra Pompili, Aleksander Szram, Steve Plews & Dan Whieldon.

The concert took place on September 29th at St Elizabeth's Parish Church, Ashley.

New for September 2023



Bincombe Organ (PFCD220)

Duncan Honeybourne plays the 1873 Bevington organ at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Bincombe, Dorset. The recording features early English keyboard writing by Bull and Byrd, Bach’s charming Pastorella, pieces by Buxtehude, John Stanley, Maurice Durufle, Kate Boundy and Kate Loder of Bath, and Greville Cooke’s tranquil Threnody, ending with one of Joubert’s Short Preludes on English Hymn Tunes.

New for September 2023



Complete Solo Piano Music of Gordon Crosse (PFCD219)

Performed by Annabelle Lawson, who writes "I have lived with Gordon's music for nearly ten years and given the world premières of two of the piano sonatas, so this music is extremely close to my heart. I'm so glad to have recorded a disc comprising music which I hold in such high esteem, by such a celebrated and much-loved composer and person."

New for September 2023



The Frederick Septimus Kelly Project (PFCD218)

The Frederick Septimus Kelly Project is a collaboration between pianist Alex Wilson and composer Sadie Harrison that celebrates the life and work of British-Australian pianist, composer, Olympic rower and war hero F.S.Kelly (1881 - 1916). This solo piano recording tells Kelly’s fascinating life story through his own piano music, interspersed between characterful and profound new works by Harrison that are inspired by his experiences and interests as told in his extensive diaries.

New for September 2023



Otto Zykan (PFCD215/216)

Otto Zykan plays Schoenberg and Scriabin: Duncan Honeybourne plays Zykan. This unique 2-CD recording is produced by Prima Facie in association with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). It celebrates the genius of the Viennese composer, pianist and writer Otto M Zykan (1935-2006), whose historic recordings of Schoenberg’s piano music are re-released here for the first time since their original issue on LP in 1970. These recordings are coupled with a new recording of Zykan’s own complete solo piano music, played by the British pianist Duncan Honeybourne.

Download/Streaming Release



Early Piano Music (PFV001)

The first release in the Prima Facie 'Vignette' series of download / streaming-only releases by contemporary composers, featuring early compositions for solo piano by the young British composer Peter Longworth. The pianist is Simon Conning.

New release for July 2023



The Complete Songs of A. A. Milne (and Lewis Carroll) (PFCD212/213)

Available for the first time, all sixty-seven songs composed by Harold Fraser-Simson (1872-1944) to the famous poetry of A. A. Milne. 'When we were very young', 'Now we are six', 'Winnie the Pooh' and 'The House at Pooh Corner' are all represented on the album, along with a complete recording of the pantomime 'The King’s Breakfast'. Also on the album are the collection of eight songs Fraser-Simson wrote using the words of Lewis Carroll from 'Alice in Wonderland'.

New release for June 2023



Trumpet Concerto / Symphony No 2 (PFCD203)

"The Trumpet Concerto dates from the early 1980s and, despite being a classical piece, is heavily influenced by the jazz I was playing at the time. My Second Symphony dates from 2004-5. In addition to the orchestra there are two vocal soloists and electronics. The Trumpet Concerto is actually a fantasia on 'The Raggle Taggle Gypsies'. It so happens that in 1985 I arranged this song for The King’s Singers. The current King’s Singers, nearly forty years after their illustrious predecessors, make a wonderful job of reviving the piece.” Daryl Runswick, March 2023

Download / streaming-only release: Variations



Variations: Simon Conning plays Beethoven (PFDL002)

Simon Conning performs Beethoven's 'Seven Variations on God Save the King' and 'Five Variations on Rule Britannia' in a digital streaming / download-only release to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III.

Memorial Concert April 2023


Poster of concert
A concert in memory of composer David Golightly, featuring the Lawson Trio and the Plews / Barras Duo, took place at St Elizabeth's Church, Ashley, WA14 3QE, on April 28th, 2023. The Lawson Trio performed David's 'Letters of Regret', recorded on the CD of the same name, PFCD181/2.