Newsletter Signup

Become a ABC Music VIP Newsletter subscriber for all the latest ABC Music artist and label news!

Omega Ensemble

Unexpected News: Nico Muhly & Philip Glass

Two world premiere recordings of works by the brilliant Nico Muhly are at the heart of this new release from Omega Ensemble, an album that explores the American modern tradition through four works by Muhly and the great Philip Glass.

Muhly is a musical polymath and one of the most exciting composers in the world today. A remarkable example of how music in the 21st century crosses genre barriers more than ever, he was the youngest composer to be commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera in its 139-year history, has written operas, pop songs, chamber music and more, and has worked with everyone from the Tallis Scholars to Icelandic icon Björk and indie rock darlings The National and Grizzly Bear.

The three Muhly works on this album are incredible examples of his style: wearing their influences proudly, but leaping forward into new modes of musical expression with extraordinary beauty and lush instrumental textures.

Unexpected News, commissioned by Omega Ensemble for this recording, describes a dramatic evening in a relationship, a slow transformation from an oppressive but quiet atmosphere of waiting to the shimmering pleasure of seeing a long-awaited friend to, finally, a luxurious sense of pleasure.

Muhly describes No Uncertain Terms as “a gallery of my own obsessions”, from Steve Reich to William Byrd and much more in between. A thrilling piece of music, it has moments of pulsing tension as well as yearning, ecstatic release.

By All Means was commissioned by the Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music as a response to Anton Webern’s Concerto for Nine Instruments, where Muhly seeks to turn the Concerto’s concise, severe serialism into thick, rich chords brimming with meaning and profound significance.

Philip Glass’s Sonata for Violin and Piano is in many ways typical of Glass’s writing, with repetitive, locomotive rhythm pulsing with energy. The challenge for any performer of Glass’s works is to sustain the repetition while finding the subtle variations within it – and this recording is blessed to feature Sally Whitwell, a world-renowned performer of Glass’s music. Whitwell has released two albums of Glass’s solo piano music – Mad Rush (winner of the 2011 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album), and the complete Etudes for solo piano (nominated for the 2018 ARIA Award) – receiving rave reviews from around the world.

This album was recorded with Nico Muhly overseeing the sessions, and produced and engineered by Tonmeister Virginia Read, who won the ARIA Award for Best Engineer for Sally Whitwell’s Mad Rush. Featuring a world-class line-up of musicians, this is an extraordinary, internationally significant recording of some of the most beautiful music written this century.

1 MUHLY No Uncertain Terms *
2 MUHLY Unexpected News * (Commissioned by Omega Ensemble)
Brett Brown baritone
3 MUHLY By All Means
4-6 GLASS Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano
Alexandra Osborne violin
Sally Whitwell piano
* World premiere recordings
Omega Ensemble
Gordon Hamilton conductor
The Huntington Estate Music Festival is one of the brightest stars in Australia’s musical firmament. For three decades, it has been bringing together top-flight musicians from around the country and around the world to present a breathtaking array of chamber music masterpieces, both iconic favourites and delicious new discoveries. Presented by the Huntington Estate Winery in association with Musica Viva Australia, and held in the winery’s Barrel Room, one of the most remarkable and surprising music venues in the world, the Festival is a delight to audiences and musicians alike.After 30 stellar years of exceptional music-making, however, the 2019 Festival will be the last, with Huntington Estate owners Tim and Nicky Stevens reluctantly deciding that their grapes – and their young family – must come first. To mark this significant occasion, ABC Classic is proud to delve into its broadcast archives to present this selection of some of the Festival’s most memorable performances across a typically diverse and intriguing range of repertoire: from Schubert and Dvořák to Bach’s astonishing eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann and Australian composers Ross Edwards and Ian Munro.It was Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra who began the Festival and established it as a serious contender on the world stage – and the hottest concert tickets in the country! This album includes superb three recordings from those early years: music of Mendelssohn, Brahms and Percy Grainger.In 2006, the ACO passed the baton to Musica Viva and Artistic Director Carl Vine, opening up the Festival’s artist roster to an extraordinary range of musicians, both local and international. From among the literally hundreds of thrilling performances, this album features New York-based Australian pianist Andrea Lam, Russian-Armenian clarinettist Narek Arutyunian, the rich bass-baritone of Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Vienna’s acclaimed Eggner Trio, along with regular Festival guests the Goldner String Quartet and the rising stars of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) Chamber Orchestra.…/2The CD of this compilation is available exclusively at the Festival itself, but for all those who can’t make the trip to Mudgee, ABC Classic is releasing the full album as a digital album, for download and streaming, so that audiences all around the world can share in the celebration. TRACKLISTING  1     MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3 ‘Scottish’: II. Vivace non troppo2     BRAHMS arr. ANGERER Chorale Prelude ‘O Gott, du frommer Gott’3     GRAINGER Blithe Bells       Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti director (2002 / 2004)        SCHUBERT4     An die Musik (To Music)5     Erlkönig (The Erl-King)6     Die Forelle (The Trout)7     Die Taubenpost (Pigeon Post) from Schwanengesang       Teddy Tahu Rhodes bass-baritone, Kristian Chong piano (2007)        WF BACH Sinfonia in F major ‘Dissonant’8     I. Vivace9     II. Andante10   III. Vivace11   IV. Menuetto I & II       ANAM Chamber Orchestra, Paul Wright violin / conductor (2010)      12   ROSS EDWARDS String Quartet No. 2 ‘Shekina Fantasy’:       I. Allegro moderato       Goldner String Quartet (2010)        MENDELSSOHN13   Song without Words Op. 67 No. 2 – Allegro leggiero14   Song without Words Op. 85 No. 4 – Andante sostenuto       Andrea Lam piano (2012) 15   WEBER Clarinet Quintet in B-flat major: II. Fantasia       Narek Arutyunian clarinet, Australian String Quartet (2012)        MUNRO Piano Trio No. 2 ‘Book of Lullabies’ – Excerpts16   II. Lullaby in Edo17   III. Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi18   IV. Skye Boat Song       Dimity Hall violin, Julian Smiles cello, Ian Munro piano (2013) 19   DVOŘÁK Piano Trio No. 1: II. Adagio molto e mesto       Eggner Trio (2015)