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World premiere Debussy recordings

30 November 2015

Debussy orchestra performance

University Symphony Orchestra to launch new CD at St David’s Hall

The latest release from Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mark Eager features the world premiere recordings of two works by Claude Debussy.  The CD was officially launched on Sunday 29 November when the Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Chorus performed at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall.

The two works - Prélude à l’histoire de Tristan and No-Ja-Li ou Le Palais du Silence - were left unfinished when Debussy died in 1918. They have since been completed and orchestrated by Robert Orledge, a leading expert on French music – and were performed in public for the first time by Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra and Mark Eager in March 2015 as part of the City of Light festival.

These exciting new discoveries are juxtaposed with the UK premiere of André Jolivet’s beguiling song-cycle Poèmes intimes with baritone soloist Jeremy Huw Williams.

This CD, the second collaboration between Prima Facie Records and Cardiff University, also features the world premiere recording of a new work by South African composer Robert Fokkens, lecturer in composition at the Cardiff University School of Music. Ukuhamba kukufunda – To Travel is to Learn is an exploration of identity on both personal and cultural levels.

Conductor Mark Eager, who has worked with the Symphony Orchestra since 2008, said:  “This was such an interesting and challenging CD to conduct, the CUSO players rising fully to the task. Having the chance to record two Debussy world premieres was a real privilege - not an everyday occurrence!

“The Jolivet songs are genuinely remarkable - intimate and serenely beautiful, with wonderful orchestrations; Jeremy communicates passion and understanding throughout. Ukuhamba kukufunda is vibrant, energetic and at times deafeningly powerful! - a chance for the orchestra to let its hair down.”

This collection of discoveries is available to buy online from Prima Facie Records. CDs cost £10, a full digital download is £6, and tracks can also be purchased individually.