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‘Cinematic’ and ‘Fiery’: Symphony recording by Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra

18 September 2020

Cover of Symphony No. 1 CD cover by Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra

A review in BBC Music Magazine has described the latest CD release from Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra as ‘cinematic’ and ‘fiery’.

The recording of Michael Csányi-Wills’ Symphony No.1, commissioned for the orchestra by conductor Mark Eager, was recorded and released by Prima Facie records earlier this year.

The orchestra gave their debut performance of the piece in November 2019 at the BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff and subsequently recorded it for Prima Facie records in February 2020. Due to Covid-19 the orchestra’s planned March concert was cancelled but through a collaborative effort, the School of Music and Prima Facie were able to share the recording, paired with video footage from rehearsals, for a one-night only ‘live’ broadcast via YouTube.

Mark Eager, conductor of the Symphony Orchestra said: “This is yet another triumph for the School of Music at Cardiff University. Commissioning and recording new works is so important in the quest to keep ‘classical’ orchestral music relevant in the 21st Century. The cinematic nature of this piece gives it a language that is familiar, which helps the audience relate and immediately enjoy it. Michael’s artistry and depth of musicianship, combined with the youthful enthusiasm and passion of the players as well the commitment of the recording team made this a truly tremendous experience.”

Of the final recording, Michael said: “When you stop to consider that some of the students featured in this recording aren’t music students, and have joined the orchestra from other departments, it is a testament to the skill and dedication of the School of Music, and Mark Eager’s superb conducting and leadership.”

Head of School, Professor Ken Hamilton said: “I am very impressed with every aspect of this CD – composition, conducting, playing and recording—and offer many congratulations to everyone involved. It’s an amazing achievement for student forces, and a very valuable addition to the recorded repertoire.”

Award winning composer and pianist Michael Csányi-Wills has written works ranging from chamber, choral and orchestral music to scores for a wide range of successful films. He was composer in residence with the Welsh Sinfonia from September 2013 to March 2018. His recent orchestral works have been widely performed throughout the UK, while regular commissions have given him an international audience in Europe, Australia and the USA.

Watch the orchestra in rehearsals.

The album is available to buy now.

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