Symphony No.2 Excerpts
Vast, deep and emotional are apt descriptions of the single-movement, 53-minute-long Symphony No. 2 by Christopher Tyler Nickel. The award-winning Canadian composer elaborates, “One can think of this music as consisting of mirrors between ideas that equally disturb yet entice. Each side of the reflection is in itself conceivably valid, but when facing each other friction and dissonance are created. The exquisitely alluring and the grotesque exist simultaneously. Perhaps another way to understand the symphony is as a meditation on the state of cognitive dissonance.” The entrepreneurial Clyde Mitchell conducts the Seattle-based Northwest Sinfonia on this world-premiere recording.
critical acclaim for Christopher Tyler Nickel
“Nickel’s music is full of life: imagination, invention, variation … This is composition at its best – arresting and masterful.” – The Whole Note
“the athleticism of both Nickel’s music and the performers is exhilarating … The orchestral writing is strikingly beautiful” -MusicWeb International (on Christopher Tyler Nickel’s Concertos for Oboe)
“An enjoyable and skillful set of neoclassic concertos for anyone” – AllMusic (on Christopher Tyler Nickel’s Concertos for Oboe)
Oboe Concerto Excerpts
Oboe d'amore Concerto Excerpts
Bass Oboe Concerto Excerpts
Christopher Tyler Nickel’s contemporary classical compositions pack a bracing and emotional punch. His award-winning works for the concert hall, stage and screen have been heard in over 160 countries by audiences in the tens of thousands. His experience as an oboist instils a confidence to compose with an exhilarating freedom to explore the vast expressive range of the instrument, from lyrical and plaintive to acerbic and brittle. The world-premiere recordings of these three concertos for oboe and its lower-pitched siblings the oboe d’amore and bass oboe receive dazzling performances by Mary Lynch, principal oboe of the Seattle Symphony, and Harrison Linsey, oboist with the Washington D.C.-based National Symphony Orchestra. Grammy Award-winning David Sabee, a tireless advocate of contemporary classical music, conducts the Seattle-based Northwest Sinfonia.
He may be best known through his sizeable output for television (dramas and documentaries) but Christopher Tyler Nickel (b1978) has also created a notable and often ambitious range of concert works. These concertos find him at pains to bring out the character of each instrument.
Not that the Oboe Concerto (2012) is demonstrably inferior to those which follow, even if its half-hour duration arguably over-extends the thematic content. The opening movement finds soloist and orchestra locked in confrontation that builds to a visceral climax, then the central Andante exudes a haunting wistfulness whose lambent harmonies find potent contrast in the rhythmic trenchancy characterising the final Allegro. More convincingly shaped, however, is the Oboe d’amore Concerto (2014) – the eloquent first movement evincing an unease that pervades its fantasia-like successor as it heads methodically and remorselessly to a plangent cadenza which, in turn, leads into an affecting recollection of the opening music. Outwardly more conventional, the Bass Oboe Concerto (2016) initially pursues a teasing equivocation that ventures on to deeper emotion in the central Adagio; its wistful poise is countered with an agitated final Allegro whose deadpan humour feels not a little ominous towards the end.
These substantial, often engaging works are accorded full justice by the soloists for whom they were conceived. Mary Lynch performs feats of agility on her brace of instruments, then Harrison Linsey endows the bass oboe with soulfulness and gravitas. David Sabee secures a committed response from the Northwest Sinfonia (strings especially lustrous in those latter two pieces), captured in an ample but never diffuse ambience. Well worth investigating, not least by adaptable oboists looking for music to challenge themselves and intrigue audiences.
Richard Whitehouse – Gramophone Magazine
Oboe Suite Movement 1 - Excerpt
Oboe Suite Movement 2 - Excerpt
Oboe Suite Movement 3 - Excerpt
Oboe Suite Movement 4 - Excerpt
Symphony for Flute Choir - Movement 1 - Excerpt
Symphony for Flute Choir - Movement 2 - Excerpt
Symphony for Flute Choir - Movement 3 - Excerpt
Symphony for Flute Choir - Movement 4 - Excerpt
Music for Woodwind Choirs features two major works, one for an oboe ensemble (consisting of two oboes and two English horns), the other a thirty-minute “symphony” for flute choir. Richly evocative and dramatic, each work takes full advantage of Christopher’s combination of experience writing music for both the concert hall as well as his dramatic instincts composing for film and television.
The Suite for Two Oboes and Two English Horns consists of four contrasting movements based on Christian liturgy. From the serene Kyrie, dramatic Dies Irae, reflective Lacrimosa, and finally an energetic Gloria; this piece takes the listener on a sonic journey through the emotions found in each prayer. The Symphony for Flute Choir is also in four movements. The movements contrast one another by using the full expressive range of the flute family. With no programme per se, this piece is often brooding and filled with angst, which at times give way to fleeting moments of uplift, and closes with a fiery finale that is filled with highly demanding jagged rhythms and metric changes. Both works are virtuosic in their demands of the players.
These riveting performances feature some of the finest Canadian performers on their respective instruments, all under the direction of conductor Clyde Mitchell who has created engaging interpretations that will enrapture the listener. Dramatic, energetic, and gripping; Music for Woodwind Choirs takes this unique chamber music sound and gives it a breadth and voice that can be appreciated by both the seasoned musician and general audiences alike.
The two large works on this CD, both composed in 2017, are Suite for Two Oboes and Two English Horns and Symphony for Flute Choir. Each is performed by a group of superb Canadian musicians, conducted by Clyde Mitchell, music director of the Lions Gate Sinfonia and former associate principal horn in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The performances are, to my ears, flawless and vital.
Nickel’s music is full of life: imagination, invention, variation – a deep understanding of the craft of composition. The artistry, for example, of the opening movement of the Suite, is evident from the first notes: the same note played three times on the English horns, to which the oboes reply with a five-note motif on three pitches. This is just the beginning of a journey, which leads us through an episode of melodic development and several contrapuntal episodes – in the complexities of which we never feel lost – and then back to a satisfying recapitulation. This is composition at its best – arresting and masterful.
The Symphony for Flute Choir brings comparable invention: in the first movement Nickel develops what sounds like an atonal theme – an engaging one – into 12 minutes of music, always interesting and all derived from this one short theme. In the second movement I was struck by Nickel’s extraordinary melodic flair, a satisfying blend of repetition and variation.
I hope there will be live performances of these wonderful works in the not-too-distant future!
Allan Pulker – The Whole Note
The Shores of my Homeland Sample
Then There Was You Sample
The Wind's Last Breath Sample
A Timeless Love Sample
One Moment Under the Stars Sample
The Promise Sample
“Horizons” marks the first album release from composer Christopher Tyler Nickel. Performed by the acclaimed City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, and featuring two breath-taking flute solos by Jack Chen – the music is immediately accessible with its beautiful melodies, dramatic sweeping themes, and powerful orchestrations. From the epic, to the quiet and sentimental – this is music that will move the listener, and take them on a musical journey.
Excellent work from classical composer Christopher Tyler Nickel. Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic and featuring our own Jack Chen on flute, this is engaging and compelling music that deserves a wide audience. The man should be in the movies. A”
The Province Newspaper
To say that the music presented here is gorgeous, would possibly even be an understatement. Horizons gets off to a great start with the title track, a sweeping, inspirational, Americana-styled piece….followed by one of the standout tracks on the album, the beautiful A Timeless Love, which again features Chen on the flute, and which positively soars at the end. All in all, a great, easy listening album, and a great showcase for Christopher Tyler Nickel’s versatile talents.
Jeff Hall – Screensounds
Lacrimosa (Rain) - Excerpt
Tranquility (Rain) - Excerpt
Evening Rains (Rain) - Excerpt
Love's Moment (Rain) - Excerpt
Whispers of Eternity (Rain) - Excerpt
Lost in Twilight (Rain) - Excerpt
Rain Part 2 (Rain) - Excerpt
Bold, dark, reflective, tender…Rain, the second album from composer Christopher Tyler Nickel, is truly a study in contrasts. Defying categorization, this album weaves together a symphonic orchestral sound, Christopher’s penchant for soaring melodies, as well as touches of pop, rock and minimalism into a moving and cohesive listening experience.
Rain was recorded with large orchestra, choir, solo soprano and solo English Horn. Powerful, tender, dark, tranquil are just a few adjectives that describe this tour-de-force of bold musical gestures. Rain features the exquisitely beautiful and versatile voice of soprano Catherine Redding, whose performances will instantly enrapture the listener with their crystalline beauty and emotional depth. Also featured is English horn soloist Beth Orson, whose brilliant performances include two haunting and rhapsodic solos that will leave their melodies with the listener long after.
Once again, Christopher has collaborated with the City of Prague Philharmonic who offer a rich and expressive musical canvas for the two soloists’ performances. With the release of Rain, Christopher Tyler Nickel makes a bold musical statement, deftly combining disparate genres, sounds, and styles into a cohesive musical experience. This album charts a new artistic direction for the composer… one that will captivate and enthrall the listener!
Rain. The ten-track almost 54-minute project incorporates lovely vocal contributions from Catherine Redding (soprano), Beth Orson (English horn) and Jack Chen (flute). Synthesizers are performed by Nickel himself. The orchestra is conducted James Fitzpatrick and is comprised of the The Strings of the City of Prague Philharmonic. Further recordings by The Northwest Sinfonia are conducted by David Sabee and solo sessions were recorded in Vancouver and Dublin. The album was mixed and mastered by Perry Blackman.
Rain opens with a rich and uplifting orchestral crossover opening “Overture, “Rain,” “Lacrimosa” sequence where Catherine’s vocal work soars above the choir and rich crossover arrangement. These first three tracks are superbly composed, arranged and sung, however it is Catherine’s soaring vocal work that will draw listeners in. The orchestra’s themes work perfectly to underscore the sung parts. A long and gentle instrumental entitled “Rangimarie” (Tranquility) featuring Beth Orson’s English Horn performance provides the bridge to further sung passages.
In addition to the superb opening sequence, Catherine also contributes sung parts to the individual tracks “Evening Rains,” Love’s Moment,” “Lost In Twilight” and “Rain II” on the album. Coming out of “Rangimarie,” “Evening Rains” is a melancholy tune sung, as one would expect, with Cartherine’s tremendous clarity, and is backed with lush orchestra backing. The orchestral ballad “Love’s Moment” is sung exquisitely atop a richer, more cinematic arrangement. Catherine’s vocal control and tremendous consistency is simply astounding. “Lost In Twilight” serves as an equally lovely bookend. Classical vocalists have so much to offer listeners that take the time to appreciate them.
Listeners should delight with the brief return of the richer choir texture as “Whispers of Eternity” begins to develop orchestrally. Running over ten minutes, it clearly echoes themes of the opening sequence with Beth Orson’s English Horn parts that cohesively bind the album together. The album’s crescendo begins with “Rain II” that clearly echoes the opening “Rain,” Catherine’s vocals soaring above the deep and percussive orchestral arrangement sharply bringing he piece to an end. “Epilogue” is a lovely concluding track blending natural sounds of rain, Catherine’s soaring vocals and a light piano part. The melody remains.
Chrisopher Tyler Nickel, Catherine Redding and Beth Orson have worked together to produce a fabulous classical crossover album with tracks to appeal to soundtrack lovers and female vocals enthusiasts alike. Nickel’s compositions draw interest, include gentle
ballads, cinematic instrumentals and the tremendous “Rain” opening and closing sequences. Very well done indeed!
The Water Is Wide Sample
Me rendi pur contento Sample
Suo Gân Sample
She Moved Through the Fair Sample
Scarborough Fair Sample
My Lagan Love Sample
En prière Sample
Lascia ch'io pianga Sample
À la Claire Fontaine Sample
En sourdine Sample
Amazing Grace Sample
Going Home Sample
“Lullaby” is the debut album from soprano Catherine Redding. Dublin-based Canadian soprano Catherine Redding, described as `warm, clear and impeccably controlled´ (The Irish Times), has performed internationally in opera, oratorio and recital. “Lullaby” represents a selection of some of Ms. Redding’s favourite songs from both the classical and traditional repertoire.
Her crystalline and clear voice is beautifully displayed in songs that range from the hauntingly beautiful “The Water is Wide” and peaceful rendition of “Suo Gân”, to the passion and virtuosity of classical favourites such as Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga” and Bellini’s “Ma rendi pur contento”. Peaceful, contemplative, emotional and tranquil, “Lullaby” will carry the listener on a sublime musical journey.
For more information, please visit www.catherineredding.com