Nocturnes are traditionally pieces of music that are evocative of the night. As a composer Nigel has always been drawn to the quiet stillness and empty silence of the night, and in this very beautiful new album of instrumental compositions, he has created a complete journey through the night, from the arrival of twilight to the first edges of the dawn, each piece of music connected so that together they carry a story of measured tenderness that describes the ebb and flow of darkness across the waiting earth.
His earlier work, Requiem: Well of Souls, was a shadowy music journey wrapped in a classical form around the themes of rest and gentle death. This new work honours shadow in a different way, profoundly inspired by the intense experience of the nights on Dartmoor’s high and open hills, where the skies are black and the stars are many. The night silence can be complete but the night storms wild beyond measure. Within this dark realm senses become heightened such that the night traveller becomes acutely aware of other, perhaps unexpected, ways of relating to the enveloping landscape. From all this the Nocturnes were born.
It was Nigel’s intent from the beginning of this project that the album would be piano led, returning him after many years of flute playing to his original instrument. He embarked on a quest to find the piano that would fulfill this task and after many months of searching all around the UK, he finally located his 1920’s Grotrian Steinweg on the edge of Dartmoor! The piano sits at the heart of these recordings but of course there are also flutes featured, including some specially made by Nigel for the album, from Dartmoor elm, hazel and hornbeam. Very important to the overall sound of the pieces were the string contributions made by guest musicians Rebecca Allnatt (cello) and Malcolm Latchem (violin), both members of Ten Tors Orchestra, who had previously worked with Nigel on the Dartmoor Symphony. Carolyn’s voice became the choir of women singing plain chant, choruses and the many names of night and moon.
THE NOCTURNES ARE: Half Light, Shadowfall, Evensong (Sacred Night), Vespers, Midnight Song, And The Land Lay Still, Silence And The Moon, This Dark Realm, Starfall (Wrapped in Dream), The Summoning Light, Morning Song
MP3 album length: 71 minutes
Also available on CD. See Music CD page