31st May 2022
Composer John Brunning and guitarist Xuefei Yang talk about working together on an album of John's works for the guitar.
This album features the complete works for guitar of British composer and Classic FM radio broadcaster John Brunning, including world-premiere recordings, performed by internationally acclaimed classical guitarist Xuefei Yang.
At its heart is the world premiere recording of Concerto Magna Carta, written for Xuefei, and performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Clark Rundell. Xuefei is again joined by the RLPO for Five Romances in new arrangements for guitar and orchestra; and by renowned cellist Johannes Moser for Lacrimosa in a duet for guitar and cello - also premiere recordings for these settings of the material.
John writes, "these pieces were completed between 2007 and 2019, and without consciously seeking to steer clear of the strong Spanish tradition of the classical guitar, I feel there's something essentially English in all this music. I was so pleased that Fei picked up on this when I asked her to contribute a cadenza to the Concerto."
Concerto Magna Carta, is so named because it was completed in 2015, 800 years after the signing of that historic document. The Magna Carta is an iconic British achievement that is recognised around the world, so Xuefei structured her cadenza around well-known folk tunes from the these isles dovetailed with melodies from each movement of the Concerto. It's particularly poignant that one of the folk tunes (Sumer is Icumen in) dates back to the time of the Magna Carta, so the Concerto contains music that would have been familiar to people of that time.
The Five Romances : Pastorale; Dusk; Elegy; Sahara; El Verano each evoke a different mood, place, or season made all the more vivid in the settings for guitar and strings. Lacrimosa for guitar and cello is an intensely emotional conversation between the two instruments.
Xuefei writes, "John writes lovely melodies. I have performed his music in concerts across the globe and find that audiences and other musicians enjoy it. When he suggested writing a concerto for me, I thought it would create an opportunity to bring together all his works for guitar, and add to the accessible repertoire for guitar and orchestra."
Xuefei Yang is acclaimed as one of the world's finest classical guitarists. Hailed as a musical pioneer her fascinating journey took her from being the first-ever guitarist in China to enter a music school, to becoming the first internationally recognised Chinese guitarist on the world stage. Xuefei is one of the few guitarists whose artistry connects with audiences far beyond the guitar fraternity. Her international success has led her to be invited to play in more than 50 countries at numerous prestigious venues, and she is frequently invited to play with the world's leading orchestras & artists. Xuefei has made several critically acclaimed recordings for Warner, EMI, Decca and Deutsche Grammophon spanning a wide range of repertoire. Gramophone Magazine praised Xuefei as one of the leading innovators of her generation for continuing to build the guitar repertoire. Xuefei has been based in UK for over twenty years.