The English composer David Hackbridge Johnson (b. 1963) has been, until now, one of the best-kept secrets in music, building up a huge catalogue of works completely unknown even within the classical world. Learning the orchestra from the inside, as a player, he has developed a confident and powerful language inherited in part from Brian, Copland, Janáček, Rubbra, Sibelius, Simpson, Tippett and other such masters, capable of bold strokes of colour and gripping dramatic gestures, often informed by a grim sense of humour, all given purpose by a masterly control of long-term symphonic tension.
“This is some of the most exciting new orchestral music that has ever come my way. David writes with complete mastery and meticulous craftsmanship, and above all packs an immense emotional punch.” —Paul Mann
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Paul Mann, conductor
Communion Antiphon No. 14, Op. 359 (‘St Boniface, Whitechapel’) (2016) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0393/14.mp3
Motet No. 2, Op. 257, No. 2 (2009) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0393/15.mp3
Catalogue No: TOCC0393EAN/UPC: 5060113443939Release Date: 01.03.2017Composer: David Hackbridge Johnson Artists: Paul Mann, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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Marcus Tristan – Composer :
Wonderful, exciting, multi-faceted and, above all, beautifully fresh music – very invigorating! And I got the impression, although not because the lazy ear can hear echoes of Tippett’s symphonies and music by Holst and Rubbra too, that this is quintessentially English music – the long, elegiac, meandering phrases in the slower music and the almost Waltonesque fizz in the faster sections identify this as the musical successor to these earlier great British composers. But, although I have mentioned other names, I really want to stress the almost fierce individuality of David’s music – an individuality that I hope we hear a lot more of in the future.
Claude Delley :
Nous nous sommes écrit ce matin et maintenant j’écoute votre musique sur le site Toccata. J’aime beaucoup ce que vous écrivez. J’ai hâte de pouvoir jouer avec notre Quatuor Bourgogne une de vos compositions.
Bien à vous.
MERCI pour cette belle musique.
Alan Howe :
This is evidently a major discovery of music in the great tradition. Kudos to all concerned!
Seth Blacklock :
Toccata unearths some astonishing music and (as with the September 2017 release of music by Steve Elcock) this disk of music by Hackbridge Johnson is no exception. The fact that magnificent music like this exists and has been, until now, unknown in recordings is almost incredible. But thanks to the indefatigable Martin Anderson and the ever-enterprising Paul Mann, we can now (to borrow one reviewer’s words) listen to another “major discovery” by the label, and congratulate the composer on enduring years without ample reward. Hopefully this release repays his patience with dividends.
Guy Rickards :
“…what is so astonishing is not his ambition in attempting such large, bog-boned structures … but that he possesses the composition technique to achieve them so completely. The Ninth Symphony … is a profound, complex and visionary utterance, not easy listening, but repays living with. … The music always sounds like the product of one acute musical mind, the lovely Communion Antiphon No. 14 … no less than the symphony. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra audibly believe in the music in three terrific performances. Conductor Paul Mann’s unequivocal acclaim for the works is manifest in every bar. With excellent sound … this is strongly recommended.” —Gramophone, June 2017
Colin Clarke :
“British composer David Hackbridge Johnson writes fascinating music. … The performance of the Ninth Symphony is remarkable. … There is an inevitability about this music, coupled with a real sense of momentum. … The whole disc is expertly directed by Mann, and the recording is of the top drawer. … Their enthusiasm is completely warranted. This is, we are promised, only Volume One of the orchestral music, so there is plenty more to come, which can only be a cause for celebration. It’s definitely worth taking the risk for this one.” —Fanfare Magazine, July/August 2017
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