Prima Facie Records

CD label featuring world premières by British composers

Profiles of Giles Eaterbrook and Stephen Plews
Prima Facie Records was formed by the meeting of two minds – Stephen Plews and the late Giles Easterbrook – both known in the music industry as champions of new music. They have produced or promoted hundreds of projects, many of which have won awards or been recognised as outstanding contributions to the arts.

Prima Facie

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Pasture and Storm (PFCD193) £12.50

New Music for Left Hand Piano and Ensembles
Composed by Sadie Harrison


The Pasture & Storm Project brings together the composer Sadie Harrison, three pianists in Nicholas McCarthy, Sophia Benton and Tomáš Klement, the singer Peyee Chen, flautist Stephanie Gilbert, violinist Roger Huckle, and the Bristol Ensemble, conducted by John Pickard. The CD includes 8 new works written to celebrate the unique talents of the left-hand-only pianist.

The project came about initially through Sadie’s teaching the young pianist Sophia Benton. At school Sophia suffered a netball injury which eventually left her unable to play the piano with her right hand. Extraordinarily, a few weeks after meeting Sophia, Sadie met two people at her local gym, both rehabilitating after having strokes affecting their right sides and both amateur pianists. After inviting the internationally renowned virtuoso, left-hand-only pianist Nicholas McCarthy, to be part of the project, Sadie embarked on the composition of several new works – solo pieces, a chamber concerto, a piano quartet with percussion, piano duets, duos, and an extended song cycle. All these works, written during 2020-21, are presented on the CD.

For more details of Pasture and Storm, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Penllyn CD

Penllyn (PFCD188) £12.50

The collected solo piano music of Peter Reynolds
Pianist Duncan Honeybourne


"This disc is dedicated to the memory of a very fine composer and good friend, Peter Reynolds. His unexpected death in 2016 was felt far and wide amongst his friends and colleagues, and has left a gap not only in the world of contemporary classical music, and in the academic realms of music education, but also in many peoples’ lives too. This exceptionally unassuming man was a very fine composer and an avid supporter of other musicians, both as a teacher and as a champion of performances and recordings of new and neglected works. Penllyn is the culmination and premiere recording of not only all of Peter’s found works for solo piano, which needed tracking down at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and at Tŷ Cerdd in Cardiff, but is also an outpouring of love from many of those who knew Peter best. So many of his friends and past students have come together to enable this recording project to come to fruition. Wherever you are now Peter, we hope that you’re happy with this disc. You are sorely missed!"
Luke Whitlock

For more details of Penllyn, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Magna Carta CD

Magna Carta (PFCD184) £12.50

The Complete Works for Guitar of John Brunning
Performed by Xuefei Yang with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Clark Rundell
A Classic FM Album of the Week
A Spotify Pick
A UK Official Specialist Classical Chart Top 5 Recording

This album features John Brunning’s complete works for guitar. At its heart is the world premiere recording of his Concerto Magna Carta, written for Xuefei Yang, and performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Clark Rundell.

Xuefei is again joined by the RLPO for the Five Romances in new arrangements for guitar and orchestra; and by cellist Johannes Moser for Lacrimosa in a duet for guitar and cello - also premiere recordings for these settings of the material.

With her previous album, ‘Sketches of China’, Xuefei brought the traditional music of her homeland to a wider international audience, and this latest release finds her highlighting the musical traditions of the British Isles.

Xuefei Yang: "I first met John many years ago when he interviewed me for a music magazine. It was one of my very first interviews in the UK and I remember it vividly because he asked in-depth questions that demonstrated that he knew the guitar well. In our conversation I discovered that as well as being a radio presenter, he was also a guitarist and composer. I asked him to send me some scores, and discovered that John has a talent for writing beautiful melodies in the great tradition of English pastoral music, and being a guitarist himself, his music feels very natural to play. Over the years I have recorded and performed some of John’s music, and find audiences across the globe, and other musicians, enjoy his music. When he suggested writing a concerto for me, I thought it would create an opportunity to bring together all his works for guitar."

For more details of Magna Carta, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Paul Newland CD

Paul Newland (PFCD187) £12.50

piano works 1994-2014
Performed by Richard Casey


1 Butterfly Dreaming
2 Figure and Ground
3 Ku
4 Nagahama Fragments
5-7 Phlegm, Blood, Bile
8 Readymade I
9 Repetition and Difference
10 Under the big sky I thrive
11 Zuihitsu

Paul Newland is a composer and performer with interests in acoustic, collaborative, interdisciplinary (particularly dance) and site-specific work that invites close listening to sound through patterning, extended duration, amplification and slowing of often sparse, pared-down materials making use of both traditionally notated and open scores. The work draws on ideas and practices derived from both Japanese culture and contemporary visual arts.

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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Imaginem CD

Imaginem (PFCD186) £12.50

composer John Michael Franklin – pianist Laura Serra


‘Imaginem’ is a collection of classical compositions by an unknown composer, John Michael Franklin, the true musical story of an ordinary man who has lived a remarkable life. Born in Yorkshire to a schizophrenic mother and emotionally absent father, by the age of five his parents have divorced and his mother is unable to care for him. John is rejected by his father and stepmother and sent away to a children’s home. Whilst in the home John is introduced to music by a couple looking for a child to adopt; they buy him a concertina as a ninth birthday gift. Despite having had no previous tuition, he immediately takes to the instrument, playing it competently within a fortnight and discovering a particular talent for improvisation. John is given piano lessons, becoming highly proficient and eventually studying to diploma level. However, his life is far from settled and, although he forges sporadic friendships, he’s undoubtedly a loner. He spends a lifetime searching for profound human connection until deciding, at the age of sixty-two, that he’ll express his yearning through the healing power of music. The extraordinary result is Imaginem.
Howard Dawson

For more details, please see the CD web page

Prima Facie

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29 Songs CD

29 Songs (PFCD185) £12.50

Music by David Power
Robert Price baritone William Vann piano

David Power (b 1962) has been on a long musical journey, from rock, to contemporary classical, to his mature style which has variously been described as ‘atmospheric’, ‘attractive’ and ‘original’. His work is widely performed, appears on 6 CDs and one LP, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and national networks in Austria, Hong Kong and the Republic of Ireland. Two of his pieces – 'Eight Miniatures for Piano Nos 2 + 4' - have gone viral, securing 1.8 million and nearly 300,000 streams respectively on Spotify alone. However, songs have always been central to his output, and this collection brings together 29 of his finest.

For more details, please see the CD web page

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Featured Artists

Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton

Mark Darvill-Evans
Mark Darvill-Evans

News

First streaming / download-only release

Richard Birley booklet – Richard Birley head and shoulders, wearing a cap Prima Facie have released the first in a series of streaming / digital download-only releases featuring the music of Rick Birley.

This album is of an earlier recording of a song cycle, “Six Hardy Songs”, recorded in the Birley Centre in Eastbourne (named after his father), and 4 Orchestral works that have been “realised” by Sibelius and the East West Orchestral sampling system.

Available from Apple MusicSpotifyBleep

Classic FM CD of the Week


'Magna Carta: The Complete Works for Guitar of John Brunning' was Classic FM's CD of the Week from 23.05.22.

The album was also selected for the A-List: Classical on Apple Music, and as a Spotify Classical New Release pick.

Kenneth Hamilton: acclaim for Liszt CD


Kenneth Hamilton's 'Liszt Volume 1: Death and Transfiguration' is a Gramophone "Best Classical Album of 2022". Read more on the Gramophone review, and check out the CD webpage.

ASC / Prima Facie at 25 – Concert

St Paul's concert poster
A special concert to celebrate 25 years of ASC / Prima Facie Records – and the 60th birthday of founder Stephen Plews – was held on 18th September 2021. The concert was in memory of our co-founder Giles Easterbrook.

Performers at the concert included Victoria String Quartet, pianists Alessandra Pompili and Simon Passmoe, recorderist John Turner, seen in the photo above, jazz duo Gavin Barras and Stephen Plews, and the Pleyel Ensemble. The varied programme featured music by Mozart, Britten and others.

Read more on the Prima Facie blog and this British Music Society review by Andrew Mayes.

Giles Easterbrook album download

Giles Easterbrook, co-founder of Prima Facie Records, who sadly passed away on September 1st, 2021, composed music characterised by a ‘pronounced, sometimes astringent melodic gift’, ‘rhythmic subtlety’ and ‘an original, often unexpected harmonic sense’. 

Giles’ 2010 CD 'The Moon Underwater' has been out of print for some time, and as a tribute to him, Prima Facie Records have decided to make the music from the CD available, free, for streaming and high-quality download.

You can access the album at The Moon Underwater

Kenneth Hamilton radio interview

Prima Facie artist Kenneth Hamilton was featured on the US radio show 'Conducting Conversations', discussing his new CD 'More Preludes to Chopin'. The show includes music from the CD and discusses Kenneth's career. Listen here: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-2j363-e66399

Reviews

The Byzantium Connection

"There is much here to enjoy, whether you like classical, jazz, improvisation, contemporary, or just enjoy hearing really good music. A great CD with much to offer." David Heyes, Bass Magazine.

Contemporary Piano Soundbites

"...this remarkable set of pieces...the recital seems to me perfect in every way. Duncan Honeybourne is a great champion for all these composers." John France, MusicWeb International.
"The standard of the compositions and their interest and accessibility are all high...The recording is natural and warm...The booklet essay gives excellent background information on each of the composers and on their pieces." Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International.

The Piano Music of John Joubert

"(Joubert’s complete piano music) is featured here in glittering performances from Duncan Honeybourne… The performances are fluent and powerful, alive to the full range of Joubert’s mercurial invention." International Piano, July 2019 .
"These are bold piano works that have earned their place in classical music history." British Music Society Journal, 2019.
"This CD is a landmark with all Joubert's piano music... Honeybourne is totally sympathetic throughout this CD - a well-recorded claim for a neglected chapter in British piano music." (*****5 stars) Musical Opinion, Jan-March 2020.

Kenneth Hamilton Plays Ronald Stevenson Volume 2

"I cannot fault the wonderful performance by Kenneth Hamilton of these works. The recording is always clear and bright. The entire programme is a subtle balance between original music and arrangements which well-reflects Stevenson’s achievement." John France, Music Web International.
"A well-constructed, varied recital…performed with commendable verve." Guy Rickards, International Piano Magazine.

On the Shoreline

"The playing on this CD is outstanding. Every piece is delivered with care, commitment and obvious enthusiasm." MusicWeb Recording of the Month review.

Preludes to Chopin

"Brilliantly captures both the musical and the technical content…well judged and beautifully played." John France, Music Web International
"This recording has a uniquely special sound, which drapes the music in a round, full, Romantic tone-colour." Radio 100.7 Luxembourg.
"The commercial success of this release shows how strongly audiences hunger for fresh interpretations of mainstream repertory, and a fresh interpretation is exactly what you get." James Manheim, AllMusic.