Métier announces a new album of music by Justin Connolly

From the Divine Art website:

The English composer Justin Connolly (1933-2020) is the subject of an inspirational new album to be released later this year by Divine Art/Métier. In a 1988 interview Pierre Boulez spoke about the British music that interested him during what he described as ‘golden years’ in London. He named only five composers (with Britten and Tippett notable for their absence). Justin Connolly’s place in that list is striking given the almost complete absence of his music from the public stage in recent years perhaps due to an extended compositional break caused by ill health in the late 70s and 80s. This new double album will be the most extensive picture yet of Connolly’s conceptually rigorous, highly lyrical, deeply virtuosic, and sometimes curiously playful music.
Cellist and producer Neil Heyde writes: “Connolly was an inspirational teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1989-1996, and a deeply curious and collaborative colleague. His knowledge of and enthusiasm for repertoire well outside the mainstream was legendary, and his sharp intellectual engagement with every dimension of music making, from the most abstruse to the most pragmatic, was matched with a wonderfully generous and open spirit. The key aim of this project is to capture the legacy of his special sensibility by recording the following pieces for the first time.” (Four pieces will also receive world premiere performances).
Neil Heyde is leading the project in close collaboration with his Kreutzer Quartet colleagues, Peter Sheppard Skærved and Mihailo Trandafilovski. Clarinettist Roger Heaton will record Gymel-B with Neil, and Royal Academy of Music students are collaborating side-by-side on the larger ensemble pieces. The project has been made possible by a research grant from the Academy’s Research Committee. The recording sessions are taking place during the spring in London with renowned engineer Adaq Khan.

Title: Justin Connolly: Music for strings (plus…)
Label: Métier
Catalog number: MEX 77209
Format: CD (2-disc set), digital download and streaming
Works (all composed by Justin Connolly):


* bonus track with the original dedicatees and performers, Nancy and Bert Turetzky, recorded in Melbourne, 1982


Mihailo Trandafilovski violin
Peter Sheppard Skærved viola
Neil Heyde cello
Royal Academy of Music students

This event explored the forgotten music of Justin Connolly (1933-2020), who was widely recognised as one of the most important British composers of the late 20th century. Alongside discussion of his approach to collaboration, it presented the world premieres of Connolly’s String Trio and Celebratio super Ter in lyris Leo, as well as a performance of his Ceilidh.

Friday 23 February 2024, 6.00pm

Novello/Wise Music have now published new, typeset editions of the following works:

Tesserae F - "Domination of Black", for bass clarinet
Ceilidh, for four violins
Celebratio super Ter in lyris Leo, for 3 violas and accordion
Collana, for cello
Celebratio, per viola sola
Scardanelli Dreams, for mezzo-soprano and piano
String Trio
Sonatina III - Sonatina Scherzosa, Op. 46
Scherzetti, for flute
Brahms Clarinet Trio Op. 114, arranged for clarinet, bass clarinet and piano

The first performance of Tesserae F - "Domination of Black" (for bass clarinet) took place on 29 May 2022 (15.00) in the concert series "Nieuwe Noten Amsterdam" at the Plein Theater Amsterdam, by Fie Schouten, bass clarinet. The piece was written especially to be recorded on Connolly's Metier portrait CD "Night Thoughts" (played by Andrew Sparling) but no live performance is known to have taken place until now.

The tape part for Tesserae D (for trumpet and tape) has been found. First reported missing in the late 1990s, it was originally realised by Peter Zinovieff at his Putney Studio. The work is published by Novello and Co, and will be made available for performance in due course.

Chisato Kusunoki gave the first performance of Connolly's Sonatina III - Sonatina Scherzosa on 8 April 2022 in a lunchtime recital at Brighton Unitarian Church. The piece was written as a response to Kusunoki's performances of his Sonatina in Five Studies and is dedicated to her.