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SELECTED LISTENING
CELLO CONCERTO (2009)
Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Grant Llewellyn (conducxtor)
Extract
SPECTRUM (2018) Concerto for BASSOON, strings, percussion and harp
Arek Adamczyk (bassoon)
Feel Harmony Orchestra
Bartek Miler (percussion)
Jadwiga Kajdasz (harp)
Jakub Chrenowicz (conductor)
Whole work
CHAMBER CONCERTO 'Portraits of Ned Kelly' (1998)
The Brunel Ensemble
Christopher Austin (conductor)
(Brighton Festival 1998)
Inspired by the Ned Kelly paintings of Sidney Nolan.
Whole work
DIES IRAE (1988)
BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra
Owain Arwel Hughes (conductor)
Short extract
Whole work
MIGRATIONS (1998)
Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Very short extract
Whole work
MAELIENYDD (2008)
Presteigne Festival Orchestra/George Vass
Extract
Cantata: THE WAYS OF GOING (1990)
John Shirley-Quirk (baritone)
Sara Watkins (oboe)
Alberni Quartet
Text selected from poems by Alun Lewis
Hay-on-Wye Festival of Literature commission, 1990
PART 1 only
Prologue - Instrumental prelude - All Day It Has Rained - Oh Journeyman
CADENZAS, SCHERZOS AND CANTILENAS (2016)
Alexandra Wood (violin), Rozenn Le Trionnaire (clarinet), Alice Neary ('cello)
Presteigne Festival commission to mark the composer's 60th birthday
Whole work
STRING QUARTET no 4 (2009)
Carducci String Quartet/Presteigne Festival 2009
First movement: Moderato flessibile - Vivace
Second movement: Lento e calmo
Finale: Allegro moderato - Allegro molto
WINTER CHORALE (2006)
Text from the Kyrie Eleison and Laurie Lee's Winter Landscape
I Fagiolini with the Academy of Ancient Music, dir. Robert Hollingworth
shortened version c.10mins
SILENT NIGHT (2010)
Eight-part motet using the traditional words
BBC Singers dir. Robert Hollingworth
Complete, c.6mins
RED KITE FLYING (2004)
Gillian Keith (soprano)/Simon Lepper (piano)
Poem by the composer
Complete song
IMAGES OF A MIND (1986)
Raphael Wallfisch ('cello)
Adrian Williams (piano)
Inspired by the newly-completed 1986 self-portrait by Sidney Nolan at his home, The Rodd, near Presteigne in Herefordshire, UK)
Recorded in the presence of Sir Sidney Nolan during the 1992 Presteigne Festival. Complete work
QUINTET for ACCORDION and STRING QUARTET
Joseph Petric (accordion)
Vanbrugh Quartet
Whole work
LOVE IS A BABE
text from Sonnet 115 by William Shakespeare, Those Lines That I Before Have Writ Do Lie
Commissioned for the album: Shakespeare - The Sonnets released on April 23rd 2012 by Abbey/Universal and performed purely a capella by six voices of
I Fagiolini dir. Robert Hollingworth
complete song
TE DEUM (1989)
for three antiphonal choirs, chamber organ and trumpet
Combined choirs of Omnes Gentes/Hoite Pruiksma
recorded in Leeuwarden, Holland (poor sound quality)
Extract
JIZO (2002)
three portraits of Japanese childrens' deities
New Art Trio (Belgium)
Jizo Bozatsu
Sendan Kendatsuba
Kariteimo
BIOGRAPHY
Described by Yehudi Menuhin as a "master of intricate patterns and forms" Adrian Williams was born in Hertfordshire and showed precocious talent at the piano as a young child.
He began composing at the age of eleven, his early promise resulting in consultations with Lennox Berkeley followed by composition and piano studies at the Royal College of Music where his teachers included Bernard Stevens, Alan Ridout and John Lill.

During his RCM studies Williams received recognition for his first mature orchestral work, the gritty and ambitious Symphonic Studies, an achievement acknowledged by the RCM director Sir David Willcocks who conducted the work with the RCM orchestra. His final year at the College were marked by two accolades, a Leverhulme scholarship and the coveted Menuhin Prize for Composition.

The years that followed saw a period as Composer in Residence at Charterhouse School during which his music underwent a stylistic reassessment. The outcome was a tougher harmonic language that although more adventurous in its range and scope, retained an underlying melodic vein that has always remained central to his music. Several important works were to emerge from this period including the String Quartet no 2 (for the Chilingirian Quartet), a remarkable uninterrupted span of thirty eight minutes and the intricately orchestrated symphonic poem Tess for Vernon Handley and the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra.

During the eighties a move to the Welsh borders saw Williams find his spiritual home, along with the peace of mind and creative impetus for many of his most vital works. Amongst them is the piece spawned by his winning the Guinness Prize for Composition, the cantata after Louis MacNeice Not Yet Born, two works inspired by Sidney Nolan Images of a Mind for cello and piano, inspired by the 1986 self-portrait, and the Chamber Concerto, 'Portraits of Ned Kelly' (Brighton Festival commission), the Cantata after Alun Lewis The Ways of Going (Hay Festival commission) and Dies Irae, the latter a BBC commission that in its power of expression remains one of Williams' most personal statements.

It was during his early years in the Welsh borders that Williams founded the Presteigne Festival, an enterprising event that continues to thrive and maintains a strong commitment to contemporary music. As its director since 1993, George Vass regularly features Williams' music in festival programmes through commissions and performances.

The multi-faceted, even eclectic nature of Adrian Williams' music has also seen him branch into film and television, whilst his absorption of influences as diverse as English song and elements of jazz and minimalism has seen his catalogue of major works grow to demonstrate a richly compelling creative voice.

Ever searching for new creative horizons, Williams' recent scores, including Maelienydd (2008) for Chamber Orchestra, the String Quartet no 4, the 2016 Piano Trio (Piano Trio Society and Gloucester Music Society joint commission) and especially the symphony currently in progress, exhibit a deeply-felt emotional core, conjuring with the atmosphere and wild, open spaces of the composer's Welsh Borderland surroundings with a renewed sense of wonder and mystery.

The Cello Concerto (2009), commissioned by the BBC, marks the culmination of Adrian Williams' long standing relationship with Raphael Wallfisch, an ardent champion of the composer's works for cello. Wallfisch recorded Images of a mind on a Metronome CD with the composer, a disc which also includes another work commissioned for him Spring Requiem
and the first ever recording of the early prize-winning Sonata for solo 'cello (1976-7).

Continuing to be important are his fruitful collaborations with the celebrated vocal group I Fagiolini and its director Robert Hollingworth. To date there are nine commissioned works for the ensemble including the latest 'Shaping The Invisible' using a newly-commissioned poem by Welsh national poet Gillian Clarke.

Also significant are his connections with Holland and Poland. Over several decades he has fulfilled many works and arrangements for the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and its charismatic leader Candida Thompson, including Migrations for 22 solo strings dating from 1999 and a new Concerto for Strings, currently in progress. Two commissions emanated from important collaborations in Poland in 2017 & 2018, a large-scale chamber work for eight players The Diminishing Minutes of Peace based on an essay by Joseph Conrad. for the Art Deco Group in Warsaw, and Spectrum, a concerto for bassoon and string orchestra with percussion and harp, premiered in June 2018 in Poznan by Arek Adamczyk as part of a celebration of the composer's music, which included all his music for bassoon, dating back to 1979.

Based on a biographical article by Christopher Thomas ©