Thanks to Creative Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for supporting this recording, available worldwide from Delphian Records on CD and online from 28th July.
'Captivated by the unique, surreal quality of Australian mezzo soprano Lotte Betts-Dean’s voice – a folk-like purity embellished with beguiling ornamentation – Stuart MacRae set about composing eight works for her over a recent intense two-year period. The results are enchanting, characterfully revealed in the album Earth, Thy Cold Is Keen ... There’s gripping unpredictability in a journey that courses through the mystical, largely unaccompanied simplicity of The Captive(words Emily Bronté), the frenetic electronics of Elided Compressed, a traditional Gaelic song playfully remodelled, and much more en route to the crushing density of O Earth, Lie Heavily and the earlier-composed The Lif of this World. The title track is an ethereal combination of voice and harmonium. Sequoia go it alone in two individually seasoned instrumental numbers'
Ken Walton, The Scotsman *****
With Lotte Betts-Dean, Sequoia and Foxbrush Films
Born in Inverness in 1976, Stuart MacRae has established himself as one of the most distinctive of contemporary composers, writing music of elemental power and emotional subtlety. His works include a Violin Concerto (2001), Hamartia for cello and ensemble (2004), and Gaudete for soprano and orchestra (2008), all of which have been performed at the BBC Proms. Works for the stage include the dance-opera Echo and Narcissus (2007) and the opera Ghost Patrol (2012), a collaboration with writer Louise Welsh for Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales, which won the 2013 South Bank Sky Arts Award for Opera and was shortlisted for an Olivier Award.
Stuart’s music has been performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Edinburgh International Festival, and by ensembles including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, BCMG and London Sinfonietta, as well as numerous orchestras. Stuart was Composer in Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2003. He was resident composer at the Spannungen Kammermusikfest in Heimbach, Germany in 2003, and Edinburgh Festival Creative Fellow at the University of Edinburgh from 2005 to 2006. From 2006 to 2007 he was a resident composer at Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany.
Recent projects include the operas The Devil Inside, written for Music Theatre Wales and Scottish Opera, Anthropocene, for Scottish Opera, and a series of works based on the Prometheus myth for the Lammermuir Festival.
Stuart is part of the first ever cohort of composers on Music Patron, a new game-changing initiative aiming to transform the way new music creation is funded in the UK. Music Patron ensures composers can continue to create by inviting music lovers to connect with and truly support them.
Opera Britannia on The Devil Inside (2016)
Contact email@example.com for all enquiries
Stuart MacRae's page at Novello & Co Ltd. (works up to 2012)
Photo credits: Loudon MacRae Photography (photos of Stuart)
Bill Cooper (production photo of Ben McAteer, Steven Page and Rachel Kelly in The Devil Inside)