In July 2018, we were delighted to work with the Moriarty Wind Quintet who are currently Leverhulme Chamber Music Fellows at the RAM, on a professional recording of the dectet the NLCE commissioned from Philip Cashian: Settala’s Machine, as well as a film about the project. Manfredo Settala (1600-1680) was an Italian nobleman and collector of oddities as well as a skilled maker of automata. His most famous invention was a mechanical devil which can still be seen on display at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. In seventeenth century Italy automata were theologically and culturally familiar things and mechanical devils were rife. Poised in sacristies, they were grotesque and bawdy, made horrible faces, howled and stuck out their tongues to instil fear in the hearts of sinners. The Satan- machines rolled their eyes and flailed their arms and wings, some even had moveable horns and crowns and breathed smoke through their nostrils.
Having premiered the dectet at the RWCMD, we have since performed it at the Cheltenham Festival, Trinity College, Junior College and Academy and with members of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra. The film has been made in the spectacular new Angela Burgess Recital Room at the Royal Academy, and will be available soon!
The NLCE were joined by acclaimed actor Simon Callow and composer and pianist Martin Butler for a sell-out performance of their ‘Telling Tales: Stories with Musical Narration’ programme as part of Hull City of Culture 2017.
Performing at the newly refurbished Middleton Hall at the University of Hull, Simon, Martin and the NLCE enjoyed a rapturous welcome from an audience of children of all ages, along with their grown-ups, and regular chamber music enthusiasts. The University of Hull said “We are delighted that this concert brought in such a wide audience, many of whom were new to concerts at the University. This was one of the highlights of our City of Culture programme.”
We were delighted to perform a bespoke programme commemorating 100 years since the end of World War I, on Monday 25 June 2018, as part of the inaugural Summer Music in City Churches Festival. We received a warm welcome from the audience and it was a pleasure to perform in the beautiful St Stephen Walbrook.
We were really pleased to be included in Paul Driver’s review of some of the Cheltenham Festival events – here’s what he had to say about our concert:
“The other new works I caught were…Philip Cashian’s engaging Settala’s Machine, for 10 wind instruments, given there by the New London Chamber Ensemble. This followed three arrangements by him, Sally Beamish and Martin Butler of mechanistic Mozart pieces respectively for musical clock, glass harmonica and mechanical organ, and offered itself as an original “musical machine”. In the way it intercuts sputtering, ticking ostinati with sinuous melody, it evokes the approach of Harrison Birtwistle, but a Birtwistle better behaved than usual. Afterwards came wind music’s glory, the Gran Partita, K361, by Mozart.”
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 13th July 2014