We were inspired to gather together this collection of chamber works for reasons beyond the obvious prestige of the individual composers and the importance of their works. We wanted to present the listener with a satisfying musical journey, as much through the formal variety as the expressive content of the pieces, full of contrasts that are to be found among different movements of the same piece, as well as among the five works on the recording. Rather than offering a historical overview of the programme, we would prefer to look briefly at our choice of title, Deep Light, and its various meanings. On the one hand, it aims to evoke the luminosity that lies in the depth of feeling, represented here by two major works of the German Romantic clarinet repertoire, the Grand Duo Concertant by Carl Maria von Weber and Robert Schumann’s Phantasiestücke. Emotionally profound in their darker, slower movements, these works also display an exalted brightness in their exuberant finales.
Cristo Barrios has developed an illustrious international career as a soloist and chamber musician, which combines classical and romantic repertoire with new creations and a particular interest in 20th-century music. Besides, his performances for clarinet, dancers and free improvisation are much in demand and show him as a versatile and unique artist. His soloist career has led him to perform in some of the most prestigious concert halls, such as Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall in London, Konzerthaus in Berlin and Viena, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Carnegie Hall in New York. As a chamber musician he has appeared with the Elias, Minetti, Endellion, Arditti and Brodsky string quartets and with soloists Asier Polo and Maxim Rysanov. His commitment to contemporary music and also to the creation of new works for his instrument led him to give a number of world premieres, including Gustavo Díaz-Jerez’s Symphonic Poem Ayssuragan with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra conducted by Antoine Marguier, and Nino Díaz’s Second Clarinet Concerto with the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. His interests not only in relation to contemporary compositions, but also regarding the theoretical matters (from the disciplines of musicology and philosophy) which underpin the collaborations between the composers and soloists, took him to develop an ambitious doctoral research. This research project allowed him to work in depth on some of the key works in the recent repertory for clarinet in direct contact with composers such as Einojuhani Rautavaara, Helmut Lachenmann, Kaija Saariaho and Jörg Widmann. The completion of this research project resulted in his being awarded a PhD in musicology by the Complutense University in Madrid. His recording projects stem from his passion for providing new musical creations to as broad an audience as possible, along with his enthusiasm for developing personal interpretations of the established repertory. Thus, Cristo Barrios recorded The Voice of the Clarinet (Divine Art Records), a CD with original transcriptions of lieder; 20th Century Music for Clarinet (Metier Records), which includes works by Bernstein, Bax, Berg, Brotons and Honegger; and IAMUS (Melomics Records), a CD with music created through an innovative project at the University of Málaga involving composers, musicians and scientists. As for his teaching career, Cristo Barrios has given master classes at the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra Superior Conservatory in Lisbon, the University of Arts in Zürich, the Strasbourg Conservatory, the Norwegian Academy of Music, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Cologne Conservatory, the Liszt Academy in Budapest and the Amsterdam Conservatory. His pedagogic endeavours are remarkable for the employment of new methodologies that introduce interdisciplinary innovations including the use of free improvisation, singing and dance in order to improve the performance skills of his students. Cristo Barrios is honorific associate of the Royal Academy of Music in London and is currently teaching at the Centro Superior Katarina Gurska and at the Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio (Madrid). He is a Buffet Crampon, Vandoren and Silverstein artist and he has been working with the clarinet maker René Hagmann, who has made significant advances in his clarinets.
Andrew West has developed partnerships with many of today’s leading singers and instrumentalists. He first worked with Cristo Barrios as a postgraduate chamber music coach at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has been one of the artistic directors of the Nuremberg International Chamber Music Festival since 2005. The festival has produced four of Britten’s chamber operas and promoted a wide range of British music, from Purcell to Adès, performed by leading European singers and instrumentalists. The 2017 Festival featured music based on the poetry of T. S. Eliot. He has performed with Emily Beynon, principal flute of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, for over twenty years, giving recitals at the BBC Chamber Music Proms, Edinburgh International Festival and across Europe. Other eminent partners include violinists Sarah Chang and Marianne Thorsen, and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras. Andrew is particularly noted as a song-accompanist, working regularly with Benjamin Appl, James Gilchrist, Susan Gritton, Robert Murray, Christopher Purves, Hilary Summers and Roderick Williams, and performing at major festivals such as Aldeburgh, Bath, Cheltenham and Edinburgh. His collaboration with tenor Mark Padmore is longstanding: their concerts include recitals at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Paris Cité de la Musique and throughout Europe, as well as staged performances of Schubert’s Winterreise at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. At the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival, they gave the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s song-cycle, Songs from the Same Earth, subsequently programmed in Amsterdam, Cologne and Wigmore Hall. They opened the 2016-17 recital series at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Andrew West is Chairman and Artistic Director of the Kirckman Concert Society, which for over 50 years has auditioned exceptional young musicians and offered them London debut recitals at the Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall. He also served on the jury of the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Competition. Recordings include Lieder by Richard Strauss, Joseph Marx and Bruno Walter with Emma Bell for Linn; music by Les Six with Emily Beynon for Hyperion; Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin with Robert Murray, for Stone Records; and most recently a three-volume CD of the English Lyrics by Hubert Parry, featuring Sarah Fox, James Gilchrist, Susan Gritton and Roderick Williams. Andrew has an MA (Hons) from Clare College, Cambridge University, where he read English, before studying piano under Christopher Elton and John Streets at the Royal Academy of Music. He was Pianist-in-Residence at Lancaster University from 1993 to 1999. Subsequently, he won second prize at the Geneva International Piano Competition and has since made solo tours of South Africa, South America and the United States. He is currently professor of piano accompaniment and chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music and also works with students at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge.