Tansy Davies’ fascination with the relationship between humanity and the natural world is central to her music. Released on 23 April, NMC’s new portrait disc, titled ‘Nature’, catalogues Davies’ interest in this theme through her work of the last decade.

The disc features four works: the string orchestra work, Dune of Footprints, inspired by the shapes etched into the Niaux Cave over eons; the piano concerto, Nature, exploring instinct and a draw to the earth; the orchestral suite, What Did We See?, reflecting on human catastrophe; and the ‘singing orchestra’ piece, Re-greening, in which the composer builds a ‘musical forest’. Karen Kamensek conducts the Norwegian Radio Orchestra in the recordings of the cavernous Dune of Footprints and What Did We See?: a suite of music reworked from Davies’ opera reaction to the events of 9/11, Between Worlds. Nature is performed here by pianist Huw Watkins with Oliver Knussen conducting members of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain perform Re-greening unconducted.

Order the disc through NMC here.

Listen to the disc on Idagio here.


Praise for Nature:

“On this new release, Dune of Footprints and the suite What Did We See? – performed by The Norwegian Radio Orchestra – display the sweep, fluency and textural subtleties that have become increasingly evident as tansy Davies's compositional voice has matured. Her work responds to various meta-narratives concerning natural energies and global crises. The National Youth Orchestra communicate effectively the effusive spirit of her score Re-greening. Pianist Huw Watkins and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group join forces on Nature, a concerto that is intricate yet robust, complex without being intimidating. Her early work elicited comparisons ranging from Xenakis to Prince; today Davies is best listened to in the context of her own impressively sustained development.”

The Wire, May 2021