Chalk Legends review

August 21st, 2012  |  Published in Reviews

chalkTHE CHALK LEGENDS – When Viking skeletons were unearthed in Dorset it was the start of a tale that led back over a thousand years into a mysterious world… with a strange modern twist.

The Times
At this premiere it was also a triumph of hard work and organisation. The BSO, Dorset Youth Orchestra, eight local choirs and two dance companies successfully fused and struck sparks in a tricky rectangular space. Under MarkForkgen’s baton and Williams’s direction no cues were dropped, no note fumbled. Marvellous.
Geoff Brown


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The Chalk Legends

March 5th, 2012  |  Published in New Works

Stephen is working with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on their ambitious  2012 cultural olympiad project, The Chalk Legends.

chalkclifsThe Chalk Legends is the largest Dorset community-based music and dance project inspired by London 2012. With the Olympic Sailing Events to be held in Weymouth and Portland in 2012, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Partners wanted to find a way of also making the year memorable in music and dance. We have devised The Chalk Legends, a large scale music, dance and multi-media event culminating in a spectacular presentation at the National Sailing Academy in Portland – just days before the WPNSA becomes the focus of world-wide attention during the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. Read the rest of this entry »

Daughters of the elements

August 31st, 2011  |  Published in New Works, Reviews

Tête à Tête Opera Festival highlights this year included performances of Stephen McNeff’s Daughters of the Elements.

“Far more conventional but no less effective, Stephen McNeff’s Daughters of the Elements (simply but touchingly staged by Bankes-Jones) depicts Marie Curie and her two daughters reminiscing about Curie’s laboratory breakthroughs, her marriage, and her brief affair with a married scientist that scandalised Paris. With McNeff’s delicate instrumentation evocatively realised by the Chroma Ensemble under Robin Newton, and every word made crystal clear by Mary Plazas, Katherine Bond and especially Lucy Schaufer as Marie, the work emerges as an autumnal but lyrical song-cycle counterpointing the certainties of science against the unfathomable and often painful complexities of human behaviour.” The Times Read the rest of this entry »

Seven for a Secret

July 15th, 2011  |  Published in New Works

Autumn 2011 sees a major UK tour of Mcneff’s new score for the Rambert Dance Company, Seven for a Secret, never to be told.

The score is a reworking of Ravel’s music from l’enfant et les sortilèges.  

Follow a child through a world of boxers, dragonflies and frogs as he springs, jumps, mimics and dances his quick-witted heart out, in 15 glorious musical movements and one action-packed day. Come out to play with this fresh and enchanting take on a rarely-performed story.
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ConcertO Duo

May 26th, 2011  |  Published in New Works

McNeff’s latest large scale work for orchestra, ConcertO Duo, received its premiere in October 2010 at The Barbican Hall, London.

A special joint BBC Radio 3 and Borletti-Buitoni Trust commission for O Duo, the dynamic percussion partnership of Owen Gunnell and Ollie Cox.  The BBC Symphony Orchestra was conducted by David Robertson. Read the rest of this entry »


May 16th, 2011  |  Published in Articles

O Duo: ‘It’s not just music. It’s visual, too’

The Guardian, 30 Sep 2010
Tom Service

O Duo’s percussive fireworks first set the world alight in an Edinburgh pub. Now, thanks to composer Stephen McNeff, they’re playing with the BBCSO. Tom Service meets them.

… percussion duo, rehearsing the new concerto that composer Stephen McNeff has just written for them…  McNeff’s ConcertO Duo, which they’ll play with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in London later this month, will be “a real journey”, Gunnell … O Duo’s percussive fireworks first set the world alight in an Edinburgh pub. Now, thanks to composer Stephen McNeff, they’re playing with the BBCSO. Read the rest of this entry »


February 6th, 2011  |  Published in Recordings

Stephen has written a linked series of vocal works inspired by Italy, in particular Abruzzo and the Adriatic coast.  Many of the texts are by Gabriele D’Annunzio the Abruzzo born poet. Gabriele D’Annunzio and by Shelly – who drowned off the cost of  Liguria and was cremated on the beach near Viareggio.

The Italian works include Madrigali Del’Estate, D’Annunzio Fragments and A Voice of One Delight.  All of these works were premiered by mezzo soprano Clare McCaldin

A new CD of these works will be released soon on Champs Hill Records Champs Hill Records

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