Written On Skin An Opera in Three Parts Written on Skin is the second collaboration between George Benjamin and Martin Crimp. Their previous One Act Opera 'Into The Little Hill' has been received with universal acclaim. To date it has been staged in 13 countries, and had its Chinese premiere in Beijing in October 2012. Written on Skin was jointly commissioned by The Festival d Aix-en-Provence; De Nederlandse Opera (Amsterdam); Theatre du Capitole (Toulouse); Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and is published by Faber Music Ltd. This recording was largely produced from a broadcast recording by Radio France in July 2012 at the Festival d Aix-en-Provence. Duet for Piano and Orchestra George Benjamin's work, Duet for Piano and Orchestra, was performed by its dedicatee, Pierre Laurent-Aimard, with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by the composer.
George Benjamins score is more impassioned, more sensuously beautiful and, at times, more fiercely dramatic than anything he has written before. The intertwining of the voices often with just the sparest accompaniment, is spellbinding, the ability to crystallise a whole mood in a single mysterious orchestral chord or a bare, ticking percussion clock is magical. Benjamin conducts the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and they play wonderfully for him. --Andrew Clements, The Guardian The enterprising people at Nimbus have granted 21st-Century opera lovers an extraordinary opportunity to become acquainted with one of the finest operas of the new millennium. Written on Skin is set to prove a lasting masterwork of 21st-Century opera. A more committed cast than the one assembled for the Aix-en-Provence première cannot be imagined, and the efforts of all involved combine to produce a recording of genuinely great artistic merit. Joseph Newsome Vox-des-arts.blogspot.co.uk May 2013 The dark spirit of the drama is impressively sustained throughout the recording, with the five singers giving their all and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra relishing he musics startlingly distinctive range of colours and textures.This is music of formidable self-assurance, performed and recorded with matching conviction. --Arnold Whittall, Gramophone, May 2013 Written on Skin is strident, tender, lyrical, quietly rhetorical, very human, humane, gripping, beautiful of sound, delicate and potentially quiescent, unflinching, and alarmingly sinewy. The singing styles, the orchestral textures and colours, the pace, the dramatic focus, all vary in exact concord with the story and its important (underlying) ideas and ideals. Benjamin truly shows himself an expert at this, binding himself to a contemporary idiom which is both approachable and upliftingly unique. If any combination of contemporary British music, opera and/or George Benjamin's admirable output is of even minimal interest to you, then this is a release that you will not want to miss. The music is beautiful and central in style and theme to the worlds to which it makes such a valuable contribution. Unsurprisingly the performances are clear, clean and persuasive. After you've been suitably heartened that contemporary music, and contemporary opera at that, can be conceived, performed and received as well as this, you'll also be left with a work of immense value in its own right. --Mark Sealey, Musicweb-International.com, May 2013
The dark spirit of the drama is impressively sustained throughout the recording, with the five singers giving their all and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra relishing he musics startlingly distinctive range of colours and textures. This is music of formidable self-assurance, performed and recorded with matching conviction. --Arnold Whittall, Gramophone, May 2013