The Glory Tree had remarkable scoring, stratospheric singing and was performed with shamanic authority, her final scream reverberating through the cloisters. --Keith Bruce, The Herald
Now in her early 30s, Cheryl Frances-Hoad studied composition at Cambridge with Robin Holloway and at King's College London with George Benjamin among others, but this collection of her chamber works from the last decade or so suggests that it's Holloway's nonpartisan eclecticism, rather than Benjamin's more strait-laced modernism, that has left the deeper imprint on her own music. There's something engagingly freewheeling about Frances-Hoad's works, the feeling that she is quite unselfconscious about the music she writes and oblivious to how others might categorise it. A number of the pieces on this disc take works from other art forms as their starting point: the piano trio My Fleeting Angel stems from a Sylvia Plath short story, and the string trio The Ogre Lover from a poem by Ted Hughes; Melancholia, another piano trio, was inspired by a painting by Edvard Munch, while the song cycle The Glory Tree sets Anglo-Saxon Christian texts but ritualises them in a distinctly unchristian way. All of them reveal Frances-Hoad's ability to vary pace and mood just as she requires, and the fast music in the second movement of Fleeting Angel is genuinely impressive. Perhaps the most striking piece of all, though, is Invocation; scored for solo cello, six cellos and double bass, its subterranean rumblings underpin a long-limbed, achingly expressive melodic line.**** --The Guardian,23/06/11
The care lavished on this CD of chamber works by the 31-year-old Cheryl Frances-Hoad is patent. An impressive array of musicians including oboist Nicholas Daniel play their hearts out for her. Frances-Hoad's skill at creating a rich texture from modest chamber forces is astonishing. *** --Daily Telegraph,25/08/11
These compositions are full of feeling and memorable gestures. Performance ***** Recording ***** BBC MUSIC CHAMBER CHOICE --BBC Music Magazine,Oct'11
Cheryl Frances-Hoad has a unique and special compositional voice, recently becoming the youngest composer to win two prizes in the same year at the British Composer Awards, in 2010. Since winning the BBC Young Composer Competition in 1996, at the age of 15, Cheryl's works have garnered high praise and awards from all quarters. Over recent years, she has had numerous notable successes, with commissions including solo, chamber, orchestral and choral works, as well as opera. Champs Hill Records is delighted to present this collection of Cheryl's chamber music, performed in many cases by the musicians who commissioned and gave the premiere performances of the works.