It is remarkable that Rebecca Saunders – by any measure one of the UK’s leading and most admired composers – has not yet been recorded by this country’s primary new music label, NMC (although her music has appeared on three discs by HCR, which are distributed through NMC). So the announcement of a first release this November is extremely welcome. Even more so is that it will feature one of Saunders’ finest recent works, the blistering Skin (2016), performed by its dedicatee, Juliet Fraser, with Klangforum Wien. Also on the recording is the double percussion concerto void, from 2014, performed by Christian Dierstein, Dirk Rothbrust and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Enno Poppe; and the 2017 string quartet Unbreathed, written for and performed by the Quatuor Diotima.
Here’s a short extract from Skin, a work that Paul Griffiths’ liner notes say ‘stretches its soprano protagonist across the feverishly alive body of instrumentalists. She is this music’s skin. Voice is this music’s skin.’ I await the full recording eagerly; release date is 18 November, be sure to check the NMC website for more details nearer the time.