Two Emma-Ruth Richards premieres earlier this year have received warm reviews featured in the October-December 2019 issue of Musical Opinion. These are some excerpts of the texts by Paul Conway:
1) Precious Art of Scars – for the Albany Piano Trio was Stoller Hall’s first commission since opening – premiered on International Women’s Day (THIS WOMAN’S WORK) – 08 March 2019
The climax of the evening’s music making came with the first performance of The Art of Precious Scars, by Emma-Ruth Richards. Though not overtly programmatic, this piece for piano trio was inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi which celebrates broken objects as something to display with pride rather than hide away. The three movements conveyed aspects of kintsugi with their variously fragmented, decorous and flexible elements… the opening gestures with fast piano trills at the extreme edges of the keyboard answered by expressive string lines interspersed with ‘Bartók pizzicatos’ were characteristic of Richards’s chamber-music writing but were unleashed here with the intensity and purposefulness of a composer at the top of her game. The emotional intensity of the score suggests that [Precious Art of Scars] is a very personal statement. In her programme notes, the composer expressed the hope that that her work ‘addresses the idea of breakages becoming valuable and the essence of resilience’ and the tension between fragility and determination was palpable throughout.
2) Violated Blossoms – for Wild Plum Arts – ALL ABOUT THE WOMEN – premiered at the Cheltenham Festival this year by Elizabeth Karani (soprano) and Gabriel Cabezas (cello).
Emma-Ruth Richards’s Violated Blossoms is a setting for soprano and cello of Alexander Pope’s The Fable of Dryope – Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The composer has responded to this tragic tale with a powerful and freely set excerpt from Pope’s verse. There was an Expressionist immediacy to the vocal line, which constantly illuminated the text, while the cello supplied rich, almost orchestral textures…Violated Blossoms often stretched the expressive and technical resources of singer and instrumentalist yet soprano Elizabeth Karani and cellist Gabriel Cabezas consistently impressed with their resourceful and humane response to this affecting, heartfelt scena.
Emma-Ruth has just joined Composers Edition and we are very proud to present a range of her works in our online catalogue, including Precious Art of Scars and Violated Blossoms.