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Featured Album May 2024: Chris Orton & Sören Sieg "Cádiz"

Featured Album May 2024: Chris Orton & Sören Sieg "Cádiz"

Our latest Featured Album showcases the recorder and piano repertoire of celebrated Warsaw-based composer Sören Sieg, performed with precision and emotion by the composer and recorder virtuoso Chris Orton. A captivating journey through different emotions and stories, we're delighted to be sharing this self-released album and hopefully helping it to reach some new ears. Read on to discover more about the inspiration behind Sieg's distinctive compositions...

Chris Orton & Sören Sieg


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About "Cádiz":

Celebrated recorder player and educator Chris Orton joins forces with composer and pianist Sören Sieg to record a collection of Sieg's music for recorder and piano. Recorded over two days in June 2022 at Sieg's home in Warsaw, the collection contains two African Suites, along with the title suite 'Cádiz', a substantial work with several contrasting movements. Meanwhile, the other shorter works captured on the disc are compositional tellings of personal stories, with 'Ingxhunguphalo' a homage to Sieg's late father, and 'Meditation' a musical response to the war in Ukraine.

Chris Orton is a recorder player, conductor, teacher and Dalcroze Eurhythmics practitioner, who is a tutor of recorder at the Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Chetham's School of Music. He is also chair of ERTA UK and musical director of the National Youth Recorder Orchestras. In 2007 he won first prize in the Moeck/SRP Solo Recorder Competition.

Sören Sieg studied at the University of Music and Theatre Hamburg from 1991 to 1996. He has loved African music since 1984 and has travelled there extensively since 2015, a love which inspires much of his compositional work. In the recorder world, he has received commissions to write compositions for Seldom Sene, Hanke Brothers, Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, Flanders Recorder Quartet, and many more.


Why The Early Music Shop loves "Cádiz":

The combination of recorder and piano is not an unusual one in the last century of the instrument’s repertoire, but in this new offering of music by Sören Sieg, the themes and stories behind the music transport the listener through a range of characters, locations and emotions. 

The recorder playing from Chris Orton is stylish and controlled, with a powerful tone which carries the melodies and showcases them front and centre in the recordings. The piano, performed here by the composer himself, is also tastefully played and it feels like the two are always duetting rather than one simply providing accompaniment for the other. Orton and Sieg recorded at Sieg’s home in Warsaw, resulting in a relaxed atmosphere which clearly contributed strongly to the making of the album.

Consisting of a combination of suites and shorter works, the music is true to Sieg’s distinctive compositional style, particularly with flavours of African music shining through. Those with personal stories are perhaps the most successful on the disc, with Ingxunguphalo being a stand-out performance from both musicians. Dedicated to Sieg’s late father, and previously recorded by the Flanders Recorder Quartet, the raw emotion of this contemplative melody, coupled with some uplifting rising figures, unsurprisingly makes it one of Sieg’s best known compositions. Meanwhile, the closing piece Meditation also wears its heart on its sleeve as a musical response to the war in Ukraine; opening this piece with a solo recorder melody is especially impactful.

Contrasting these reflective works with a range of lively dances and tunes makes this album an engaging listen. The opening title suite Cádiz showcases Sieg’s affinity with using repeated melodic motifs where each movement has a distinctive character, and the irregular time signatures including 13/8 and 12/4 contribute to the rhythmic nature of the music. The African influences are back in two more suites, Imibala Yenjabulo and Tell Them I’ve Had A Wonderful Life. Opening the former of these, Desired Departure is one of the album’s more spritely moments, with syncopated rhythms driving the music forwards, while the latter’s closing movement The New Year is a musical depiction of fireworks with Orton darting around the recorder’s range with ease. This music is easy to listen to and appreciate, yet the intricacies of Sieg’s compositions do not go unnoticed as the album progresses. 

With vibrant artwork and sleeve notes provided in English and (in a nod to the composer’s popularity there) Japanese, the physical disc is an attractive package which helps the listener to complete the stories. For fans of contemporary recorder repertoire, Cádiz is a no-brainer, and for those keen on emotional musical storytelling, this collection is well worth a deep listen.


Cádiz is available now from The Early Music Shop online or in our Snape Maltings showroom.

Click here to order now!

Watch the video below to see Chris & Sören perform Alone On The Shore, track 3 from Cádiz:


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