In Tuesday’s (3/31) Guardian (London), Tom Service writes, “As names for record companies go, especially labels devoted to the latest British classical music, New Music Cassettes doesn’t exactly sound cutting edge. It seems a joke now, but when composer Colin Matthews founded the label 20 years ago, tape was still a viable medium. Since then, NMC has done more than any other company to promote British composers—from Harrison Birtwistle to Mark-Anthony Turnage, from Tansy Davies to Judith Weir. This week, the label celebrates its achievements with 96 new commissions, performed in London over four days. All of these will feature on a new album, The NMC Songbook, the most ambitious collection of new British songwriting ever recorded—and as well as a cross-section of pretty much every stylistic trend in British classical music today.” Each of the composers has agreed to work for a bottle of sparkling wine. NMC, which has a reputation for supporting new music, recently lost the rights to Holst’s The Planets, the label’s primary means of funding. “Few can bear the thought of its demise. For composer Jonathan Harvey, NMC is ‘a window on to British culture.’ ”

Posted March 31, 2009