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Hot on the heels of their acclaimed debutHERE WE ARE, The Hermes Experiment’s second Delphian album is an equally bold statement. Songs commissioned specially for the ensemble – by Philip Venables, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and others – are interleaved with new arrangements (of composers including Barbara Strozzi, Clara Schumann and Lili Boulanger) for the group’s distinctive line-up of voice, clarinet, harp and double bass.

Moving and original, SONG reinvents a genre: here every instrument is a voice in its own right, and they all carry the drama.

            "so much delights and engages our ears, hearts and minds, from Jeremy Thurlow’s delicately wrought “Quiet Songs” to the dramatic impact of Philip Venables’ “A Photograph”. Britain’s music scene offers numerous dynamic small-sized groups, but The Hermes Experiment, so spellbinding, so imaginative, continue to stand alone"

★ ★ ★ ★


'The Hermes Experiment bring something very special to contemporary music performance: visceral entertainment. In SONG, the package is way more than the sum of its unconventional parts, which includes assorted music by Eleanor Alberga, Helen Grime, Kerry Andrew and Olivia Cheney as well as idiosyncratic treatments of past composers as diverse as 17th century Barbara Strozzi and 19th century Clara Schumann to early 20th century Lili Boulanger. The performances are variously witty, mournful, surreal, edgy and beautiful.

Not every group so compelling in live performance translates that magic onto disc. Here’s a brilliant case of one that can'

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

'This album is an extraordinary collection, some songs specially commissioned for the ensemble, others reinvented for it through unexpected, creative arrangements. Seventeenth-century composer Barbara Strozzi’s “Tradimento!” takes on an unmistakably contemporary palette, while this ensemble’s ethereal instrumentation brilliantly suits 20th-century French composer Lili Boulanger’s “Reflets” and “Attente”. Of the commissioned pieces, Kerry Andrews’ fruit-inspired suite brings out the exuberance of these musicians, and in “A Photograph”, British composer Philip Venables ingeniously juxtaposes spoken narration and song"

"I love the way that distinctions between voice and instruments slide in and out of focus on this sophomore album from the intrepid contemporary music quartet, with Héloïse Werner's pure soprano often mirroring the timbre of Oliver Pashley's clarinet; highlights include Olivia Chaney's Roman Holiday (an evocative, bittersweet little monodrama in four minutes), Eleanor Alberga's unexpectedly poetic treatment of text from the shipping forecast in Deep Blue Sea, and Kerry Andrew's coolly sensuous setting of William Carlos Williams's much-memed poem about plums in an icebox"

EDITOR'S CHOICE - October 2021

Release Date: 22 October 2021
Catalogue No: DCD34274
Total playing time: 67:37
Recorded on 15-17 February 2021 in Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Jack Davis
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter
Singing In Secret: Clandestine Catholic Music by William Byrd CD Delphian Records


1. Olivia Chaney:Roman Holiday


The Hermes Experiment perform Emily Hall's 'befalling' in a specially-filmed performance

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