The Octandre Ensemble is a new music collective, founded in 2011 by composer Christian Mason and conductor Jon Hargreaves. The ensemble specializes in music written after 1945, with a focus on timbre and ritual – ‘new music, ancient ideas’. The diverse instrumentarium of The Fish that Became the Sun presents a challenge to any ensemble. With its flexible line-up, and strong collaborators such Consortium5 and the New London Chamber Choir, Octandre is well-placed to have overseen the premiere. Both the premiere recording and performance had an educational aspect, as students at the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban worked alongside professional musicians of the ensemble.
Octandre has collaborated with Denyer often over the last four years, performing his music at the Principal Sound Festival (2016); the World Shakuhachi Festival (2018); and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2019). In 2018, as well as recording The Fish…. the group dared to perform a portrait concert of Denyer’s work, with support from the Hinrichsen Foundation, RVW Trust and the PRS Foundation. The concert featured rare performances of Two Voices with Axe, Quick, quick, the Tamberan is Coming!, The Hanged Fiddler, Unison 1, and the World Premiere of Screens. You can see a short documentary about Denyer’s work, featuring footage from the concert, here.
Photo: Brian Slater