Thursday 9th February 2023

Behind the scenes of our new release 

When the Wet Wind Sings

Hear from the Creative Team and watch brand new footage of National Youth Choir's recording session of the immense forty-party piece, released as part of our 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Errollyn Wallen (Composer)

When the Wet Wind Sings was commissioned by Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and received its première in 2003. Ever since the première given by the The Tallis Scholars it has been an ardent dream to record this forty-part work.

This première recording by NYCGB exceeds all my expectations and was worth every second of this composer’s twenty year wait. The score is very demanding and I am astonished by the level of achievement, both technically and in the interpretation of the work’s message.

NYCGB, in my opinion, is one of the best choirs in the world and it is a huge honour to know that my music has been performed so magnificently by Ben Parry and these extraordinary young musicians.

Ben Parry (Conductor)

I must admit to having some sleepless nights when I made the decision to record Errollyn’s monster of a piece When the Wet Wind Sings with the 100 young singers of National Youth Choir

I needn’t have worried - from the very first rehearsal I realised what this awesome choir is capable of. They rehearsed and learnt the fiendishly difficult music with their usual dedication and enthusiasm, never once doubting that this challenging work was beyond them. 

We managed to record the piece in recording sessions in Queen Margaret’s School in Yorkshire literally hours before the UK endured its hottest day on record. With producer Joanna Forbes L’Estrange and engineer Dave Rowell at the helm, we dived into concentrated sessions, recording each section carefully until the near-perfect take was achieved. 

Both soloists and choir equipped themselves so professionally in delivering a heart-felt and at times searingly emotional performance which, with careful editing from Dave, has now been captured for eternity on this premiere recording of what must be one of the most demanding choral works ever written. 

Joanna Forbes L'Estrange (Producer)

It was my absolute privilege to be the producer for this extraordinary recording. It’s important for young singers to see a female producer in what is traditionally a male role within the music industry; I was particularly grateful to Ben Parry for the opportunity to speak with the choir about this in a lunchtime forum on one of the recording days. If this generation of musicians can see women conducting, producing, composing and engineering we will all benefit from a more diverse industry in the future. 

The level of musicianship required by each and every singer in the choir to be able to perform this highly complex work in 40 parts (!) cannot be overstated. They were so professional that, at times, I almost forgot that I was working with a youth choir, sitting as I was in a different room from them. The NYCGB is in a class of its own. 

Listen to When the Wet Wind Sings on Spotify