• The Centre is Everywhere full album released digitally on Friday 26 March, with physical release on vinyl to follow
  • Philip Glass’ String Quartet No.2 Company released digitally as a single today (Friday 5 March)

Manchester Collective today announce the release of their first full-length album, in the year they mark the fifth anniversary. Following on from their Recreation EP in September 2020, The Centre is Everywhere will be released on the Icelandic label Bedroom Community on Friday 26 March 2021.

In the short time since their formation in 2016, Manchester Collective have become known for their unbound and daring approach to classical music – through experimental programming, cross-disciplinary collaborations and highly-charged live performances. They create intimate and intense human experiences that are rooted in the world of today.

The new album is a statement of intent: a representation of Manchester Collective’s musical world featuring sensuous music for string orchestra, that takes the listener on a journey through wildly contrasting emotional states. Featuring the world premiere recording of Novello Award-nominated composer Edmund Finnis’ The Centre is Everywhere, alongside Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and Philip Glass’ String Quartet No.2 Company, the music spans 120 years but adds up to one compelling listening experience – from drama and despair, to weightlessness and transcendence.

Producers Brendan Williams (Go Go Penguin, Dutch Uncles), Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Feist) and Manchester Collective’s Adam Szabo have utilised a number of unconventional recording and production techniques in the creation of this record. Unusually for a classical release, the album features dramatic changes in musical perspective throughout, resulting in a dynamic listening experience.

Finnis’ The Centre is Everywhere was commissioned by Manchester Collective in 2019 and will also form the centrepiece of the Collective’s forthcoming audio-visual experience, ‘Dark Days, Luminous Nights’, which will premiere at The White Hotel in Salford later this year.

Rakhi Singh, Manchester Collective co-founder and Music Director, says: ‘We’re so grateful to have been able to make this album in late 2020, when we felt a revitalised sense of magic after not having performed together for a while as a result of Covid-19. 

This is an album that deals with space and time and contrasts different colours and sound textures – from the ethereal feel of the Finnis, to the free and expansive landscape of the Glass and the dramatic nature of the Schoenberg.

We tried not to be influenced by previous recordings and interpretations of these works, or have the classical canon weighing down on us, instead feeling free to go off the page. I was lucky enough to meet and work with Philip Glass last year, and it’s been a thrill to implement what I learned from him through this record. His performances are so free and fluid, and we wanted to bring this flexibility to all three works.

There is a sense of the never-ending and cyclical nature of time in this album, and for us it is a reflection and statement of where we are and who we are right now.’

Adam Szabo, Chief Executive of Manchester Collective, says: ‘We’re delighted to be releasing our first full-length album as we mark five years of making music together. This record shows Manchester Collective in our natural habitat – interpreting familiar music in a starkly new way and showcasing brand new compositions from our closest collaborators.

For this album we moved away from the standard recording processes that are commonplace in the classical world and settled on a much more dynamic production treatment to allow for some big changes in musical perspective. One moment a listener might be sitting in the midst of the ensemble, and in the next, we’ve transported them to a grand cathedral space. The musical material has informed this approach, and it’s been a fascinating process to work through.

This isn’t an objective rendition of this repertoire. We’ve made something personal, something that is intensely subjective, that shows off what this incredible machine – the string orchestra – can do.’

Visit manchestercollective.co.uk/centre for more information and to pre-order.