"The Last Bells of Winter composition arrived in 1975, the Ommadawn year," explains Penning. "Written for a film that was never made I preserved the score and the badly made demo for nearly half a century, then I played it to sorcerer Robert Reed and the magic began. Over the years the tune acquired many meanings for me and, as the recording developed, clues to some of those are scattered through the finished work - being a tiny path through the greenwood to the far away choir. There are three more original tracks by Robert Reed and myself, leaving three well known carols in Robert’s exciting new arrangements to end the CD."
"It wouldn't be Christmas without a single from Les Penning," adds Reed. "We usually end up leaving it until the last minute, but this year we managed to put together a mini-album of Christmas and winter flavoured tracks. Les and I sat down in our usual tea room to come up with some crazy ideas for a promo video, which I then had the pleasure of directing, which was a lot of fun. It is also great to see Les fulfil his lifetime ambition by finally releasing the album that was originally promised for him back in 1976, but never happened."
At the same time a Les Penning 'greatest hits' album, The Pipes Of Penning is to be released in white vinyl.
“The Pipes Of Penning consists of a group of pieces that seem always to have been a part of my life," adds the Mike Oldfield collaborator. "From the age of nine I started to learn many of the tunes found in Playford’s collection including, of course, the wonderful Portsmouth. These are the pieces that were the core repertoire that Mike Oldfield and I served up to the unsuspecting diners at Penrhos Court all those years ago. As well as the recorder piece from Ommadawn, the album features Rob’s wonderful arrangements of some well-known tunes that had taken our fancy and ends with the beautiful song Lyme, a work close to my heart. We’re both exceeding proud of these albums and are excited to see the responses they get, which hopefully will be positive."
Both The Last Bells Of Winter and The Pipes Of Penning are available here.