Anna Clyne's special fascination with string music takes wing in her recent double concerto Prince of Clouds and new violin concerto The Seamstress.
Anna Clyne’s output shows a special relationship with strings, solo and orchestral, as witnessed by works including Within Her Arms and Rest These Hands and the double violin concerto Prince of Clouds. The latter work was premiered in 2012, has been programmed widely by American orchestras with violin soloists Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo, and was viewed by the Chicago Tribune as the composer’s breakthrough piece: “It’s the first concerto she’s ever composed and it’s a winner.”
“A string orchestra enfolds the violinists in limpid textures that set off a continuous series of dialogues between the soloists. Those dialogues alternate lyrical materials ("soaring and singing" is one of the designations) with sections made up of terse, choppy, staccato figures. The soloists' intertwining lines draw on different types of string writing, from a vibrato-less, consort-of-viols kind of texture to aggressive, agitated, more rhythmically driven sounds… What struck me particularly about the 15-minute piece was the ethereal quality of Clyne's harmonies and the way her melodies took radiant flight over those harmonies. A new accessibility and simplicity seem to have entered the Chicago-based composer's vocabulary… This is music one can listen to again and again and find new things to appreciate each time.”
Prince of Clouds can be heard on a new disc from the Cedille label, with Koh and Laredo joined by the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble conducted by Vinay Parameswaran (CDR 90000 146).
> Listen to an audio sample
Jennifer Koh returns as soloist in Clyne’s new violin concerto, The Seamstress, due for premiere as part of the composer’s Chicago Symphony residency on 28 May, conducted by Ludovic Morlot. The South American premiere follows on 2 July with the São Paulo Symphony under Marin Alsop, and the first European performance is on 15 January next year with the BBC Symphony conducted by Sakari Oramo at the Barbican in London. Clyne’s collaborative project entitled The Violin has been released as a DVD box set by VisionIntoArt, featuring works for solo violin accompanied by drawings by visual artist Josh Dorman.
Clyne's new work Postponeless Creature, for 3 female voices and ensemble, is premiered by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the musicNOW series at Chicago's SymphonyCenter on 23 March, conducted by Cliff Colnot.
> Further information on Work: Prince of Clouds
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