On October 16, Anna Clyne releases her portrait album, Mythologies, via AVIE Records, featuring five works by Clyne recorded live by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with soloists Jennifer Koh and Irene Buckley and Conductors Marin Alsop, Sakari Oramo, Andrew Litton, and André de Ridder.
On Friday, October 16, 2020, composer Anna Clyne releases Mythologies, a portrait album of five orchestral works recorded live by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, on AVIE Records. The album includes Clyne's works Masquerade (2013) led by Marin Alsop; This Midnight Hour (2015) conducted by the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo; The Seamstress (2014-2015), led by Oramo, featuring violinist Jennifer Koh performing live with a recorded recitation by vocalist Irene Buckley; Night Ferry (2012) conducted by Andrew Litto; and <<rewind<< (2005-2006) led by André de Ridder. The cover art was created by Josh Dorman and the liner notes were written by celebrated classical music journalist Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim. The album was engineered and mastered by Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Jody Elff. AVIE will soon release the album in a limited edition vinyl version.
In Mythologies’ liner notes, da Fonseca-Wollheim writes, “Just as all mythologies draw water from the same well of archetypes, her compositions mine folk traditions in order to construct sound worlds in which the familiar and the surreal come together as in a dream. Clyne’s popular appeal comes from a listener’s dual sense of recognition. Her melodies seem distilled out of collective memory, yet delivered with the high-voltage energy of
our overstimulated time.”
> Listen to the first track: Masquerade
Clyne’s Masquerade (2013) was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to open that year’s Last Night of the Proms at Royal Albert Hall and captures the exuberant spirit of that quintessentially English ritual. Conductor Marin Alsop led the performance on this live, world premiere recording. The title refers to the 18th-century promenade concert, an outdoor festivity that was spiced with acrobats, fireworks and street entertainers. Clyne says, “I am fascinated by the historic and sociological courtship between music and dance. Combined with costumes, masked guises and elaborate settings, masquerades created an exciting, yet controlled, sense of occasion and celebration. It is this that I wish to evoke in Masquerade.”
This Midnight Hour (2015), conducted on this recording in a live performance at The Barbican by the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo, was commissioned by the Orchestre National d’Île de France and Seattle Symphony. It takes its inspiration from two poems – one by Juan Ramón Jiménez, who describes music as a naked woman running mad through the pure night, and Charles Baudelaire’s Harmonie du soir, a sickly-sensuous evocation of evening, in which a trembling violin leads the poet in a waltz that teeters between melancholy and vertigo.
The Seamstress (2014) is one of a number of works Clyne wrote for violin in the wake of personal loss. It was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and pairs an acrobatic violin solo part with a whispered voice that recites William Butler Yeats’ poem A Coat . The imaginary, one-act ballet alludes to folk fiddle traditions and is built on a twelve-tone row, a rare device for Clyne. This recording, conducted by Oramo, features violinist Jennifer Koh performing live at The Barbican alongside the orchestra with a pre-recorded recitation of the poem by vocalist Irene Buckley.
For Night Ferry (2012), Clyne painted a seven-panel mural showing a churned up expanse of water with black-tentacled waves, blood-red eddies and a ship silhouetted before a fiery sky. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra commissioned this work to be performed alongside music by Schubert. Inspired by the violent mood swings Schubert suffered alongside bouts of manic creativity (a condition called cyclothymia), Clyne wrote a piece about stormy voyages in space and of the mind. The title is taken from Seamus Heaney’s Elegy for Robert Lowell, a poet who similarly suffered from manic depression. The performance on this album was led by conductor Andrew Litton at The Barbican.
Speed as an elemental force is the subject of <<rewind<< (2005), a seven-minute wild ride was inspired by the image of a video tape being scrolled backwards, with glitchy spots where it skips, freezes or warps. The original version, for orchestra and tape, was composed in 2005 for choreographer and Artistic Director of Hysterica Dance Company, Kitty McNamee. <<rewind<< was premiered by the Manhattan School of Music Composers Orchestra led by conductor David Gilbert. Conductor André de Ridder led the live performance on this album, recorded at The Barbican.
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