Bryce Dessner: St. Carolyn By The Sea / Jonny Greenwood: Suite From 'There Will Be Blood' Copenhagen Phil & André de Ridder

Cover Bryce Dessner: St. Carolyn By The Sea / Jonny Greenwood: Suite From 'There Will Be Blood'

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  • Bryce Dessner (1976): St. Carolyn By The Sea
  • 1St. Carolyn By The Sea13:05
  • 2Lachrimae13:24
  • 3Raphael17:10
  • Jonny Greenwood (1971): Suite From There Will Be Blood
  • 41. Open Spaces04:09
  • 52. Future Markets03:00
  • 63. HW - Hope Of New Fields03:12
  • 74. Henry Plainview04:53
  • 85. Proven Lands02:02
  • 96. Oil03:42
  • Total Runtime01:04:37

Info for Bryce Dessner: St. Carolyn By The Sea / Jonny Greenwood: Suite From 'There Will Be Blood'

Never before have classical and rock converged in such an organic, compelling and sensual way as they do in the three short orchestral works written by and featuring The National guitarist Bryce Dessner on his new release St. Carolyn by the Sea, performed with the Copenhagen Phil and conducted by Andree de Ridder.

Dessner presents three pieces of modern classical music, written from the perspective of a rock musician who is keenly aware of the raw emotional impact music any music can have on an audience. He draws on elements from Baroque and folk music, late Romanticism and modernism, minimalist music and the blues, among others, as well as referencing the work of such legendary figures as John Fahey, La Monte Young, Bela Bartook, Glenn Branca, Benjamin Britten, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Despite this broad spectrum of influences, his voice remains individual and distinct.

With this album, which also showcases a suite drawn from Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwoods soundtrack for There Will Be Blood, Bryce Dessner and Jonny Greenwood open up a new frontier for symphonic music.

Copenhagen Phil Orchestra
André de Ridder, conductor

Recorded at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Concert Hall, Copenhagen, 12/2012 (St. Carolyn by the Sea, Lachrimae), 2/2013 (Raphael), 2 & 4/2013 (Suite)
Recorded by TimbreMusic
Engineered by Mikkel Nymand
Editing, Mix and Mastering by Preben Iwan
Producer by Preben Iwan
Recorded in the DXD audio format (Digital eXtreme Definition) 352.8 kHz, 32 bit

André de Ridder
has collaborated with artists and ensembles as diverse as the Philharmonia Orchestra, award-winning cartoon band Gorillaz, jazz musician Uri Caine and MusikFabrik. He is in his fifth seasons as Principal Conductor of the UK-based Sinfonia ViVA, and his programmes with the orchestra are typically rich in innovation. His passion for the development of contemporary music has contributed to his position as one of today's most fascinating and versatile conductors.

De Ridder works with such orchestras as BBC Symphony, Britten Sinfonia, Hallé Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, Tapiola Sinfonietta, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and Camerata Salzburg. These have led to many reinvitations in future seasons.

He has become especially known for his bold programming and blurring of traditions; last season he appeared at the Kölner Philharmonie and London’s Barbican Centre with electronica duo Mouse on Mars and Musikfabrik, following their initial collaboration on Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series. His regular presence at the Barbican saw him perform at their Steve Reich festival 2011 with BBC Symphony Orchestra, with British band These New Puritans and, most recently, premiering works by Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli and Owen Pallett with Britten Sinfonia.

Highlights of the 2012/13 season include a return to the Hallé, a tour with Danish band Efterklang and Northern Sinfonia, and appearances with Copenhagen Philharmonic in his role as Artistic Advisor of their groundbreaking “60 Minutes” series. He appears regularly at international festivals, including BBC Proms, where he returns in 2012, Manchester International Festival, Venice Biennale and Sydney Festival, where he is Artist in Residence in 2013. His regular collaboration at the Holland Festival saw him appear in 2012 with Amsterdam Sinfonietta, for works by Bryce Dessner and Jonny Greenwood, and with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra for live performance of the music from “2001: A Space Odyssey” alongside the film.

De Ridder performs opera at venues including English National Opera, Teatro Real, Theater Basel, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and Salzburg Festival, conducting works by composers as diverse as Henze, Janacek, Wolfgang Rihm and Mozart. This season, he undertakes an extensive project at Berlin’s Komische Oper, performing three Monteverdi operas reworked by Elena Kats-Chernin. De Ridder conducted and orchestrated Damon Albarn’s music theatre pieces, Monkey: Journey to the West and Dr Dee; a recording of Dr Dee is released this season on EMI.

André de Ridder studied at the Music Academies of Vienna and London, under Leopold Hager and Sir Colin Davis. He was Young Conductor in Association with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and also held the position of Assistant Conductor at the Hallé Orchestra, 2005-2006.

Bryce Dessner
who composes “gorgeous, full-hearted music” according to National Public Radio – seamlessly blends aspects of the classical and the popular in his concert works, the compositions simultaneously alive to past and present and the potential of the future. Dessner’s scores, described as “deft” and “vibrant” by The New York Times, draw on elements from Baroque and folk music, late Romanticism and modernism, minimalism and the blues, as well as the inspiration of iconic figures from Béla Bartók, Benjamin Britten and Henryk Górecki to Morton Feldman, Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Such disparate American iconoclasts as John Fahey, La Monte Young and Glenn Branca also figure into this young composer’s sonic world. All these influences – not to mention his globetrotting experiences as a keenly collaborative musician across genres – wind together to inform Dessner’s organic and individual voice as a composer.

The most impressive document to date of Dessner’s art is the Deutsche Grammophon album St. Carolyn by the Sea, which features his debut recordings for the storied Yellow Label. To be released March 3, 2014, St. Carolyn by the Sea includes three luminous Dessner compositions – the title work, Lachrimae and Raphael – performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic under conductor André de Ridder. The recordings also feature performances on guitar by Dessner and his twin brother, Aaron. Born in 1976 in Ohio and now based in New York City, Dessner first earned wide renown as a co-founding guitarist (along with Aaron) of the Grammy Award-nominated rock band The National. Yet, as WQXR New York has pointed out: “ ‘… Of The National’ is a phrase that often follows Bryce Dessner’s name. It’s not too shabby a suffix, but… listeners may find that title to be inadequate for his talents, if they haven’t already.”

The stage was set for the release of Dessner’s DG debut by the enthusiastic reception for Aheym, a 2013 album by the ever-trailblazing Kronos Quartet devoted to his compositions. In the cross-cultural arts magazine Bomb, veteran avant-garde composer-guitarist Elliot Sharp wrote about Dessner’s compositional method in the title work: “a dramatic opening, dark and insistent, then a breath, then an emerging melodic seed… The seed ultimately grows… to a rousing climax.” The U.K’s Independent singled out the title work, describing it as “an elegant braiding of interlaced lines that pushes the music forward in waves.” WQXR’s contemporary music site Q2 made Aheym an Album of the Week, praising the music as “stunning, nostalgic and beautifully hypnotic.” Pitchfork declared Dessner’s compositions to be “fierce, vivid music.”

St. Carolyn by the Sea presents Dessner’s works alongside a suite by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, one of Dessner’s peers as a rock guitarist and genre-bounding composer. For all his rock success, Dessner was trained as a classical musician. He graduated with a master’s degree in music from Yale University, having studied classical guitar, flute and composition. Settling in New York City, he performed with such contemporary-music ensembles as the Bang on a Can All-Stars, along with co-founding the improvisatory instrumental group Clogs, which was influenced by contemporary takes on early music. He worked with the likes of Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Steve Reich and David Lang, as well as with Philip Glass, Michael Gordon and Nico Muhly. In 2006, Dessner founded the MusicNOW Festival, a celebration of contemporary music that he curates annually to acclaim in his native Cincinnati. He is currently composer-in-residence at Muziekgebouw Frits Philips in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

In a video about the making of the album St. Carolyn by the Sea, Dessner explains: “It’s not that as a rock musician you come into classical and then you go back to rock. You’re the same musician wherever you go.” But, he adds: “Part of what draws me to concert music is that there is a celebration of risk-taking. There’s a lot of talk about classical music and its audience aging, but I disagree with that. The reason that someone like me, who can perfectly well tour around in my rock band, is drawn to this culture is that there is a certain appetite and energy for performing adventurous music.”

In a recent article on Dessner as a composer in Listen magazine, Kronos Quartet leader David Harrington recalled: “When we were performing Bryce’s music along with Steve Reich’s Different Trains and Triple Concerto at a Reich festival, Steve said to me: ‘I can’t believe one person can be such a good composer, a great guitarist, a wonderful curator – and a nice guy!’ But it’s true. That festival of his in Ohio is fantastic – it symbolizes all the varied communities he brings together in music.” Composer Nico Muhly shared his theory about what sets Dessner apart in the classical world: “In classical, virtuosity can sometimes be its own goal. Bryce has wonderful technical facility, but it’s always about musicality for him.”

Explaining the various merits of rock and classical, Dessner says: “When writing a rock song, economy is vital – a song’s emotional core should be apparent quickly. It’s a great discipline for learning the virtues of clear, compelling ideas. Extended composition is a more personal space, like poetry – less immediate but perhaps more profound. What I think is great about what’s happening now is that the culture is more permeable, with artists collaborating more freely and working in different areas. The fact that such a venerable label as Deutsche Grammophon is opening up to new composers like me is a sea change, and I think you can feel it in the culture at large.”

The music on the album St. Carolyn by the Sea artfully blends immediacy and resonance, color and emotion. Rhythmically energized and melodically haunting by turns, the album’s beautiful title work – based on an hallucinatory episode in Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur – features the chiming guitar tones of both Dessner brothers woven into the fabric of the orchestra. “When writing for guitar on St. Carolyn by the Sea, I wanted to do something where it comes out in places with subtle solo lines but that fits in with the overall texture rather than dominating it,” the composer says. “I have no interest in importing rock tropes.” His bell-like guitar also colors Raphael, which Dessner wrote while experimenting with an old harmonium. “It develops out of a warm drone sound, something that it has in common with some early minimalist pieces.” The album’s centerpiece, Lachrimae, references both the John Dowland tune of the same name, something that Dessner has long played on guitar, and Britten’s orchestral work based on the Dowland. But the actual string writing in Dessner’s piece was inspired by one of his desert-island works: “Bartók is my favorite composer, and I think his Divertimento is the pinnacle of string writing.”

To celebrate the release of Dessner’s DG debut, pieces from St. Carolyn by the Sea will be performed in March 2013 by the Wordless Music Orchestra under André de Ridder at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, as well as by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with Dessner as part of the MusicNOW Festival.

New Dessner compositions include Murder Ballades, a work inspired by American folk music, for the multiple Grammy-winning new-music ensemble eighth blackbird. The group premiered the piece in Eindhoven in 2013 and has recorded it for release in 2015. So Percussion premiered Dessner’s Music for Wood and Strings at Carnegie Hall in 2013, along with recording the piece for future release. The Kronos Quartet has commissioned a quintet from Dessner to perform with the group on guitar, to premiere in May 2014 at London’s Barbican. The Brooklyn Youth Chorus commissioned Dessner’s Black Mountain Songs to be premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 2014, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic has commissioned a work from Dessner to be premiered in 2015.

Key past compositions by Dessner include the string quartets for Kronos (Aheym, Tenebre and Little Blue Something); Tour Eiffel for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus; O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind for Bang on a Can; The Long Count for orchestra and four singers, co-written with Aaron Dessner, for BAM’s Next Wave Festival; The Lincoln Shuffle, a cycle of pieces for brass ensemble and electric guitar premiered at Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Library for Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial; and Propolis for bass clarinet and electronics, co-composed with David Sheppard and Evan Ziporyn, for a sound pavilion by Matthew Ritchie.

“Every time I compose for a new performer or combination of instruments, I’m inspired and invigorated,” Dessner says. “It’s a beautiful thing to have a job where you’re constantly learning and expanding the limits of what you can do. I’m always dreaming up new ideas.”

Jonny Greenwood
while perhaps best known for his role as guitarist/multi-instrumentalist in the rock band Radiohead, reveals another musical personality much more at home in the classical world on his Nonesuch debut, as composer of the score to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Academy Award–nominated film There Will Be Blood. The soundtrack album features performances by, among others, the BBC Concert Orchestra, where Greenwood was artist-in-residence.

Trained as violist, Greenwood had begun studies in music at Oxford University before leaving to concentrate full-time on touring and recording with Radiohead. Nonetheless, Greenwood has maintained a passion for classical music that began at least since his teens, particularly the work of French composer Olivier Messiaen. Since the early 2000s, and particularly in 2004 when he received his BBC appointment, Greenwood has slowly been building a body of work in the classical tradition, for groups ranging from string quartet to full orchestra. With There Will Be Blood, Greenwood offers the culmination of his work in the classical vein over recent years.

Booklet for Bryce Dessner: St. Carolyn By The Sea / Jonny Greenwood: Suite From 'There Will Be Blood'

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