Hall One, Kings Place
We combine ancient and modern sound worlds through the work of three contemporary composers who are fascinated with the music of the past.
Since becoming the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2013, American composer Caroline Shaw has gone on to establish herself as one of the most sought-after musical talents of her generation, with collaborators ranging from Nas and Arcade Fire to Renée Fleming, Anne Sofie von Otter and her own a cappella group Roomful of Teeth. Kings Place has co-commissioned Shaw’s new work for Aurora, whose scoring for strings and harpsichord speaks to her lifelong fascination with baroque music. Described by the New York Times as ‘a brilliant pianist [who] combines musical maturity and youthful daring in his exceptional playing’, soloist Kit Armstrong also performs Bach’s D minor keyboard concerto in this programme.
Nico Muhly’s work also exhibits a fascination with the past: some of his most affecting music has involved shimmering instrumental arrangements of the renaissance choral music of his childhood as a boy chorister, shot through with gorgeous harmonic suspensions, deep nostalgia, and a sense of rapture. Continuing a partnership with Muhly dating back more than a decade, Aurora presents the UK premiere of his All perfections keep, arrangements for solo trombone and string quartet of the sixteenth-century lute song I saw my lady weepby John Dowland.
Completing this trio of contemporary works is Anna Meredith’s Anno (2016), a vivid 21st-century reimagining of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for strings, harpsichord and electronics. Meredith takes excerpts from Vivaldi’s much-loved music and edits, loops, deconstructs, re-orders and re-interprets them, weaving these fragments together with her own interstitial music, drum machine cross-rhythms and sound effects including recorded birdsong. The result is something at once familiar and wholly new, into which the audience is deeply immersed through surround-sound amplification (provided for this concert by D&B Audio).