Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood confirms full details of his new soundtrack for The Master
Wednesday 15 August 2012
Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood has confirmed full details of his soundtrack for the new film The Master.
The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix and is set in 1950s. It sees Greenwood reuniting with director Paul Thomas Anderson, who he previously worked with on his critically acclaimed soundtrack for There Will Be Blood.
The guitarist’s soundtrack will feature 11 original compositions, six of which were performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra as well along with recordings from the film’s era by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford and Madison Beaty.
The soundtrack itself will be released on September 11 on Nonesuch Records with the film getting its cinematic release three days later on September 14 in the US. Both the soundtrack and film are set to be released in the UK in November.
Radiohead will tour the UK in the autumn, playing their first UK dates in over three years. The band first play a show at Manchester Arena on October 6 before playing two shows at London’s O2 Arena on October 8 and 9. They will then undertake a full European tour. Caribou will provide support on all dates.
The tracklisting for The Master’s soundtrack is as follows:
‘Get Thee Behind Me Satan’ (Ella Fitzgerald)
‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)’ (Madisen Beaty)
‘The Split Saber’
‘No Other Love’ (Jo Stafford)
‘His Master’s Voice’
‘Application 45 Version 1′
‘Changing Partners’ (Helen Forrest)
‘Sweetness Of Freddie’
Reverb Festival and the quiet evolution of live classical music
Wednesday 22 February 2012
London’s classical music scene is changing before our eyes. Over the last five to ten years a whole host of ambitious start-ups have emerged across the capital.
Ensembles like the Aurora Orchestra and the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) are stuffed with talented young players and perform challenging music. A grassroots opera community populated by OperaUpClose, Go Opera and the Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre operates alongside alternative classical music promotions. This year the Yellow Lounge will be joining the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Night Shift, Nonclassical and Limelight. In a recent of review of music by Gabriel Prokofiev – composer, DJ and founder of Nonclassical – the New York Times referred to this scene, somewhat predictably, as ‘alt-classical’.
A festival conceived around the artistic activities of this new guard opens at the Roundhouse in Camden this weekend. Reverb Festival, a five-concert series exploring themes of love and truce, will be headlined by the leading lights of the ‘alt-classical’ (oh dear, I used it) movement, including the OAE Night Shift, Aurora, the LCO (pictured above with conductor Hugh Brunt) and Prokofiev. For its debut in 2010, Reverb drew in a decent crowd and, given the popularity of these groups and some interesting programming, this edition of the festival should do even better.
Reverb’s probable success, indeed its existence at all, signals a shift in the complexion of live classical music in London. Recognising that punters want to be challenged in the concert hall, as in the art gallery or the theatre, promoters have ditched safe educative programming in favour of innovation. The never-ending pursuit of young audiences now coalesces around cross art-form collaboration, informality and artistic boldness – characteristics that groups like Aurora, LCO and Nonclassical specialise in.
The big beasts of classical music, meanwhile, can’t afford to stand still even though the market is strong. From the top symphony orchestras to the leading venues, live classical music (even the sonically challenging contemporary kind) is, by all accounts, doing pretty well. But senior artists and administrators will no doubt be watching the march of the Young Turks. Whether it’s being able to take a pint into a concert or the expectation that artists are going to present their set as well as perform it, young ensembles, classical club nights and pop-up opera companies are moving the goalposts for what is expected of live classical music.
And in the main, they are doing so without much in the way of public money. In a report on arts funding in this week’s edition of The Economist, the magazine notes that: “After years of generous funding, many theatres and dance troupes are better placed to face adversity than before. The cuts will leave some groups crippled but most in fighting form, particularly those that are soundly run.” That environment should help small tightly-run organisations successfully apply for funding. After all, today’s classical music start-ups will soon become institutions that seem like they’ve been around forever. My money is on many of the Reverb generation to make that leap.
Maddy Costa talks to the composers and musicians taking a genre-bending approach to pop-classical fusions
Thursday 1 December 2011
In his book The Rest Is Noise, Alex Ross suggests: “One possible destination for 21st-century music is a final ‘great fusion’: intelligent pop artists and extroverted composers speaking more or less the same language.” What he didn’t mention was that, since any language needs its interpreters, intelligent, extroverted orchestras might be required to communicate that fusion.
Step up the London Contemporary Orchestra. Its directors – 25-year-old conductor Hugh Brunt and 26-year-old violist Robert Ames – established the outfit in 2008 with a mission to “think very differently about what people want to listen to”. They themselves listen to everything from Aphex Twin to Brahms, Foals to Xenakis, and it shows in the range of their work. Over the past year they’ve curated concerts featuring pieces by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and turntable-manipulating young composer Shiva Feshareki alongside Messiaen and John Cage, toured with Belle & Sebastian and recorded a new version of Foals’ Spanish Sahara. “The crossover that happens between popular and more formal music is really natural to us,” says Ames. “We pinpoint where it happens.”
They’re not the only ones. The Heritage Orchestra, which came together in 2004 as the rather large house band of a classical/jazz/electronica club night, can be heard on Spotify performing Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra and seen next week sharing a stage with indie band the Leisure Society. Meanwhile, the London Sinfonietta has been working with experimental pop band Micachu and the Shapes and jazz musician Matthew Bourne to expand the contemporary classical repertoire, enabling that “great fusion” of which Ross dreams.
In some ways, the boundaries between the three orchestras are blurry – the LCO and London Sinfonietta share the same pool of musicians; the LCO and the Heritage both perform with pop bands. Yet there are also differences between their approaches to pop-classical fusions: they might all be fluent in the musical language, but their translations vary.
You feel those differences as soon as you meet the people in charge of each orchestra. Brunt and Ames are poised and thoughtful, friendly but restrained. The pair met as teenagers, performing with the National Youth Orchestra. From there, Ames spent six years studying at the Royal Academy of Music while Brunt went to Oxford. If their backgrounds suggest elitism, the mantra of the LCO is accessibility. They seek out “the kind of spaces where you can make an audience feel comfortable”, Brunt says: not traditional concert halls but more rough-and-ready venues such as the Village Underground in east London, or the Old Vic Tunnels, beneath Waterloo station. The atmosphere here, says Ames, is more like that of “an event or a gig, so you can clap along, or go and have a drink if you don’t want to listen to the piece”.
A typical LCO show, says Brunt, is like “a mixtape”: its programme for Reverb at the Roundhouse next March, for instance, juggles new work by Greenwood and Prokofiev with a dramatic concerto by Vivier, one of Xenakis’s experiments in sound and an electronic breather from Stockhausen in the middle. This suggests a question: when the LCO’s musicians are more used to performing the challenging contemporary-classical repertoire, aren’t they bored when it comes to playing pop arrangements? “It uses a different set of skills,” says Ames, tactfully. At the romantic end of the spectrum, players aim to create “a golden, silky-smooth sound – and doing that is really difficult. While rhythmic music is incredibly hard to get in time.” The LCO’s leader, violinist Daniel Pioro, is more open. For him, the “technical ease” of playing with Belle & Sebastian, say, is as good as a holiday. “Soloists go through this incredibly rigorous training: sometimes we forget that the ultimate purpose of music is entertainment,” he admits. Looking at footage of the LCO dancing along to The Boy With the Arab Strap on stage, you can see why Pioro, a 25-year-old who started playing violin when he was four, says: “That kind of gig makes you younger.”
Click here to read the article in full.
London Evening Standard
Radiohead star goes classical in new festival
Thursday 13 October 2011
A composition by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and a Concerto for Bass Drum by Sergei Prokofiev’s grandson are among highlights of a new season of unconventional classical concerts in London.
The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm is to mount the festival of contemporary classical works next February and March on a theme of love and truce – chosen for the Olympic year. Roundhouse artistic director Marcus Davey said Reverb 2012 celebrated a new generation of performers who had broken out of the “traditional” concert mould.
The London Contemporary Orchestra will perform the Greenwood piece called Doghouse. The same programme will include the European premiere of East End composer Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Bass Drum and Orchestra. Other parts of the programme include the young London orchestra, Aurora, singer Imogen Heap and the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment.
The chairman of the London Contemporary Orchestra on pushing the envelope and playing original music in quirky venues.
Saturday 12 June 2010
You might be forgiven for thinking that the connection between The Apprentice and classical music was limited to the thumping Prokofiev that accompanies the opening credits. But Simon Ambrose, the winner of the 2007 edition of the business talent show, says that music is his true passion: for starters, he plays piano, guitar and drums. “I’m a fan of music first, I went on the show second.”
After his two-year spell working for Lord Sugar, Ambrose has now united his two interests, as chairman of the London Contemporary Orchestra, an ensemble co-founded by his friend Hugh Brunt. “There’s a void in the market,” Ambrose claims, on message to a T. “There are loads of conventional classical orchestras, but there isn’t anyone trying to push the envelope like Hugh is. And anyone trying to come up with a new product for customers is doing a brave thing.”
It certainly takes courage to keep afloat a full-size (albeit freelance) orchestra devoted to contemporary music during a financial downturn. “We took a risk,” admits Brunt, who set up the orchestra two years ago with Robert Ames, a university friend. Yet it seems to have paid off: the LCO played to a sold-out Roundhouse in North London earlier this year, and after a concert later this month at the Spitalfields Festival (performing a new soundtrack to the creepy 1986 Brothers Quay film Street of Crocodiles) they are bound for the Latitude festival, where they will be collaborating with those whimsical Glaswegians Belle & Sebastian. “Rather than worry about how we get people in to the Southbank Centre,” Brunt says, “it’s easier to go in to quirky venues and give it to them on a plate.”
Teaming up with pop bands, he adds, comes more naturally to the LCO than the more venerable outfits (the average age in the group is 26). “Most of the music is what we would naturally listen to when we’re not with our instruments. So it’s less awkward than what you might get with some of the more established orchestras.” Brunt hopes the LCO’s next collaboration will be with another useful friend of his, the Foals front man Yannis Philippakis.
There’s only one more question for Ambrose to check that he’s fully committed. Will he give 110 per cent to this orchestra? “Due to inflationary pressures,” he quips, “I’m now prepared to give 120.”
The Roundhouse is more famous for rock than symphonies, but it could be just the venue to build up a young classical fanbase, says Jessica Duchen.
Monday 18 January 2010
How to persuade young people to attend classical concerts is an issue that has troubled the music world for decades. Attempt after attempt has bitten the dust, leaving the largely over- 50s demographic of classical audiences virtually unchanged, give or take a little marketing via Facebook.
Now a dynamic new series in Camden Town is set to break the mould. Reverb at the Roundhouse, featuring everything from Beethoven to cutting-edge new works, is bringing classical music into a venue that has a devoted following among young fans of the coolest rock and pop gigs.
Will the teens and twenty-somethings of north London be ready to sample Bach or experimental percussion? Marcus Davey, chief executive and artistic director of theRoundhouse, is certain they will. The Roundhouse runs programmes at its studios in which local youngsters explore music-making, broadcasting, film-making and music production. One day, offered a box at a Prom, Davey gave the seats to some of the Roundhouse teenagers who had never been to a classical concert. “They were absolutely blown away,” Davey declares. “They said: ‘You ever heard of this amazing Stravinsky bloke?’ They loved the energy and the fantastic playing.”
Concerts targeted at young people have tended to water-down classical music to make it “cool”. Most teenagers see through such gimmicks straight away. “They know when they’re being patronised,” Davey says.
The Roundhouse is no stranger to classical performances: in the 1970s it hosted a series of contemporary-focused concerts by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez, and the piano duo of Katia and Marielle Labèque made their London debut there. The Labèques are returning for Reverb.
One of the most exciting contributions comes from the London Contemporary Orchestra: launched in 2008, its players’ average age is 25. “All of us are passionate about contemporary music and thrilled to devote so much attention to it,” says the LCO violinist Davina Clarke.
The LCO’s founders, conductor Hugh Brunt and violist Robert Ames, have a secret weapon: the chairman of their board is Simon Ambrose, the winner of The Apprentice in 2007. Ambrose developed a passion for contemporary music when he heard the works of Cage and Stockhausen at school. “I’d question whether classical music really is losing popularity,” he says. “Many of our supporters and audience members see classical as just one part of a lively musical diet.”
The LCO’s adventurous programme for Reverb includes a new Concerto for Turntables by Shiva Feshareki, the UK premiere of John Cage’s Seventy-Four, and Steve Reich’s Different Trains with live film created by the youngsters of the Roundhouse Studios. More thrills are promised from the likes of the pianists Joanna MacGregor and Rolf Hind, and the Britten Sinfonia with the popular young American composer Nico Muhly.
And how will the big historical classics go across? The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is bringing in its ground-breaking Night Shift concept. They’ll perform Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, with a band before and club night after provided by the Roundhouse Collective.
Has the Roundhouse solved the young audience problem at last? Ambrose says. “What’s important is to be open-minded.” Maybe that’s the most crucial thing of all.
Click here to read the article in full.
London Contemporary Orchestra is determined to bring new music to the forefront of the Capital’s cultural scene as Claire Jackson discovers.
December/January 2009 issue
Contemporary classical music is like Marmite – forever branded with an altogether undeserved you-either love-it-or-you-hate-it bumper sticker. The genre is frequently tarnished with oversimplified generalisations; people often say that the music is ‘too dissonant’, or too complex for the audience to ‘get’. This is to do the discerning listener a disservice, for although there are plenty of discordant, difficult and theory-reliant pieces, there are also numerous intricate, beautiful and moving works.
One group that is opening itself up to the varying levels of modern classical is the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO); a young ensemble headed up by artistic directors Robert Ames and Hugh Brunt, the latter of whom also doubles as principal conductor. The duo wants to promote fresh and exciting music to a wide range of listeners who might not otherwise engage with new sounds, as well as giving under-the- radar composers a canvas upon which to paint.
Click here to read the feature in full.