Barbara Hannigan releases recording of Hans Abrahamsen’s let me tell you on January 8, 2016
When Barbara Hannigan was asked to sing at a surprise birthday party for her friend, writer and critic Paul Griffiths, the simple request turned into an extensive collaboration with composer Hans Abrahamsen on a Berlin Philharmonic commission let me tell you, a song cycle based on text from Griffiths’s experimental novella, narrated by Hamlet’s Ophelia. The resulting 30-minute composition, divided into past, present, and future, is Abrahamsen’s first major vocal work. Hannigan, who has given more than 80 world premieres, sang the premiere with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Andris Nelsons. A recording with Hannigan, Nelsons, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, will be released on January 8, 2016 on the Winter & Winter label.
Hannigan also gives the U.S. premiere of let me tell you with The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, first in Cleveland, January 14-15, and then at Carnegie Hall on January 17, 2016. She then performs the song-cycle in February with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons. In addition to the world premiere, Hannigan has sung every subsequent performance, and the U.S. is the tenth country to which she brings this “virtuosic, unconventional, enigmatic, and beautiful piece,” as the Berliner Zeitung said of the premiere.
let me tell you gives Ophelia the opportunity to retell her own story, using only the 481-word vocabulary given to her in Shakespeare‘s Hamlet. Griffiths says, “Ophelia is one of those imaginary figures whose existence goes on beyond the work that gave them birth. She has appeared in paintings and in novels, including the one that was the source for this piece. Now her words come back to her transformed, and she has gained, as she herself might say: The powers of music.” The piece uses microtonal tuning, rhythm that plays trick with time, and an adaptation of a technique used by Monteverdi to create, again in the words of Griffiths, music “at once familiar and strange.” It won the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Large-Scale Composition.
Hans Abrahamsen let me tell you
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra | Andris Nelsons, conductor | Barbara Hannigan, soprano
Winter & Winter in Co-Production with BR Klassik
“…one of the most spellbindingly beautiful vocal-orchestral works of recent years.”
“…realised by the extraordinary soprano Barbara Hannigan and by Abrahamsen’s wondrous score”
“Hannigan…cements her status as one of today’s most astonishing musical artists.”
– Opera News, June 2016
“…one of the most beautiful CDs of the year”
“Barbara Hannigan sings masterfully as always”
“Magical world of colors and sounds”