PBO& Caroline Shaw
PBO& Caroline Shaw
Released April 3, 2020
Since 2015, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale and Pulitzer Prize- and GRAMMY Award-winning composer Caroline Shaw have developed a strong artistic relationship. Alongside Shaw’s first commission for the organization, a song called “Red, Red Rose” composed for the Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, PBO established its New Music for Old Instruments initiative, an effort to commission and perform new works written expressly for period instruments. Subsequently, Shaw wrote two more songs for PBO and von Otter (“And So” and “The Edge”), and in 2019 composed a large-scale oratorio for the Orchestra, Chorale, and soloists Avery Amereau and Dashon Burton entitled The Listeners. This CD encompasses PBO’s blossoming relationship with Caroline Shaw, featuring the full collection of PBO/Shaw commissions thus far.
“As it so often is, Shaw’s music here is a marvel of expressive efficiency. She doesn’t write many notes, but each one makes a gently urgent claim on the listener’s attention. ” —Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
“Shaw’s sensibility transforms simple gestures into music that resonates strongly with an audience…The performance was all you could wish for.” —Michael Zwiebach, San Francisco Classical Voice
“…it’s already clear how much the sounds of the old instruments, and the musical traditions they embody, have sparked Shaw’s imagination.” —Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Featuring text by Robert Burns, living British poet Jacob Polley, and Caroline Shaw herself, the Is a Rose trilogy juxtaposes poetry from the 18th and 21st centuries, an appropriate complement to a Baroque orchestra playing contemporary music. The Listeners, Shaw’s first major work for chorus and period instrument orchestra, is a response to Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, launched into space in 1977. The oratorio’s libretto spans five centuries of poetry in Engish as well as recorded excerpts from the record as well a speech by Sagan, who compared the effort to a message in a bottle launched into the cosmic ocean.
This release was recorded live at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, CA on March 9–10 and October 19–20, 2019. It marks the Orchestra’s 12th recording under its Philharmonia Baroque Productions label, and marks the launch of its PBO& series, representing the collaborative relationships with composers who exhibit passion for and curiosity about the extraordinary sound world of period instrument performance and the range of musical possibilities.
Nicholas McGegan, music director and conductor
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Avery Amereau, contralto
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
Bruce Lamott, chorale director
Is a Rose: “The Edge”, “And So”, “Red, Red Rose”
This recording is made possible by a generous gift from the Waverley Fund. © and ℗ 2019 Philharmonia Baroque Productions.
Also available digitally anywhere you listen to music!