Johann Johannsson – Orphre (2016) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Jóhann Jóhannsson – Orphée (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 46:27 minutes | 460 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

In the six years between And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees and Orphée, Jóhann Jóhannsson became a celebrated film composer, earning back-to-back Oscar nominations for his life-affirming score for The Theory of Everything and his ominous, rough-edged music for Sicario. During this time, Jóhannsson continued to work on personal projects including this, his Deustche Grammophon debut. In its own way, Orphée is also a little like a soundtrack: the composer drew inspiration from the story of Orpheus’ ill-fated attempt to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld, building on Ovid and Jean Cocteau’s versions of the tale in his meditations on death, rebirth, and creativity. The Orpheus myth reflected Jóhannsson’s life while he worked on the album: his move from Copenhagen to Berlin marked the closing of one chapter in his life and the start of a new one. Like And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees, Orphée is both more intimate than some of his larger works, and immediately recognizable as Jóhannsson’s. On “Flight from the City,” a gentle but insistent piano motif rises and falls like breath, while strings deepen its sweet ache; layers of counterpoint inspire bittersweet wonder on “The Drowned World”; “Orphic Hymn” showcases the composer’s flair for choral pieces, with Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices performing lines from Ovid’s text in Renaissance style; and “Fragment II” offers a brief burst of his grander scale with its ever-widening sea of drones and strings. This piece features Orphée’s main motif, an ascending harmonic pattern that also appears on the ghostly “A Song for Europa,” which introduces the staticky, numbers station-like recordings that flicker through the album, adding another layer of distance and mystery. Orphée’s studies in change give equal time time to mourning and hope, whether on the spine-tingling “A Pile of Dust” or the way “A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder” and “By the Roes, and by the Hinds of the Field” dance between joy and sorrow. Similarly, Jóhannsson makes the album’s chiaroscuro qualities explicit on “De Luce et Umbra,” where a shadowy, almost subliminal pulse adds tension to the skyward strings, and on the Emily Dickinson-inspired diptych “Good Morning, Midnight” and “Good Night, Day,” where subtle transitions evoke standing between ends and beginnings. On Orphée, Jóhannsson expresses the need to let some things and people go to let new ones in with remarkable nuance, as well as the affecting beauty fans have come to know and love. ~ Heather Phares

01. Jóhannsson: Flight From The City
02. Jóhannsson: A Song For Europa
03. Jóhannsson: The Drowned World
04. Jóhannsson: A Deal With Chaos
05. Jóhannsson: A Pile Of Dust
06. Jóhannsson: A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder
07. Jóhannsson: Fragment I
08. Jóhannsson: By The Roes, And By The Hinds Of The Field
09. Jóhannsson: The Radiant City
10. Jóhannsson: Fragment II
11. Jóhannsson: The Burning Mountain
12. Jóhannsson: De Luce Et Umbra
13. Jóhannsson: Good Morning, Midnight
14. Jóhannsson: Good Night, Day
15. Jóhannsson: Orphic Hymn

Jóhann Jóhannsson, piano, electronics, pipe organ, electric organs
Hildur Guðnadóttir, cello
American Contemporary Music Ensemble:
Yuki Numata Resnick, violin
Caleb Burhans, violin
Ben Russell, viola
Clarice Jensen, cello
AIR Lyndhurst string orchestra & Anthony Weeden, conductor
Theatre of Voices & Paul Hillier, conductor
Else Torp, soprano
Signe Asmussen, mezzo-soprano
Ellen Marie Brink Christensen, mezzo-soprano
Elenor Wiman, mezzo-soprano
Kristin Mulders, mezzo-soprano
Chris Watson, tenor
Paul Bentley-Angell, tenor
Jakob Bloch Jespersen, bass-baritone
Jakob Soelberg, bass-baritone