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Johann Johannsson|Jóhann Jóhannsson : Orphée

Jóhann Jóhannsson : Orphée

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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 /TiVo

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Jóhann Jóhannsson : Orphée

Johann Johannsson

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Flight From The City (Johann Johannsson)

1
Jóhannsson: Flight from the City
Johann Johannsson
00:06:31

Ben Russell, Viola, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Geoff Foster, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Clarice Jensen, Cello, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Francesco Donadello, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Yuki Numata Resnick, Violin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tarn Travers, Violin, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

A Song For Europa (Johann Johannsson)

2
Jóhannsson: A Song for Europa
Anthony Weeden
00:02:33

Geoff Foster, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Francesco Donadello, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Weeden, Conductor, MainArtist - Air Lyndhurst String Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

The Drowned World (Johann Johannsson)

3
Jóhannsson: The Drowned World
Johann Johannsson
00:02:20

Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Organ, Recording Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Mette Due, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

A Deal With Chaos (Johann Johannsson)

4
Jóhannsson: A Deal with Chaos
Clarice Jensen
00:02:05

Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Hildur Guðnadóttir, Cello, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivar Ragnarsson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

A Pile Of Dust (Johann Johannsson)

5
Jóhannsson: A Pile of Dust
Johann Johannsson
00:04:51

Geoff Foster, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Anthony Weeden, Conductor, MainArtist - Air Lyndhurst String Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder (Johann Johannsson)

6
Jóhannsson: A Sparrow Alighted upon our Shoulder
Anthony Weeden
00:02:27

Geoff Foster, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Anthony Weeden, Conductor, MainArtist - Air Lyndhurst String Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

Fragment I (Johann Johannsson)

7
Jóhannsson: Fragment I
Johann Johannsson
00:01:24

Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Organ, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mette Due, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

By The Roes, And By The Hinds Of The Field (Johann Johannsson)

8
Jóhannsson: By the Roes, and by the Hinds of the Field
Johann Johannsson
00:02:39

Geoff Foster, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Francesco Donadello, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Weeden, Conductor, MainArtist - Air Lyndhurst String Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

The Radiant City (Johann Johannsson)

9
Jóhannsson: The Radiant City
Johann Johannsson
00:03:30

Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ivar Ragnarsson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Dirac Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

Fragment II (Johann Johannsson)

10
Jóhannsson: Fragment II
Johann Johannsson
00:02:12

Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Recording Engineer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

The Burning Mountain (Johann Johannsson)

11
Jóhannsson: The Burning Mountain
Johann Johannsson
00:02:45

Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mette Due, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Dirac Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

De Luce et Umbra (Johann Johannsson)

12
Jóhannsson: De Luce et Umbra
Johann Johannsson
00:02:28

Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Organ, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mette Due, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ivar Ragnarsson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Dirac Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

Good Morning, Midnight (Johann Johannsson)

13
Jóhannsson: Good Morning, Midnight
Johann Johannsson
00:03:17

Geoff Foster, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Anthony Weeden, Conductor, MainArtist - Air Lyndhurst String Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

Good Night, Day (Johann Johannsson)

14
Jóhannsson: Good Night, Day
Johann Johannsson
00:03:58

Geoff Foster, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer, Programming, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Anthony Weeden, Conductor, MainArtist - Hildur Guðnadóttir, Cello, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Air Lyndhurst String Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

Orphic Hymn (Johann Johannsson)

15
Jóhannsson: Orphic Hymn
Paul Hillier
00:03:21

Paul Hillier, Conductor, Chorus Conductor - Chris Watson, Tenor, AssociatedPerformer - Theatre of Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Preben Iwan, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ovid, Author - Else Torp, Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Johann Johannsson, Composer, Producer - Jakob Bloch Jespersen, Bass-Baritone, AssociatedPerformer - Signe Asmussen, Mezzo-Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Bentley-Angell, Tenor, AssociatedPerformer - Jakob Soelberg Hammershøj, Bass-Baritone, AssociatedPerformer - Ellen Marie Brink Christensen, Mezzo-Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Kristin Mulders, Mezzo-Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Elenor Wiman, Mezzo-Soprano, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2016 Jóhann Jóhannsson

Album Description

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 /TiVo

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