'A shimmering haze' - US premiere for Jonny Greenwood's latest orchestral work

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The Australian Chamber Orchestra have just completed a hugely-successful US tour, that has included the US premiere performances of Water, the most recent orchestral work by Jonny Greenwood.
 
The ACO and Richard Tognetti gave eight performances of the 15-minute piece, culminating in a date at Carnegie Hall on 26 April, that was acclaimed in the New York Times.
 
We're delighted to announce that, following the conclusion of the tour, Water is now available for performance by other orchestras.  Please contact us for perusal materials.
'Jonny Greenwood, the multi-instrumentalist and composer best known as a member of the band Radiohead, wrote “Water,” a subdued 17-minute piece, while in residence with the orchestra, which gave the New York premiere of the work at this concert. The title comes from a short Philip Larkin poem, and the music seemed especially evocative of the final image, describing a glass of clear water: “Where any angled light/Would congregate endlessly.”
 
The scoring includes piano, synthesizer and tanpura, the long-necked string instrument common in Indian music that plays buttressing drones. Apropos its title, Mr. Greenwood’s piece unfolds in a shimmering haze of misty, lapping ostinato figures that congregate endlessly. But individual motifs come through the overlaid mass of haunting sounds. Eventually the music turns restless, almost frenzied, before calming down and returning to its original spiritual state; yet it is seemingly transfigured, more deliberate, less fluid.'
The New York Times (Anthony Tommasini), 28 April 2015
 
'The British composer Jonny Greenwood, best known as lead guitarist for the rock band Radiohead, composed the work Water for the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2013. A violist with training on several other instruments, Greenwood has written several film scores.
 
Composed for string orchestra, electronic keyboard and two tanpuras (long-necked Indian string instruments), the work gives some rhythmic freedom to the musicians. Opening with repeated two-notes patterns against a background of electronic sound, the music gains momentum, leading to violent, improvisatory passages in solo violin and string ensemble. The strings and two flutes create the movement, as water seems to drip, flow and then surge in torrents, surrounded by the static, unchanging drone of the Indian instruments—-a slow moving procession of tones that conveys a hypnotic, minimalist expression.'
Miami Herald (David Fleshler), 23 April 2015
 
'A third composer rounded out the program: Jonny Greenwood, not the first name listeners would associate with Mozart or Haydn. Greenwood is English and is best known as a member of the rock band Radiohead, whose songs often bear the imprint of Greenwood’s interest in the music of Olivier Messiaen and György Ligeti. To listeners who don’t follow rock, Greenwood may still be familiar as the composer of the often eerily modernistic score for the Oscar-winning film There Will Be Blood.
 
His 15-minute composition Water was unlike those other works of his. Though entirely modern in idiom, it was largely consonant, with its dissonances buried deep in the harmonic structure. Melodic lines, sometimes solos for Tognetti’s violin, would seep out of a pond of overlapping ostinatos, a Ligeti-like effect. Towards the end of the work, more jagged rhythms began to appear.
 
The shimmering sound and modal harmonies that dominated the music gave an air reminiscent of Messiaen and even more, I thought, of the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. Through much of the work, an Indian flavor also permeated the music, in the form of an ambient backing from tanpuras (Indian lutes) — one live, played by Vinod Prasanna, and one pre-recorded…
 
… I’ve found Greenwood’s classical compositions, even when bristly, to be consistently compelling and interesting…
San Francisco Classical Voice (David Bratman), 13 April 2015