Australian Chamber Orchestra releases Thomas Adès: Shanty – Over the Sea
Australian Chamber Orchestra, under its artistic director Richard Tognetti, is one of the world’s most daring and exciting ensembles, renowned globally for its inspired programming, unrivalled virtuosity, energy and individuality.
Here they give the world premiere recording of a new work by Thomas Adès, one of the world’s foremost contemporary composers. The Australian Chamber Orchestra was one of nine prestigious orchestras around the world who came together to commission the work, and it gave the world premiere performance of the piece in Wollongong in February 2021.
The music takes the concept of a shanty – a work song sung by sailors – and from its simple structure of a repeated melody, sung by multiple voices, creates the image of a widening seascape. The cyclical verses, says Adès, ‘build a story of the harsh, mechanical routine’ of the sailors’ labour, ‘an implied yearning for liberation from the arbitrary regime of petty masters, and a dream of a safe harbour beyond.’
This superb studio recording is the latest addition to the ACO Originals series, established in 2020 to showcase the orchestra’s achievements as a fearless champion of new music and living composers, commissioning new works that push the boundaries of how an orchestra can and should sound.