Abrahamsen’s “let me tell you,” in Cleveland, Boston, New York, and on CD

Posted on: March 24, 2016

“Craft, supreme and unwavering, is the hallmark of the work of the sixty-three-year-old Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen,” writes Russell Platt on Tuesday (3/22) at newyorker.com. “His new orchestral song cycle, ‘let me tell you,’ written for the soprano Barbara Hannigan, has won this year’s Grawemeyer Award.” In January, the work had its U.S. premiere at Severance Hall with the Cleveland Orchestra, which repeated it at Carnegie Hall the same month; in February the Boston Symphony Orchestra performed it at Symphony Hall. “Now it is out as a CD single on the Winter and Winter label, with Hannigan, the conductor Andris Nelsons, and the mighty Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra turning in a riveting and impeccable performance…. The texts come from a novel of the same name by Paul Griffiths, which retells, in mystical and elliptical fashion, the story of Shakespeare’s doomed Ophelia, with the author using exclusively her four-hundred-and-eighty-one-word vocabulary found in the text of ‘Hamlet.’ If you can imagine those words shaken up in a snow globe, softly falling back to the ground, then you’ll get some idea of the suspended magic of Griffiths’s text, and of Abrahamsen’s music.”

Posted March 24, 2016