Aurora Orchestra releases its second album on Warner Classics featuring leading English tenor Allan Clayton
Aurora will release its second album for Warner Classics – Insomnia – on Friday 31 July.
Insomnia charts a journey through the darkness of a troubled night, in the company of Allan Clayton, one of the leading tenors of his generation. The album marks the second of three recordings for Warner Classics and features two centerpieces: Britten’s Nocturne – an evocative piece for tenor, seven obbligato instruments and string orchestra – and Brett Dean’s arresting Pastoral Symphony, which the composer describes as being ‘about glorious birdsong, the threat that it faces, the loss, and the soulless noise that we’re left when they’re all gone.’
The recording sessions took place at Fairfield Halls Croydon in November 2014, the venue where Britten and Pears recorded the Nocturne 50 years previously, with Aurora’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Director Nicholas Collon using the same conducting podium for these sessions as Britten himself.
A characteristically eclectic and creatively-programmed album, Insomnia also features Thomas Adès’ arrangement of Couperin’s Les baricades mistérieuses, Ivor Gurney’s Sleep (arranged by Aurora’s Arranger in Residence Iain Farrington), and Ligeti’s Poème symphonique for 100 metronomes, alongside two new arrangements of pop songs for tenor and chamber orchestra – R.E.M.’s I’ve been high arranged by Australian violinist Richard Tognetti and The Beatles’ Blackbird arranged by Iain Farrington and featuring a blackbird soloist supplied by the legendary wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson.
Aurora first performed music from Insomnia at London’s LSO St Luke’s in March 2013, with critic Barry Millington writing in The Evening Standard: “Nicholas Collon drew immaculate performances from his players and yet the music was only one element of this ingeniously conceived cross-arts programme. Refreshing the repertoire and broadening appeal are imperative these days. Nobody does it better than Aurora.”
You can watch a short behind-the-scenes film about the making of Insomnia by clicking on the video above.