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Release Date: 18th of Feb 2011
Artist: AGF & Craig Armstrong
Format: CD / Digital
Label: AGF Producktion 014
Distribution by Morr Music Distribution
Purchase here: Zero-Inch ,
Field recordings and recordings of classical Cello, voice and digital processing are the key elements of this work.
"the music is lush, clever and beautiful, the combination of Armstrong's melodic and cultural strength,
and Greie's delicately voiced electronic inventiveness working like a dream." By Joyce McMillan, Scotsman
"... what Greie and Armstrong have come up with is so richly allusive, so adapt at using the ear to trigger the mind's eye,
that seeing the actual play seems superflous... the tracks shimmer with detail... one of the eeriest pieces of electronica heard in some time" By Mark Fisher, The Wire magazine 2011
"It’s pleasing enough musically, but the narrative force that Armstrong and AGF have built the score around is what gives Orlando its strength.
It begins with the sounds of writing – Woolf’s writing, Orlando’s writing, director Cathie Boyd’s writing, AGF’s writing – and the album ends with the sound
of computer keys clacking. In between, there is a sense of movement that takes the listener from point A to point B – giving the score the feeling of a journey.
Most albums, and certainly most soundtracks, don’t have this feeling, so it’s surprising and exciting when one does build in this kind of narrative, this movement.
Lone talking gives way to crowds gives way to quieter, instrumental songs. There is sleep.
It is dynamic and dramatic, like Mamet’s famous letter to his The Unit writing staff: “Every scene must be dramatic. That means: the main character must have a simple,
straightforward, pressing need which impels him or her to show up in the scene.” Orlando‘s score has that feeling, which gives it a purpose outside of the staging.
It’s not just an assemblage of songs; it has a dramatic life of its own." By Andrew Beckerman, Dusted Magazine
"... electronic sculptor/poet AGF and Scottish composer Craig Armstrong
scored the Cryptic Theatre's staging of Virginia Wolf's Orlando. The soundtrack itself is another great work from this pair,
the duo's compositions mirroring the narrative flow of the book, with field recordings, strings,
digital textures and AGF's vocals and spoken word leading the listener on a gorgeous, beguiling journey." Other Music, NY
Collaboration between AGF & Craig Armstrong
Craig Armstrong, a Scottish composer of modern orchestral music, electronica and film scores and AGF (Antye Greie) collaborate again.
Armstrong's score for William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet earned him a BAFTA for Achievement in Film Music and an Ivor Novello. His composition for Baz Luhrmann's musical Moulin Rouge! earned him the 2001 American Film Institute's composer of the Year award, a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and a BAFTA. Armstrong was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Original Score in 2004 for the biopic Ray. His other feature film scoring credits include Love Actually, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Incredible Hulk.
In 2001 Armstrong invited Greie to contribute a song to his second solo record As If to Nothing (2002), subsequently both artist collaborated on Pianos (2004), The Dolls (2005 with Vladislav Delay), Memory Take My Hand (2008) and now follows Orlando.
Antye Greie aka AGF is a digital songwriter, performer and poet and has released 20 long player records and numerous collaborations under such aliases as AGF/Delay (with Vladislav Delay), Greie Gut Fraktion (with Gudrun Gut), and The Lappetites (with Kaffe Matthews and Eliane Radigue). Greie has produced records for numerous other artists, including Ellen Allien (SOOL, 2009, BPitch).
Orlando - The Play
In 2010, AGF (Antye Greie) composed and performed original music in Cryptic's staging the Virginia Woolf masterpiece Orlando, a production directed by Cathie Boyd. This staging features live vocals and electronics by AGF and an original soundtrack by her and Craig Armstrong.
Orlando - the CD
For this CD the very different kind of composers combine their work for the score of the theatre piece and wrote compositions in a cohesive flow following the narrative of the book. This work is meant to take the listener on an inspiring journey.
All starts with writing.
Orlando was a writer! AGF recorded her own writing and composed a piece about writing to introduce the nature of Orlando.
Next comes the oak tree Orlando spent his childhood in, secluded from the world, building his own powerful and wonderful universe in nature and fantasy. Craig wrote the opening theme of this topic recording cello, and AGF used words from the text as well as recordings of her feet breaking dry wood and a sub bass frequency, here representing the safe ground of a childhood ending up educated and safe.
Pieces like The Tree, Betrayal, and Sleep see AGF and Armstrong incorporate drone and digital processing.
The poetry pieces Yearning Years, I Held A Queen, You Sleep On, Sex At Thought, Rain Falls are deconstructed texts, as recognizable as any 'poemproducer' pieces AGF has written before.
The 7 Day Sleep, the English Damp, and The Great Frost are all famous Orlando themes that have been interpreted by the artists.
The core of this CD bears the mark of the outstanding book which Virginia Woolf had written 100 years ago, though with a 21st century sound score.
Orlando, the CD was produced and mastered by AGF and released by AGF Producktion and craigarmstrong.com
Calligraphy / Artwork by AGF.
1 Writing Pitch And Depth
2 For Ever And Ever And Ever Alone
3 Yearning Years
4 The Tree
5 I Held A Queen
6 The Queen
7 Birds Froze In Mid-Air
8 Princess Marousha Stanislovka Dagmar Natascha Iliana Romanovitch
9 I Opened My Eyes
12 You Sleep On
14 Sex At Thought
15 Enamoured Lady
16 The Archduke
17 Rain Falls
19 Natures Bride
20 The Way We Write
Background Information on Orlando Production by Cathie Boyd/ Cryptic
Orlando opens with the hero as a young man in Elizabethan England, and follows his transformations of fortune, love and even gender in this multi-faceted, century-spanning quest for 'life and a lover'.
A sensuous epic of self-discovery, Virginia Woolf's novel has been described as 'the longest and most charming love letter in literature', relishing an era where opulence and hedonism were savoured.
The production doesn't attempt to replicate every aspect of the book, in line with Woolf's own belief that novels should more reflect drama than the straight narrative form,
they use a combination of music, sound, projected backdrops and lighting effects to create a sense of the confused and transforming existence of Orlando.
Cryptic's dedication to creating a multi-layered theatrical experience production draws on two performers to realize the Orlando character:
actress Madeleine Worrall is the protagonist, whilst singer and co-composer AGF will play Orlando's subconscious, weaving vocals, sonic textures and live electronics through
Darryl Pinckney's lauded adaptation of Woolf's text. Worrall and AGF work together on stage, not only creating an original presentation of Woolf's words through speaking
them together and echoing and distorting them with the music, but also display the love passed between two people that this work represents. In this dance through time, AGF's live work with sound (and minute-long dance)
adds depth to the production, providing the music and haunting vocals that echo Worrall's speech, to underpin the psychological emotion the production inflicts on its audience.
Orlando's visual spectacle comes to life courtesy of artists James Houston and Angelica Kroeger and unveils two new technologies developed by The Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio:
Living Canvas and Point Cloud Data Imaging.
On its mission to merge the art forms of music and theatre Cathie Boyd's Glasgow-based Cryptic company reaches a heady new pinnacle of achievement,
and comes close to fulfilling Cryptic's early description of itself as a company that wants to 'ravish the senses' of the audience ,
fusing performance, live music, visuals and technology; enabling 'music to be looked at... not just listened to'.
Orlando was premiered last September at the Traverse Theatre, with subsequent performances at Tramway, Glasgow and the Espoo City Theatre, Finland.
Quotes related to music about the play
Cathie Boyd's stage version has three vital elements, beginning with the entwined music and text created by composers Craig Armstrong and Antye Greie (known as AGF)
and writer Darryl Pinckney; the music is lush, clever and beautiful, the combination of Armstrong's melodic and cultural strength, and Greie's delicately voiced electronic inventiveness working like a dream.
Orlando's duality was shown in the subtle portrayal of two Orlandos on stage, Worrall taking the focus on centre stage, and AGF providing her visible sound effects,
drawing attention to her art and echoing Orlando's words in a beguiling and mesmerizing style.
With AGF on stage the whole time creating an array of strange music, it was quite a lot for the senses to take in.
Worrall is joined on stage by mutli-hyphenate performer Antye Greie (AGF) who provides poetry music and song as a background to the story, her contribution added to the work of composer
Craig Armstrong and intriguing yet simple design by James Johnson help to make this a highly atmospheric piece of work.
The seventy minute staging of Darryl Pinckney's adaptation of the novel is a delicate invitation to a subtle poetic feast.
Onstage we see one actress, one musician/composer and visual effects projected onto the set, composed of seven muslin panels acting as screens,
which come cleverly undone and roll back when released. The simplicity of the set is the perfect backdrop to a score of ambient music,
sensually and softly spoken words, and a minimalist Elizabethan costume. All the elements work together harmoniously to present Woolf's dense text relating
the story of a young man who begins life during the reign of Elizabeth I and continues to live through the subsequent centuries to the present day,
undergoing a gender change along the way.
In Orlando's journey of self-discovery and quest for love, we are drawn into the eternal tapestry of time and live the centuries with him as he
metamorphoses from man to woman in an ever-flowing stream of consciousness presented in beautiful images and sounds. This is a stunning collaboration between live performance,
electronic music, and visual art. It is abstract and poetic, a living canvas, if you will.