Repertoire Search

Hans Abrahamsen

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Let me tell you (2013)
Commissioned by Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker with the support of Danish Arts Foundation
Work Notes
Commissioned by Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker with the support of Danish Arts Foundation
Publisher
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Category
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
2013
Duration
30 Minutes
Language
English
Soloist
Soprano


Buy this work
Worldwide Sales   North American Sales
 
Full Score   
Vocal Score   

Programme Note
Hans Abrahamsen Let me tell you (2013)
The orchestral song cycle let me tell you by Hans Abrahamsen, based on the novel let me tell you (2008) by Paul Griffiths, has been initiated by Barbara Hannigan. In the work, Ophelia tells her story in a first person narrative devised by Griffiths using only the 481 word vocabulary given to her in Shakespeare‘s Hamlet. He uses a constrained writing technique similar to those employed by the avant-garde Oulipo group. It is a text of delicate and fragile atmosphere and the selections for the song cycle have been a joint effort by all three artists.

This is the second commission Abrahamsen has received from Berlin Philharmonic with the support of the Danish Arts Foundation. It follows Nacht und Trompeten in 1971 which was championed by Hans Werner Henze, who was, at that time, composer in residence at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.




Performances
Date
Title
  • 04 FEB 2016
    Boston, MA
    Boston Symphony
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Andris Nelsons, conductor

    Other Dates:
    5,6 February - Boston, MA
  • 04 FEB 2016
    Severance Hall, Boston, MA
    Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Andris Nelsons, conductor

    Other Dates:
    6,5 February - Severance Hall, Boston, MA
  • 17 JAN 2016
    Let me tell you New York Premiere
    Carnegie Hall, New York
    Cleveland Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
  • 14 JAN 2016
    Let me tell you US Premiere
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Cleveland Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Franz Welser-Möst, conductor

    Other Dates:
    15 January - Cleveland, Ohio
  • 02 JUL 2015
    Munich, Germany
    Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Andris Nelsons, conductor

    Other Dates:
    3 July - Munich, Germany
  • 22 MAY 2015
    Auditorio de A Coruña.
    Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia
    Barbara Hannigan; Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor
  • 21 MAY 2015
    Let me tell you Country Premiere
    Auditorio de Ferrol, A Coruña.
    Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia
    Barbara Hannigan; Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor
  • 17 APR 2015
    Let me tell you Country Premiere
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Copenhagen Philharmonic
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; André de Ridder, conductor
  • 04 MAR 2015
    Let me tell you Country Premiere
    New Creations Festival
    Roy Thomas Hall, Toronto, Canada
    Toronto Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan; Peter Oundjian, conductor
  • 06 FEB 2015
    Let me tell you Country Premiere
    Adrift World Premiere
    Helsinki, Finland
    Helsinki Philharmonic
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; John Storgårds, conductor
  • 18 JUN 2014
    Let me tell you UK Premiere
    Birmingham, UK
    City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Andris Nelsons, conductor
  • 01 MAR 2014
    Zaterdagmatinee
    Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
    Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor
  • 27 FEB 2014
    Let me tell you Country Premiere
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor

    Other Dates:
    28 February - Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 21 FEB 2014
    Let me tell you Country Premiere
    Oslo, Norway
    Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Kent Nagano, conductor
  • 20 FEB 2014
    Let me tell you Country Premiere
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Kent Nagano, conductor

    Other Dates:
    22 February - Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 21 DEC 2013
    Philharmonie Berlin, Germany
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Andris Nelsons, conductor

    Other Dates:
    22 December - Philharmonie Berlin, Germany
  • 20 DEC 2013
    Let me tell you World Premiere
    Philharmonie Berlin, Germany
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Barbara Hannigan, soprano; Andris Nelsons, conductor

Reviews
The direct appeal of this work's winter magic is exceptional. For long passages I felt inside a snow globe, watching flakes fall in exquisite slow motion. In another chunk, Abrahamsen almost blinds us with a stunning representation of light. Pale or bright, crafted with echoes of music's harmonic past, these beauties cradle a dramatic monologue ingeniously built from Ophelia's vocabulary in Hamlet bu the writer Paul Griffiths. Luckily, Hannigan's creation is never mad or suicidal. Most deftly performed and warmly received.
Geoff Brown, The Times,6/20/2014
What was so fascinating about Abrahamsen’s setting was not so much the words themselves but the way in which they were sung: single syllables were frequently repeated and oscillated. Hannigan achieved this effect so artlessly that this style of singing could have been written for her. The contrasting movements are inventively orchestrated for a large ensemble. The piece opened with piccolos and celesta and featured sparkling tuned percussion, including a glockenspiel that was both struck and bowed. The subject matter of the text was often matched by explicit evocations in the orchestra. For example, “showers of light” was accompanied by high wind and string harmonics, whilst “light that cannot end” featured an impossibly sustained chord fading away to nothing. I was not prepared for how desperately sad the final movement, “I will go out now”, would feel. Sinewy, descending chromatic passages in the orchestra evoked the falling snow described in the song whilst microtonal tuning only added to the sense of desolation. Emotionally, it left me in a similar place to, say, the closing pages of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde or Strauss’s Four Last Songs. That, for me at least, is a measure of this fascinating work’s success and I hope to hear it again before long.
Peter Marks, bachtrack.com,6/19/2014
the writing is of an intricacy and translucency that effortlessly carries the word-setting as it pivots between thoughts of oblivion and transcendence - before eventually being subsumed into the orchestral whole.
Richard Whitehouse, classicalsource.com,6/19/2014
The result is ravishingly and astonishingly beautiful. Abrahamsen's vocal writing makes much use of stile concitato, the repeated-note emphases that hark back to Monteverdi, and also exploits Hannigan's ability to rise effortlessly to the limits of the soprano range. And he surrounds the voice with glistening, deliquescent textures that can seem almost weightless until a growling line in the bass brings them fluttering to earth. The music sometimes seems as much an exercise in memory as the text, touching on familiar, tonal shapes and harmonies without being explicit and embracing microtones in the final section. (...) It's a very special piece indeed.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian,6/19/2014
Perhaps the writer Paul Griffiths and the composer Hans Abrahamsen might have thought : "Come on, let’s write something for Barbara Hannigan, something with snow, light and a beautiful human being, something that must carry the listeners away” - and just like that, it is has come about. “Let me tell you” is the title of the new seven-part cycle for soprano and orchestra. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the piece, conducted by Andris Nelsons. It was a triumph. Normally the Philharmonic audience does not welcome contemporary pieces with such impetuous affection, but here both music and text spoke directly to the listeners. As in Griffith’s novel with the same title, “Let me tell you” is limited to the 481 words that Shakespeare gives to Ophelia in “Hamlet”. The fifth movement culminates with the sentence: “You have sun-blasted me, and turned me to light.” The ecstatic skyward flying soprano is surrounded by high strings, the tender shine of the trumpets and the glitter of metal percussion. Ophelia is not drowned like in Shakespeare, she does not float away as a dead flower-garlanded nymph, here she goes into the snow. It was shockingly beautiful how Hannigan – singing everything by heart – set the extremely high tone, soft and bright, floating down from there. “Snow falls. So: I will go into the snow. I will have my hope with me.” Abrahamsen, one of Denmark’s most prominent composers, knows what the human voice is like and how to intensify its effect. The orchestration is exquisite, the whole work in its discrete and tasteful neo-tonality is more proof that contemporary music can take or even shatter larger audiences.
Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,12/24/2013
"Let me tell you" is a virtuosic, unconventional, enigmatic and beautiful piece. Paul Griffiths compiled the text of words used by Ophelia in Shakespeare's "Hamlet", and with this material he reaches up to metaphors of modern physics: "time bended, time blown up here and there." Similarly Abrahamsen writes music of finest moods and nuances of expression with triads, scales and clear intervals. The fifth song evokes love, exuberance and "showers of light" - but despite the familiar idiom nothing is unambiguous, nothing is stable in this score: everything is refined and shifts against each other as if one perceived the sounds through cracked glass.
Peter Uehling, Berliner Zeitung,12/22/2013
Close X

Newsletter Signup

Please fill in this form to receive regular news




Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2014 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.