Anna Clyne: Masquerade

Masquerade

Anna Clyne

BORN: March 9, 1980. London, England. Currently residing in New York, NY.

COMPOSED: 2013

WORLD PREMIERE: September 7, 2013. Marin Alsop led the BBC Symphony Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall, London. 

US PREMIERE: February 22, 2015. Robert Boardman led the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra at the Leighton Center, Notre Dame, IN

SFS PERFORMANCES: FIRST—At these concerts

INSTRUMENTATION: 2 flutes and piccolo, 2 oboes and English horn, 2 clarinets and bass clarinet, 2 bassoons and contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, castanets, 2 cowbells, crash cymbals, 3 kazoos, motor horn, ratchet, snare drum, suspended sizzle cymbals, suspended cymbal (with brushes), tam-tam, triangle, vibraslap, whip, 2 harps, and strings 

DURATION: About 5 mins

London-born Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. Clyne has boldly charted her own course and was heralded in a New York Times profile as a “composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods.” It’s no surprise then that Clyne’s work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians. She has also enjoyed a number of partnerships with prominent orchestras, serving as composer-in-residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre National d’Île-de-France, and National Sawdust. She is currently the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the Berkeley Symphony.

Recent highlights include premieres of Beltane by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard; Three Sisters, her mandolin concerto for Avi Avital and the Kremerata Baltica; and RIFT, a symphonic ballet in collaboration with choreographer Kitty McNamee for Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. Clyne has been commissioned by such renowned organizations as Carnegie Hall, Houston Ballet, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Southbank Centre.

A fixture of British musical life, the BBC Proms combines the celebratory spirit and excitement usually associated with an international sporting event with a dizzying array of musical offerings. Clyne’s Masquerade was composed for the Last Night of the Proms in 2013.—Steven Ziegler

Anna Clyne has provided the following comments on Masquerade

Masquerade draws inspiration from the original mid-eighteenth century promenade concerts held in London’s pleasure gardens. As is true today, these concerts were a place where people from all walks of life mingled to enjoy a wide array of music. Other forms of entertainment ranged from the sedate to the salacious with acrobatics, exotic street entertainers, dancers, fireworks, and masquerades. I am fascinated by the historic and sociological courtship between music and dance. Combined with costumes, masked guises, and elaborate settings, masquerades created an exciting, yet controlled, sense of occasion and celebration. It is this that I wish to evoke in Masquerade.

The work derives its material from two melodies. For the main theme, I imagined a chorus welcoming the audience and inviting them into their imaginary world. The second theme, “Juice of Barley,” is an old English country dance melody and drinking song, which first appeared in John Playford’s 1695 edition of The English Dancing Master

It is an honor to compose music for the Last Night of the Proms and I dedicate Masquerade to the Prommers. —Anna Clyne

More About the Music

Recordings: There are currently no recordings of Masquerade available for purchase. A recording of the piece may be streamed on Anna Clyne’s website. The Chicago Symphony and Riccardo Muti have recorded Clyne’s Night Ferry (CSO Resound)

Reading: Visit Anna Clyne’s website at annaclyne.com