2016 Grawemeyer Award for Hans Abrahamsen
25th November 2015
The work, setting a text by Paul Griffiths, was premiered in 2013 by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Andris Nelsons. The soprano part was sung by Barbara Hannigan to whom the work is dedicated.
The Grawemeyer Awards announcement states:
’My words may be poor but they will have to do,’ intones Ophelia in the opening poem. Abrahamsen’s score infuses those limited words with emotional nuance and depth, said Grawemeyer award director Marc Satterwhite.’The vocal lines exquisitely mirror Griffiths’ fragile texts of the doomed Ophelia,’ said Satterwhite. ’The orchestra is a partner rather than mere accompanist and the composer draws a huge array of colors from the orchestra, delicate and shimmering more often than not, but occasionally in fuller force.’
Hans Abrahamsen is the first Dane to receive the Grawemeyer Award. let me tell you is the second Grawemeyer Award-winning work on which music critic, poet and novelist Paul Griffiths collaborated. He also wrote the libretto for Marco Polo, which won Tan Dun the 1998 Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition.
let me tell you has had an overwhelming 18 performances since its world premiere in December 2013 and more are planned, including the US premiere in January 2016 with the Cleveland Orchestra, to be conducted by Frans Welser-Möst with Barbara Hannigan as the soloist. The Cleveland Orchestra will give the New York Premiere at Carnegie Hall, then the Boston Symphony Orchestra will be perform the work in February.
let me tell you also received the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Large-Scale Composition in 2015.
The work has been recorded and is scheduled for release on Winter&Winter in early January 2016. The artists are Barbara Hannigan and Andris Nelsons with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.